Conversation: Mikki Shepard and Tiona Nekkia McClodden

AUG 5, 2022

How to attend

Attendance is free with a free ticket to the exhibition Tiona Nekkia McClodden: The Trace of an Implied Presence. Attendance is first come, first served. This event will take place in the Level 2 Gallery.

Please note: Visitors must wear a properly fitting mask covering their nose and mouth at all times while in The Shed, except when dining/drinking at Cedric’s in the lobby. Please email or call (646) 455-3494 if you have questions.

About this conversation

Cultural worker, producer, and presenter Mikki Shepard has been a vital collaborator for McClodden throughout the making of the new work in the exhibition The Trace of an Implied Presence. Together they will discuss the legacy of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 1983 festival Dance Black America (organized by Shepard and Patricia Kerr Ross), the materiality of the archive, cultural production, and its reverberations in the Black dance community today.


A portrait of cultural worker, producer, and presenter Mikki Shepard, a Black woman with short hair. She wears a black suit jacket and hoop earrings while smiling.
Courtesy Mikki Shepard.
Mikki Shepard
A black-and-white portrait of artist Tiona Nekkia McClodden wearing black sunglasses and a hoodie that reads SAINT in black letters across a white rectangular field
Photo: Palais de Tokyo. Courtesy the artist.
Tiona Nekkia McClodden
Mikki Shepard

Mikki Shepard is a producer, presenter, funder, and arts consultant. She is currently the producer of a festival for Little Island, a new public park in New York City. Ms. Shepard is also advising national foundations on new program initiatives, and important African American arts and cultural institutions on organizational development and sustainability.

Ms. Shepard was the executive producer of the Apollo Theater from 2009 – 16. She created and implemented a new institutional vision and organizational infrastructure, informed institutional policy and direction, and led the Apollo’s programming, marketing, and development activities. Under her leadership, the Apollo Theater’s new artistic vision celebrated and re-envisioned its legacy with contemporary music, dance, theater, opera, performance art, comedy, and spoken word programming. A key aspect of her work was the development of the Apollo’s 21st-century global program vision, creating large-scale productions and festivals, the revitalization of Amateur Night and its digital presence, the creation of the Apollo Music Café and Apollo Comedy Club, and international tours of original Apollo productions such as James Brown: Get on the Good Foot, A Celebration in Dance. Other major productions included Apollo Club Harlem and the Apollo’s first global festivals, Breakin’ Convention, An International Festival of Hip-Hop Dance Theater Festival and WOW: Women of the World Festival.

Prior to the Apollo Theater, Ms. Shepard was a consultant to major foundations and performing arts institutions including The Ford Foundation, Heinz Endowments, Doris Duke Charitable Trust, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and Jacob’s Pillow, to name a few. Her work focused on strategic planning, organizational restructuring, and program development/assessments. Ms. Shepard was the director of arts and humanities at the Rockefeller Foundation and produced over 25 performing arts programs for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, including Steps in Time, DanceAfrica, and Dance Black America: 300 Years of Black Dance in America. As executive producer and co-founder of Brooklyn’s 651Arts, she produced 100 Years of Jazz and Blues Festival, Sung and Unsung/Jazz Women, Dance Women/Living Legends, and Lost Jazz Shrines and was the architect of the Africa Exchange Program, a major Ford Foundation international initiative.

Ms. Shepard is a member of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation’s board of directors and served as its chair from 2010 – 21. She is also a member of The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation’s board. Past board memberships include the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), Brooklyn Community Foundation, and Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. She served as a Tony Awards Nominator from 2016 – 19. Shepard’s awards include a 2017 Bessie (NY Dance and Performance) Award for her work in dance, APAP’s 2017 Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award for exemplary service to the field of professional presenting, and the honor of being the first recipient of APAP’s Halsey and Alice North Award for Committed Excellence and Service to the Field in 2014.

Tiona Nekkia McClodden
Tiona Nekkia McClodden is a visual artist, filmmaker, and curator whose interdisciplinary approach traverses documentary film, experimental video, photography, sculpture, and sound installations. Her work addresses and critiques issues at the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, and social commentary, exploring shared ideas, values, and beliefs within the African diaspora, or what she calls “Black mentifact.” Her works have shown in major exhibitions, including most recently in Prospect 2021, New Orleans; New Grit: Art & Philly Now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Owkui Enwezor’s Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America at the New Museum, New York. Other presentations of her work have been on view at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and MoMA PS1, New York. Work by McClodden is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Rennie Museum, Vancouver.

Location and dates

This event takes place in Level 2 Gallery.
Friday, August 5
6:30 pm

Thank you to our partner

Nike and The Shed partner to expand human potential through sport and art.
In The Works