Ashley Walden Davis

Photo of Ashley Walden Davis

Breakout Session Speaker - Online Event

Ashley Walden Davis is the Founder and Executive Director of Unlock Creative. Ashley is a proven leader, change agent, and visionary. She is a focused executive who effectively manages day-to-day operations of multi-layered organizations while keeping equity and inclusiveness in the forefront. Ashley has fifteen years of experience in nonprofit management and community-based arts business administration. She is a diligent producer who is driven by authenticity and a love of people. 

Unlock Creative is a social enterprise whose mission is to nurture, grow, and sustain Black creative leadership. Ashley is also the Founder and current President of the National Black Women’s Creative Cooperative, a worker-owned limited liability cooperative and mutual aid network of Black women creatives whose mission is to liberate Black Women from oppressive and toxic work environments, generate wealth owned and stewarded by and for us toward a goal of political and financial freedom.  

Ashley built her career at Alternate ROOTS, a nearly 50-year-old Southern-based regional arts service organization for artists, cultural bearers, and organizers. She held several roles including Managing Director, Program Director, and Director of Strategic Partnerships. Ashley was the Associate Producer for Cornerstone Theater Company based in Los Angeles who creates socially relevant plays with communities throughout the USA. She has also been an Assistant Professor of Theater at Kennesaw State University in GA and served on the Board of Directors of Appalshop based in Whitesburg, KY. 

Ashley was a founding leader of the Next Generation National Arts Network, a coalition of artists and administrators from across the United States who have set out to chart the course for being the future leaders of the arts field. Ashley has done work with HartBeat Ensemble, Towne Street Theater, Elizabeth River Theater, Virginia Stage, Arena Stage, Mississippi Center for Cultural Production, and the Timothy Smith Network. She is a proud member of Alternate ROOTS and Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA).  

She holds an MFA in Producing from California Institute of the Arts and a BA in Theatre Studies from Old Dominion University. Some selected honors include the Association of Performing Arts Professional (APAP) Leadership Fellowship, Theater Communications Group (TCG) New Generations: Future Leaders Grant, and Cornerstone Theater Company Paula Altvater Fellowship. Ashley Walden Davis can be reached directly at



This event is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council (

Get News