Emerging Leaders Work Together Across the Country (An Americans for the Arts Member story)
It’s been a few months since I joined the Americans for the Arts team and I've had the opportunity to learn a lot about the interesting and diverse work that you're doing and how our tools, resources, and member network are helping you get it done.
We often share your stories in our member e-newsletter Monthly Wire, but I wanted to dig a little deeper into some of your projects and programs and really get to know your work. I'll be jumping in periodically to share what I'm learning about member activity so that you can get to know each other a little better and to find some new, creative ways to use your membership!
Those of you that attended the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in 2014 might have gotten to know the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). They’re members of Americans for the Arts and they are taking full advantage of the work other members are doing across the country! As you may have guessed from the name, ARC isn’t exclusively an arts service organization. Their mission centers on balancing environmental responsibility, economic growth, and social needs–all of which touch on the arts in some fashion.
Greg Burbidge, who serves on our Emerging Leaders Council in addition to his role as Senior Program Specialist at ARC, explained that ARC began hosting a series of cultural forums in 2014 to create an opportunity to convene the regional arts and culture community, providing a space to discuss pressing issues and learn about national best practices. They’ve hosted a range of speakers including leadership from ArtPlace, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town Program, and Arts and Aging expert Anne Basting. They also partnered with the Georgia Council for the Arts to host NEA Chairman Jane Chu.
Today ARC hosts two other members of Americans for the Arts—Charlie Jensen and Talia Gibas—for a talk entitled, “Beyond the Numbers: What Recent Research (and Controversy!) Tells Us About the Future of the Arts."
Charlie has been affiliated with Americans for the Arts for nearly ten years, as an individual member and, formerly, as a member of the Emerging Leaders Council, where he first met Greg.
Since the end of his tenure on the Council, Charlie has remained actively engaged with Americans for the Arts, often contributing to our ARTSblog with titles like No One Calls Himself a Hipster and Other Emerging Fallacies and Everything I Need to Know About Organizational Change I Learned By Watching Bravo.
Talia is staff of a member organization—the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. The Commission has been a member of Americans for the Arts since 1990 and Talia has been a frequent contributor to ARTSblog and also served on the Americans for the Arts Arts Education Council.
Greg says he has followed Charlie and Talia's blog posts over the years and enjoyed their sessions at our Annual Conventions. He says,
“AFTA has developed opportunities to build national networks, and for people to bring information back to their local communities – in some cases dragging the actual speakers with them.”
Charlie and Talia are at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta this morning to discuss the role of objective data, funding, and public controversy in our contemporary discourse about the arts. ArtsATL did a preview interview with the pair about the challenges facing arts organizations and artists, the balance between passion and data, and the future of the nonprofit arts sector.
Our thanks to Atlanta Regional Commission, ArtPlace, the National Endowment for the Arts, Anne Basting, Charlie Jensen, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and the Woodruff Arts Center for their membership with Americans for the Arts—and thanks to all of you for being a part of the work of local arts agencies!
Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. Thanks again if you are a member of Americans for the Arts! And if you’re not, we hope you consider joining us and our work across the country.