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December 08, 2020

ArtStarts Welcomes Paneet Singh as Director of Programs

Headshot of Paneet Singh, Director of Programs

ArtStarts in Schools welcomes Paneet Singh as Director of Programs. Emily Beam, former Director of Programs, has moved into a new role as Director of Administration.

Paneet is a professional film and theatre artist who brings six years of arts administration, community building, and programming experience to the role. As Director of Programs, he will lead the ArtStarts program staff and spearhead initiatives to shift the education system towards arts integration for social justice.

In our brief Q&A with Paneet, he tells us about the centrality of identity to his life and his art, his passion for bringing arts programming to young people, and what he's looking forward to about working with ArtStarts. Read more below. 

ArtStarts: Tell us about yourself. Who are you?

Paneet: I always start by saying I’m a Punjabi-Sikh, because that identity has been at the heart of my soul searching over the course of my life.  My passion for storytelling, social justice, and the arts, all stem from that foundational piece of my identity. I have spent the last six years or so working in arts administration - focusing mostly on building community relationships and bringing arts programming to young people from made-to-be-vulnerable communities - and writing and directing in my professional artistic practice in film and theatre.

ArtStarts: What skills, experiences, and values are you bringing with you to your new role with ArtStarts in Schools? 

Paneet: I am keen to bring to this position my passion for delivering arts programming to young people. I feel that this position lets me bring together skills and experiences that I’ve begun to explore and exercise over the last few years into one position. There’s creativity, problem-solving, community connections, planning and visioning, and so much more - all things that I greatly enjoy.

ArtStarts: What made you want to work with ArtStarts? 

Paneet: Having worked in arts programming for the last few years, I’m excited by the challenge of stepping into a leadership role within that world, at an organization that reaches and affects so many young lives. ArtStarts has been very clear, thorough, and accountable to the anti-oppression policies they have been developing over the past years, and for me that’s an exciting place to be. I want to be in a room where there is a commitment to learning and unlearning; mistake-making and compassion; growth and accountability. ArtStarts is a place where I believe that these things are not only possible, but are practiced.

ArtStarts: What is one thing that you are looking forward to when it comes to your new role at ArtStarts?

Paneet: This team is amazing! They are all so passionate, and driven, and each individual person seems to be ready to jump in to take initiative at any given time. They love to have fun, make jokes, while being serious about the processes and outcomes of what they do. I’m looking really forward to being a part of that. I always say that I take comedy very seriously - and I’ve never heard that sentiment echoed back to me so quickly, enthusiastically, and sincerely by a group of people.

ArtStarts: What kinds of arts experiences are you most moved by? 

Paneet: The arts experiences I most enjoy are usually performance-based and character-driven. I love a good character story, and to see a performer get to sink their teeth into a performance of a dynamic, complex character. Beyond that, I love art that challenges and complicates my notions of “identity,” both politically and spiritually.

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