Blog Posts for emerging leaders network

The Privilege of Voice

Posted by Ms. Kai Monet, Sep 14, 2018 0 comments

The MOCA Teen Program, which I co-manage, is an academic yearlong paid internship for 18 students that supports teens on a journey of self-discovery through learning about art, the museum, and the world. In the process of selecting candidates, we look for individual voices that can become part of a diverse and connected community. Students who come from privilege are empowered to have a voice from a young age. Students with fewer resources are not, and face a disadvantage before even applying for the MOCA Teen Program. The unequal empowerment of student voices illuminates a systematic barrier for youth to be prepared and competitive candidates for art and leadership pipeline opportunities. While the MOCA Teen Program aims to empower the voices of our program participants, we may be perpetuating cycles of privilege if our selection process gravitates towards privileged applicants. We must put more resources and thought into equitable recruitment and application processes to creative pathways if we are to overcome this barrier to diversity in our field. 

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From Diversity to Justice: How One Intern’s Experience Informs Efforts to Diversify the Arts Education Leadership Pipeline

Posted by Citlali Pizarro, Sep 12, 2018 0 comments

Since the age of five, theater has served as my safe place, my platform, my passion, and my megaphone. It empowers me, strengthens me, and mobilizes me in an ethereal and visceral way that nothing else can. And yet, for the first nine years of my theater career, all my directors and theater teachers were white. Even now, years later, the vast majority of the faculty in my college’s theater department are white. This reality is an injustice. And still, my existence is proof that theater, and more broadly, the arts, shape our notions of what is possible for ourselves and the world around us. Art is restorative. Art is transformative. Art is healing. Art is resistance. It is for this reason, among many others, that arts leadership, and especially arts education leadership, must be representative of those who exist at the intersections of marginalized identities.

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Working Through and Around Challenges of the Pipeline in Arts Education

Posted by Ms. Caryn Cooper, Sep 12, 2018 0 comments

Working in any field, we want assurance that there is upward mobility in our careers. Once upon a time, that is something that would often happen. One would start in a specific entry-level role and move up the ranks to be a top-level executive. However, today things in the nonprofit sector, and more specifically in arts education, look a little different. This is due in part to several systemic challenges that often limit the opportunities of growth for emerging leaders. Given these challenges, how can an emerging leader in arts education work through and around these systemic barriers?

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The Power of Representación y Oportunidad

Posted by Jacqueline Flores, Sep 10, 2018 0 comments

Research shows that people who look and have experiences like mine are less likely to continue higher education. I often find myself to be the only Latina in the room and the only person from an underprivileged background. Aside from seeing this in my own environment, I have seen it in the works being produced on stage around the country. The first time I saw someone that looks like me play a leading role on stage was a couple of months ago, at twenty-two years old. The narrative has to change. I am diligently working towards doing just that, but I am the exception to a very large statistic. I want to make sure that we all start having colleagues of different backgrounds and skin colors. I want us all to read books, see plays, and hear music that is written, performed, and produced by people that look like us. Providing equitable access to a well-rounded education that includes the arts can do these things.

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Fostering Dialogue and Taking Action: Creatively Breaking Down Barriers is an Ensemble Effort

Posted by Jordan Campbell, Sep 10, 2018 0 comments

In an age of unpaid internships, I have done my fair share of work for the “professional experience” it might bring. (I’ve also been asked to do arts-related events for free or at a very low cost—presumably because I am a young person and might want the “exposure.”) I have experienced some of these systemic barriers on my professional journey. It is my hope that arts education can begin to pull away from that linear mode of thinking and gravitate more toward the concept highlighted in our research—a cyclical leadership—that can foster authentic, diverse, and collaborative work environments. This year, as a candidate for the Arts in Education Ed.M Program at Harvard University, I seek to continue this discussion with my academic cohort of teaching artists, arts managers, curators, and nonprofit leaders. We each have a role to play in breaking down the barriers for emerging leaders. 

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Embracing Cyclical Mentorship and Our Commitment to Arts Education

Posted by Mr. Jeff M. Poulin, Sep 10, 2018 0 comments

Over the past two summers, I have had the unique privilege to work with three incredible mentees through the internship program here at Americans for the Arts. With all three of these individuals, I worked hard to impart much of my knowledge about arts education, the nonprofit arts sector, the inner working of Washington, D.C.’s advocacy infrastructure, and much more. However, it was through these unique relationships that I also learned from them and grew as a person; we were engaging a process of cyclical mentorship. Often, we approach the leadership pipeline in the field as a departing of knowledge from the older generation to the younger. This process, though utilized effectively in the cultural sphere, leaves much to be desired. As we work together in the field, we must be aware of our own advancement in the pipeline and how we are interacting in relation to other operating alongside us. 

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