Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium

+ ART.



Happy Valentine’s Day!

We on the EALS committee want to wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day! We feel incredibly honored by the love and support the symposium continually receives from friends, families, and the greater arts community. We are so excited to very soon be sharing with you the most amazing news about our panelists and the professional development and networking feature we’ll be incorporating this year. But for now, at the risk of leaving you too much in suspense, we want to share with you what we love most about the arts and the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium.

Things we love about the arts:


I love the quiet moments I have with myself when I dodge into a museum in the middle of the day, or catch a show last minute just because. Art has this beautiful way of revealing ourselves to ourselves and giving us a window into the soul of the creators and the thoughts, philosophies, or societal questions it attempts to answer or shed light upon. Art helps to center me and give voice to the thoughts and feelings I haven’t found a way to express in words.Zenia, Marketing Coordinator


I love that the arts are a reflection of who we are as individuals and as a society. It’s an expression of passion that goes far beyond words. I believe that when words fail, art steps in. Art can unite us, inspire us, and force us to face larger issues. And I think it’s vital to sustaining our sense of culture and identity, as well as propelling us onward.Jenni, Program Coordinator


I love how people’s primary motivation for entering this field, in any capacity, is driven by passion. Being in the arts is not just “work” or “just another job”. We are part of the arts because we love it, want to share that passion with others, and can’t imagine a life without it. Tori, Marketing Coordinator


The arts are incredibly diverse and embracing of that diversity. If you can paint, paint. If you can dance, dance. If you can sing, sing. If you want to sit there and appreciate it from the audience because doing something creative is hazardous to those around you, appreciate. No one will judge you less for the skills you demonstrate or do not demonstrate. Plus, the people you meet within the arts come from a variety of backgrounds, styles and outlooks. It makes being a member of this community so much more inspiring when compared to my previous fields because everyone is so accepting and open.Helene, Finance Coordinator


Things we love about EALS:


I love EALS because it is one of the most intimate, personalized conferences for arts managers I’ve ever seen.  It is an action-packed day where a relatively small group meets to really dive into their passion.  It is dynamic, engaging, and important because there are so many valuable insights and networks to be gained within just one short day! Erin, Executive Chair


Working with such an amazing, talented group of women! And engaging such a depth of experience and talent for our panels.Sarah, Production Manager


I love EALS because it is the opportunity to be surrounded and inspired by the brilliant minds of our industry. AmyJo, Program Coordinator


Besides the wonderful women I’m serving with, I love the panels: creating them, picking out the best panelists to give attendees a great experience, and then simply seeing them in action. Colleen, Finance Chair


I love the excitement that is beginning to surround us as we get closer to the big day. We are all working so hard to put together the best possible symposium with some of the most influential leaders in the arts. I love the feeling of accomplishment it has brought me so far and look forward to the coming month and a half of final planning. I also adore working with such a wonderful team. It is such a treat to working with such motivating and intelligent individuals. Laura, Vice Chair


Is Graduate School Necessary?

So…Why graduate school?  Why Arts Management?

…are the two questions I get asked the most when people find out I’m in grad school.  The answer I really want to give is: “Well, why not?”

But if a more serious answer is needed, then I’ll be honest.  I felt stuck and I needed to find a way to move forward.  After three years with a theatre company in Minneapolis, I was in a position with little upward mobility.  If I didn’t want to have to start over in another company at an entry-level position, I needed to get an advanced degree.  My dreams for the future include high-level management in a theatre company, so sitting in a dead-end position was not for me.  Now here I am, in the middle of my first semester of grad school, facing the stacks of reading and hours of homework and silently wondering if I’ve made the right choice.  That’s normal, right?  (I’ve been told repeatedly that it is…so, I guess that’s a relief).  But really, I feel confident in the decision I’ve made.

The depth of knowledge and expertise my professors display, the vast network of alumni, and the great reputation American University’s Arts Management program has in the arts community, are just a few of the reasons this place is unbeatable.



However, knowing that one perspective isn’t everything, I’ve enlisted the help of my fellow EALS committee members, as well as an alumna of the program and a prospective student, to help shed some light on the topic.


Do you think grad school is becoming the new standard of education?

