Meet the Panel
Russell Craig is a painter and Philadelphia native whose work combines portraiture with deeply social and political themes. A self-taught artist who survived nearly a decade of incarceration after growing up in the foster care system, Craig creates art as a means to explore the experience of overcriminalized communities and reassert agency after a lifetime of institutional control. His work has been shown at the Philadelphia African American Museum, and included in group shows like Truth to Power; State Goods: Art in the Era of Mass Incarceration; and the OG Experience and has garnered coverage in outlets including the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post, Artsy, The Guardian, and The New York Times. Craig is a co-founder of the Right of Return Fellowship program, an alumni of Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Restorative Justice Guild program, and a 2018 Ford Foundation: Art For Justice Fellow.
From vast freestanding sculptures to intimate gallery installations, Nekisha Durrett’s work leverages unexpected materials to make visible the historical connections and connotations that places and materials embody, but are overlooked in our day-to-day lives. Whether reimagining pre colonial landscapes, bygone Black communities, or family lore, Durrett’s research-driven practice strives to carve out contemplative spaces and offer opportunities for viewers to consider what is revealed or concealed when information is filtered across time. Durrett earned her BFA at The Cooper Union in New York City and MFA from The University of Michigan School of Art and Design as a Horace H. Rackham Fellow. She was the 2023 Howard University Social Justice Consortium’s (SJC) Artist in Residence Fellow. Her work is included in numerous private collections and public institutions, including The National Museum of African American History and Culture and The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.
PRANATI "PRANOO" KUMAR SKOMRA
Pranoo (she/they) is the proud immigrant daughter of Konkani Indian parents, a career changer from medicine to education, a mother of two, wife, educator, and recent TedX speaker committed to liberating educational experiences. Over the past 12 years she’s taught, led, and founded a number of early childhood/ elementary programs on the East and West Coast- committed to identity driven, empowering learning experiences. Her work in Harlem and the South Bronx, NY includes founding one of the first 12-1-1 programs for 2nd-4th grade, ICT Kindergarten and creating PreK curriculum at a network level.Upon moving to Seattle, she co-founded the first elementary charter in WA state with a focus on decolonized, social emotional, and project based learning. In 2019, she moved to South Florida and founded divHERse education consulting- committed to retention and representation of women of Color in ed leadership. With the move to FL, Pranoo was seeking community and spaces to feel safe and create opportunities for windows and mirrors of learning and authentic human connection. Thus she opened Rohi’s Readery, a social justice driven children’s bookstore and learning center committed to unapologetic truth and honoring historically marginalized communities. Rohi's Readery was built out of righting the wrongs of the past for her family and cultivating a better future for her children and community.
Accolades/certifications include: 2015, 2016 two-time NY Teacher Excellence Award winner, 2018 Gates Foundation US K-12 Programs Contributor/ Panelist, 2020 4.0 Schools Fellowship Graduate, 2021 PB Illustrated Ed Organization Award Finalist, 2021 We Are 1909 Accelerator Entrepreneurship Program Graduate, 2022 YWCA Dorothy Height Racial Justice Award Finalist, 2022 ADL FL Community Change Maker Winner, 2022 Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches Diversity Business of the Year Finalist, 2022 SFBW Diversity and Inclusion Business of the Year, 2022 Path to College Education Champion of the Year, 2022 Jupiter Magazine’s “Ones to Watch” recipient, 2022 PB Illustrated Educator of the Year Finalist, 2022 Thrillist List of Top South Florida Bookstores, Southern Living Magazine’s Top South Florida Bookstores, 2022 New Voices New Rooms SIBA and NAIBA Community Work Award and 2022 Modern Luxury PB Philanthropists of the Year, 2023 PBCSD “We’re All In” Champion for Equity in Education Award, and 2023 Racial Equity Institute Certification. She is a professor at Lynn University x Watson Institute.
Pranoo received a Bachelors in Biology and a Masters in Medical Sciences from the University of Florida. She attended Ross University School of Medicine before transitioning to education. She holds a Masters in Education/Special Education from Touro College.
An activist museum director for over 40 years, Arnold Lehman advocated for accessibility, diversity, social justice and freedom of expression in cultural institutions. As Director of the Brooklyn Museum, over 250 exhibitions were presented under his guidance and Brooklyn now has the most diverse audience of any major encyclopedic museum in America. He served as President of the Association of Art Museum Directors, Chair of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) of New York City, a member of the Mayor's Art Commission, and a Ford Foundation Fellow, advising on key issues of social justice and creativity. In 2015 he received the Eric M. Wunsch award for Excellence in American Art. Mr. Lehman (M.A, Johns Hopkins University; M.Phil. and Ph.D, Yale University; DHL (Hon.), Pratt Institute) was previously director of the Baltimore Museum of Art and an adjunct art history faculty member at Johns Hopkins University.
Lehman serves as a Trustee of the Bard Graduate Center, the American Federation of Arts; the Squash and Educational Alliance (SEA); on the Executive Committee of the American Friends of the Israel Museum; and on the National Advisory Council, Center for Art and Public Exchange in Jackson, Mississippi. He chaired the board of Legg Mason Funds, where he served as a director for 40 years; and is presently a trustee of funds in the Franklin Templeton complex. He joined Phillips (auctioneers) in 2015 as Senior Advisor and retired in 2023.