The ACTA board and staff are pleased to welcome Chike C. Nwoffiah as our new Board President.
Chike C. Nwoffiah is an educator, arts administrator and advocate, and a founding board member of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. After twelve successful years as a corporate strategist for a Silicon Valley bio-tech company, Chike Nwoffiah transitioned into the nonprofit creative sector and quickly became a respected regional voice in arts and culture advocacy for marginalized communities. He is the founding director of Silicon Valley African Film Festival (SVAFF), an annual festival, now in its 13th year, that presents over 100 films by Africa’s seasoned and emerging filmmakers from about 40 countries. This year, the San José Arts Commission and the Office of Cultural Affairs named Chike the recipient for the 2022 Cornerstone of the Arts Award. The award pays tribute to those who have provided effective leadership over time, leading to the betterment of San José’s arts community and the quality of life for its citizens.
We thank Dan Sheehy, Senior Advisor to the Smithsonian Under Secretary for Museums and Culture, Director & Curator Emeritus for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, for his extraordinary leadership and service to ACTA and the larger folk and traditional arts community, as ACTA’s previous Board President. Dan remains a valued member of our board of directors as a founding member.
Below, Chike responds to a few of our questions about working with ACTA.
What excites you most about the work of ACTA?
ACTA is anchored on the fact that our today cannot exist without a yesterday that is rooted in culture and tradition. It continues to be joyful to be part of an organization that is focused on creating a fertile ground for California’s rich and diverse cultures to be activated and celebrated.
What do you see for the future of ACTA and the wider field of traditional arts and cultural practice?
I see an ACTA in the future that commands regional, national and international attention and respect by elevating the stature of traditional arts and culture practice. This is a future where traditional arts and culture practice is valued as an integral part of daily life and seamlessly woven into all facets of learning. The challenges of the last few years underscored the fragility of the thread that binds our communities. When the sugarcoated bandaids of “one community” were ripped open, the deep sores of inequities and racial injustice lay bare and forced our society to a reckoning. It is in the midst of these trying times, when angst, fear and distrust threaten our individual and community wellness, that arts and culture practice gives us voice and offers us a pathway to community healing.
Chike C. Nwoffiah is an educator, arts administrator and advocate, and a founding board member of Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA). After twelve successful years as a corporate strategist for a Silicon Valley bio-tech company, he transitioned into the nonprofit creative sector and quickly became a respected regional voice in arts and culture advocacy for marginalized communities. He is the founding director of Silicon Valley African Film Festival (SVAFF), an annual festival, now in its 13th year, that presents over 100 films by Africa’s seasoned and emerging filmmakers from about 40 countries.
Nwoffiah was on the faculty of the National Endowment for the Arts Education Leaders Institute from 2009 to 2012 and served on several NEA grants panels. In 2013, he was appointed by the California Superintendent of Education to serve on the California Blueprint for Creative Schools Task Force. He is a past president of Mountain View Television (KMVT Channel 15), former Arts Advisory Commissioner for the San Diego International Airport and adjunct African History professor at Menlo College in Atherton. He presently serves on the President’s Community Advisory Council of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and boards of Precious Kids Foundation and Pavilion Afriques at Cannes Film Festival. He was a contributing author to the critically acclaimed book “Black Cultural Traffic – Crossroads in Global Performance and Popular Culture” edited by Stanford University professors Harry Elam, Jr. and Kennel Jackson and the 2021 book “Cinemas Africanos contemporâneos – abordagens críticas” / “Contemporary African cinemas – critical approaches” by Brazilian film scholars Ana Camila Esteves & Jusciele Oliveira.
Nwoffiah is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum – Silicon Valley. He was inducted into the 2021 Silicon Valley Black Legends Hall of Fame for a distinguished and outstanding career in the arts and enhancing the lives of people in the Black Community. He is a 2021 Creative Ambassador for the City of San Jose and the City of San Jose’s 2022 Cornerstone of the Arts Award recipient for his enduring leadership in the advancement of arts and culture in San Jose.