I think a graduate degree is absolutely becoming the standard for the next generation of arts administrators. There is an increasing amount of competition for the high level positions in a successful arts organization. If that’s the kind of job you want, you have to make yourself an attractive, well educated candidate. — Amyjo Foreman ‘16

In my experience it sure seems that way. Grad school appears to be necessary in this competitive job market if one hopes to get a position which matches your level of education. I don’t know if it is because entry-level jobs are disappearing and giving way to internships and fellowships, or if the competitive job market has turned what might have once been thought of as an entry-level job into a position requiring a graduate degree.  — Pascale Rucker, prospective student


How has your understanding of what grad school is and its purpose in your life changed since you started?  

Before beginning grad school, I looked at the advantages of having a master’s degree mostly in metrics (ex: how many more contacts I will gain, how much potential earnings should increase, etc.).  Now I realize that for me, grad school has been so much more fulfilling qualitatively.  I found a sense of home in a new city and with a new group of friends, my perspective and knowledge is constantly growing and changing, and I have shaped and re-shaped my identity, curiosity, and tools I use to navigate everyday life.  I knew I would be changed, but not this deeply. — Erin Quinlan ‘15

At first, I really thought that grad school was just some more studying and focus of an area I’m interested in, but I realized it’s so much more. I’m surrounded by people with the same goals that I have and everyday what I want to do in life becomes more and more clear. I finally feel as though my goals are achievable and have the proper tools to achieve them. — Zenia Simpson ‘16


What do you think are some common misconceptions about grad school?

Some common misconceptions I find in grad school is that it is a strict continuation of how you’ve been studying throughout your life. It’s much more concentrated and in a smaller time frame. Grad school expects you to take a one sentence question and build a thesis and career out of it, whereas you’ve been able to get by on writing a 10-page paper on a 300-page book. There’s also a belief that grad school will make you employable, which, while hopefully it will, students still need to remember to build work experience and networks in their fields. And then, sometimes, it still comes down to luck. — Sarah Hewitt ‘15

A common misconception I have heard about graduate school is that it is a place to discover, more specifically, what you want to do. Although I think graduate school has a lot of room for self-discovery and exploration, students should decide to attend graduate school after they know which career path they want to take. Grad school should not be used for solely gaining experience, but learning the specifics about your desired career path. — Tori Sharbaugh ‘16


What led you to choose the Arts Management program at AU?

I picked AU because of the people. I met great people at the other amazing schools I looked at, but there was something about the people at American that spoke to me. The professors had more heart, and maybe more sarcasm, than the rest. The people were more like me in that they have worked a bit, they have seen the world, and they have my sense of humor. — Helene Genetos ‘16

I had been looking at all of the DC-area Arts Management programs and was very much drawn to the International Arts Certificate (given my background in Russian and interest in international cultural programs/exchanges). I liked being able to cross disciplines and that AU encouraged it. — Sarah Hewitt ‘15

My first reason for attending the AU program was because of the reputation it has amongst Arts Management programs across the country. From information I had collected, AU immediately stood out as one of the leading programs. In addition to the reputation of the professors and available opportunities, the location of Washington, D.C. was a huge draw for me. — Tori Sharbaugh ‘16

AU’s Arts Management program is well established and highly respected in the field with graduates working in leadership positions across the country. I was also particularly drawn to the experienced faculty, coursework, and endless opportunities for students to engage and learn from others in the field through symposiums, conferences and events. It also helped that the program was in Washington, which is where I wanted to further develop my career and build connections. (This answer was originally posted on Her Campus) — Erin Phillips ‘14

As an Art History major, my background is purely academic. I want to pursue a career of a more business capacity, so a graduate degree in Arts Management seems to be the ideal program. Alumni and current students speak so highly of the program at AU. I am currently seeking more information. — Pascale Rucker, prospective student


What do you think an arts focused grad degree gives you that a MBA doesn’t?

