Calida N. Jones
Calida N. Jones is an accomplished musician, social justice advocate, and educator with more than 20 years of experience in planning, workshop and curriculum development, project management, and advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and access initiatives. Passionate about intentional and purposeful mentoring and community engagement, her personal mission is to ensure that those with limited resources have access to arts opportunities and activities. She is also committed to correlating the art of teaching to life skills and community building.
Ms. Jones has provided strategic guidance to organizations across the country, supporting and assisting arts organizations in the creation of equity, diversity, inclusion, and access goals. Ms. Jones previously served as the Director of Engagement of The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. Her key responsibilities included organizing and implementing a faculty development training program, collaborating with the University’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion office, and curating external community partnerships with local and national youth arts agencies. She also led the development of a vision and effective strategic plan that championed the importance of equity, diversity, inclusion, and access in the learning environment.
As Program Director for Music Matters and Conductor of the Hartford All-City Youth Orchestra in conjunction with the Charter Oak Culture Center, Ms. Jones oversaw student recruitment and retention, curriculum design, community engagement, performance management, and evaluation. Ms. Jones also served as Director of Development and Advocacy for the El Sistema-inspired program PROJECT MUSIC and as Artistic Director of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra’s El Sistema-inspired program Bravo Waterbury!.
“The arts and culture sector is currently in a radical shift that requires constant and consistent agitation. We must continue to challenge the norms, especially if we are to truly transform the sector as one that is inclusive, accessible, and life-changing.”
“I believe in a culture of intentionality and excellence. Advocating for youth of color in the arts for the majority of my career has allowed me to position myself to be keenly aware of the importance of building these concepts and processes into the core fabric of any vibrant, healthy arts organization.”
Ms. Jones currently serves as the President of the Connecticut Arts Alliance and as Board Clerk for El Sistema USA, where she also chairs the Racial Diversity and Cultural Understanding Committee. A TEDx speaker in San Jose, Ms. Jones has had the privilege of speaking at prestigious institutions such as Yale School of Music, Duke University, The Connecticut State Capitol, and The Hartt School. She has received numerous honors during her career, including a scholar fellowship at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Elizabeth L. Mahaffey Fellowship, Grammy Music Educator Award nomination, 2018 Connecticut Arts Hero Award, and the Father Thomas H. Dwyer Humanitarian Award for her work in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Ms. Jones holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in violin performance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master of music degree in violin performance and Suzuki pedagogy from The Hartt School.
Ms. Jones' professional and client work includes:
Austin Classical Guitar Society
Charter Oak Cultural Center
Community Music Center of San Francisco
The Cleveland Orchestra
El Sistema USA
The Hartt School
Music at the Red Door
National Guild for Community Arts Education
Paterson Music Project
Play On Philly
Utah Cultural Alliance
Waterbury Symphony Orchestra