Founder & Executive Director
Busy Graham has devoted most of her life to the arts and education, with a special focus on arts outreach to under-served audiences. After living abroad in Tunisia where her Dad was Peace Corps director, and in Switzerland during her gap year (working at the Ecole d'Humanite), she taught music, dance and French in Vermont, North Carolina, Denmark and France before embarking on a career in arts administration. From 1985-1994, she represented folk, jazz and world music artists in the national market and produced concerts and special events in the Baltimore/DC area.
In 1995, while serving as the Director of the Institute of Musical Traditions, Busy founded Class Acts Arts with the goal of bringing traditional music, dance, and storytelling into DC area schools and communities. Partnering with a large roster of master teaching and performing artists, Class Acts reaches an audience of more than 200,000 each year, facilitating upwards of 2,000 culturally diverse programs (visual, literary and performing arts) throughout Maryland, DC and northern Virginia.
During her 10-year tenure as founder/director of Class Acts Arts (recently renamed Artivate), Busy launched numerous initiatives including Project Youth ArtReach (serving youth in correctional settings), Carpe Diem Choral Arts Residency Project (a cross-cultural, multi-generational performance-based program), Jump Start with the Arts (outreach to Head Start programs and early learning centers), several public performance series (Kaleidoscope Family Series, Jump Start, and Arts Alive @ Montgomery College), and Arts for Life (outreach to seniors). She was a founding board member of Lumina Studio Theatre, and served two terms on the board of the African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation.
As the founding director of Carpe Diem Arts, Busy facilitates after-school programs, workshops, community dances, and song gatherings, French and Spanish immersion camps, Ukes-on-the-Move classes and concerts, outreach to special needs facilities, correctional institutions, senior centers and care facilities, and co-presents the Free Minds Write Night in Takoma, DC -- along with visual, literary and performing arts retreats and residencies, both on Maryland's Eastern Shore and in the DC area. Monthly public events in Silver Spring, Maryland include the Carpe Diem-Revels Community Sing (21st of every month) and the Silver Spring Community Dance (2nd Thursdays), as well as Jump Start with the Arts "Family Fun Night Out" series at El Golfo on the 1st Thursday of the month.
Carpe Diem Arts is currently partnered with AIRF, CPDC (Community Preservation and Development Corporation), DaVinci's Notebook, Sharp Insight, and others in facilitating the ACE (African Arts Culture and Education) Academy project.
Busy has received numerous awards in recognition of her arts outreach and advocacy work, including the Montgomery County Community Award for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities and a Certificate of Honor from the Smithsonian Discovery Theater for a “Legacy of 20 Years of Excellence in Service to the Arts and Education of Young People.” She also received a certificate of appreciation from the CHI Centers for her work in bringing the arts to those with special needs. In 2013, Busy was honored to receive the “Lifetime Impact Award” from the County Executive and Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County -- and the Takoma Foundation's "Azalea Award" for arts leadership (2016) -- sharing the honor with one of her long-time heroes, Yvonne Edwards. In 2017, Busy received the prestigious Sue Hess Award as "Arts Advocate of the Year" at Maryland Arts Day in Annapolis c/o Maryland Citizens for the Arts.
Ingrid has over twenty years experience in market research and data analytics both in corporate and government realms. She joined the nonprofit world in 2015, hoping to assist organizations that exist to make the world a better place. Ingrid takes joy in being active in the local folk arts community, serving on the board of the Folklore Society of Greater Washington first as publicity chair and now as Vice President. She also serves on the programming committee for the Washington Folk Festival, has assisted in promoting the Takoma Park Folk Festival, and spent a year on the content team helping to launch WOWD-LP Takoma Park. Ingrid enjoys making connections in the local arts community and looks forward to making many more.
She joined Carpe Diem Arts in June 2019 and is truly excited to be part of an organization that is creating special ways for more people to benefit from experience with the arts.
DENISE M. JONES
Community Engagement Director
Denise Jones is a meeting facilitator, instructional designer, teaching artist, and facilitator of K12 education and workforce development support training for parents and students. She has been an ardent supporter for parent advocacy and student achievement, especially targeting families of color, and parents in particular to encourage them to walk the school journey with their children.
Denise is also a passionate advocate for arts integration in education and in positive youth development programs, and has developed several artist residency projects that combine the visual arts with history, math and social studies.
In her work for community, youth and adult capacity building, she has been a member of the Montgomery County NAACP Parents Council, served as the NAACP Parents Council Representative on the PTA leadership team of two schools as well as their School Improvement Teams; and served four years on the Deputy Superintendent’s Minority Achievement Advisory Council of Montgomery County Public Schools. Denise’s commitment to parents and adult empowerment has been further fostered as a teacher of adult learners in Prince Georges County Public Schools and Prince Georges Community College; a facilitator for the Safe Silver Spring Summit conference; a training facilitator for Juvenile Justice Family Advocacy Initiative Resource; and as a consultant for the Impact in the Schools Initiative of Impact Silver Spring a capacity building community organizing non-profit in Montgomery County, MD.
Denise has designed and delivered trainings in MCPS schools, for the National Council of Negro Women, Community Preservation and Development Corporation, Takoma Park Youth Collaborative, ACE (African Arts, Culture and Education) Academy c/o Montgomery County Collaboration Council and Carpe Diem Arts, the League of Women Voters, and other community serving organizations. Her College Prep Seminar, Begin with the End in Mind is a celebrated community event.
RAINA GREIFER: Administrative Intern
Raina Greifer is an undergraduate at Bath Spa University in the UK, studying Drama and Philosophy. She is interested in all things art-related, specializing in poetry, playwriting, and live performance. She is a co-founder of the local theatre company Purple Crayon Productions and Dog Eat Dog Theatre, a student company based in Bath. Working with the mission to open up accessibility in the arts and provide more opportunities for emerging artists, Raina soon hopes to build up and expand her own art collective, Sleepwalkers Art Collective. In the past, she has worked with Lumina Studio Theatre as an assistant director and ensemble member, and with ArtStream as a costume designer. She joined Carpe Diem Arts in June 2019 and can’t wait to contribute to their ongoing work supporting local artists and creating accessible spaces to get creative.