Blog Posts for lead

Cooperative Economics: Balancing (in)equitable advocacy in Black art communities

Posted by Ms. Keya Crenshaw, Oct 27, 2022 0 comments

Whether or not you practice Kwanzaa, the celebration's Seven Principles apply to all areas of life, including the arts, industry and economics, healthcare, and education. These actions can look like developing community-wide initiatives, such as those that center on art; creating community-led and focused direct impact service organizations; establishing businesses; educational and cultural events; and other enterprises that celebrate and center sustainable economic growth for and within the Black Diaspora. Like the art we create—be it murals during protests, artist community services rebuilding after a natural disaster, micro-grants for entrepreneurship, or any of the multiple ways creatives show up and produce work—Ujamaa, or Cooperative Economics, teaches us that this fundamental drive should grow out of the communal concept that it is for the betterment of our communities. Nobody should be under- or misrepresented, exploited, or oppressed; no one person, business, corporation, nonprofit, or organization holds the power to an unequal distribution of wealth, opportunity, recognition, or expression. As a practice within and among Diasporic populations, this principle asks us to understand that when we share our talents for growth and continued development of our environments, we establish the blueprint for how we survive and thrive.

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The Power of Culturally Specific Artistry

Posted by Jade Cintrón Báez , Sep 20, 2022 0 comments

As founder and director of ¡Looking Bilingüe!, a storytelling platform for Latinés who feel ni de aquí, ni de allá (neither from here nor from there), I have the pleasure of listening to people’s stories, exchanging perspectives on issues our community faces, and uplifting the U.S.-born Latinés who can’t speak Spanish fluently, face racism, and/or who generally feel they can’t claim their Latiné culture. These guests and I amplify these topics, archiving where they are on their journey, and acknowledge the patchwork quilt that is Latinidad: not a melting pot, but how we stitch together who we are today based on our shared and distinct multicultural and multirace histories. This work was once something I ran from. The idea of using my cultural identity professionally was something I felt embarrassed about. It felt inappropriate, rude, and something I had to keep neutralized for the sake of homogeneity. As an actor, I’d been conditioned to think of how I could fit in certain “ideal” boxes, and this had bled into my personal life. I’d grown weary of 30-second elevator pitches of my cultural identity and artistry. I wanted to find a way to be myself in both professional and personal spaces without having to tick everyone else’s boxes—to make my story mine.

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Member Spotlight: Megan Berner

Posted by Megan Berner, Linda Lombardi, Aug 09, 2022 0 comments

As Arts & Culture Manager for the City of Reno, Nevada, Megan Berner manages a public art collection of over 200 artworks, project manages all new public art projects, works with artists, manages the City’s Arts & Culture Grants program, oversees the City’s various gallery spaces, and serves as staff liaison to the City of Reno Arts & Culture Commission and their Public Art Committee. She is also a visual artist. “The best part of what I do is working in the community. I am originally from Reno and feel very connected to this place. It is exciting to work in a position that helps facilitate art and creative placemaking and to see ideas come to life. It’s especially rewarding to have the community be a part of the process, for them to interact with the artists, and to witness the transformation that takes place when art projects are implemented.”

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Member Spotlight: Lucy Gellman

Posted by Lucy S. Gellman, Linda Lombardi, Jul 20, 2022 0 comments

Lucy Gellman is the editor of the Arts Paper and co-founder of the Youth Arts Journalism Initiative at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. As a reporter and editor, she covers arts, culture, and community with an eye toward social justice and anti-racism. Prior to her time at the Arts Paper, she worked as a general assignment reporter for the New Haven Independent and a station manager at WNHH Community Radio. She holds degrees from Washington University in St. Louis and the Courtauld Institute of Art, both in art history, and is a former Fulbright fellow and the winner of a 2020 Connecticut Arts Hero Award. This year, she received recognition from the Elm City Freddy Fixer Parade Committee for her work. “Last week, my Friday began at a theater summer camp and it ended with a march against police brutality in which song, poetry, and sidewalk art were all used in the streets. In between, I talked to a singer/songwriter about how the pandemic changed his practice. The arts are essential to every one of those stories.” 

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Member Spotlight: Carol Gibson

Posted by Ms. Carol Gibson, Linda Lombardi, Jul 12, 2022 0 comments

Compassionate Artists, a nonprofit in Long Beach, California, brings music, dance, and art to financially disadvantaged seniors living in residential care facilities in Southeast Los Angeles County. Founder and Executive Director Carol Gibson launched Compassionate Artists in 2016. For six years, the team has offered live performances and activities, bringing joy and creativity to seniors. “I have personal experience in both the performance and production sides of special events like concerts, theatrical productions, dance companies, and creating art. My stage management experience has given me the organizational skills that I need to structure Compassionate Artists in the most productive way. I am very experienced working with all type of performers, so I am familiar with their needs and have the ability to connect with a variety of personalities. I have been a passionate volunteer my whole life and love making peoples’ lives better.” 

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Member Spotlight: Tamar Krames

Posted by Tamar Krames, Linda Lombardi, Jun 02, 2022 0 comments

The Washington State Arts Commission, ArtsWA, nurtures and supports the role of the arts in the lives of all Washingtonians. As the Arts in Education (AIE) Program Manager at ArtsWA, Tamar Krames oversees a variety of programs and partnerships with a focus on equitable access to quality arts learning. Krames is a multimedia artist, National Board-Certified teacher, and arts administrator. Supporting innovative, community-based practices in schools has been at the core of her work for the past 20 years. Current projects include managing Arts in Education grants, providing support for teaching artists and PreK-12 arts teachers, and amplifying the creative practices of youth and educators. Krames holds a Master in Teaching degree from The Evergreen State College and a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. 

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