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Arts Advocacy Receives Research Gift

Two major Arts Education studies were released this past week, the FRSS 10-year comparison and the Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth a 12-year longitudinal study.  When these studies are married, their effectiveness as a tool for advocacy becomes undeniably clear.  While the FRSS will get much of the press because Secretary Duncan presented it, the study is of little consequence to the progression of arts education other then outright stating of significant declines in the amount of offerings across the board.  On the other hand, move over Charlie Bucket, the longitudinal study is the golden ticket arts education advocators have been praying for.

The longitudinal study gives the data for students of Low Socioeconomic Status (low SES) with both high and low arts exposure and their counterparts in the High Socioeconomic Status (high SES).  The matrixes measured for each of the four categories include high school graduation rates, civic involvement, recorded GPA, college graduation rates, average test scores, volunteer rates, other extracurricular activities, and labor market outcomes.  The results are startling, not because they affirm what advocates have said for years, but because of the achievement gap between low SES/low arts and low SES/high arts.

Looking at graduation rates alone, low SES/low arts had a dropout rate of 22%, compare that to low SES/high arts with a dropout rate of 4%.  The low SES/high arts students are even below the overall sample average of 7%.  For the mindset of these low SES/high arts students, we need only to look at the percentage of 8th graders planning to earn a bachelor’s degree 74% compared to 43%.  These are motivated students and compared to their low arts counterparts they are 14% more likely to vote in a national election or local election, 21% more like to volunteer, and 29% more likely to read the newspaper.  Looking at grades and curriculum, the high arts students have an average GPA of .39 points above low arts and were 10% more likely to enroll in calculus while in high school.

It should be noted that the high arts students are inherently involved individuals, as they are participants in athletics and service organizations.  However, students who are involved in other activities but are low arts do not have as high of GPA or curriculum gains as high arts students.

This is all fine and dandy, but why am I saying that this is hugely important when combined with the FRSS data?  Because in secondary school music alone there was a drop of 19% of offered programs for students in the low SES, but the high SES saw an increase of 6% between 2000-2010.  In affect, the advantage is going to the advantaged, while the disadvantaged are becoming disenfranchised.  But there’s more: of the high SES, 62% of schools offered 5 or more courses in the music, while low SES only measured 32%.

One area the low SES has dominated though is in collaboration and integration.  Music teachers in low SES are 14% more likely to consult with other teaches to incorporate units of study from other subject areas into the music curriculum and 17% more likely to utilize an integrated music instructional program with other academic subjects and 18% with other arts subjects.

Like music, visual arts have rather similar data (in secondary schools): a drop in offering for the low SES of 13% and only 22% of the remaining programs offering 5 or more courses.  Compare that to the 95% of high SES schools of which 56% offer 5 or more visual arts classes.  The unexpected number in all this comes from the consulting with other teachers to incorporate units of study from other subject areas into the visual arts curriculum indicator for low SES, which stands a staggering 17% above high SES.

So what’s the conclusion?  The students who benefit most from high exposure to the arts are receiving less of it then they did 10 years prior.  Granted we had the Great Recession and states have to balance their budgets, as a native Californian (and boy, did we get hit hard in 2008) I understand.  That does not mean we are off the hook.  As Secretary Duncan has said time and again, “we’re either going to invest in education or not, it comes down to the values.  Everyone has to step up or we’re going to struggle.” (March 2, 2012)

Beyond the Bottom Line: Running a Non-Profit in a For-Profit World

In this volatile economy, nonprofits are often last and hardest hit by financial downturns. How do they stay fiscally viable and mission-focused when faced with dwindling funding?  Are there aspects of the nonprofit model that are advantageous when compared to the for-profit model, specifically concerning the arts? What features of for-profits would be beneficial to integrate into the nonprofit world?

Is there a better way to manage arts organizations?

