I enrolled in an arts management graduate program with plans of pursuing a leadership position within a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to enhancing community engagement in contemporary art and craft.
Community-based art centers had made a powerful impact on my own artistic and personal development, and I wanted to contribute to that field in a way that would impact others.
In just a few short months, my graduate coursework opened my eyes to the national arena of arts policy and advocacy. I realized that supporting community arts engagement was layered and complex. My professional interests began to shift towards the major challenges and strategies influencing the advancement of local arts development across the United States.
It was around this time that I heard about the Local Arts Classroom, a web-based leadership development series offered by Americans for the Arts through a combination of interactive webinars and conference calls.
The opportunity was open to professionals with less than 10 years of experience in the arts sector and graduate students. The curriculum was focused around key topics, including:
- Community Arts Development
- Creative Placemaking
- Stewardship & Resource Development
- Cultural Planning
- Arts Advocacy
- Board & Staff Development
Some of these topics were new to me, but many resonated with my current graduate coursework and research interests. I remember thinking—I wonder what I could learn from discussing these issues with a whole new group of people? What new connections would I draw between my academic studies and professional practice? Who would I meet? What new material would I be exposed to in a setting outside the university environment?Read More