Member Spotlight: Asiyah Kurtz

Posted by Linda Lombardi, Oct 25, 2021 0 comments

Located in Camden, New Jersey, Camden FireWorks is a Black-led, community-based arts organization that works to grow, gather, and invest in artists and artists-to-be in the Camden community. Executive Director Asiyah Kurtz is an applied anthropologist with 20 years of experience in leadership of private, nonprofit, and public sectors. “As a young arts organization, we had previously only relied on volunteers to teach our open studio workshops for our first five years of operations. With the support of our Board, one of the changes I made this year was to pay a meaningful wage to teaching artists for their time, labor, and talent. If I have anything to do with it, there will be no starving artists in Camden.” 

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Shining a Spotlight on Native American Media and Mediamakers

Posted by Mr. John W. Haworth, Oct 14, 2021 0 comments

It is important for cultural leaders and individual artists to know the work of organizations elevating Native artists. This is of special urgency given the current challenges faced by local and regional arts agencies: Leaders in the cultural sector simply must have a broader understanding of social and economic justice issues. As our field does more to support civic engagement and informed public dialogue about these key issues, local arts leaders have the opportunity to assume leadership roles on the complex challenges in our communities—promoting equity, addressing the climate and other issues, and promoting civic literacy about the issues we face. As arts administrators and managers, it is not enough to be informed about the issues—we need to know how to communicate effectively with broader, more diverse publics that we serve. Local arts agency leaders must understand these issues on ever deeper levels as they develop meaningful competitive grant review processes and find effective ways for arts organizations to take central roles in public discourse. 

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Member Spotlight: Morgan Ritter

Posted by Linda Lombardi, Oct 13, 2021 0 comments

Public Art Exhibitions & Collections Coordinator Morgan Ritter is an artist, poet, and arts worker, and has been responsible for the care of art and arts spaces for 14 years within many of Portland, Oregon’s nonprofit arts institutions. Morgan joined the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) in 2019 and her personal art practice includes sculpture, installation, books, video, poetry, and performance. “Often, I feel playful, relating with the world around me in a flexible way where things like mud puddles, soda cans, and potatoes become compelling material to work with. Much of my artwork is sourced from these various fragments and consists not only of found objects, but found language from dreams, conversations, and texts. I find most interest in making meaning with matter that is not classified as precious or valuable. And now in these times, I am finding all the more reason to be resourceful and utilize the available domestic systems and dusty, garage detritus for their extrasensory, healing potential.”

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Member Spotlight: Patrick Rath

Posted by Linda Lombardi, Oct 04, 2021 0 comments

In October 2020, Patrick Rath became the president & CEO of United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF), the largest united fund for the performing arts in the country. Since 1967, UPAF has been dedicated to securing community resources, promoting the performing arts as a regional asset, and improving the quality of life through responsible investment in and financial support of the performing arts in Southeastern Wisconsin. Every dollar raised comes from individuals, companies, and foundations. Rath brings more than 30 years’ experience in development and on the boards of several performing arts organizations to the role. He is also a classically trained double bass player and has performed with eight of UPAF’s 14 member organizations. 

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Creative Confidence and the Education Revolution

Posted by Camille Zamora, Sep 16, 2021 0 comments

Art-making seeds a certain bone-deep faith in one’s instincts, a deeply grounded sense of comfort that frees one up to try new things. Developing one’s artistry is an exercise in taking risks and living to tell the tale. Mistakes aren’t only tolerated, they’re expected. Built into the artistic process is the act of rough-drafting, rehearsing, reframing, “take-it-again-from-the-top”-ing. The voice will crack at some point as we seek our sweetest, most vulnerable sound, and our foot will falter occasionally as we attempt a new pirouette. Producing meaningful art means that we’ve given ourselves space to experiment, iterate, fall and fail and get up and try again. The opportunity to correct flies in the face of an educational system predicated on the right/wrong binary of standardized testing. It’s radically freeing to look beyond that binary, and creative confidence is the byproduct. With creative confidence in place, anything is possible for our students.

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Member Spotlight: Bernadette Carroll

Posted by Linda Lombardi, Sep 13, 2021 0 comments

Bernadette Carroll joined Act One as their executive director in March 2020, just as arts organizations across the country shuttered due to COVID-19. She hit the ground running and worked on a new strategic plan with board and staff to address the needs of schools and arts organizations during the pandemic, its impact on the future of Act One, and on the communities served by the organization. Adapting to the changes of remote work, Carroll and her team launched Act One’s new virtual reality field trip program for students.

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