Capturing the World of an Emerging Arts Leader

Posted by Stephanie Hanson, Apr 06, 2012 1 comment

Stephanie Hanson

Stephanie Hanson

I am consistently inspired by the innovation that comes out of the Emerging Leaders Network, and this week’s blog salon was no exception.

We heard from representatives of 11 Emerging Leaders Networks, and gained some insight into what was happening in their communities. This week, bloggers have questioned and affirmed why they continue to dedicate their careers to the arts; wrote about examples of artists and arts organizations leading authentic community engagement; questioned the social inequity of unpaid interns; and shared a list of Things We Wish Someone Had Told Us at 25.

We gave ourselves permission to fail, permission to have multiple interests outside of the arts that may or may not intersect with the field, and reminded ourselves not to get stuck in a structure that no longer works for us as individuals or organizations.

It’s clear that emerging arts leaders are looking at their careers, organizations, and neighborhoods in a different way than arts administrators who have come before them. I believe it’s important that we honor the hard work of those who started in the field before us. Without them, we wouldn’t have the National Endowment for the Arts, the structure of public funding support, or the diversity of arts, cultural, and community engagement organizations that exist today.

There are four generations currently working and leading in the workforce, and we must find ways to work with one another, share our strengths, and support each other’s weaknesses at all levels of the generation spectrum.

To me, this blog salon demonstrated how many mini ripple effects of change are taking place in communities across the country at the same time. This is change at a very fundamental level that has the potential to reform our field in the way that Diane Ragsdale envisions in her post (and is our muse for this salon).

I want to thank our esteemed bloggers this week for writing about such big issues with conviction and courage. Thank you also to our readers, commenters who continued the dialogue and discussion, and to everyone who shared a post via social media or email. We are also grateful for the support of Claremont Graduate University and the MA in Arts Management program who sponsored the 2012 Emerging Leaders Blog Salon.

It’s up to us as arts administrators, organizations, and educational institutions to support, nurture, and lead the impending change that is currently shifting us (and our audiences) in our seats.

The only guarantee in our lives is that change is going to happen, and the more we work together to ride the wave instead of fighting the current, the easier it’s going to be.

If you'd like to continue discussing many of the topics presented during the blog salon, please consider joining us in San Antonio this June for the Emerging Leaders Preconference just prior to the Americans for the Arts 2012 Annual Convention. Generously sponsored by American Express, the Emerging Leaders Preconference will help participants discover the path from arts professional to community leader. This preconference features workshops by professional speaker, author, trainer, and coach Rosetta Thurman. She has worked with more than 60 young professionals groups, associations, universities, and foundations to spark real conversations around today's most important organizational issues. Experience her authentic, engaging, and inspiring ideas in Six Ways to Rock Your Arts Career. Register today!

1 responses for Capturing the World of an Emerging Arts Leader


April 06, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Great summary, Stephanie! I enjoyed everyone's blogs and was happy to participate.

Onward, ELs!

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