These incredible power-houses of the DC Arts Scene will answer these questions and more come the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium on April 15th:

Jack Rasmussen

Director of Art Gallery & Curator of the American University Museum at the 
Katzen Gallery. A native of Seattle, Jack Rasmussen earned his BA in Art from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA, before moving to Washington, DC, and completing an MFA in Painting, MA in Arts Management, and MA and PhD in Anthropology at American University. He worked in the Education Department of the National Gallery of Art before becoming the Assistant Director of the Washington Project for the Arts when it opened in 1975.

He left this position to open the Jack Rasmussen Gallery, one of the first commercial galleries to move to downtown Washington, and then launched Rockville Arts Place, served for ten years as the Executive Director of Maryland Art Place in Baltimore, and three years as Executive Director of the di Rosa Preserve: Art & Nature, a contemporary art museum and natural habitat in Napa, California.

Rasmussen is currently Director and Curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. (Bio From In The Loop)

B. Stanley

Stanley is an actor, director, pedagogue, puppeteer, and performance artist. He founded Theatre Du Jour in Washington DC in 1982 as an experimental group with an actor-based approach to creating new works. As an actor he has performed with The Living Theatre, Theatre Du Jour, Protean Forms Collective, The Hungry Fetus, The Puppet Company, Cherry Red Productions, Guillermo Gomez Pena, and in a myriad of unusual solo performances with his puppet, Ubu. Influenced by Antonin Artaud, Alfred Jarry, Jerzy Grotowski, Ingemar Lindh and like minds, he has directed a broad array of plays and performances, including Peter Handke’s Self Accusation, Antonin Artaud’s There Is No More Firmament and The Spurt of Blood, Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Cuckolded, George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, and Ossie DavisPurlie Victorious. As director of Theatre Du Jour he had lead many company-created works including Poor Oedipus (an adaptation of the Oedipus story), Tower of Babel, Last Minute, and Ritual Play. He has worked with several poets, including Silvana Straw and Quique Aviles in creating performances that combine literature, acting and multimedia.

Currently, Stanley is Executive/Artistic Director of The District of Columbia Arts Center, where he encourages the development of cutting edge work by new and emerging theater groups in Washington, DC. He conducts workshops on acting, directing and theater production and participates in conferences and seminars abroad with regularity.

Lissa Rosenthal

Rosenthal is a dedicated champion of the arts and a formidable music fan. She is committed to improving the lives of musicians whose work enriches everyone. Lissa brings 20 years of experience in arts leadership, advocacy and nonprofit development to her role as Executive Director of the Future of Music Coalition.

Prior to joining FMC, she was a marketing and fundraising consultant and the Development Director of the Pittsburgh Glass Center,  Director of Programs for the American Council for the Arts (Americans for the Arts), Development Director of P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center — an affiliate of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

As a social justice advocate, she has served as the National Program Director for PAX: Real Solutions to Gun Violence where she directed its highly acclaimed national public health campaigns dedicated to reducing youth gun violence in America, including SPEAK UP — a teen violence prevention initiative in partnership with Teen People Magazine, MTVNetworks and Atlantic Records.

She has also worked extensively in AIDS fundraising and event production, raising millions of dollars and awareness for AIDS service organizations nationwide. Her volunteer service includes work with Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation program, ranking her among their most effective national advocates. A promoter of all things green, she has authored several “green” cover features for Pittsburgh Magazine. (Bio From Dance USA)

Katherine Gibney

Kate Gibney joined the staff of Americans for the Arts in April 2006. As vice president of development, she oversees all fundraising undertaken on behalf of Americans for the Arts, collaborating closely with the Board of Directors, program staff, and senior leadership to create new opportunities for corporations, foundations, and individuals to support the organization’s goal of advancing the arts and arts education. Kate also coordinates development for the Americans for the Arts Foundation, which provides an array of planned giving vehicles for donors interested in providing legacy support for Americans for the Arts.

