Sarah Crowell


Sarah Crowell has taught dance, theater and violence prevention for over 30 years. At the end of 2020, she left her position as the Artistic Director at Destiny Arts Center in Oakland, CA where she served in different capacities from 1990-2020, including Executive Director from 2002-2007. She founded and co-directed the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company from 1993-2020, which has been the subject of two documentary films, and won the National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award. Sarah has facilitated arts integration, violence prevention, cultural humility and team building professional development sessions with artists and educators since 2000, both locally and nationally. She is the recipient of the KPFA Peace award, the KQED Women’s History Local Hero award, the Bay Area Dance Week award, the Alameda County Arts Leadership award, and the National Guild for Community Arts Education Milestone award. She is also a four-time finalist for a Tony Award for Excellence in Theater Education.

Sarah is a retired professional dancer, having performed and toured with numerous dance and dance/theater companies including Impulse Jazz Dance Company in Boston and the Dance Brigade in San Francisco. She also co-created the dance/theater company i am Productions!

Since leaving Destiny Arts Center, Sarah has worked as a consultant for the Hewlett Foundation, St. Mary’s College, Dance Mission Theater (Liberation Academy), the Othering and Belonging InstituteMovement Liberation and The World As It Could Be, doing team building, curriculum writing, group facilitation, arts festival and conference curation, and public speaking.

Sarah believes passionately that the arts are an essential component of the journey to social justice, especially art forms that involve moving the body. She believes that movement must be part of all movements for social change.

Sara Crowell


Cultural Equity & Operationalizing Belonging: Recent Efforts from Oakland
In 2018, Oakland's Cultural Affairs Division released a cultural development plan guided by the framework that, "Equity is the driving force. Culture is the Frame. Belonging is the goal." In this panel, we'll hear from artists and City staff about how arts and culture have been core to operationalizing belonging in Oakland through building resident capacity for self-governance, creating networks of care and capacity, and shaping City practice and policy to address systemic Othering. The panel will highlight some of the key initiatives that have supported this work and will identify some of the...