Rock to the Future & REC Philly: Arts Access and Inclusion for Social Change
Philadelphia’s creative economy is a powerful tool for community empowerment; however, not everyone has equal access to the arts. Hear from movers and shakers in the Philadelphia creative scene about the importance of equal access to arts education in society and how art can be a catalyst for social change.
Featuring performances by Nia of Rock to the Future and REC Philly artist Namarah.
Will Toms, Co-Founder of REC Philly
William Tyrone Toms is a 29 year old award-winning entrepreneur from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After starting his first company at the age of 21, Will Toms has quickly made a name for himself in the region's startup community at the intersection of culture & economics. He is the Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer of REC Philly, serving as the visionary + strategist behind the company’s endeavors.
With his background in communication and economics, William takes pride in ensuring that all of his efforts are centered around democratizing access and opportunity for young, passionate people of color.
Jessica Craft, CEO and Founder of Rock to the Future
After working in financial services, Jessica Craft founded Rock to the Future in 2010 with the mission of providing free, student-driven music programs for youth without access. She believes in the power of music to change lives and that arts should be accessible for youth in their own neighborhoods.
Valerie V. Gay, Deputy Director for Audience Engagement & Chief Experience Officer at the Barnes Foundation
Valerie Gay is a Certified Financial Planner, non-profit administrator, performing artist and thought leader. She possesses a unique blend of executive leadership and financial expertise, paired with extensive program development. Val is an active performer across several genres, performing in operas, special events, and solo concert recitals, including a solo performance at Carnegie Hall.
Ryan Harris, Founder of As I Plant This Seed
As I Plant This Seed is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to enhance the lives of at-risk youth, exposing them to new concepts through enrichment activities.
Bruce Warren, Assistant Station Manager for Programming at WXPN and Executive Producer of World Cafe
When he’s not rocking the jams at XPN and World Cafe, Bruce teaches at University of Pennsylvania, is on the Mighty Writers’ Board of Directors, writes a music discovery newsletter, 10 Bands, and tweets a lot at @somevelvetblog.