Kate brings to her role a wealth of knowledge and experience gained from her past tenures at The National Museum of Women in the Arts; the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery; and The Corcoran Gallery of Art, where she oversaw a corporate and foundation relations team focused on both annual and capital campaign fundraising. A singer in her spare time and an avid patron of the visual arts, Kate earned her bachelor’s degree with honors from Guilford College.

Participate in this and other amazing panels during the upcoming Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium on April 15. You may find the schedule of the Symposium here. Register here.

The Emerging Arts Advocate’s Guide to Climbing the Hill

By Ethan R. Clark

Capitol Lawn, Summer 2010 Ethan Clark

Whether we aspire to be a curator, producer, or director, lobbying and advocating is a normal practice for all to share our knowledge and personal testimonies of the importance and value of the arts. I can’t tell you how to dodge motorcades or avoid mobs of protestors while in DC but I will share with you a few tricks of the trade from one Emerging Arts Leader to another. Take note of these 4 tips to focus your craft of arts lobbying on the hill.

4.   Caution: Don’t Climb Alone!   

Nonprofits (with 501c3 status) often limit their lobbying because lobbying limits aren’t clearly defined by the law. Get informed of the laws and common misconceptions of nonprofit lobbying but don’t stress; there’s a good chance you won’t have to climb The Hill alone and your interest group/professional association will guide your visit according to IRS rules.

Hart Senate Office Building, "Mountain and Clouds" by Alexander Calder Ethan Clark

You’re only as good as your networks and knowledge. Professional associations, partnerships, working groups, and coalitions all share resources to increase knowledge, define effective policy agendas, and present influential data representing a policy maker’s constituents. Not to say that your voice won’t be heard but joining forces maximizes a policy maker’s time and your influence.

An organization’s capacity is viewed as an investment for government research. Not only do regional and national networks assist local nonprofits to participate in federal conversations but they also are continually the go-to organizations when government seeks info.

3.   For the Novice Navigator

Capitol's Original Front Entrance, Winter 2012 Ethan Clark

Okay so the hill isn’t that steep but prepare for a climb. Arrive at your building’s location 1hr prior to your meeting. Consider transportation delays and walking distances from parking lots/metro stations.  Arrive at your congressman’s office 30min prior to your meeting. Consider security checkpoints and the labyrinth of matching office doors.  Download a map and find a common meeting place to survey the land with your fellow climbers.

After hours of planning, travel, and productive conversation with your congressman, debrief (as appropriate) at these favorite eateries and cafes recommended by staffers and friends on the hill:  Sonoma, Bistro Bis, Johnny’s Half Shell, Pound the Hill, & Ebenezers Coffeehouse.

 2.    Reaching the Summit

Keep your cool and don’t let the impressive marble and memorials intimidate.  Remember whom your voice represents and your goal of delivering a clear and concise message. Start your conversation (not lecture) with a pleasant greeting and state your intentions and positions but don’t beat around the bush.

Inside the Capitol Dome, Fall 2011 Ethan Clark

Don’t derail on impassioned issues, follow talking points to progress conversation and maximize your time.  Prepare various lengths of dialogue from elevator speech to deep discussion; be confident. Also, practiced discourse with people of varying knowledge on your issue helps prepare you to communicate your message with the best tactics.

Stop the rhetoric and jargon. Clearly define the true problem and recommend a course of action that policy makers should take according to your interests. Provide analogies or examples of people your policy maker values the most: his/her voters. Policy options or alternatives should be included in your agenda.

Info = power but with information overload in Washington, no lobbyist expects a staff to read more than a 1-2 page brief or memo. Share new research to increase opportunities to schedule an appointment but keep it simple.

1.    Repelling 101

Washington Monument, Cherry Blossom Festival 2011 Ethan Clark

As DC Advocates for the Arts reminds us “Advocacy is an ongoing process. Legislators face so many competing causes that just one visit or one letter won’t make much of an impact.” Repel from your meeting on the hill but keep your rope tight and attached. Follow up with staffers on your meeting even if it’s cancelled. Staffers have a great influence on a policy maker’s decision and developing a relationship here is key to getting back in the door.

