Americans for the Arts to Present Six Awards for Arts Leadership

Honorees to Be Recognized June 16 at Americans for the Arts’ Convention in Denver, CO

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Category: 

Americans for the Arts announced today the recipients of the 2018 Americans for the Arts Leadership Awards. Given annually, these awards recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations committed to enriching their communities through the arts.

Americans for the Arts to Present American Express Emerging Leaders Award to Quanice G. Floyd

Floyd to Receive Award on June 16 at Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in Denver, CO

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Category: 

Americans for the Arts announced today that Quanice G. Floyd, educator and founder/director of Arts Administrators of Color Network, will be awarded the 2018 American Express Emerging Leaders Award. The annual award recognizes an exceptional new and/or young arts professional for their exemplary leadership, deep engagement with community, and strong commitment to advancing the arts. 

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.

Americans for the Arts Mourns the Passing of Advocate Ebony McKinney

Friday, August 4, 2017

Category: 

Ebony McKinney, a tireless advocate for the arts who pushed for diversity in the community and for unity among local organizations, died unexpectedly July 29 from complications related to pneumonia and lupus. She was 41. McKinney was a member of Americans for the Arts’ Emerging Leaders Council from 2009-10. 

Strategies for Change Leaders

Sometimes I feel like I’m not making a difference as an arts administrator because I’m not actually creating art. Making change, however, is my time to get creative at work. It’s exciting to examine procedures from a new perspective, find ways to push limits with policy, create sincere relationships with my coworkers, be confident in my administrative choices, and feel like an agent of change in my work. Change isn’t easy, but these strategies can be. 

Leading with the Pack

Whatever the reason for the change, the nature of leadership is changing. We don’t need harsher, more selfish delegators. We need influential social mobilizers capable of harnessing our collective intention and elevating each voice in the chorus. I argue it is Emerging Arts Leaders who understand this more than any and are best poised to make a lasting difference.

Over 50 percent of Americans live and work in suburbs. Are 50 percent of them arts leaders?

If equity and inclusion are of concern to you, then the suburbs should demand your full attention. Almost one-third of the nation’s poor live in suburbs; by 2008, the suburbs were home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country.  And while minorities only represent 35 percent of suburban residents, more than half of all minority groups in large metro areas live in suburbs. To be clear, the absence of suburban arts leaders isn’t the problem. It’s a symptom. The problem is a set of assumptions that occlude the arts and arts leaders not only in the suburbs, but everywhere.

Women’s Leadership in the Non-Profit Theatre: Continuing Actions to Shift the Perception

Women have never held more than 27% of leadership positions in American non-profit theatre. Why? In a field in which “representation” is important to the stories we present to the public, the persistent underrepresentation of female leadership is puzzling and problematic. A 2013 research study was able to unravel some of the reasons behind leadership gender imbalance through a multi-informant and multi-method design, which made clear that the issue is not a pipeline problem. There are sufficient numbers of women in next-in-line positions in the field. Action plans that address this “glass ceiling” need to be developed to correct the disparity and will be explored at the pilot Berkshire Leadership Summit in October 2017.

The Moment in the Movement—Art, Advocacy, and Activating Personal Mission and Vision in this Very Moment

As members of the third sector, our purpose is to empower, enfranchise, and capacitate the people of this nation, regardless of origin or other socially constructed dimensions. No matter the federal priorities or administration in power. Serious work must always be done. Now is not the time to be humble about the power of our work, nor the time to equivocate impact. Now is moment we live our missions!

Where is a Young Feminist’s Place in the Arts? (Trick Question. Answer: Anywhere and Everywhere!)

Arts organizations are very often predominantly staffed by women, but unfortunately this does not eradicate the centuries of patriarchal approaches that block us from allowing equity for all. In the broader non-profit sector, executive roles and boards are often filled by male candidates who keep their posts until retirement. “Top-down” leadership and a competitive spirit that rejects collaboration or promotion of others’ achievements are other examples of this obstruction. Feminism and activism are just as important as ever in our current political climate.

Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Arts Leaders

All children deserve access to quality arts programming, which means that we must not only support in-school arts education programs across the board, but also prioritize schools in low-income neighborhoods and community-based organizations that specialize in mentoring these students outside of school. Serving every student also means providing culturally relevant and economically accessible opportunities in the arts for the overlooked and under-resourced youth between the ages of 14 and 18, especially if we are to create effective pipelines of leadership in the arts.

When Trying Hard Isn’t Good Enough: Alignment, Action and Accountability

Bridging the gap between reality and results for arts education in schools requires multi-sector, cross-agency leadership making aligned efforts and contributions. Moving from talk to action requires collaborative leadership—the ability to make decisions and take action together in service of the result. This type of leadership requires experimentation, trust building, and a fair amount of risk. It breaks down the boundaries of hierarchical leadership and looks across organizational boundaries. When we work collaboratively, we acknowledge that no one program, agency, or organization can produce population-level results.

Investing in Leadership Development

Having worked with arts organizations both large and small, I have learned that it is the leaders at the grassroots level who actually represent and reflect the diverse communities that their programs and organizations aim to serve. Meanwhile, the larger institutions—such as museums, operas and symphonies—are facilitating conversations around the need for greater diversity in arts leadership, but most have not yet overhauled their own practices for cultivating diverse leaders. The arts field needs to invest in developing the necessary leadership skills of emerging professionals whose marginalization is keeping them out of the running for leadership positions at larger arts institutions.  

Justice-Seeking Super Robot Takes on Arts Education; or, How I switched from a deficit mindset to an asset-based approach

Instead of entering a community as a teacher and bringing a prescribed text or curriculum, I would enter as a learner. I needed to value the community and learn from them. I needed to connect with my students—to see their stories and experiences as equal to my own. To see my students for more than their perceived needs. I needed a new approach to arts education. So, I scanned the literature, and I found an approach that works with, and values, oppressed groups. It’s called an asset-based arts education, and it works in solidarity with the community. It is mutually beneficial and builds social capital.

Asking for a raise is awkward. But it doesn't have to be.

As an emerging leader in the arts, have you ever felt stagnant in your job? Are you struggling with feeling undercompensated? Love what you do and where you work, but don’t feel able to ask for the raise that you deserve? These are common challenges facing many emerging leaders in the arts. They lead to burnout, young professionals leaving the arts altogether, or perpetuate the high turnover rates that many small and mid-sized arts organizations experience. Even though asking for a raise is uncomfortable and intimidating, it’s an important and necessary communication skill to cultivate.

Are Internships Building the Leaders We Need?

Today’s emerging leaders will need to be proficient, savvy, self-aware, and boundlessly resilient in order to meet tomorrow’s challenges; and yet, the long-term value of the short-term internship model appears to vary by organization and pupil. What makes an internship meaningful and worthwhile for both parties? Does a traditional internship model facilitate learning that extends beyond specialized proficiency to include strategic thinking, a value for cultural equity, and adaptive processes?

Playing the Long Game: Developing our Future Board Members

After years of playoff failures, Sam Hinkie, the Philadelphia 76ers general manager, decided to stop focusing on winning now. In fact, sometimes he made an active choice to start losing. Why? The worst teams in the NBA get the highest probability of top draft picks, and he was going to build a dream team, one player at a time. Hinkie and the 76ers were playing the long game.

Arts organizations can have a similar problem. Some organizations in our sector struggle to make balanced budgets, and while we’re producing thought-provoking, life-changing art for our communities, our financial situation can be squarely mediocre. So I, too, am playing the long game. Fortunately, it doesn’t involve losing at all.

The leadership pipeline: A core responsibility

It is obviously unfortunate when talent, out of necessity or frustration, leave the field for higher paying jobs with more responsibility and/or agency. The brain drain on the field, as with any field, is problematic as it not only makes the next generation of leaders more elusive, but takes away the change agents that could help create a better environment. There are steps we can take now—as in today—within our organization to make the situation better. We can make a better arts field.

