Blog Posts for Leadership

What I Do Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was an Emerging Leader

Posted by Ramona Baker, Oct 21, 2009 10 comments

As I thought about this blog, I began to think about what I wished someone had told me when I was an emerging leader.  Here’s my list so far:

•    Most people are doing the best they can do at any given moment. What they are doing may not be OK with you. It may not meet your standards. It may not be something that you want in your life or your arts organization, and you don’t have to agree with or support their actions --- but it’s my observation that no one gets up in the morning asking themselves how they can screw up.

•    People who don’t have any appreciation for the arts in any form aren’t wrong. They aren’t bad. They aren’t stupid. They don’t need to be scolded, shot, or stamped out. They just don’t share your opinion. Allow room in the world for wonderful people who don’t appreciate the arts the way that you do.

This was a hard lesson for me. And the more passion I had about something, the more I pushed. Many years ago a board member took me aside after an advocacy meeting and shared his observation that when people disagreed with me, I raised the volume of my voice and repeated myself.  "It’s not that they didn’t hear you, Ramona. They heard you.  They just didn’t agree with you."

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A Career Path

Posted by Jessica Guzman, Oct 21, 2009 0 comments

As I read through the many posts that have already flooded the blog this week, I feel reassured.  I, like others asked to discuss this topic of "emerging leader" feel that I may have fallen into the role.  I went to undergrad for painting.  The entire four years I was there, I knew that I didn't want to attempt the profession of "studio artist."  I always knew I would be an administrator but didn't really know what that entailed.

Following college, I got lucky enough to be hired as a gallery assistant at a new gallery with a growing reputation for quality.  This allowed me to network with older colleagues in the field and pretend I knew what I was doing administratively.  Unfortunately, the gallery closed and I had to find another job - quick!  It just so happened that a fantastic community arts center was looking to hire an Exhibition Manager to coordinate for their two gallery spaces.  Again, I somehow convinced them that I knew what I was doing and learned on the job.

After two years, I decided it was time to drop everything I was doing and return to school.  I didn't want to be in a gallery, I wanted more from the arts.  The problem was that I didn't know what I wanted.  My writing sample for my grad application was basically a statement such as this - "The arts are where I need to be.  In what form?  I have no idea.  I want to be in your Arts Management program so that I have the opportunity to dabble in a couple of areas."

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Scotiabank Nuit Blanche October 3 2009

Posted by Liesel Fenner, Oct 21, 2009 1 comment

written by Marc Pally

"Hey Dave!" 2009  Dave Clarke + team photo: Marc Pally

"Hey Dave!"
2009 Dave Clarke + team
photo: Marc Pally

All Night Long, not the Lionel Ritchie song but an art event called Nuit Blanche. First started in Paris in 2002 by a visionary mayor determined to bring contemporary art to the public’s attention and to integrate it into his agenda of re-energizing the French capital. The wild success of Paris’ Nuit Blanche prompted other cities to develop their own all-nighters, including Toronto, which just finished it’s fourth such event, called Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, in acknowledgement to the huge Canadian bank that provides core funding. The official tally is 130 projects including over 500 artists. This is a huge organizational effort undertaken by Toronto Special Events, a unit of the City of Toronto’s Economic Development, Culture & Tourism Division.

"Sounding Space" <br>2009, Karlen Chang, Dafydd Hughes, David McCallum <br>photo: Marc Pally

"Sounding Space"
2009, Karlen Chang, Dafydd Hughes, David McCallum
photo: Marc Pally

The projects ranged from the most humble, low-tech (no-tech) to the glittery display of hi-tech wizardry. The event (or “free all-night contemporary art thing” according to official marketing) was centered in three zones, all more-or-less downtown, though distances for some events were beyond comfortable walking. Bike riding was encouraged and seemed like a sensible way to handle the spread of the events between all three zones. Trolleys, buses and the subway ran all night. Within each of the three zones, it was very easy to walk from project to project. Good maps and a program guide were made available at four information centers. Great effort and success was achieved through www.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca.

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Stop Blah-Blah-Blahing...

Posted by Mary Sutton, Oct 21, 2009 2 comments

In the last year we’ve had five teen suicides. They threw themselves in front of the commuter train that runs through Palo Alto and alongside the Stanford campus. In this kind of crisis where our kids are literally jumping like lemmings to their deaths what comes to mind is Jason Alexander’s keynote speech at a conference of theatre educators—he proclaimed, more than once…Art is the Intervention.

Art is the intervention—think on that--that is the context we must never loose sight of as we struggle to make sense out of the immediate changes descending upon all of us!

We are here for a greater purpose and working in the arts for me is about service. It is not because I am a failed artist, it was a conscious transition for me. I want to have a deep impact on a more intimate level than performing ever gave me.  In arts education I found my north star.

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A Role For Everyone: Considering a Constructive Development Approach to Field-Wide Change

Posted by Edward Clapp, Oct 20, 2009 2 comments

Many of the emails I have received from veteran leaders have confused the issue of 20UNDER40 promoting a take over in the arts in the fashion of “out with the old and in with the new.” Quite the inverse! It is my belief that the energy and ideas of the young are at a great loss without the wisdom and knowledge of those who have been working away at the arts for the past few decades. In this sense, no one is usurping the authority of anyone else, instead, there is a role for everyone—but these roles are changing.

It is well documented in the literature on generational differences that individuals from different age cohorts make meaning of their experiences in unique ways based on the events different groups experienced during their adolescent years.

While the events we experienced as teenagers have largely sculpted our approach to the world, my research on this instance in leadership transformation also considers theories of constructive development that deal with addressing issues of increasing mental complexity.

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