Did your meeting get bumped or shorten by a celebrity gallivanting around the hill? Don’t fret, hill staffers and especially Congressmen have extremely tight schedules and often work around the clock. If you had a successful conversation (or not), it is appropriate to follow up with a personal thank you note timed just right for an extra reminder before they vote.

I hope these tips ease your climb on Arts Advocacy Day! For further info…

Contact your state arts advocacy organization to learn more about how you can stay informed and engaged in the public policy process.

Visit websites of your favorite national associations to see how your local- and state-level issues relate to federal issues. It’s not uncommon for small and local organizations to participate in a larger network/coalition/legislative-working group to ensure their voice is represented on the hill.

Experiencing APAP NYC, what I am taking from the 2012 conference. – Day 4

Day 4:

Today’s post will be pretty short, I imagine, since the only main conference activity was the awards luncheon and the rest of the day was filled with showcases.

Each year, APAP awards those whose service to the performing arts has had a significant impact on the industry and on communities worldwide.  The recipients are chosen by a national panel of arts leaders.  Here are those recipients:

  • The William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence and Sustained Achievement
    King and Jaffe

    in Programming was awarded to Paul King and Walter Jaffe.  The two founded White Bird Dance in 1997 to highlight excellence in dance in Portland, Oregon. The organization has since become one of the leading dance presenters on the west coast bringing regional, national and international dance groups to the communities of Portland. White Bird supports emerging dance companies and choreographers, commissions new works, conducts outreach programs in local schools and collaborates extensively with other Portland area organizations to broaden dance audiences.

  • The Sidney R. Yates Award for Outstanding Advocacy on Behalf of the Performing Arts was awarded to Ben Cameron.  In 2006, Ben Cameron
    Ben Cameron

    assumed his current position as program director of arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in New York, NY. He supervises a $17 million grants program focusing on organizations and artists in the theatre, contemporary dance, jazz and presenting fields. Previously, Cameron served for more than eight years as the executive director of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), significantly expanding its programs, membership base and grant-making activities. He worked as senior program officer at the Dayton Hudson Foundation, manager of community relations for Target and spent four years at the National Endowment for the Arts, including two as director of the theater program.

  • The Award of Merit for Achievement in Performing Arts was awarded to Jazz impresario George Wein. Through his company, Festival Productions, Inc., he has spearheaded hundreds of music events annually since 1954 when he produced the first Newport Jazz Festival – an event that started the festival era. Five years later, Wein
    Wein

    and folk icon Pete Seeger founded the Newport Folk Festival where the two music giants celebrated 50 years of folk with 15,000 fans in August 2009. In 2011, Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc., was created to help maintain these festivals into the future. At 86, Wein has as much creative fuel as he did when he started the Newport festivals and advanced the concept of live music. He also pioneered the idea of sponsorships for music events, beginning with the Schlitz Salute to Jazz and the Kool Jazz Festival.

Showcases throughout the day:

