Let Others Lead: A Mid-Career Manifesto

As an emerging leader in my late 20s and early 30s, I was desperate for a chance to be heard. I sought out opportunities to get involved with organizations and groups that would both connect me to other people in the field and allow me chances to organize, empower, and lead others. I had ideas. I wanted to share them. And I wanted to learn in the process. As the sun set on my emerging leader status—though I’m not sure exactly when that started happening, just when it was over—I had a pretty stark shift in my attitude about leadership. I found I wasn’t hungry for it anymore—not in the same way, at least.

Some Expressions about the Arts and Creative Expression

I was thrilled to sit in on the “Vocabulary for Arts and Arts Education” session at Americans for the Arts' Annual Convention this year. All three presenters—Christopher Audain, Kevin Kirkpatrick, and Margy Waller, along with moderator Margie Reese—were all on point for the session and I perhaps overtweeted in my enthusiasm over what they shared.

As I left the session, I started focusing on what Kevin presented on changing the conversation about arts and culture. Arts Midwest recently released the study Creating Connection: Research Findings and Proposed Message Framework to Build Public Will for Arts and Culture, which examined how existing attitudes and values of our audiences connect with our field’s message output. The study suggests reframing arts activity to be “creative expression” will have a more effective connection to broader audiences, and that connecting with others, with their families, and with their inner selves is their largest motivation for participating in arts and culture.

Don’t Discount the Back-Up Singers

Charles Jensen Charles Jensen

This week, hundreds of advocates are gathering in and around Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, to communicate to our national elected officials the value and impact of the arts on local communities, on families, on individual lives.

No One Calls Himself a Hipster and Other Emerging Fallacies

Charles Jensen

In a recent edition of Thomas Cott’s “You’ve Cott Mail,” readers encountered a series of blogs and articles exploring the utility—and, in one case, the aftermath—of embracing a term like “emerging” in its application to artists.

Everything I Need to Know About Organizational Change I Learned by Watching Bravo

Bravo has been running a lot of this show lately, and since I've been laid up (or, more accurately, laid out, like a cadaver) with a wrenched back, I've watched a bunch of episodes. And I'm kind of hooked.

From Academia to an Independent Nonprofit Arts Organization

I worked on two of the nation’s largest college campuses for a grand total of thirteen years. At the University of Minnesota, I cut my teeth in residential life, in community arts programming, even working with a data collection group on a research study. At Arizona State University, I continued my work with residential life, only to migrate into teaching English and creative writing, and then managing and helping to grow Phoenix’s largest community-oriented writing center.

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