4 Reasons for Volunteering with Emerging Arts Leaders

Posted by Ethan Clark On October - 21 - 2014
Ethan Clark

Ethan Clark

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 »

Let’s Redefine the “We” in “All the Places We’ll Go”

Posted by Melanie Harker On October - 6 - 2014
Melanie Harker

Melanie Harker

After such an amazing experience last year in Portland, I am delighted to be returning with fellow dog & pony dc conspirator Rachel Grossman to Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Marketing Project Conference in Atlanta. This year’s conference theme of “all the places we’ll go” caught my eye for two reasons; first due to the well-executed Dr. Seuss reference, and second because of the definition of “we.”

Who is the “we” in “all the places we’ll go”?

The obvious “we” is the arts administrator. The marketer. The engagement manager. The managing director. The donor relations associate. The small army of hard working people who work tirelessly to make sure the art happens, that it has a space, and that people hear about it. Read the rest of this entry »

86+ Actions to Take and Growing: Carrying Our Collective Agenda Forward

Posted by Heather Ikemire On September - 19 - 2014
Heather Ikemire

Heather Ikemire

March 29, 2014, was the final day of the first-ever National Summit on Creative Youth Development in Boston—a national convening of more than 200 youth arts practitioners, funders, policymakers, and students designed to bring new energy and focus to creative youth development. On that day 86 individuals stood up at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and declared personal commitments to advancing creative youth development. I was proud to be one of them. Read the rest of this entry »

Evaluating Creative Youth Development Programs: Who Wins and Why?

Posted by Traci Slater-Rigaud On September - 19 - 2014
Traci Slater-Rigaud

Traci Slater-Rigaud

The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation’s highest honor for the field of out-of-school time arts and humanities programs, particularly those that reach children and youth with tremendous potential, but limited opportunities.  It is a signature initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Every year the President’s Committee and our cultural partners present National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards to 12 outstanding programs across the US and one International Spotlight Awardee. Thirty-eight finalist programs also receive certificates of excellence for their work. Read the rest of this entry »

A Future for Creative Youth Development

Posted by Jeff Poulin On September - 15 - 2014
Jeff Poulin

Jeff Poulin

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Arts Education Partnership’s annual National Forum. Aside from the connecting with arts education friends and learning tons (I mean tons!) in the sessions, I also had the opportunity to sit in on a session titled, “Fostering Student Success by Leveraging the Impact of Out of School Time, Creative Youth Development Programs.” What was great about the session was the interconnectivity of people, research and agenda from so many other national conversations which were initiated as a result of the policy and advocacy agenda produced after the first National Summit on Creative Youth Development in Boston. Read the rest of this entry »

Nine Lives by Peter Reiquam, Photographer: Benjamin Benschneider

Nine Lives by Peter Reiquam, Photographer: Benjamin Benschneider

What a great week filled with aspirations and reflections from emerging leaders in the public art field!

Thank you to all of our bloggers who made this salon a success by sharing their thoughts and inspiration for their thoughts and inspirations on their careers and the future of the public art field.

Reading these posts throughout the week has given light to some of the great talent that will be guiding the future of public art. We heard from Kati Stegall reflecting on how we can keep up with the changes happening throughout the country and from Meredith Frazier Britt, an up-and-coming city planner who is eager to work with public art (we need more of her!) Read the rest of this entry »

Booz Allen Hamilton Finds Inspiration in the Arts

Posted by Ralph W. Shrader On August - 28 - 2014
Ralph W. Shrader

Ralph W. Shrader

Patrick O'Herron

Patrick O’Herron

Patrick O’Herron interviewing Dr. Ralph W. Shrader, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Booz Allen Hamilton.

1. Booz Allen Hamilton was a 2011 BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honoree. Why does the company choose to support the arts?

The arts inspire, provoke thought, spur creativity, and connect us in a shared experience. These are also the essential qualities of an enduring, successful business–therefore, both as an institution and as individual employees, we find a natural affinity for the arts at Booz Allen. Corporate support helps make exhibitions and performances possible, and we find this to be a good way to give back to the communities in which we work and live.

2. How has the company’s support of the arts advanced business objectives?

Externally, there is a positive brand affinity and visibility that comes from association with respected museums and arts organizations, as well as favorable recognition in the community for helping to make possible quality exhibitions and performances. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Only Make Believe…or is it?

