Is This Goodbye, NEA? Addressing Our Fears—and Hopes—for the Arts and Humanities

About the Panelists

Sasha Anawalt (moderator) is an acclaimed critic, writer, and media entrepreneur. She co-founded the USC Annenberg master’s program in arts journalism; was chief dance critic for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, LA Weekly, and KCRW; and is the author of The Joffrey Ballet: Robert Joffrey and the Making of an American Dance Company, which was the basis of a PBS documentary. Anawalt ran the Getty Arts Journalism Program for thirteen years and the NEA Arts Institute for Theatre and Musical Theatre for seven years. She is also the co-producer of the Engine Series and founder of DanceMapLA.


Anita Dashiell-Sparks is an actor, director, and associate professor of theatre practice in the USC School of Dramatic Arts. She has performed on Broadway in Night Must Fall and guest-starred in television shows including West Wing and Lincoln Heights. Dashiell-Sparks directed Letters from Zora at the Crossroads Theatre and two critically acclaimed engagements at the Pasadena Playhouse, among many other endeavors.


Rachel S. Moore is president and CEO of The Music Center. She was previously CEO of American Ballet Theatre; director of Boston Ballet’s Center for Dance Education; executive director of Project STEP, a classical-music school for students of color in Boston; and managing director of Ballet Theatre of Boston. She has also held senior positions with Americans for the Arts and the National Cultural Alliance. Moore currently serves on the advisory committee for the Los Angeles County Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative, which is developing recommendations to enhance the participation and leadership of people from underrepresented communities in the arts. She is the author The Artist’s Compass: The Complete Guide to Building a Life and a Living in the Performing Arts.

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s 2015 debut novel, The Sympathizer, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His latest book, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, was a finalist for the National Book Award. He co-directs the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network and is a professor of English and American studies and ethnicity at USC.