The Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Network works to identify and cultivate the next generation of arts leaders in America. It is an ideal way for new leaders to share their interests with others as they continue to develop their skills and their commitment to the arts. The Emerging Leader Network targets professionals who are either new to the field, with up to five years of experience, or are 35 years of age or younger. Visit AmericansForTheArts.org for more information on the Emerging Leader Network.
Americans for the Arts Annual Convention (AFTACON) regularly draws thousands of members of the arts world to one location for a whirlwind four days of workshops, recognition, plenaries, and arts excursions in some of the most incredible and dynamic cities in the country. There is never enough time to attend all the sessions I’m interested in. They all offer an insight into how art influences our economy, education, and communities – and how we visualize and interpret our world.
But, just as important as attending these sessions are the conversations, connections, and friendships that are built offline and in-between “official” conference business. Read the rest of this entry »
Editor’s Note: Ashley McDonald, Membership Associate at Americans for the Arts, interviewed our member Felicia Shaw about her work in the arts field. At the time of this interview Felicia was in the process of transitioning from her role as interim executive director of Young Audiences of San Diego to her new role as executive director of the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) in her hometown of St. Louis, MO.
AM: Can you describe your role at St. Louis Regional Arts Commission (RAC)?
FS: My job at RAC will be to assume the leadership role of a local arts agency that has had an impressive 30-year history of growing the arts and culture community throughout the St. Louis region. I’ll be working to preserve the vitality of a successful organization that is ready to grow to the next level, particularly at a time when St. Louis is turning the corner and looking to the future. I am charged with establishing a vision for RAC and strategically moving the organization forward in a new and impactful way for the next decade and beyond. Read the rest of this entry »
I was thrilled to sit in on the “Vocabulary for Arts and Arts Education” session at Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention this year. All three presenters—Christopher Audain, Kevin Kirkpatrick, and Margy Waller, along with moderator Margie Reese—were all on point for the session and I perhaps overtweeted in my enthusiasm over what they shared. Read the rest of this entry »
Across the country, communities are calling for justice in education. High stakes testing, disproportionate discipline by race, and the mass closing of public schools in certain regions profoundly impact the lives of young people. In an environment where education reform, vouchers, charter schools, and increased accountability dominate the landscape, what does it mean to impact the very heart and bureaucratic structure of public school districts and build trust, equity, and meaningful change? Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, we heard several leaders call for and outline new directions for the arts field – the directions may be viewed as revolutions or simply a guided evolution from the current status quo. Nevertheless the ideas presented offer a vision for the field where diversity, authentic engagement, funding parity, branding, audience data, play, blurred divisions, and catalytic professional networks, among other things, give arts administrators a greater understanding of a communities’ needs, wants, and aspirations in order to ensure we are serving as well as leading all segments of our community with and through the arts. Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s talk about starting a revolution. For rising arts leaders, we have a unique time period when our voices are not only valuable and needed as employees, but also make up a desired audience. Many of our institutions want to engage the young professionals and, hey, that’s us! The world is changing and our organizations are trying, desperately, to catch up. The idea of “audience engagement” seems to be subjective but constantly discussed in our industry as a must-have. But what would be the best way to bridge our work with our peers? Read the rest of this entry »
Looking around during performances at the Atlanta Symphony Hall, it is clear the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) struggles with a lack of diversity on stage and in their audience. The problems facing the 70-year old symphony are not unique. In fact, symphonies nationwide are tackling the issue of diversity with Blacks and Latinos making up less than 4% of national symphony musicians. The New York Philharmonic hired its first African-American principal musician in 2013 and The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has only one Black member who was hired more than a decade ago. Read the rest of this entry »
In Boston, a nonprofit organization called the Theatre Offensive came to the conclusion that the work they were doing – the work that their mission mandated – was stale. When the company was founded, it was a challenge to find live performances that addressed LGBT issues and contained LGBT characters. TTO strove to make that comment widely available in Boston. Now that theatre addressing sexual orientation and gender identity has become common in Boston proper, TTO’s adherence to its mission – to make queer-themed plays accessible – suddenly feels out of touch with the energy behind its founding. Read the rest of this entry »
On July 26, 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. I was five years old and the child of a father who was hard-of-hearing. I knew that my dad wore hearing aids, but I never really thought about it. My dad was my dad. Like most five year olds, a law as significant as the ADA was lost on me. But I needed to know why there were captions on the TV that obstructed my cartoons! I was curious why these words were on the screen. This was the beginning of my curiosity that led me on the path to become not only a disability advocate, but a museum educator. I remember when “the black box” (closed captioning box) arrived at our house. Our neighbors had a deaf son and they wanted to share this new and innovative technology with us. It’s hard to imagine that something like this was cutting edge! Especially 25 years later when I’m working with telepresence robots! Read the rest of this entry »
When we think of sectors of society that help to solve the challenges of underserved communities, some of the first that come to mind are education, healthcare, and job training. The Arts? Not so much. But the Arts can improve quality of life, transform the human condition, and amplify a voice for a community or neighborhood. When asked about the word “brand,” arts groups think of design, color, websites, and logos. Rarely do we think of social change and brand in the Arts. Something is happening in Memphis that is about to change the way we think about the brand of the Arts in our communities.