Posted by Megan Stewart On July - 15 - 2014
Megan Stewart

Megan Stewart

Only Make Believe (OMB) is a non-profit that creates and performs interactive theatre for children in hospitals and care facilities in New York and Washington DC. OMB is dedicated to the principle that freeing the imagination is a valuable part of the healing process. We send a team of three professional actors into a hospital once a week for six weeks and the actors engage the children in a performance where each child becomes an integral part of each show. The children get to dress in a costume, take on different roles, and really just take an hour to laugh, play, and enjoy being a child rather than thinking about their treatment or being a patient. We want them to just have fun with “laughter being the best medicine” through the joy and escape that the theatre can provide.

My role at OMB is to manage our corporate relations efforts through volunteerism and sponsorship, and to coordinate OMB events including the annual gala on Broadway, young professionals and networking events, cocktail parties, and other various events. The majority of my job is spent running our corporate volunteer program which has grown steadily over the past six years. Read the rest of this entry »

USE US

Posted by George Patrick McLeer On April - 18 - 2014
George Patrick McLeer

George Patrick McLeer

As we sat down with our Congressmen this past March during National Arts Advocacy Day, one message kept coming out of my mouth, “In my community, we don’t just ‘fund’ the arts, we use the arts.” I didn’t arrive in Washington with that phrase in my mind. I didn’t even think about it until after our “advocacy sessions,” the day before we visited Capitol Hill.

What alarms me the most about our annual trek to Capitol Hill is that our ask never seems to change— “We would like our Representative/Senator to support funding the NEA/Arts Education at this specific level.” We mention the ability to leverage the arts for economic impact, improve education, and make our lives more fulfilling, but at the end of the day we ask for money—either from the federal government or private citizens via tax policy shifts.

We need to stop asking for money and instead ask for a new vantage point. Read the rest of this entry »

Coincidental Advocacy: When the Nation’s Mayors Come to Town

Posted by Jay Dick On March - 19 - 2014
Jay Dick and Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Jay Dick and Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Each January, The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) hosts its winter meeting in Washington, DC.  This meeting is attended by around 500 of the nation’s mayors who represent cities with a population of more than 30,000.  Americans for the Arts has partnered with the USCM for over 20 years and presents our Public Leadership in the Arts Awards at a breakfast plenary session. This year, we honored Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Akron, OH Mayor Don Plusquellic, and Dubuque, IA Mayor Roy Buol. Americans for the Arts also honors an artist who has promoted the arts and arts education through their body of work.  This year, we honored actress Fran Drescher for her work in promoting the arts over her career. If you would like to see past awardees, please check out our public leadership in the arts pages.

The USCM meeting always hosts a variety of high level elected and appointed officials.  This year, nine cabinet secretaries spoke at USCM meeting while President Obama hosted the mayors at the White House. I had the luck to end up sitting next to Education Secretary Arne Duncan at the USCM Education Committee meeting.  I was able to thank him for his support of arts in education and his department’s model grant program. While Secretary Duncan is certainly familiar with Americans for the Arts, it is events like this, at the USCM where people like Secretary Duncan do not expect to see us, but when they do, our presence and words carry even more meaning and importance given the nature of the meeting and those who are attending.

So, whether you are in DC, or in your local supermarket, always be prepared with your elevator speech on why the arts and arts education must be supported as you never know when you might have the chance to educate one of your elected officials.

Eileen Cunniffe

Eileen Cunniffe

In the waning days of 2013, an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer cited examples of performing arts organizations experimenting with curtain times, holding some weeknight performances as early as 6:30 pm instead of the long-accepted standard of 8:00 pm. The reasons given included appealing to younger audiences, who might want to go somewhere else after the show; appealing to older audiences, who might appreciate getting home earlier; and appealing to everyone in between, who might find it easier to hire a babysitter or just to show up for work the next day. One of the early trends from this experimentation is that some midweek performances with earlier curtain times are pulling even with or outpacing once-hot Friday evening ticket sales.

In other words, Friday is the new Tuesday—or maybe Tuesday is the new Friday? Either way, this is as good a place as any to begin the conversation about what constitutes the “new normal” for the nonprofit arts and culture sector and how arts organizations continue to respond to the changing environment in terms of audience behaviors and, in the wake of the Great Recession, evolving funder behaviors, too.