  1. The first showcase was an excerpt by Radio Theatre.  They performed a wonderful adaptation of the King Kong script in the style of the old radio shows.  They didn’t dress up in 1940’s costumes and act as if a radio show was going on, however.  They just “parked and barked” from their script stands at the front of the stage.  It was a true readers theatre that, if you closed you eyes, made you feel as if you were sitting by a radio and listening to a story.  They also used lighting and sound effects to help the mood along.
  2. Next I saw Star of Happiness: Helen Keller on Vaudeville?!  The one woman play was designed (according to the program) to tell people of Keller’s four year Vaudeville stint and describe what it was like to be a blind spectacle.  While the idea seems good, the execution was far from it.  It is unfortunate that I have to give a bad review at an APAP showcase, but there is just no way to spin it.  It was bad.  The performer was not a good actor, which is sort of necessary when you are the only person on the stage.  Also, there didn’t seem to be any character to Keller.  I would not recommend wasting your time on this one.
  3. Next up was unfortunately another disappointment.  Jeff Randal Rose’s Love, Lightning had me searching from the start.  “Searching for what?,” you might ask.  Searching for a plot or a meaning or a theme or something.  And I consider myself educated in the different styles of theatre.  Simply, this seemed to be a poor attempt at avant-garde.
  4. My next showcase more than made up for it though.  Shen Wei Dance Arts was amazing.  The choreographer of the 2008 Bejing Olympics proved that he can do more than teach hundreds of people to beat a drum in sync.  Wei’s choreography is cutting edge and extraordinary, with the artists moving their bodies in ways that you rarely see dancers move (requiring the utmost body control).  The piece was, however, VERY modern.  I definitely don’t see Joe the plumber purchasing a ticket to see this.  But for those who are die-hard modern dance enthusiasts, I would highly recommend catching this when it comes through your town.  (But I do not recommend it for youth or children…or your mom, because of the scantily clad costumes….or lack of.)
  5. The Friar's Club

    I wrapped up my evening with an amazing combo showcase featuring some of NYK-Rapp’s artists.  We witnessed:

  • the succulent swing of legendary woodwind musician Hal Linden,
  • the belting voice of Lucie Arnaz (yes, that would be Lucy and Desi’s daughter),
  • the melodies of multiple Tony Award nominee and Knots Landing star Michele Lee
  • the showmanship of legendary singer and tap-dancer Maurice Hines (yep, Gregory’s brother)
  •  the Bette Midler and Aretha Franklin type vocal command of Carol Woods and Karen Saunders
  • the amplified pipes of Tony Award nominee (for Fosse) Valarie Pettiford
  • and the mind bending act of mentalist Guy Bavli

The entire night was emceed by the hilarious Stewie Stone at the legendary Friar’s Club at 55th and Park Avenue.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and would recommend these acts.

Ok, so I guess the post wasn’t as short as I thought it would be.  Stay tuned for the final post tomorrow.

– Steven Dawson
“The world needs art, not so they can escape, but so they can embrace.”

Experiencing APAP NYC, what I am taking from the 2012 conference. – Day 3

Day 3:

Bolz Center students share their work

I started this morning with a session with our fellow arts management students at the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the University of Wisconsin.  The students involved, Joanna Simpson, Brian Hinrichs, Marcella Dover, Laura Blegen, Andrew Maxfield, and Danielle Boyke, presented this year’s edition of the Dawson Research Internship: Power Influence, and Performing Arts.  Bolz Center director Andrew Taylor moderated.  The research and presentation was designed to connect the dots between power and influence in policy-making and the arts.  Here is a brief summary of the two hour session:

  • Social Network Analysis – there are 4 steps to analyzing your network:
    1) Define the group
    2) Know your position in relation to the group
    3) Identify the connectors and bridges between you and a desired network connection
    4) Create a plan for how to change your position
    – Analyze your network to see the actual connections.  It is a great way to visualize what you need to do to further your connections and position (i.e. – get someone on the Rotary club so you can connect with a certain local businessperson).
  • Social Movement Theory –
    – How do they function?  The root idea is the base, then comes the mobilization of resources, then comes a cycle of cognition (recognizing smaller goals), coordination, and cooperation.
    – Arts fit in with social movements by providing communication, mobilization, solidarity, long-term impact, and emotional power.
  • Power in Politics – Economic power is the main source of power in the US (the 1% idea that has been brought forward from the “occupy” movements).  The “power elite” have a mix of social upper class, policy forming organizations, and corporate community.
    – How to make a change:  identify your “power elite” and find a way into the network.
  • Organizational behavior – the 6 source model from Influencer by Patterson, Grenny, et al.: shows different ways to affect change (this is a great companion book to Switch by the Heath brothers).

