First page of the PDF file: CommunitySalonPoster-April2021-12x18v2

Community Salon Series

Sharing Voices & Forging Community through the Arts 

Wednesday, April 21 - 6-7:15pm

Our final virtual Community Salon on Sharing Voices & Forging Community through the Arts, is a follow-up from our November 2019 salon, returning to a similar theme now, in the wake of an intense, tumultuous 18-month period of change (Covid-19, racial reckoning, political transition). This will be a space for reflecting back and looking forward, in shared conversation. Initial panel discussion will be followed by break-out rooms for more intimate conversation and direct exchange with the panelists.

RSVP here

  • Ruth Berson (arts + museums, Founder & Principal)
  • Susan Celia Swan (Executive Director of V-Day)
  • Marvin K. White (Minister of Glide Memorial Church, Poet, Arts Activist)
  • Valerie Saint-Agathe (Artistic Director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus)
Moderation team (for the panel & break-out rooms): 
  • Melinda Bihn (Head of School)
  • Andrew Brown (Director of Admissions - TOK Teacher)
  • Dereke Clements (Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)
  • Eunice Gillan-Short (Global Politics - History - TOK teacher)
  • Alistair Hamilton (Head of Arts - Music)
  • Michelle Haner (Urban Engagement Coordinator - Theater)
Detailed bios
Susan Celia SwanExecutive Director of V-Day – a global activist movement to end
violence against women and girls.
Susan Celia Swan has been with V-Day since its inception, helping playwright Eve
Ensler found and create the organization in 1998.  Susan’s efforts have been integral to
the development of the movement, which grew from a one-night benefit to a wide-
ranging global non-profit with a presence in over 200 countries.
Today, V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against all women and girls (cisgender, transgender,
and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender based violence). V-Day
campaigns have educated communities, changed laws to protect women and girls, and
raised well over $125 million in urgently needed funds for groups working to end
violence and serve survivors and their families.
Susan oversees all aspects of V-Day, including One Billion Rising and City of Joy,
creating and developing campaigns, producing award winning films and videos, staging
artistic events, and managing finance, development, and communications.  V-Day has
taken Susan across the United States and the world addressing the issue of violence
against all women and girls including Haiti, Kenya, Europe, India, Egypt and the
Democratic Republic of Congo, where V-Day opened and supports City of Joy, a
transformational leadership center where survivors of gender violence turn their pain into
Art and activism have been her passion, throughout her career, beginning with college
internships at MTV and Amnesty International.  Prior to V-Day, Susan held senior
executive positions in communications and new media at Sony Music Entertainment and
Atlantic Records. It was there that she helped recording artist Tori Amos launch RAINN
(Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), which is now the leading hotline and
provider of services to women and girls in the United States. A native of the East
Coast, Susan graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University with a BA in
Political Science, and has taken graduate courses at Stanford University and The New
School. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of V-Day and, of
which she is a founder. Susan lives in San Francisco with her partner Chris and daughter
Valérie Sainte-AgatheArtistic Director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus
Valérie Sainte-Agathe, Artistic Director, has prepared and conducted the San Francisco
Girls Chorus since 2013, including performances with renowned ensembles such as the
Philip Glass Ensemble, The Knights, Kronos Quartet, New Century Chamber Orchestra,
Voices of Music, TENET Vocal Artists, and the San Francisco Symphony.
Through high profile musical collaborations, Ms. Sainte-Agathe continues to welcome
acclaimed guest artists and ensembles from across the United States and beyond to work
alongside the choristers of SFGC. She most recently joined forces with The King’s
Singers and Roomful of Teeth to further SFGC’s creative energy during the COVID-19
pandemic with several unique video and audio projects to be released in spring 2021.

