Kenan Institute announces keynote speakers for Artivate Summit 2020

Joining the line-up for the Thomas S. Kenan Institute's Artivate Summit 2020 are keynote speakers Nikki Giovanni and Chris Wells. The Summit, which will be presented virtually this year, is scheduled for September 15 and 16.

This year's theme of Art + Healing is intended to bring together creatives in the arts, medical and spiritual fields for an experiential practice-based event that inspires inquiry between innovative integration of the arts, science, spirituality and holistic wellness.

“The Kenan Institute is working every day to make the Artivate 2020 Summit a meaningful experience where attendees can forge vital connections, while extending the dialogue around the intersection of the arts, wellness and spirituality,” says Lynda Lotich, Interim Executive Director of the Kenan Institute. “The work Nikki and Chris have done perfectly reflects that mission and captures the spirit we hope to foster at the Summit."

"With their respective focuses on self-healing and facilitating connection and community," adds Nadiyah Quander, Program Manager for the Kenan Institute’s Creative Catalyst Initiative, "our keynotes help elevate the theme and paths we're exploring with Art + Healing. We’re honored that they are adding their voices to the conversation." 

Giovanni is scheduled to present the keynote address on Tuesday, September 15 and Wells on September 16. Each speaker will also guide separate conference sessions.

Registration for Artivate opens Monday, July 13.

Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni

Poet Nikki Giovanni, Artivate Summit 2020 keynote speaker

One of the widely read American poets, Nikki Giovanni has spurred movements, turned hearts and informed generations. She has written more than two dozen books, including volumes of poetry, illustrated children’s books and three collections of essays.

Giovanni has won numerous awards, including the Langston Hughes Medal and the NAACP Image Award, has been named as one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 “Living Legends.” She has been a Distinguished Professor teaching writing and literature at Virginia Tech since 1987. 

Her talk scheduled for Artivate 2020, “The Healing Power of Tears,” is based on her poetry collection “A Good Cry: What We Learn From Tears and Laughter.”

Chris Wells

Chris Wells

Chris Wells, founding artistic director of The Secret City, Artivate Summit 2020 keynote speaker

Chris Wells is the founding artistic director of The Secret City, a community of artists, creatives and others who seek a deeper engagement with the world, where he serves as host, producer, lead artist, storyteller and head curator. With events in New York City, Los Angeles, the Hudson Valley and beyond, Wells has brought the singularly joyful, celebratory work of The Secret City to thousands of people.

He’s also an award-winning actor who’s developed and performed original works including “Liberty!,” “Swallow Me,” “Nowhere to Run,” “Olsen Terror,” and “It Will All Work Out.” He was awarded The Charles Bowden Award from New Dramatists and earned a Special Citation Obie Award for creating The Secret City.

Save the date(s)

The Kenan Institute will continue to release additional details about Artivate throughout Summer 2020. Sign up for the Creative Catalyst mailing list to receive announcements about the Summit.

To make sure you don't miss the presentations from Giovanni and Wells, mark these dates on your calendar:

Registration opens for Artivate attendees: July 13

Add to Calendar 07/13/2020 09:00 AM 07/13/2020 09:00 AM America/New_York Artivate 2020 - Registration Opens Registration for the Thomas S. Kenan Institute's Artivate 2020 Summit, to be held virtually on Sept. 15, is now open. Visit to register! UNCSA False MM/DD/YYYY

Artivate 2020 Summit online:
September 15 and 16

Add to Calendar 09/15/2020 09:00 AM 09/16/2020 05:00 PM America/New_York Artivate 2020 Summit More information at UNCSA False MM/DD/YYYY


June 26, 2020