Blog Posts for Leadership

The Power of the Third Space

Posted by Ms. Jessica A Nuñez, Samantha Joseph, Sep 11, 2018 0 comments

Jessica Nuñez, mentor: Youth Development is essential in creating this concept of the third space—not home or school, but one that youth select on their own. Designing a safe space creates a collaborative learning environment that produces innovative ideas, lasting friendships, and strong ties to the institutions and organizations that provide these programs. I am a result of that mentorship and of the many opportunities the Explorers Program provided me.

Samantha Joseph, mentee: The word mentor is defined as “an experienced and trusted adviser,” and having a mentor who is a woman of color trust who you are and your abilities, regardless of your background, is something invaluable. Mentorship is more than being there for someone—it means you see them for who they are and help them achieve new heights; and lucky for me, I had the chance to experience just that.

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Everyone Was a Womxn at Some Point

Posted by Octavia Yearwood, Sep 11, 2018 0 comments

Everyone was a womxn at some point! Then she gave you time and fostered a space within her to help you become what you are. The more women realize that from being able to give birth to being the backbone to almost every successful company, what’s clear is that we are the leaders and have always been the most popular artist. It’s always been that way; we’ve just been the silent partner, the main investor, the proverbial “legs” with others leading as the body. THAT, however, is what’s changing. So what it means to be a womxn in a leadership position at an arts nonprofit in today’s world means being what we’ve always been, but with a voice to say what you want, what you need, having the will to take what you deserve, build what you see, and being the face that represents that.

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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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Cyclical Mentorship in Action: Crafting this Toolkit

Posted by Jermaine Doris, Sep 10, 2018 0 comments

While helping with research for Americans for the Arts’ Emerging Arts Education Leadership toolkit, I was able to find the true potential in the reciprocal exchange and cyclical mentorship of arts leaders in the field. Originally, I came to this project as just an artist and, therefore, a believer in the power of the arts, but I knew very little of the landscape and infrastructure of support for the arts in my region or my nation as a whole. I lacked that knowledge of how to create coalition as an arts leader, how to inspire others to action in the best way, or that there was even a cycle of mentorship that could tap into. Through this project, I realized how many resources and how much support there really is (and how much support there can be) for the intersections of identity and culture within arts education programs in America.

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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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