Blog Posts for Events


Posted by Mr. George P. McLeer, Jr., Apr 18, 2014 0 comments

George Patrick McLeer George Patrick McLeer

As we sat down with our Congressmen this past March during National Arts Advocacy Day, one message kept coming out of my mouth, “In my community, we don't just 'fund' the arts, we use the arts.” I didn't arrive in Washington with that phrase in my mind. I didn't even think about it until after our “advocacy sessions,” the day before we visited Capitol Hill.

What alarms me the most about our annual trek to Capitol Hill is that our ask never seems to change— “We would like our Representative/Senator to support funding the NEA/Arts Education at this specific level.” We mention the ability to leverage the arts for economic impact, improve education, and make our lives more fulfilling, but at the end of the day we ask for money—either from the federal government or private citizens via tax policy shifts.

We need to stop asking for money and instead ask for a new vantage point.

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What Every Junior Board Should Know

Posted by Jess Kaswiner, Apr 04, 2012 2 comments

Jess Kaswiner

Jess Kaswiner

On February 28, Emerging Leaders Network Chicago hosted a wildly successful panel conversation and networking event simply titled “Junior Board Mega-Mixer.”

Weeks before the event, we had over 50 RSVPs and 7 local sponsors, including Changing Worlds, Steppenwolf Theatre, Urban Gateways, Snow City Arts, Auditorium Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, and Links Hall.

Our dedicated ELN team worked swiftly to spread the word, sharing the event announcement via email, Facebook,, and word of mouth. Participating panelists—including junior board chairs, general-body members, and representatives from sponsor organizations—weighed in on what it takes to incubate and sustain a successful junior board.

Below are seven key takeaways from this event, in addition to a few additional creative suggestions and how to host your own junior board mixer.

1) Efficiency is key – Young professionals are very busy between work, play, and volunteering. When planning your meetings, always send an agenda ahead of time.

2) Be nimble – Although your organization may have a very clear idea of what you want the organizational structure to look like or what type of events you want your junior board to plan, it’s important to first evaluate your capacity. As Dana Adams of Urban Gateways mentioned, “Think about the type of event YOU enjoy attending, and go from there!”

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Consider Creating a Conversation this October

Posted by Stephanie Hanson, Aug 19, 2011 0 comments

Since Americans for the Arts started the Creative Conversations program in 2004, in response to the feedback and initiative of the Emerging Leaders Council, the program has grown to serve over 50 communities and about 2000 individuals each year. Through Creative Conversations, we have witnessed the creation of strong local emerging leaders networks that still exist today, observed communities start a cultural or strategic planning process, and helped unify groups of people engaged in arts and culture to help spark dialogue, spur advocacy efforts, and create networking opportunities.

While the Creative Conversations program was initially created by and for the Emerging Leaders Network, we have seen and welcomed interest in the program from other networks and individuals as well. Having the structure of a national movement connected to a community’s grassroots initiatives can provide a framework and timeline for enacting a new project or bringing different groups of people together around a single issue.

This year, we are officially expanding the Creative Conversations program to invite and encourage individuals, organizations, and networks of all types to host an event, and engage their community around a cultural topic or issue that is of importance to them locally. You can view ideas for previous Creative Conversations here.

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Shopping Around Arts & Business Partnerships

Posted by Ms. Kate Marquez, May 18, 2011 1 comment

Kate Marquez

There is no question the arts are essential to build community in dynamic, lasting ways. However, arts organizations are constantly defending this concept. Unfortunately, in today’s economic climate it seems the best way to keep the arts alive is to attach monetary terms to their worth.

Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) has found there is more to gain than lose by venturing down this avenue and building lasting partnerships with businesses, for the sake of preserving art and supporting artists and musicians.

When local government funding was no longer available, due to budget cuts, SAACA turned to the business community to collaborate on events and programs. SAACA began to build arts-related partnerships, creating benefits for all parties that continue to unfold and grow. 

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