On “Emerging”

Posted by Lindsay Sheridan On December - 13 - 2013
Lindsay Sheridan

Lindsay Sheridan

If I had to compress my identity into just a few words, I guess I’d go with “emerging arts leader.” That’s the popular phrase for what I am, right? A 20-something, fresh-out-of-college, five-years-or-less-of-experience young arts professional. What am I emerging to? Unclear (and impossible to predict).

What I do know for certain is this: I am called to work in this field because I believe passionately in the arts’ ability to contribute uniquely to a community’s sense of identity – to provide local, intimate, authentic experiences. I am called to this work because the arts have always been central to my own life, and it never really occurred to me to dedicate my career to anything else.

Certain artistic moments have evoked inexplicable emotions: sitting among an audience entranced by a cello and dancer duet in a warm, intimate venue. Taking in a favorite song by a folk-rocker on a perfect summer night in the grass at Wolf Trap’s amphitheater. Looking up to see my conductor’s smirk of pride in the middle of our Rachmaninoff-composed lyrical viola soli. These snapshots are more than just pleasant memories – they are some of the most important markers on my life’s timeline. This work is my vocation: I’ll do whatever it takes to allow individuals and communities to encounter these intangible, powerful experiences.

All this emotion aside, I am currently an unemployed emerging arts leader. When my internship in DC ended in mid-August, I felt like I was in great shape. The summer had brought about several interviews, and I arrived back in the Midwest with a job offer (hooray!). After much internal debate, I made the somewhat foolish decision to turn down two offers. A job that I really wanted needed a couple weeks to complete their decision-making process and I thought I might get it. I didn’t. After a few more road trips across the Midwest and second place results, I had to reevaluate. If I didn’t want to wait around for the right job in a familiar geographic location, it was time to throw caution to the wind and apply for positions in such foreign lands as Ohio, Massachusetts, and Missouri. Read the rest of this entry »

What I Look for in a Job Candidate

Posted by Mara Walker On November - 18 - 2011
Mara Walker

Mara Walker

We all know finding a job is no easy task these days. To help, we just completed the second in a series of webinars about how to get a job in the arts today.

It featured four brilliant colleagues and myself:  Tara Aesquivel from Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles; Stephanie Evans Hanson from Americans for the Arts; Marialaura Leslie from the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts; and Jennifer Cover Payne from the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington.

Last week’s webinar focused on the interview process from the perspectives of both the interviewer and the interviewee, and included a lot of valuable tips. Our previous webinar talked about getting noticed through a cover letter and resume that clearly explain why you are the right person for the job.

I have the privilege of interviewing all of our finalists for positions at Americans for the Arts and regardless of the level of the position or whether the job is operational or programmatic in nature, here’s what I look for in an interview:

1) Personality: Come into the interview relaxed, interested, and prepared. Be genuinely enthusiastic about the organization and the job and let it show. The interviewer wants to know that you are a good fit and if you seem uncomfortable or disengaged during the meeting, then they will assume that’s the real you. Read the rest of this entry »