Ideas picked up from session participants and personal thoughts:

  •  Ticket buyers are an outcome, not a network.
  • An army of people camping on the steps of the capital is not as powerful as one person having a conversation with the chair of a congressional committee.
  • As far as advocacy, we arts people have such a large network, that the potential for huge clout is there; we just have to mobilize the network.
More info on the research can be found at bolzcenter.org/dawson

At 11:00, I attended the next plenary session, The Village Beat – Taking Action.  It was hosted by John Hearn, principal at SYPartners.

John Hearn

The towering consultant led the group in a discussion on connecting the organization to the community and its needs.  This doesn’t mean simply residing in a community and trying to lure its members in.  It means having a direct connection.  His four pillars of what constitutes a community’s situation are the individual, the community (group), change that is happening, and money.  The major questions to ask yourselves as an organization are:

  • How is the world changing for the community you serve?
  • What is the ideal that would answer your community’s most pressing needs?
  • How will you or your organization rise to this occasion?
  • What is the evidence that you can exercise this leadership?
  • How must you stretch in order to fully occupy your new role in the community?

Thoughts taken from this session:

  • Don’t think about your community in terms of art, because chances are it is not what they wake up thinking about.
  • Define your success as an organization based on the success of the community around you, not by looking at yourself in the mirror.

There was a lot of grand, eloquent thoughts and statements during this Village Beat session.  I can only hope that the arts leaders who made these statements will actually put these thoughts into action and not keep them on the shelf.

After a dinner at the famous Carnegie Deli, I headed over to the Broadway Comedy Club on 8th avenue to check out what Chicago City Limits had to offer.  It is a 6 member

Chicago City Limits

improvisation group that has 5 actors and 1 amazing improvisational accompanist.  I was not disappointed.  I know I said yesterday that 7 Fingers was my favorite….well, Chicago City Limits has now taken that position with a coup de force.  I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard.  You know when you get to laughing so hard that they get high pitched and you start snorting……yep, that was me.  The troupe started with a song about a phrase that the audience came up with, which happened to be “Anything Goes.”  The lyrics were masterfully composed, and the actors really played off each other rhymes well. Then they performed a sketch about another crowd creation in multiple styles, which were also drawn from the crowd.  Another highlight was the “story time” sketch based off of a title that an audience member gave.  The actors passed the baton, so to speak, picking up the story and continuing to create it as the “director” pointed to each actor.  They also performed a long-form improv musical, and ended with a hilarious game in which one actor had to guess a regionalism phrase based on extremely vague clues given by the other actors.  I cannot even begin to do justice to the comical genius of the group in this blog.  I can only recommend that you look them up and plan to attend one of their shows.

Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

After that, I meandered down to 44th and 8th to the famous Birdland jazz club to listen to a set from the world renown and Grammy winning Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.  Each musician on the stage was a true master of his craft.  It was a delight to listen to such wonderful Latin jazz.  Once again, I recommend hunting them down and listening when you get the chance.

– Steven Dawson
“The world needs art, not so they can escape, but so they can embrace.”

Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium Reflection

When Michelle Grove, MA arts management ’08, first imagined organizing a leadership conference, she described it as just a “half-baked idea.” But her initiative quickly gained ground and before she knew it, in 2008, she was the founder of the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium (EALS), an event that is still held annually at American University.

“It’s so exciting to see this initiative continue,” Grove says. “I felt like it was such an important thing to do, not only for the sector, the young people and emerging leaders who might attend the symposium, but a great opportunity for students in the program.”

The Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium is an annual, one-day event catered to young professionals in the arts. It features networking opportunities, a keynote address, and professional development panels run by industry leaders. The fourth EALS will be held at American University on April 15, 2012, the day before Arts Advocacy Day.

