DeMarcus Akeem Suggs

2020 Board Nominee

DeMarcus Akeem Suggs, AAAE Student Member

Bio: A Twin Cities, MN native, DeMarcus Akeem Suggs (he/him/his) is a dance artist, educator, and administrator. He began his formal dance training at the age of 18 under the tutelage of Katharyn Horne, Maryann Mee, and the late Marcus Sherman, continuing his immersive studies at Masterworks Festival and the USA International Ballet Competition & School. In 2011, DeMarcus Akeem received his B.F.A. in Dance from Belhaven University where he was selected for the Bezalel Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement. His professional experience includes performing with Dayton Ballet, Verb Ballets, TALK Dance Company, Neos Dance Theatre, as well as Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC). During his tenure at DCDC, DeMarcus Akeem was selected by his artistic peers to receive the Josephine Schwartz Award (T he Josie ) for his pursuit of artistic excellence both on and off the stage. A versatile performer, he has performed works by former principal dancer Lauren Anderson, Ron K. Brown, Donald Byrd, Rennie Harris, Ernie ‘ Ian’ Horvath, Ronen Koresh, Donald McKayle, Ray Mercer and Septime Webre. 

Mr. Suggs’ keen interest the role of arts and culture in personal, community, and economic development has undergirded his professional trajectory in nonprofit administration. He has amassed invaluable experience through his work as Program Director of The Victory Project (Dayton, OH); Coordinator of Education & Engagement at Victoria Theatre Association (Dayton, OH); and as Director of Education & Outreach for Neos Dance Theatre. While at Neos, he was charged with developing the organization’s educational programming, capacity building, and the design and implementation of curriculum for its flagship training institution: Neos Center for Dance. Currently, Mr. Suggs serves as Adjunct Professor at Baldwin Wallace University and Graduate Assistant for The National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron where he is simultaneously pursuing a Master of Theatre Arts in Arts Administration.

AAAE Position Statement: I am seeking a position on the Board of Directors for the Association of Arts Administration Educators because I believe that equity and inclusion, community, ethical practice, and advocacy are equally important facets in the work of arts administrators. These principles guide me both personally and professionally. A graduate student in the University of Akron’s Arts Administration program, I joined AAAE to gain insight on best practices from established and emerging research in the field. I was also drawn by the inherent value of being in close proximity with people whose commitment to those aforementioned principles are shaping the trajectory of the field. Adding to this my desire to “serve as I grow,” I am certain that my service on the board will yield symbiotic results.

Through my multifaceted professional experience as a dance artist, educator, and nonprofit administrator, I’ve had the opportunity to bring my VOICE (vision, order, imagination, character, and excellence) to a number of collaborative endeavors and work effectively with people of a variety of backgrounds. As a board member, I intend to do the same. I’m particularly interested in working on strategies that expand the organization’s work through action-oriented initiatives that not only increase AAAE’s individual and institutional memberships but also investigate the future of secondary arts administration program development.

I’m invigorated by the process of identifying both personal and organizational strengths and dreaming of ways to expand those assets through an Appreciative Inquiry approach as developed by Prof. David Cooperider. I also enjoy leading the trench-level work of implementation and evaluation as those visions come to fruition. I look forward to synergizing my passion and experience with the important work of the Association of Arts Administration Educators and greatly appreciate your support in this endeavor.