We are beyond enthusiastic to welcome Naho Shioya and Shawn Roberts as Arts Corps’ Co-Executive Directors, both of whom started in January 2023. This exciting new leadership follows the organization’s decision to create an executive staff structure that better represents our practice and values of shared leadership and collaboration.
Shawn Roberts will be our Co ED of Education and Advocacy. Shawn has been serving the Seattle community through dance, arts, writing, and personal development programs for the past 25 years. In that time, she has built and directed exceptional programs including the School of Spectrum Dance Theater and STG’s AileyCamp and Dance for Parkinson’s. We are impressed by Shawn’s passion, experience, and knowledge. We have heard from teaching artists and parents of youth that she is a steadfast and inspiring leader. Shawn’s work in the community demonstrates both commitment and love for arts education that has a lasting impact on the lives of participants.
Naho Shioya was our Interim ED starting in September 2022 and will now be our Co-ED of Development and Operations. Naho is a theatre artist, educator, and racial equity consultant, who brings a wealth of experience in teaching artistry, strategic planning, and equity work in Seattle, including Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, YWCA, and Associated Recreation Council. In her interim, Naho was already asking important questions that demonstrate true care and concern for our work at Arts Corps. We are moved by Naho’s work on the Ethnic Studies/Theater of the Oppressed program and the ROOTS Culturally Relevant Antiracist Arts Education Framework with Seattle Public Schools as they are close to the heartwork of Arts Corps.
Naho and Shawn come to us with incredible programmatic and development experience. They have both spent their careers cultivating arts education environments that expand access to the arts. We know they will collaborate with one another, our teams, and our partners to further Arts Corps’ mission. We know they will take on challenges with enthusiasm, grace, and determination. We know they will inspire us with brilliance and creativity.
What is something you are looking forward to about joining Arts Corps?
Shawn: I’m excited to be working with Naho and spending time with and getting to know the Arts Corps staff. I look forward to experiencing the beautiful work being done with our partnering schools and students.
Naho: I am looking forward to working with Shawn and continuing to get to know the amazing Arts Corps staff and their work in schools and our communities.
What are you reading, listening to, watching right now that is bringing you joy?
Shawn: Now that I’ve completed my Master’s, I’m enjoying reading books that are not part of a syllabus, but of my choosing. With this, right now I’m reading “My Grandmother’s Hands,” by Resmaa Menakem. In terms of what I’m watching, I love watching movies, the latest being “Ticket to Paradise” and “Wakanda Forever.” Music has always been a big part of my life. India Arie, Nas, Miles Davis, Raphael Saadiq, Jill Scott and many other artist’s work fills our home.
Naho: I’m not much of a TV person but am patiently waiting for Season 3 of “Reservation Dogs.” I’m also binge-watching Marvel movies with my 12-year-old. (It’s actually part of my assignment for the doctorate program I am currently in.) Since we have a musician/percussionist in our family, we listen to a variety of world music and are surrounded by musical instruments (that means anything that will make sounds from a percussionist’s viewpoint) 😊
Thank you to the Executive Search Committee — a team of teaching artists, board members, and office staff — for their hard work in hiring Naho and Shawn.