Meet the Leadership

Compassionate. Transparent. Curious.

Alison T. McNeil

Founder & Chief Creative Officer

Alison T. McNeil is a nationally recognized award winning strategic thinker and creative entrepreneur with nearly 20 years of experience in performing arts and education. She leads with the intention of creating resources, removing roadblocks and designing roadmaps to make arts and culture accessible to all.  Alison’s work has addressed the blind spots that perpetuate the disparities  in funding, hiring, and operational practices with and for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) arts administrators. Alison’s work is rooted in arts advocacy and is at the intersection between philanthropy, strategy and justice.

She successfully strengthens operations, develops strategic partnerships, and documents impact for emerging leaders, artists, performing arts administrators, college administrators, grantmakers, and government officials. She’s led multi-million-dollar change efforts that have directly informed policy, grantmaking, and strategic partnerships. She’s been afforded the opportunity to plan and shape vision with many of the organizations that positively contribute to making the arts and education accessible to all including but not limited to the U.S. Department of Education, Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Dance/USA, Step Afrika!, WolfBrown,  Massachusetts Cultural Council, New York Community Trust, The Heinz Endowments, DataArts, MetLife Foundation, Capitol Jazz Productions, National Arts Strategies, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Alison’s talent has resulted in accolades both inside and outside of the arts and culture sector. She has been recognized for how her leadership efforts have launched solutions that create better circumstances and opportunities for BIPOC arts administrators to thrive in the arts & culture sector. She has served as a thought leader on numerous grant panels, boards, conference panels, and advisory committees including the National Endowment for the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Americans for the Arts, The Heinz Endowments, Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Step Afrika!, FRESHH Inc. Theatre Company, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Arts Council of Fairfax County, Alexandria Commission for the Arts and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. To support the arts in her local community, Alison was previously appointed by Arlington County’s Board to serve as an Arts Commissioner.

Trained as a dancer, she is committed to creating equitable funding for artists. She is co-founder of the Maynor Biggers Artist Fund and a partner and co-founder of Third Eye Cultural Collaborative, a social enterprise dedicated to creating systemic change in the arts and culture sector for the artists and arts organizations that are historically excluded from the funding landscape. In 2009, she co-founded Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA), a membership-based service organization dedicated to promoting equity and fortifying leadership in the performing arts administration field.

Alison holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Hampton University and a Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership from American University.

When Alison’s not advocating for the arts, she’s spending time with her nephew, listening to music, or dancing to one of her favorite Stevie Wonder songs.

To connect with Alison, email her.

“We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.”

~John F. Kennedy