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.
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 »
There’s absolutely nothing revolutionary about leadership development. All across the country (and the world) opportunities to enhance and develop one’s professional skills seem to be popping up in every corner. But when the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (ABC) won a challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, we chose to take leadership development in a direction that encouraged arts administrators to not just think about themselves as nonprofit leaders but as Leaders, with a capital “L”.
According to Americans for the Art’s latest Creative Industries Report, the City of Philadelphia has the fifth highest percentage of arts-related jobs in a comparison of the 100 largest cities in nation (4.94%, including both for-profit and nonprofit creative industries). At number five, our creative community is both ahead of the pack and has room to grow, and what better way to grow this sector than to invest in its leaders. Read the rest of this entry »
In December of 2013, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies released a fact sheet about support for individual artists. They began the report with the following:
“Artists form the foundation of a state’s creative environment. They act as creators and individual entrepreneurs who provide many of the products and designs that drive innovation and shape a state’s cultural character. Many artists also work as educators, providing training in creative skills and passing on cultural traditions from one generation to the next.”
This is a descriptive, not a prescriptive statement. This is something that many, if not most, if not ALL of us, can probably agree with to some degree. And it is important to keep this in mind, as arts administrators, when it comes to artist advocacy. Because artist advocacy is a matter of culture and values. Read the rest of this entry »
Cards Against Humanity is marketed as a party game for horrible people. It is essentially a politically incorrect, dark humored game of mad libs. Gameplay with Cards Against Humanity is very simple. Each round someone asks a question from a black card and each player responds with his or her funniest white card. There are holiday, 90’s nostalgia, and science expansion packs available. While there is currently no official arts management expansion pack, arts management education is preparing an increasingly diverse student population to handle the smorgasbord of circumstances, from hilarious to heartbreaking, that arts administrators tackle every day.
Arts management education is in the midst of a few revolutions that speak to various elements of one main question: how do we become better as a field? There are a variety of opinions about what better actually means and how we will know it when we see it. Does it mean that we become more specialized? Read the rest of this entry »
The intrinsic impact of the arts is one that is well known, but a challenge to prove. In the face of arguments that frame arts and culture as entertainment, as a sign of privilege, and not as a priority, our field has worked hard to advocate for the value of the arts. Sure, economic impact of the arts is strong, but is a weak advocacy argument that fails to recognize the big picture: cultural experiences are more than entertainment and more than revenue generators, and Philadelphia is armed with the data to tell this story. Ideally, this will put culture at the table with social service organizations and City departments to build new solutions for endemic community issues. Read the rest of this entry »