Blog Posts for Leadership

Feel the Turn

Posted by Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf, Sanuja Goonetilleke, Sep 11, 2018 0 comments

Dennie Palmer Wolf, mentor: I have half a century of work in the arts field behind me: successes, publications, and big, noticed projects, right along with my full share of mistakes, disasters, and misjudgments. When I speak nowadays I claim my white hair as a badge of office and call myself a “crone emeritus.” I started down that “remembrance road” and then thought, “For what?” Better to pass it on actively—why not mentor a next generation of leaders?

Sanuja Goonetilleke, mentee: I am lucky to have had multiple mentors in my life. Each is a double reminder: first, I am not alone and second, I have a responsibility to the world to pass the torch on. This is not only the torch of mentorship, it is also the torch of doing the work that my mentors have done and continue to do. It is more than knowledge; it encompasses showing up (with a smile), making an effort, pushing oneself to do one’s best, and keeping faith with what gradually becomes our shared work.

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The Essential Role of Youth Leadership in Arts Education Advocacy

Posted by Julia Di Bussolo, Alexandra Grayson, Sep 11, 2018 0 comments

In Fall 2017, the Baltimore City Public School district, in partnership with local nonprofit Arts Every Day, launched the Baltimore Arts Education Initiative to address more than a decade of decline in arts education. Advocates knew the realities—a student might begin studying General Music in Elementary School and never have a music class again. Another student might take Visual Art 100 in high school but have no option for advanced courses to prepare them for college or career. Thanks to the ambitious leadership of the Baltimore City Public School district and the collaboration of over 100 arts partners, educators, and district and city leaders, the Baltimore Arts Education Initiative resulted in the 2017 Arts Education Strategic Plan. As organizers, we knew barriers to access would be identified, recommendations debated, data charts created; but what did inconsistent arts access feel like to students?

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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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