Diversity in Arts Administration is Not Inevitable

Posted by Dr. Brea M. Heidelberg, Mar 14, 2016

This report treats diversity as an inevitability. This is true when it comes to demographics–we are all familiar with the statistics about how the country is becoming more racially diverse. However, true diversity (including age, gender, physical ability, and race) is not inevitable when it comes to working and advancing in our field. Numbers do not change power structures–marginalized people often outnumber those in power. It is the assumption that diversity will magically happen that permits some leaders within the field to sit idly by while the sector disenfranchises and loses quality talent. Change is not a passive process.

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Local Art Agency Salaries: Measuring Up

Posted by Ms. Kerry Adams Hapner, Jul 24, 2013

Kerry Adams-Hapner Kerry Adams-Hapner

Local arts agencies are like snow flakes. Each one is unique.  Geographic region, cost of living, population size, budget size, staff size, number and type of programs, reporting structures, government entity or 501c3… These factors are all variables in defining the local art agency. In turn, they are also factors affecting the salaries of agency staff members.  While each agency is unique, Americans for the Arts’ Research Report: Local Arts Agency Salaries 2013 highlights trends, commonalities and areas requiring a conscientious endeavor to improve.

There are glaring issues highlighted in the report: the ethnic diversity of agency staff, gender diversity and gender equality. As a field, there is clearly more work that needs to be done here. We must be deliberate about identifying opportunities to improve ethnic and gender equality.

Another important issue is age. The data reports that the average age of the full-time employee is 52.5 years.    Let’s continue to engage the next generation in the relevance of our work and empower them as leaders.  There are many good programs and initiatives looking to move the needle on succession planning in our field. Skill development, networking, mentorship, and hiring of young professionals are areas that all agency leaders should consider part of their responsibilities.

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Preparing the Arts Field for a Future Rushing Towards Us

Posted by Roberta Uno, Mar 15, 2016

In the new Hewlett Foundation report, Moving Arts Leadership Forward: A Changing Landscape, John McGuirk, Hewlett’s Program Director for Performing Arts, urges the arts field to reimagine leadership. The report summarizes Hewlett-supported research and previews their new goal to broaden the Foundation’s arts support to embrace cross-generational leadership and advance shared values of diversity and innovation. The findings and recommendations are strategically intended to prepare the field “for a future that is rushing toward us.”

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Local Arts Agency Links the Arts and Business

Posted by Nancy Glaze, Nov 16, 2011

Nancy Glaze

Nancy Glaze

Valerie Beaman asked all of the Blog Salon writers several question prompts regarding the intersection of arts and business. The following are my answers to a few of them:

How can the arts best convince the corporate world of their value to business?

Half of the residents in Silicon Valley view themselves as artists and participate in either formal or informal arts activities regularly. Silicon Valley’s residents are incredibly diverse and the region is home to the largest proportion of arts and culture organizations focused on ethnic or cultural awareness among comparable regions in the United States.

Those who work in technology are interested in learning about other cultures and connecting with their own. The nature of the more than 650 arts and culture organizations as well as the diverse workforce seem a natural fit and a win-win for arts groups and businesses that want to engage and enlighten employees.

Creating partnerships between the arts and the private sector within a framework of diversity and cross-cultural understanding supports an authentic need that springs naturally from the way we do business here and who is in the workforce. Silicon Valley is viewed as a global technology leader and is the birthplace of innovations and inventions that have changed the world.

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Is Equity the Antithesis of Diversity? (or Why Everyone Needs an IEP)

Posted by Ms. Deb Vaughn, Jan 13, 2012

Deb Vaughn

Deb Vaughn

While facilitating a panel recently, the need for one-on-one attention to help students achieve their personal goals came up.

This got me thinking about IEP’s (Individualized Education Programs). An IEP is developed to meet the unique educational needs of an individual student who may have a disability.

Here’s my thought: Don’t we all need an IEP?

I don’t mean to downplay the critical importance of IEP’s for students with disabilities (in fact, IEP’s are mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act), but to acknowledge that what works for one student, regardless of their disability status, may not work for the next.

We all have unique educational needs.

As an adult, I fill out a yearly self-evaluation, detailing my goals for the next year and my plan to achieve them. I work closely with my supervisor to make sure I include her feedback, but my self-knowledge is the driving factor in developing the plan. Together, we create an IEP for my professional development. At the end of the year, I identify areas that need continued improvement and go forward from there.

Isn’t this the kind of reflective goal-setting that encourages students to take responsibility for their education?

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The Power of Local Arts Leadership

Posted by Ursula Kuhar, Apr 19, 2012

Ursula Kuhar

Local. Public. Value. Arts.

Try creating a cohesive, comprehensive sentence that reflects our field using these four words.

These simple words that occupy so much complexity within our industry, and an entire day of dialogue at the first Americans for the Arts Executive Directors & Board Member Symposium held on April 15.

It was an exhilarating experience to participate in a peer exchange with diverse leaders from organizations around the country including Americans for the Arts President & CEO Bob Lynch, Jonathan Katz of the National Association of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), and Mary McCullogh-Hudson of ArtsWave.

In order to frame our work as arts leaders forging into a “new normal” in the industry, Bob shared the history and context of the local arts movement in America, rooted in the discovery of the Americas to the first established arts council in 1947 by George Irwin in Illinois, to the evolution of today’s local arts enabling organization that provide cultural programming, funding, community cultural planning, and of course, advocacy activities.

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