Inaugural 'Thought Leader in Residence' Ben Cameron to Discuss the Role of Arts and Culture in a Healthy Urban Environment

With government funding for the arts on the continuing decline and humanities programs facing harsher and harsher scrutiny, public defense of arts and culture is, perhaps, more important than ever. (But hey, you're reading an arts and culture blog, so clearly it's not all doom and destruction on the arts front).

This Wednesday at the Phoenix Center for the Arts, Ben Cameron, a national advocate for arts programs, with be joined by several local faces, including Local First AZ founder Kimber Lanning, for a panel discussion on what makes the arts such a vital part of the urban landscape.

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The discussion is a part of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust's latest Thought Leader in Residence program, which brings in individuals to "share expertise on significant issues and spur idea generation that ultimately impacts and strengthens quality of life in Maricopa County," according to the initiative's website.

Ben Cameron is the first thought leader in the series, but he's no stranger to the arts. Currently the Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in New York, Cameron is also a TED Talks speaker (check out his video above) and serves on the Tony Awards Nominating Committee.

He will be joined by guest panelists Matt Lehrman, Tim Sprague, and Greg Esser.

The event begins Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Phoenix Center for the Arts. Admission is free, but seating is limited. For more information visit the Facebook event page.

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Katrina Montgomery