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.
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 »
“And we don’t care about the young folks, talking ’bout the young style, And we don’t care about the old folks, talking ’bout the old style too” -Peter Bjorn and John
I am always excited to read the Emerging Leaders blog salon — to hear new stories of innovative practices and trends and to read about where our field is headed. Emerging leaders now have the capacity to combine access to big data, informational trends, and artistic vision in ways unheard of even a decade ago. Our standard arts presentation models struggle under the weight of our changing society and have yet to reckon with the new information at our disposal. Take data on aging, for example. What does it look like to re-imagine strategic planning in light of this? Read the rest of this entry »
The Georgia Aquarium had 3.5 million visitors in its inaugural year. This massive launch earned the cultural institution notoriety, donations, and public affection. But, as the novelty of its exhibits dulled, attendance at the state-of-the art facility dropped by 40% in the ensuing years. This steep slide raised flags amongst the staff, who began to ask questions: Why is this happening? Is this normal? What can we do about it? Read the rest of this entry »
David Bowie said “The future belongs to those that hear it coming.” As the arts sectors faces challenges of shrinking funding, aging audiences and wavering government support, professional groups, like Rising Arts Leaders of San Diego (RALSD), offer hubs of new ideas, fresh faces, and unjaded ambition. Leveraging our emerging leaders’ passion and talent, we can start to make real impact on our communities and the sustainability of the arts. But we have to act now!
Guided by Rising Arts Leader’s vision to Make San Diego an innovative, inspiring, world-class arts leader, the network took practicing leadership to a new level by creating solutions to the challenges that face our sector. Our steering committee started with a listening campaign; doing short surveys at networking happy hours, hosting workshops that brought together admin, funders and constituents, and through our annual Creative Conversation event, defined the five biggest hurdles in our city. Read the rest of this entry »
When was the last time that you were told to “play harder”? Unless you happen to work at an extremely progressive workplace such as this one—where employees can mentally recharge in a gallery-turned-ball pit—the possibilities for play tend to disappear as we grow older. While arts nonprofits tend to acknowledge that creative thinking and experimentation propel innovation, resources are rarely allocated towards opportunities for staff to regularly weave play with work. Read the rest of this entry »
As I have segued from my nearly seven year stint as the Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and resumed my former role as a local, national, and international arts consultant, I have submerged myself once again in building bridges between the U.S. arts sector and the Latino/Latin American arts communities. Though these communities continue to take on more central roles in the U.S. dialogue, they are still marginalized. Read the rest of this entry »
In more recent times, the arts administration field has begun to recognize the importance of cultivating tomorrow’s leaders. Professional development opportunities have begun to spring up for the “next-gen” or “emerging” leader. These buzzwords have essentially become synonymous with being a “millennial” in this field. Yet the term itself tends to be defined with certain characteristics of being detached, entitled, liberal, and tech savvy – most of which don’t always bode well for a young person trying to emerge into a predominately “baby boomer” arena. Read the rest of this entry »
Arts administration needs a bit of revolutionary thinking for the continued health of the sector. The future of the arts is already here, being ushered in by arts leaders who test norms, continuously evolve, and keenly anticipate tomorrow.
New audiences, technologies, and competition require successful arts leaders to implement new models, develop cross-sector partnerships and allies, and stay focused on their vision. The revolutions in our field do not appear to be complete departures from what we are doing. That is to say most of the fundamental work functions of arts administration remain (e.g. production, marketing, and fundraising). What is in flux are how these functions are carried-out. These new methods and considerations require some revolutionary minds. Read the rest of this entry »
In my last blog, I spoke about developing future arts advocates and some of the misconceptions that might prevent individuals from participating. To continue on a similar trajectory, there is one population, in my opinion, that we should target as the next generation of arts leaders who will continue to sustain theatre, dance, creative writing, visual art, and music for many generations to come: students. Read the rest of this entry »
Inspired by the shift toward outcome-driven art projects, I was struck by arts potential to be used as a technique for data collection. When we look at art, we tend to focus primarily on its aesthetic and emotive qualities. We think about art as the result of an action and not as a conduit or vehicle leading up to a result. For example, the creation of a painting begins by gathering materials (canvas, brushes, and paint) and using these materials to create a painting. Read the rest of this entry »
I became involved with the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Network in order to form stronger relationships with arts leaders on a local and national level. Over the past few years, the network has given me the opportunity to forge vitally important connections, both personally and professionally. In addition, the experience has provided me with the inspiration and tools to develop who I am as a leader.
For the past three years, I have had the privilege of serving on the Emerging Leader Council, a nationally elected body of individuals that advise Americans for the Arts on how best to serve the next generation of arts leaders. As a member, I was honored on multiple occasions to sit around a table with 14 of the most promising arts leaders I have ever met. Their dedication, wisdom, and first-hand knowledge of the struggles facing all of us as we grow as leaders, and their eagerness to find solutions and build a stronger future have been invaluable to my current and future success. Read the rest of this entry »
As a fellow emerging professional in the field of arts management, we may often think of ways to emerge or advance our careers. I believe that we can do this by learning about current issues/trends, practicing/exploring new skill sets, networking with a purpose and gathering insights from experienced professionals. I’ve found all these opportunities for career development in one place, the Emerging Arts Leaders DC (EALDC).
EALDC is a volunteer-led initiative that provides professional development, networking, and information relevant to emerging arts professionals in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. EALDC is part of the national Emerging Leaders Network, a program developed by Americans for the Arts. Read the rest of this entry »