“I think EALS is a really unique opportunity that American University can bring to the table,” says Sherburne Laughlin, AU arts management program director. “We have the assets to make it work, the student leadership, and the contacts. We have the location, and in so much of the content and thinking, we are on the cutting edge of the field.”

When Grove first envisioned EALS, her timing was a perfect fit for the university, Laughlin recounts, as she wanted more leadership education for her students. “She had an idea at the same time I saw the need,” she adds.

The goal of EALS was for it to be an open event that allowed arts management students to network outside the university, says Grove, who is now director of grants at the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. “It’s about building that network, which is so incredibly important when you work in a field that’s so small as arts management is, but so spread out geographically,” Grove says. “Opening up and engaging with your community and your peers is very important.”

The first EALS event was a success, and all of the seats were sold out, Grove recounts. “One of the highlights of the event was a question and answer session with a panel of arts leaders, which allowed the audience to have a meaningful conversation with them,” she adds.

Networking opportunities and hosting interactive sessions have remained strong components in each year’s conference. Each event also includes multiple breakout sessions, which in past years have covered topics such as career development, management, board governance, and building global connections. The symposium also features a keynote address from a notable arts leader. Past speakers include Sandra Gibson, former resident and CEO of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters; Rachel Goslins, executive director of the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities; and Ben Cameron, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Each year, EALS is organized by a new executive committee composed of arts management graduate students that plans all event details, including selecting speakers and panelists, hosting fundraising events, managing the budget, and developing marketing plans. Although Laughlin advises the students, she tries to remain as hands-off as possible. “This was a practice in leadership,” Laughlin says. “It was a perfect way to have students test out some leadership ideas and do it in a certain context and get in touch with leaders in the field themselves.”

Grove also sees the value of planning EALS and encourages students to become involved. “If you’re a current student, it’s an opportunity to interact with people outside of the academic world,” Grove says. “In terms of the planning, it’s not just classroom skills; it’s real hands-on learning with event planning and leadership.”

For more information on attending the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium 2012 on April 15, visit the symposium Website.

Arts Advocacy Day

There are many reasons to advocate for the arts. Pick your platform, honey.

One of the many amazing things about EALS 2012 besides the fact that it’s my birthday, April 15th, is that you can combine your attendance with one of the most significant gatherings of supporters of the arts in the country: The 25th annual Arts Advocacy Day April 16 – 17, 2012.

“Arts Advocacy Day is the only national event that brings together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations, along with hundreds of grassroots advocates from across the country, to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts.”

So when (there is no “if”, grasshopper, if you love the arts, you need to be here, start planning now) you’re preparing to head to our Nation’s Capital, be sure you make it here in time to join us at American University. We are all emerging arts leaders. By remaining teachable we’ll remain relevant.

Register for Arts Advocacy Day today, and we’ll save you a seat at EALS.

Get ’em Young

What can a young person do to advocate for the arts?

Pursue their passion.

We are the first generation of arts managed who trained as artists before coming to the field of management.  At American University alone our Arts Management class is made up entirely of students who trained as professional artists but chose instead to pursue a career of management.

Sure you could argue that maybe many of us are pursuing this path because we couldn’t hack it, but if you ask around you’ll find most of us continue to pursue that artistic path… but we dream bigger. We want to touch lives of artists and audiences. With our background and training we have the understanding and language to understand our artists, but also the ability to communicate with an audience. I believe one day this relationship between arts and audience won’t have to be facilitated, it will be natural.

For now we must continue to encourage all students of all ages to pursue their passion for the arts. They can still get their degree in economics or drive race cars or answer phones at a doctor’s office… but wherever life may take them I hope they’ll have had that early artistic access. The arts don’t just enrich, they are essential. If all American get to experience the artistic pleasure we have, there would be no need for advocates. High art, low art, there would be no question that is should be accessible and treasured. Arts would be part of everyday life.

As if they weren’t already. Sometimes we just don’t have the tools to see it.

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