Through transformative choral music training, education, and performance, Ms. Sainte-
Agathe empowers young women and champions the music of today throughout the choral
world. Recent commissions by Theresa Wong, Susie Ibarra, Cava Menzies, and Matthew
Welch will continue to build upon SFGC’s legacy of creating and presenting new
repertoire for treble chorus.
During the 2019-2020 season, Ms. Sainte-Agathe, in collaboration with Berkeley Ballet
Theater, created and conducted Rightfully Ours, a fully-staged choral music and dance
production that brought together young singers and dancers for an entire program of new
music and choreographies. Featured works included world premiere commissions by
Angélica Negrón and Aviya Kopelman.
In February 2018, Ms. Sainte-Agathe made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Philip Glass
Ensemble, conducting with Michael Riesman in Glass’s Music with Changing Parts. She
also conducted The Photographer by Philip Glass in October 2017. In June 2016, she
conducted SFGC alongside The Knights and Brooklyn Youth Chorus for the New York
Philharmonic Biennial Festival at Lincoln Center. She also collaborated with The Knights
for the SHIFT Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Her first recording as
SFGC’s Music Director, Final Answer, was released on Orange Mountain Music in
February 2018, and her second recording, My Outstretched Hand, featured composer
Aaron Jay Kernis, The Knights, and Trinity Youth Chorus and was released in July 2019.
Between 2014 and 2016, she prepared choruses for Lisa Bielawa’s made-for-TV opera,
Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser.
Ms. Sainte-Agathe served as Music Director for the Young Singers program of the
Montpellier National Symphony and Opera in France from 1998-2011. In this capacity,
she trained young singers for opera and symphony concerts and productions. She
participated in eight recordings with the Montpellier National Orchestra and The Radio
France Festival.
Marvin K. WhiteGlide Memorial Church Minister – and Poet, Writer, Public
Theologian, Visual Artist, Arts Organizer
Marvin K. White MDiv, is the Full-Time Minister of Celebration at Glide Memorial
Church, in San Francisco. He is a graduate of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley
CA, and was the inaugural "First Church Berkeley 2017-2018 Public Theologian in
Residence". Marvin is an ordained deacon at City of Refuge UCC, and has worked as a
co-facilitator of the "Faith Leaders Round Table" at The Haas Institute for a Fair and
Inclusive Society. Marvin was a recipient (’17-’18) of the YBCA Fellowship, “What
Does Equity Look Like?”, a program that brought together creative citizens from across
the Bay Area - artists and everyday people alike - to engage in a yearlong process of
inquiry, dialogue, and project generation.
He is the author of four collections of poetry published by RedBone Press: Our Name Be
Witness; Status; and the two Lammy-nominated collections last rights and nothin’ ugly
fly. His poetry has been widely anthologized in many local and national publications. He
is the co-editor of If We Have to Take Tomorrow: HIV, Black Men & Same Sex Desire
and an upcoming anthology by black writers on black love, black resistance and black
A public theologian and community-based artist, he is articulating a vision of social,
prophetic and creative justice through his work as a poet, artist, teacher, facilitator,
activist, community organizer, preacher, homemaker, cake baker, and Facebook

Ruth Bersonarts + museums, Founder & Principal

After serving for almost 20 years as the Deputy Museum Director, Curatorial Affairs at
SF MOMA, Ruth founded arts + museums, a consultancy providing services to the
museum field and partnerships with design firms on museum building projects. 
Recent work includes a readiness assessment for a new collections management system at the
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, lectures at Sciences Po in Paris and at the most
recent Museum Conference in Hong Kong, serving on the steering and program
committees and chairing the events committee for the 2020 American Alliance of
Museums conference, and an art commissioning and museum loan program for the Chase
Center, the new home of the Golden State Warriors.
At SFMOMA, as the Deputy Museum Director, Ruth oversaw the museum’s four
collecting departments: Paintings and Sculpture, Photography, Media Arts and
Architecture and Design. She also led three additional divisions: Exhibitions, Content
Strategy and Digital Engagement and Collections (which includes conservation,
registration, library and archives, collections information and access). Berson directed the
SFMOMA architectural expansion for which she served as a staff representative on the
Architect Selection Committee and planned the opening programs for 2016.
Before the museum closed for its expansion, Ruth oversaw an annual program of
approximately 25 exhibitions presented on-site as well as a worldwide touring exhibition
program. Berson joined SFMOMA in 2000, served as Acting Co-Director in 2001 and
became Director of Exhibitions and then Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Collections in
2002, before advancing to Deputy Museum Director in 2010.
In 2010, she also was elected to the United States Board of the International Committee
on Museums (ICOM), a non-governmental organization maintaining formal relations
with UNESCO and having a consultative status with the United Nations Economic and
Social Council. Recognized by the French Ministry of Culture, she was promoted to
Officier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2011, after being knighted by the French
Government as a Chevalier in 2000.

Berson holds an MA in art history from the University of California, Berkeley.