Blog Posts for emerging leaders council

Emerging Leaders Work Together Across the Country (An Americans for the Arts Member story)

Posted by Bridget Woodbury, Mar 17, 2016 0 comments

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!

Read More


Posted by Mr. Todd Eric Hawkins, Nov 04, 2014 0 comments

Todd Eric Hawkins Todd Eric Hawkins

I became involved with the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Network in order to form stronger relationships with arts leaders on a local and national level. Over the past few years, the network has given me the opportunity to forge vitally important connections, both personally and professionally. In addition, the experience has provided me with the inspiration and tools to develop who I am as a leader.

For the past three years, I have had the privilege of serving on the Emerging Leader Council, a nationally elected body of individuals that advise Americans for the Arts on how best to serve the next generation of arts leaders. As a member, I was honored on multiple occasions to sit around a table with 14 of the most promising arts leaders I have ever met. Their dedication, wisdom, and first-hand knowledge of the struggles facing all of us as we grow as leaders, and their eagerness to find solutions and build a stronger future have been invaluable to my current and future success.

Read More

Degree of Entry?

Posted by Mr. Todd Eric Hawkins, Mar 20, 2013 6 comments

Todd Eric Hawkins Todd Eric Hawkins

During the last Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in San Antonio, I had the privilege of facilitating a roundtable on how to navigate a mid-career shift to the arts. The remarkable individuals I met during that discussion reinforced one of the things I love about arts administration and the arts in general, their entry points were varied and all are vital to the field.

Since entering arts administration a few years ago, I have had numerous conversations with arts leaders of all ages regarding the question of getting a Masters Degree. Part of the reason for this is that I did get a Masters Degree in Arts Administration in 2010 and I am often called on to tout the benefits of my alma mater to prospective students, which I do enthusiastically.

When I graduated three years ago, I would have told you that a Masters Degree is absolutely necessary, which was completely true in my case. I would never have the opportunities I now have without my graduate program. In the past three years, however, I have discovered an additional inescapable path to leadership, the road.

The road is paved with obstacles and pitfalls that every leader must face and that no Masters Degree program could possibly teach. They only thing the very best ones can do, is prepare you for the journey. 

Read More

Leadership and Identity Equity

Posted by Charles Jensen, Jun 19, 2012 3 comments

Charles Jensen

One of the most important sessions I attended at this year’s Annual Convention was Salvador Acevedo’s talk on "How Changing Demographics Are Shifting Your Community."

One of Salvador’s main points asked us to change our thinking from embracing “multiculturalism”—discrete ethnic identities that fit into neat census boxes—to “interculturalism,” a more broadly defined approach that invites people to define their identities contextually—and, to some degree, interchangeably.

Salvador cited research indicating the demographic landscape in America is rapidly changing. California is poised to become the first “minority majority” state, while several others already have collective non-white populations that outnumber the white population. Since half of all current births are non-white (or perhaps non-solely white), it’s clear a sea change is inevitable.

Salvador asked the audience in his “reverse Q&A” at the end of the session to talk about a time when we realized diversity was important to our organization. I talked about my participation on the Emerging Leaders Council (ELC) and how, just a few years ago, we released a slate of nominees for ELC election only to be criticized by our arts colleagues for releasing a slate of exclusively white candidates.

It wasn’t like we didn’t realize “diversity is important.” Of course we do. But the criticism pointed out a valid flaw in both our process of choosing nominees and the process inherent in populating the ELC.

Since then, the ELC has engaged in difficult, uncomfortable, and oftentimes unresolveable conversations about how we ensure our elected body is representative of the future of the field. Salvador’s talk provided a helpful context for thinking about the challenges we face in doing this.

Read More

Emerging Leaders Networks: Leveraging Impact for the Future

Posted by Stephanie Hanson, Apr 02, 2012 0 comments

Stephanie Hanson

Stephanie Hanson

Coming up with the theme for a blog salon is always a challenge.

For the past few years that I’ve been working with our Emerging Leaders Council committee to develop our blog salons, we usually have a kernel of an idea for what to focus on. It’s ideal when the initial inspiration comes from the council, because then it’s truly coming from the field. After all, the point of our blog is to facilitate online discussion about big picture issues in the arts that we feel need to be addressed.

When thinking about this year’s salon, the council knew they wanted to feature the Local Emerging Leaders Networks around the country. Great. Love it. Easy. Done.

But what should we have them talk about?

We already talked about emerging ideas in the field last year. What’s next?

We began to think about HOW those emerging ideas get implemented. In many cases, in order for a new idea to thrive, we as individuals, organizations, the community, and the field as a whole may need to change at a very fundamental level.

Perhaps we need to change our definition of success; how our organizations are structured; how we interact with our communities; and how we make art.

Then, we read Diane Ragsdale’s February 14 blog post; If Our Goal is Simply to Preserve Our Current Reality, Why Pursue It?, where she writes about innovation and arts sector reform.  Diane’s thesis can be summed up in these sentences:

Read More

Emerging Ideas: Pop-Ups for the Populi

Posted by Letitia Fernandez Ivins, Dec 16, 2011 2 comments

Letitia F. Ivins

This post is part of a series on emerging trends and notable lessons from the field, as reported by members of the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders Council.

In the midst of the recession, the “pop-up” has emerged widespread among visual artists as a vehicle for aesthetic and social engagement.

From the intimate and homemade to the mobile and socially ambitious, we have come to love artwork that “pops–up” in unexpected places. Whether an endearing artist crafted paper box cottage from which bear cub-sized tarts are doled or an urban planning mobile that functions as community organizer, the pop-up’s inherent temporality is creatively freeing.

What else makes the contemporary pop-up, with its entrepreneurial yet modest, if any, commercial interest so enchanting?

I write this post on my return from my first Art Basel Miami Beach. While I relished the fair art experience (a pop-up in all its garish glory) one of the most memorable artworks was the offbeat public art pop-up Transformer: Display of Community Information And Activation led by LA-based artists Olga Kouramoros and Andrea Bowers.

Read More