Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Event Slides Per Node 1415

  • Michael Mwenso and Sita Frederick photos in conversing speech bubbles shapes.

Meeting the Moment
with Michael Mwenso

and guest Sita Frederick

7:30 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Welcome to episode eight of Meeting the Moment with Michael Mwenso

This special recorded installment of the program features Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State Director Sita Frederick. 

Mwenso, a Harlem-based cross-genre artist and leader of jazz-funk band The Shakes, partners with the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State to provide opportunities for faculty, staff, students, and community members to engage in thought-provoking conversations that speak to the topics of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Frederick, who became director of the center in March, is an arts administrator, educator and artistic director with diverse experience leading creative and cultural initiatives at the national and community level.

In the interview, Frederick discusses her journey of self-discovery; acknowledges the layers of identity related to growing up in a racially diverse family; and reveals how a personal struggle with inclusion shaped her worldview.

“That sense of ‘neither here nor there,’ not quite fitting in, is one of the reasons ‘belonging’ is so important to me,” she says in the interview. “It’s deep for me — holding space for people to be themselves. It’s what inspires me to be in this position.”

A Dominican and Canadian-American dancer who performed with Urban Bush Women, Frederick most recently served as director of community engagement at Lincoln Center from 2015 to 2020. There, she led a team that presented inclusive family arts programming on and beyond Lincoln Center’s New York City campus. During her tenure, she also launched new mentorship and internship programs for young people, and created an expansive residency program for community artists. 

Prior to Lincoln Center, Frederick developed her partnership and facilitation skills by working with Urban Arts Partnership as the program director for Everyday Arts for Special Education, a federally funded professional development program for educators in New York City. Under her leadership, the program expanded to Los Angeles Unified School District and local arts organizations in an initiative to prepare teaching artists with strategies to teach non-disabled and disabled students in integrated arts classes. 

In addition to Urban Bush Women, she has performed with Arthur Aviles Typical Theater and Merian Soto Performance PracticeIn 2004, she and her collaborator, visual artist Jose Miguel Ortiz, co-founded a dance theater company, Areytos Performance Works, to create multidisciplinary community-based projects that explore themes of power, colonization, migration, race, gender and culture. 

Watch the event beginning at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 23. It will be available for streaming until 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 30.


How to Watch

The event will be streamed on this page for free. When streaming becomes available, a "Watch" button will appear.

The run time is 36 minutes.

Meeting the Moment is part of the Center for the Performing Arts Fierce Urgency Festival.

2020–2021 Up Close and Virtual season sponsors


Contributions from the members of the Center for the Performing Arts and a grant from the University Park Student Fee Board help make this program free of charge.

Meghan R. Mason Program Endowment and Richard Robert Brown Program Endowment provide support for Meeting the Moment.

Help us continue to provide free streaming programs with a donation of $5 or more. Or join as a member starting at $60 and receive benefits.


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