The Arts Leadership Academy

Posted by Lucia Brawley, Sep 24, 2009 2 comments

Imagine gleaming, sunlit hallways with paintings, drawings and photographs adorning the walls, while classical music wafts from one room and hip-hop from another.  Imagine sauntering past a studio to see ballet dancers and break-dancers collaborate on a new piece, while green designers in another studio draft sustainable sculptural furniture. 

Now, imagine that, an hour from now, all these varied artists will come together in discussion with mentors to learn creative ways to empower themselves financially and market themselves strategically, how to find the best representatives for them and how to be the agents of their own careers, how to navigate between the worlds of art and commerce, imagination and policy, how to use the arts to solve social problems, even create a social movement.

Imagine that highly-motivated artists in their 20s, 30s and 40s  attend cultural events together, collaborate on art projects that address social issues, exhibit and perform their resultant works in esteemed venues, receive instruction from innovators in their own artistic fields of study, as well as trailblazers in business, social entrepreneurship, academia, and social justice.

In turn, the fellows mentor children and teenagers in underserved communities, as well as college students pursuing arts majors, in order to foster new generations of creatives who think of themselves, not as figures marginal to mainstream society, but as co-creators of our society with a valid voice in all matters pertaining to our larger national community – not for the sake of propaganda, as the Glenn Beck’s of the world might claim – but as leaders equal in importance to our financial and political leaders, with insights and solutions to offer that can only come from imaginative, artistic minds.

Now, imagine that we’re not imagining this, but it’s real.  It’s happening now.  How would we start?

2 responses for The Arts Leadership Academy


Caleb O. Fey says
September 25, 2009 at 8:57 am

We are already doing this in Kansas City. The regional council, the local Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City, The Kansas City
Art Institute and the University of Missouri Kansas City's center for urban planning are all collaborating on projects that bring students together with leaders in the the creative community. It's a wonderful thing to be a part of.

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Jessica Mele says
October 09, 2009 at 4:40 pm

There is something really powerful and valuable in artists collaborating across their areas of expertise. This creative interaction has a huge impact on artists as teachers, as well. At Performing Arts Workshop (Http://, we bring our artists together twice per year to play, experiment (both in and out of their art forms) and learn with each other as artists, and then connect that back to their work in the classroom.

But how amazing would it be if there was in fact a PLACE for this kind of learning? Our kids would benefit and our artistic community would benefit as well. How would we start? Money? Leadership? Leadership. Such a place would train the next generation of artists and arts educators, it would require national leadership to establish this as a need, and in doing so professionalize the field.

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