Community Leadership from the Inside Out

Berkshire County in western Massachusetts is an incredibly rich place for the arts. It contains such a critical mass of artists, arts institutions, and arts resources that in 2016 the county was named the 12th most arts vibrant small- to mid-sized community in the nation by the National Center for Arts Research. With this abundance of creative activity comes a necessity for arts leadership, although here, these positions aren’t reserved for executive directors and upper management of large institutions. A new generation of community arts leaders in North Adams is surfacing as junior employees and other non-executive workers are beginning to cultivate leadership roles outside of work.

Under 18 = Emerging Leaders

Our society has created a narrative that says we must either keep young people safe from themselves (censorship), or we must keep others safe from young people (a group a young folks sitting under a park gazebo must be up to no good). These thoughts create a deficit model approach. Why is this the default when the assets young people possess are plenty? To truly engage young people from the beginning, they must be at the table when the outlines are created. Their full bodies and selves need to be a part of planning and development spaces.

We Resolve to Create a Better Arts Field

Throughout this year, our Emerging Leaders Council will be developing an Emerging Leader Vision for the Field, using vision statements that encapsulate shared hopes for our field as a starting point in conversation with emerging arts leaders and Americans for the Arts’s Emerging Leader Networks through a variety of in-person and online platforms. This blog salon is the formal start of that year-long dialogue.

Day Two: Notes to a Young Arts Advocate from a Young Arts Advocate

Young(er) arts advocate, do you realize that you are powerful? Do you realize that because you took your stand with grace and strength, your community will be changed?

Emerging Heap

I don’t know what others tasted at the 2016 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, but for four days, the crisp flavor of inspiration sat on my tongue. I felt like a freshman attending the first day of classes at her top choice school. 

Packaging Your Impact: How Con Edison Engage Its Employees through the ABC/NY’s Diversity in Arts Leadership Program

At first glance, the Arts and Business Council of New York’s (ABC/NY) Diversity in Arts Leadership (DIAL) internship program looks like your typical summer arts internship: undergraduates descend on the city and ABC/NY helps them get their foot in the door of one of NYCs coveted arts and culture sector organizations.

However, you might not guess that DIAL doubles as an arts-based platform to engage employees in the corporate sector. Huh? How?

Reflections on Resilient Arts Leadership

This week we heard over a dozen emerging leaders reflect on this year’s Arts Leadership Preconference theme: “Impact Without Burnout: Resilient Arts Leadership from the Inside Out”. Echoed in many of the blogs is the need and desire for cross-generational leadership, mentorship and professional development (positioning everyone to teach and advance the field), the need to intentionally address diversity, and the importance of “soft-skills”.

Vulnerability is the New Confidence

Arts leaders must be comfortable with risk and uncertainty to be successful. Actually, I think this is true for leaders in every industry, but especially in the arts. Embracing vulnerability can be challenging for any leader, but especially a young one. Brene Brown, a preeminent researcher on vulnerability defines it as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” She has this to say: “Vulnerability is the absolute heartbeat of innovation and creativity”; “There can be zero innovation without vulnerability”; and “Invulnerability in leadership breeds disengagement in culture.”

They Should’ve Asked a Folklorist: New Horizons for State Folk Arts Programs

Following the 1974 launch of NEA support for state folklife programs, folklorists have led state arts agencies’ efforts to serve traditional artists of the nation’s rural, occupational, and immigrant communities. What are the challenges facing state-level folk arts coordinators in 2016?

To gain insight, I consulted three emerging leaders in the field: Lilli Tichinin, Program Coordinator of Folk Arts, Art Projects and Accessibility for New Mexico Arts; Jennifer Joy Jameson, Folk and Traditional Arts Director for the Mississippi Arts Commission; and Josh Ehlers, Assistant Folklorist for the Oregon Folklife Network.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Emerging Leaders