Ben Cameron is USITT 2020's Keynote

February 27, 2020

Photo by: BFRESH Productions

USITT is excited to announce our 2020 keynote conversation, Ben Cameron. Cameron is President of the Jerome Foundation, which makes grants to early-career artists and those nonprofit arts organizations that serve them in the state of Minnesota and the five boroughs of New York City.

Cameron will take the mainstage for his keynote conversation during our Annual Meeting on Wednesday, April 1 at 1 p.m. in the George Bush Grand Ballroom at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Prior to joining the Jerome Foundation, Cameron was Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (2006-15), where, during his tenure, the Foundation created the Doris Duke Artists Awards and received the National Medal of the Arts from President Barack Obama. Before going to Doris Duke, he served for more than eight years as the Executive Director of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for the American nonprofit professional theater.  During his tenure, TCG significantly expanded its programs, membership base and grantmaking activities, and was recognized with a special Tony Honors. 

Prior roles include his work as Senior Program Officer at the Dayton Hudson Foundation, Manager of Community Relations for Target Stores (supervising its grantmaking program) and four years at the National Endowment for the Arts, including two as Director of the Theater Program.
Mr. Cameron has addressed gatherings of arts communities in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, England, Denmark, Scotland, Spain and Russia, as well as national gatherings of the theatre, chamber music, dance, symphony and choral music fields in the United States.  His address at the TED X Conference in Calgary has been featured as a “TED Talk,” attracting more than 560,000 viewers, and was featured in the national commercial campaign for the Apple iPad. 

He has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including those of the National Arts and Business Council, American Arts Alliance and Grantmakers in the Arts.  He has received honorary doctorates from Goucher College in Baltimore, and DePaul University in Chicago and an honorary MFA from the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, in addition to earning an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. In 2007, he was one of five recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; in 2011 was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the government of France; and in 2012 was named the tenth recipient of the Sidney Yates Award for Arts Advocacy from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, joining the ranks of previous recipients including Ted Kennedy, Louise Slaughter, Tim Miller, and Nancy Pelosi, among others.  He taught a special graduate guest seminar at the Yale School of Drama for many years and served for nine years as a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee.
In addition to his not for profit work, he has lectured on theatre aboard both the Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 as an Oxford Lecturer on four separate cruises, has appeared during 17 different seasons as a panelist on the opera quiz feature on the Live from the Metropolitan radio broadcasts from New York, and has twice ridden his bicycle from Minneapolis to Chicago to raise money for AIDS relief services.

Please join us for Cameron's engaging keynote conversation at our Annual Meeting. Seating is first come first serve.