Below is a conversation between Linda Steele, Chief Engagement and Outreach Officer at ArtsMemphis, and Chris McLeod, an Arts Marketing and Branding expert and member of the ArtsMemphis National Community Engagement Advisory Council, about the arts re-branding revolution that is occurring in Memphis. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m a freelance artist who earns a living illustrating stories and adjunct teaching for an undergraduate arts management program. I recently served on a panel called “Putting Artists First: Arts Incubators and Other Support Structures” as Founder of the Artistic Rebuttal Project, where two other arts administrators and I talked about facilitating artist support. A discussion about why the panel was called “Putting Artists First” as opposed to putting the process of art-making/facilitating first arose—both arts and the administering of them rely on the other to make an impact. While in my personal life, I consider an artist any person who creates something tangible or audible, I’m defining “artist” for this post as anyone who aspires to earn a living with the work they create. The consensus in the room was that artists should be trained in administration if they have any aspirations in earning a living as an artist. But we soon confronted a different inquiry…we don’t ask arts administrators to become artists, why do we ask artists to administer? Read the rest of this entry »
Using the arts and culture to shape, build, and identify communities is not a novel concept; however, its place in the realm of community development is gaining more traction and credibility by community development practitioners, funders, policy makers, and community stakeholders themselves. The process of integrating art into community development is rewarding but arduous, particularly for emerging leaders such as myself. It often feels as if you have to “prove” yourself in, understand, and speak the language of two very different fields.
But the first question is almost always why? Why should art be integrated into community development? Read the rest of this entry »
Over the past several years in Atlanta, the startup entrepreneurial community has grown as many aspiring moguls have put their creative and technical capital to work to secure funds and buzz around their latest digital products. This energy has been fueled by Atlanta’s unique characteristics has a hub for transportation, education, and culture, not to mention the comfortable climate and affordable cost of living.
Similarly, there’s been tremendous growth in emerging Arts organizations that have begun to impact how Atlanta’s citizens view the role of art in their daily lives–everything from appreciating “art for the sake of art” to realizing how the arts serve as a platform to address other aspects of society (e.g. Transportation, Politics, Sports, etc.). Again, the same characteristics of education, culture, and comfort have played a role in attracting art talent to the city in a similar fashion to the entrepreneurship community. Read the rest of this entry »
Lubbock, Texas has a metropolitan area of about 300,000. Lubbock is also about a six-hour drive in any direction from the next major city. The isolation of Lubbock could be considered a disadvantage – limiting collaboration, diversity, and ideas. Graduates from the local university often leave the city seeking jobs and more money in bigger markets.
However, the isolation may also be one of Lubbock’s greatest assets. Lubbock has a mentality of – “if we want it, we are going to have to build it – ourselves.”
The Charles Adams Studio Project (CASP) embodies that sentiment. CASP wants some things, and they are building them.
The following is an interview with CASP project manager, Chad Plunket. Read the rest of this entry »
Five years ago, the Colburn School asked a fundamental question: How do we prepare conservatory students for careers in the 21st century? There were many suggestions put forward, but one idea kept rising to the top. Professional musicians entering the work field, the group agreed, must also be great teachers.
“Regardless of career path, musicians of the 21st century will always teach,” said Colburn Conservatory of Music Dean Richard Beene. “It is our responsibility to prepare students at the conservatory for a variety of careers in classical music, and teaching is a skill we hope all of our students acquire during their time at the Colburn School.” Read the rest of this entry »