Blog Posts for arts and diversity

Creating Dangerously: My Week at VONA

Posted by Eric Nguyen, Jul 09, 2014 1 comment

Eric Nguyen and M. Evelina Galang Eric Nguyen and M. Evelina Galang

On June 22nd I visited Berkeley to attend the Voices of Our Nation Arts (VONA) Writers’ Workshop. This workshop is a week-long conference for writers of color with workshops led by award-winning writers in a variety of genres, including fiction writer M. Evelina Galang, poet Patricia Smith, memorist Andrew X. Pham, and novelist Junot Diaz, among many others.

The organization was founded in 1999 by Junot Díaz, Elmaz Abinader, Victor Díaz, and Diem Jones. Each envisioned an arts organization that could change the landscape for writers of color by supporting individual writer growth, creating a platform for community engagement, and providing a workshop and mentor focus to expand writing opportunities. Fifteen years after its founding, it has become one of the most esteemed writers’ conferences in the US.

Read More

The Millennial Revolution: Young Arts Administrators of Color Reinvigorating the Field

Posted by Elena Muslar, Apr 13, 2015 4 comments

In more recent times, the arts administration field has begun to recognize the importance of cultivating tomorrow’s leaders. Professional development opportunities have begun to spring up for the “next-gen” or “emerging” leader. These buzzwords have essentially become synonymous with being a “millennial” in this field. Yet the term itself tends to be defined with certain characteristics of being detached, entitled, liberal, and tech savvy – most of which don’t always bode well for a young person trying to emerge into a predominately “baby boomer” arena.

Read More

Emergent Leadership Practices

Posted by Marian A. Godfrey, Mar 14, 2016 0 comments

What do we expect of the next generations of arts leaders? Do we want them to “fix” the ailing nonprofit operating model, or do we want them to blow it up and invent new modes of creating and delivering arts experiences? The answer is yes. 

The existing nonprofit arts system, with all its limitations and inequities, is capable of creating transcendent aesthetic experiences. Visionary leaders in some organizations have been applying diligence and innovation to expand the reach and public value of their programs. At the same time, as has always been the case, artists and arts entrepreneurs entering the field are pulling inspiration from the wider environment and making up new versions of arts experiences and organizational structures.

Read More

MORE THAN A FEELING: What Our Creative Youth Programs Are Really About

Posted by Jennifer Carroll Abssy, Sep 16, 2014 1 comment

Jennifer Abssy Jennifer Abssy

Inner-City Arts is now in its 25th year of offering high quality arts experiences to youth. Our programs include  professional development for teachers, schools and university programs, school day arts programming for K-8, and out of school programming for grades 6th grade and above. These Middle and High School Institute programs have grown from offering 5 art forms for 120 students in 2009 to today offering 15 to 22 workshops three times a year, to 600-800 urban youth. Here is what some of our Institute youth say about our programming:

“They don’t judge you here… I can be my own person.”  Angelica G.

“I can count on so many people here.” Sandy A.

“These people can benefit me a lot.” Gabriel U.

“I feel loved…”  Michael M.

Youth in our Institutes engage in high quality arts experiences in multiple forms such as Graphic Design, Visual Arts, Ceramics, Dance and Choreography, Acting, Spoken Word, Stand-up Comedy, Animation, Digital Photography, Guitar and Documentary Film - all located on our state of the art campus in downtown Los Angeles, near Skid Row.

Read More

Latinos, What does the future hold?

Posted by Olga Garay-English, Apr 13, 2015 1 comment

As I have segued from my nearly seven year stint as the Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and resumed my former role as a local, national, and international arts consultant, I have submerged myself once again in building bridges between the U.S. arts sector and the Latino/Latin American arts communities. Though these communities continue to take on more central roles in the U.S. dialogue, they are still marginalized.

Read More

Distributing & Cultivating Leadership

Posted by Mr. Jeffrey Golde, Mar 14, 2016 1 comment

As the latest report from the Hewlett Foundation points out, “The nonprofit arts sector is at a critical inflection point…” While there is risk in every path we choose to move forward, I believe great opportunity lies in collaboration between an older generation that worked tirelessly to build the current set of organizations and a new, hungry and highly skilled generation of arts administrators, ready to tackle today’s new challenges.

Ultimately we must solve the problem of how a field limited by funds and vertical job mobility, harness and retain talent? The findings suggest a need for a national discussion about redefining the role and meaning of leadership and how it affects the structure of our organizations. Distributed leadership is proposed as one solution to our current risk of losing emerging talent. I would also add cultivating the learnable skills leaders use. With both these ideas at work, I believe we can unlock value buried in the untapped human capital in our field.

Read More