Community-Centered Programming: Reaching Diverse Audiences

Sami Abu Shumays, our Deputy Director,  is the founder of the Arab music ensemble, Zikrayat. In this video, he shares strategies for expanding audiences and bridging cultural divides from the perspective of both presenter and artist.

Sami is a multi-faceted arts administrator, artist, and educator.  A Harvard Graduate and Fulbright Fellow, he served as Director of the Queens Community Arts fund, re-granting monies from the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and corporate donors, to hundreds of artists and arts organizations in the borough of Queens.

He has performed fundraising and development work for Alwan, an Arab Arts organization based in Manhattan, and for Zikrayat, an NY-based ensemble of Arab Musicians and Dancers.

As an educator and scholar, Sami’s mission has been to raise awareness about the importance of traditional cultural knowledge, and he has given workshops and classes on Arabic music at Alwan, The New School, the City University of New York, Wesleyan University, The College of William and Mary, as well as at world music retreats and events across the country.  He also is a talented violinist and vocalist in the Arab Classical tradition, and his ensemble, Zikrayat, is the foremost representative of Egyptian music and dance in New York, specializing in repertory from the “Golden Age” of Egyptian movie musicals (the 1940’s-60’s).

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