Alison T. McNeil
Founder & Chief Creative Officer
Alison T. McNeil is a catalyst for equity and justice in the performing arts.
For more than 20 years, Alison has created pathways for systemic change in the arts and culture sector. She operates with a collective mindset and a goal to help the historically excluded to thrive.
Uplifting Leaders. Advancing Operations.
She’s led multi-million-dollar change efforts that have directly informed policy, grantmaking, and strategic partnerships. She has placed quality talent and documented impact for emerging leaders, artists, performing arts and collegiate administrators, and government officials.
She has facilitated conversations that have been instrumental in shaping the vision of organizations that foster accessible opportunities in the arts and education including: the U.S. Department of Education, Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Dance/USA, Dance/NYC, 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.
Accolades and Recognition.
Alison 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, South Arts, Americans for the Arts, The Heinz Endowments, Black Arts Future Fund, 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.
She was recently invited to become a member of the Recording Academy and she is excited to advocate for music and its creators. She is also credited and thanked in the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap for her support in making connections for this project. Previously, Alison was appointed by the Arlington County Board to serve as an Arts Commissioner.
Service for The Culture.
She has created invaluable spaces for women of color, authored numerous publications and delivered presentations on entrepreneurship, equitable evaluation, human centered hiring processes and systemic change. She is a co-founder of 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 also serves on the board of directors for SOLE Defined and the Black Genius Foundation.
Background and Balance.
Alison has been involved in the performing arts since she was five years old. She started out performing on stages around the world. She shifted to working behind the scenes (e.g., production work, grantmaking, board service) later in life.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Hampton University and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from American University.
When Alison takes a break from advocating for the arts and her community, she’s spending time with her nephew and dog, caught up in a West African drum circle, 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