Looking back at 2013, it was in many ways a year of contradictory trends in the arts sector: two steps forward, one step back, or perhaps the other way around. Growth, contraction, innovation, struggle, resurrection, collapse. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Just Sit There, Get Involved (an EALS Post)

Posted by Raynel Frazier On March - 29 - 2013
Raynel Frazier

Raynel Frazier

We all love to go to our favorite theatre and watch a production, sit and listen to our favorite orchestra, or visit our favorite museum.

Traditionally, a person interacted with arts organizations by sitting in the audience of a theater and viewing a performance; but is that enough? I say no way! Like me, many audience members want to get involved and interact with arts organizations in a new way.

Today we live in a world with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms. These platforms give us a space to share our views and interact with people from around the world.

As a person in my early twenties, interaction and participation is crucial. Arts organizations are beginning to realize the importance of audience engagement and are finding new and innovative ways to engage their audiences.

Audience engagement includes a range of activities from open rehearsals and online forums to interactive shows. Here in Washington, DC, Dog & Pony DC produced a production of The Killing Game that whole-heartedly embraced the idea of audience engagement.  Read the rest of this entry »

Honoring America in Song

Posted by Tim Mikulski On July - 3 - 2012

In honor of the holiday, I thought I’d share a few videos of artists singing patriotic songs (p.s. if scrolling messes up the videos or text, just reload the page).

We’ll start with Americans for the Arts Artists Committee member Josh Groban’s three-song performance just down the road from our D.C. office in 2011:

Here is one of my favorite performances of The Star-Spangled Banner to date, as the Dixie Chicks sang prior to the 2003 Super Bowl:  Read the rest of this entry »

Giving Thanks in America’s Capital

Posted by Delali Ayivor On June - 19 - 2012

Delali Ayivor

I know this about myself: I am a writer and I am an obruni.

Obruni is a term that comes from the Ghanaian language of Twi and it translates to foreigner or, more archaically “white man.” I was born in Houston, TX. My mother was born in Durham, NC and my father in Lome, Togo. I was raised, primarily, in Accra, Ghana. In my life I have lived in four countries and three states and through it all, I have had trouble identifying myself as an American.

The United States has been a constant symbol of idolatry for me. As an elementary school student, I ordered my father to bring back suitcases full of Oreos and Cheetos from his business trips, simply for the sheer commercial joy of the American name-brand. So when I moved, by myself, from Accra, Ghana to the outskirts of Northwest Michigan at age 15 to attend boarding school, I was, for the first time since the age of 3, ecstatically emerged in America, in my obsession.

Now I am going to say something that doesn’t get said enough; I love the Midwest. Perhaps because it was the first place that I lived in the United States where I was old enough to form an opinion, but I suspect there are others out there like me.

Coming from West Africa with absolutely no background in American history, the Midwest was the America I had always envisioned. This was the America I had gleaned from hours of Lifetime Television for Women made-for-tv movies; a place where my first poetry teacher, a farm girl, actually had her first kiss on a hayride, where soda was referred to as ‘pop’, the forgotten frontier of endless strip malls and moms in department store khakis pulling up to Rotary Club meetings in their Toyota minivans to talk about foreign lands they might never see, the backwards mud people saved by $5 a month set-aside through clever coupon usage down at the Piggly Wiggly. Read the rest of this entry »

Leveraging Our Impact as Leaders & Followers

Posted by Elizabeth McCloskey Miller On April - 3 - 2012
Liz Miller

Elizabeth McCloskey Miller

I have the pleasure of serving as co-chair of the steering committee for Emerging Arts Leaders DC (EALDC), a volunteer-led initiative that provides professional development, networking, and information relevant to emerging arts professionals in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.

EALDC hosted our first-ever “book club” event in January with the incomparable Liz Lerman. Liz agreed to meet with our group to discuss her new book Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer. About twenty emerging leaders came out for the event, which Liz began by getting the group on their feet for a short icebreaker activity.

Liz paired up the group, assigning one person from each pair the role of leader and one person the role of follower. The follower closed their eyes and was led by the leader around the room. Leaders were encouraged to move their partners in creative ways as music played. When instructed by Liz, the leaders and followers swapped roles and swapped partners.

For me, the most interesting part of the exercise came mid-song when Liz told us to stop moving and decide individually whether we wanted to continue in our current leader or follower role. After the activity ended and we took our seats, Liz told us that in this self-directed segment of the leader/follower activity, there was a time when almost everyone in the room had elected to be a follower. Read the rest of this entry »