2020 NASAA Leadership Awards: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Individual Award

Carla Du Pree

Former Vice Chair, Maryland State Arts Council

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) has named Carla Du Pree a recipient of its inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Individual Award. This award recognizes individuals who demonstrate outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in addressing and raising awareness about issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in their state or region.

Carla is a fiction writer, a state arts ambassador and the executive director of CityLit Project, a nonprofit that creates enthusiasm for literature with three signature events: an award-winning daylong festival, the multiday CityLit Stage at the Baltimore Book Festival and a writer-to-writer exchange, CityLit Studio.

Carla is a recipient of fellowships from Hedgebrook, Rhode Island Writers Colony for Writers of Color, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. She also won a Rubys Artist Grant and a Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) Individual Artist Award for her fiction. Excerpts from her novel have been published in The Pierian Literary Journal, Callaloo, Potomac Review and two anthologies. She has spoken on national platforms with Furious Flower Poetry Center, NASAA, National Women’s Studies Association and Association of Writers & Writing Programs and as a literary consultant for the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.

In 2017, Carla was reappointed for an unprecedented third term to the Maryland State Arts Council, where she was the former vice chair, and chaired the MSAC Diversity Outreach Committee. She’s done contractual work with the National Endowment for the Arts, has served on the Maryland Humanities One Maryland One Book Selection Committee, and is an advisor to NASAA’s People of Color Affinity Group. She is the Maryland State Department of Education’s Arts Leader for April 2020, and holds a master’s degree in Creative Writing from The Johns Hopkins University.

“Carla Du Pree is leading the charge to address and advance diversity, equity and inclusion in her state. NASAA is honored to recognize her as a recipient of the inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award, and to celebrate her many accomplishments and contributions,” said NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux. “Carla’s vision, passion, grit, grace and commitment brought about fundamental change‚ÄĒimplementing equitable grant-making policies and intertwining DEI practices in all aspects of MSAC’s work. She is a longtime advocate and inspiring champion of the arts whose influence has made a lasting and meaningful impact on our field, and beyond.”

NASAA established the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards to recognize the policies, practices and programs of state arts agencies that embrace and advance diversity, equity and inclusion in their states. NASAA celebrates the diversity that enriches and strengthens our nation, and through this award aims to support and elevate state arts agencies in their efforts to lead in this area. The award for individuals includes $1,000 to be used in support of the recipient’s diversity, equity and inclusion work.