It Only Takes One: How an Emerging Arts Leader Can Impact a Community

Posted by Angela Harris On March - 27 - 2012

Angela Harris

When I received the call from Americans for the Arts saying that I had been selected to receive the 2011 American Express Emerging Leaders Award, I had so many emotions.

I was thrilled that the panel appreciated the impact that I was making in the community. I was proud that all of the hard work and countless hours that I had invested into starting a nonprofit and growing from the ground up were being recognized; and I was nervous about the future and committed to making sure that I lived up to the honor of the award.

2012 has been a wonderful season of accomplishments for both me and my organization, Dance Canvas. Since June, when I received the award, I have cultivated a new choreographic partnership with Kennesaw State University, which will be developed into a new track and choreographic options for the students of the dance department.

I also began a new partnership with Career Transition for Dancers, and worked in conjunction with the Los Angeles-based organization to provide career training to dancers and choreographers in Atlanta.

Artistically, Dance Canvas partnered with the Rialto Center for the Arts to provide creative connections to involve the community in educational outreach and residencies. These community connections allowed Dance Canvas to work with The Trey McIntyre Project, and with the French Consulate of Atlanta to present a master class by Pierre Rigal’s production, Asphalte. Read the rest of this entry »

How Can Local Arts Agencies Engage Their Communities?

Posted by Maya Kumazawa On August - 29 - 2011

Maya Kumazawa

It seems that “community engagement” and “community arts” are paving the way to a new paradigm in the local arts sector.

By browsing through some local arts agency (LAA) websites, I got the sense that most organizations were somehow relating to their local communities already. But what exactly IS community engagement and how do you do it?

Of course, by sponsoring a public art installation or creating a cultural district, the community benefits. There’s no clear line between community outreach and actually engaging citizens in conversations.

An article in the New York Times describes the shift towards community engagement in MFA programs as, “[capturing] the evolving contemporary art world, one in which awareness of the social, cultural, economic and political context in which art exists has become increasingly important. “

However, even this description doesn’t clearly distinguish how the arts world is changing – the arts have always reflected an awareness of social and cultural contexts. By defining the paradigm more specifically, LAAs will be able to plan more efficiently. Read the rest of this entry »

My First Emerging Leaders Council Meeting

Posted by Camille Schenkkan On February - 22 - 2011

You know those surreal professional moments where you’re overwhelmed with the coolness of the situation but have to act like you travel to Washington, DC, for conferences all the time? You have to focus extra hard to avoid doing a happy dance, and say things like “I love your city’s public art policy” instead of “THIS. IS. AWESOME.”

I had one of those moments on January 13. After being elected to the Emerging Leaders Council (ELC) in December, I’d traveled to Americans for the Arts’ offices for my first council meeting.

The Emerging Leaders Council Overview

The Council represents emerging leaders (ELs) in the field of arts management nationwide. The term “emerging arts leader” gained popularity in the 1990s, as the field identified a need to foster the next generation of high-level arts leadership. Americans for the Arts defines ELs as arts administrators under the age of 35 or with fewer than five years of experience. Many ELs also facilitate the creation and guidance of local Emerging Leader Networks.

Since 1999, the Emerging Leader Council has served as a bridge between Americans for the Arts and emerging leaders throughout the country, using local networks to disseminate information and resources.  Although the missions of the 30+ networks nationwide vary, most focus on professional development and networking activities. Read the rest of this entry »