Sharon N. Williams

Executive Director

Sharon Nyree Williams is a storyteller and arts administrator.  She is the Executive Director for the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas. They present, produce and develop multidisciplinary work by Black artists and provide access for courageous conversations to diverse audiences. Sharon is the founder of The Mahogany Project a theatre arts collaborative that focuses on allowing Black artists an opportunity to share their voice. She also serves on the Seattle Arts Commission, Historic Central Area Arts and Cultural District, Langston Board of Directors, FEED Worldwide Advisory Board, Adult Advisory Committee for Creative Justice and former Board of Trustee for Cornish College of the Arts. Sharon is a proud member of the 2009 Seattle University Master of Fine Arts in Arts Leadership graduate. Sharon is also proud to be a graduate of the Historical Black College and University, Delaware State University with two degrees Bachelors of Arts in Television Production and a Masters of Business Administration.


Nina Yarbrough

Business Development Manager

Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, Nina Yarbrough came to Seattle in 2014 for the MFA in Arts Leadership at Seattle University. It was there that she first met Sharon and was introduced to CD Forum. With a background in theatre performance and playwriting, Nina has worked for stellar arts organizations while living in Seattle. Most recently, Nina served as the Capital Campaign Manager at Seattle Opera where she worked with an incredible team of fundraisers to support one of Seattle’s largest arts company. As the Business Development Manager at CD Forum, Nina will work to ensure the company has the resources it needs to thrive. Her background in fundraising and donor relations will be used to build strong relationships where she can connect the great people of Seattle to the incredible art that CD Forum loves to produce.

Merri Ann Osborne

Program Manager

Merri Ann Osborne brings to CD Forum her diverse and broad experience in program management with city, state, and federal programs. These positions include working with homeless families, young adults, refugees, and immigrants. As an arts administrator, she has been a part of the collaborative arts organization, The Mahogany Project, since 2014, and became Executive Director in 2019. She is also an actor, voice-over artist, singer, and a self-described amateur musical theatre artist. Merri Ann has performed locally, in California (her second home), Japan, and the UK.  She received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Masters in Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford, Department of Peace Studies (Bradford, UK). She is constantly on the lookout for opportunities that combine her artistic creativity with her global cross-cultural experiences.  Merri Ann looks forward to working with performers and audiences to provide positive and memorable experiences when attending CD Forum events.

Dani Tirrell

Programming Curator

I am honored to have this next journey with Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas. I began as an artist, not sure what I wanted from myself let alone my art. CD Forum was (and still is) a place of discovery for me. This organization has given me a chance to create, develop skills in arts leadership and now create programming to uplift other Black voices in Washington state. Lifted by Black women who believe in the power of art and Black voices (Stephanie Ellis-Smith (founder) and Sharon “Nyree” Williams (current Executive Director). I do not take this work lightly, I do this work because I believe in us, I believe we have the energy and power to create a world that is full of hope and love. Part of this season for me was about bringing it home. Lifting the Black Seattle Unicorns and giving meaning and home to those of us that are here from other places in this country. It is focusing on the depth of talent that is bubbling here locally.

Imani Sims

Kitchen Sessions Curator

Imani Sims is a curator, alchemist, and author. She believes in the healing power of ritual, performance art, and the power of words. She is the Curator of Kitchen Sessions, a running show series in collaboration with Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas, Bellevue Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, and Theater Off Jackson. Her goal is to continue to shift the social narrative by providing artists of color with resources that empower and display our stories in public spaces all over the nation. 


Alyson Palmer, President
Stoel Rives, LLP

Jeff Cohen, Treasurer
FSG-Social Impact Consultants

Rick Simonson, Secretary 
The Elliott Bay Book Company

Dawn Chirwa
Philanthropy Consultant

Interested in joining the board? 

CD Forum

Uplifting Black Artists Since 1999

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Phone: (206) 323-4032


Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center

104 17th Ave S.
Seattle, WA 98144