One of the push backs I got from people was why I was going after the MA programs instead of an MBA. Since these arguments were few and far between and coming from people who knew nothing about this field, I pretty much politely ignored their suggestions, offering a line something to effect of liking the ability to tailor my program more specifically to my needs as an arts manager. — Colleen Holroyd ‘15

An arts focused degree offers a critically important lense that an MBA or Non-profit Management degree would not.  Arts organizations are very unique beasts who present their own challenges, issues, and opportunities.  The chance to focus specifically on the inner-workings of organizations as similar to ones we will actually manage in our careers is a key element.  That is also why EALS is so great!  We focus specifically on the issues our colleagues are curious about! — Erin Quinlan ‘15

I struggled with the decision between arts management masters and an MBA. At the end of the day, I knew I wanted to work with the arts and wanted to be seen as a member of the arts community. I felt an MBA would set me apart from my colleagues and not in the way I wanted. Who knows, I could always go get one later… — Helene Genetos ‘16


What were some of the biggest arguments people offered to try to persuade you not to pursue an arts degree?  What made you choose to ignore them/how were they wrong?

People have a preconceived misconception that the arts aren’t profitable, you can’t make your living that way, or that arts should just be an extracurricular. Sorry, but you’re wrong, dudes! The cultural sector stimulates the economy, provides full time jobs, and can enhance the quality of life on all levels. We’re in this program because we understand that and part of our job is to help others understand that too. — Amyjo Foreman ‘16

The biggest argument I have always encountered revolves around compensation. It is no lie that arts managers do not make as much in the non-profit sector as other careers. But that is a choice I believe we all have made in order to pursue our passions (or should make sure we have made). I’d rather be ecstatic in my career and want to go to the office every day, than feel completely financially secure. My college adviser gave me this advice in a different context, but it comes down to “if you can’t imagine yourself doing anything else, than this is the career for you.” For me, that credo was enforced during the recession when I could gratefully say that I loved my job and was able to make a living, albeit a modest one, off of what I was doing. — Sarah Hewitt ‘15

The biggest argument I heard upon deciding to come to grad school was all about money.  I understand that to some, this investment seems frivolous or even useless but I had to go with my gut on this one.  It turns out that I have already gained more than I have paid for.  Yes, I have gained all the skills and knowledge I expected my tuition to cover but I can’t put a price tag on the pride, support, and confidence I will leave this program with.  This is especially important to me as a young woman arts leader as some voices discourage confidence in my education. — Erin Quinlan ‘15


What is your favorite thing about AU’s program?

It’s the people — students, teachers, alumni — they’re all such interesting people with brilliant ideas for the field. The location is also fantastic. There are opportunities I’ve been able to latch on to by virtue of being in the DC area. Certainly there would be other opportunities in other locations, but the things I’ve been able to do by being in this area are incredible, my job with the NCTA (Nat’l Council for the Traditional Arts) at the forefront. — Colleen Holroyd ‘15

My favorite thing about AU’s program is how interconnected we all are. With multiple active Facebook pages and blogs, I feel in constant contact with everyone in the program and am constantly learning about news in the industry, events, and even job opportunities. Even when not at AU, I run into alumni or people who hold the program in such high regard and are always asking if I know someone who needs work because people in our program are so top-notch. — Zenia Simpson ‘16


So… Why graduate school?  Why Arts Management?  Because we live and breathe art, it is a necessary and important part of our culture, it fulfills a place in our lives that nothing else can, and we can no longer deny the call of our passion.


This article was written by Jenni Amis. 

All opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the individual and do not reflect the views of American University or the Arts Management program.  

Starting a Career in the Arts

Written by Shannon Musgrave

Washington is full of young, ambitious, up and coming leaders – politicos, entrepreneurs, engineers, and of course, those of us in the arts. We live in an exciting time and as we prepare to dive into the working world, we are faced with some unique challenges. But we are young and energetic and up to the task.

Courtesy of William Couch, Flickr
Courtesy of William Couch, Flickr

One universal challenge emerging leaders face in every field is the evolution of the ever expanding “work day.” Gone are the days of a typical 9 to 5. (Though, did they ever really exist in the arts?) In this iPhone, iPad, Blackberry world, we are continually and constantly connected. Emails are sent and expected to be read at any and all hours. Tweets and Facebook comments don’t take the night off. We are embarking on a career world that never stops and rarely sleeps.

And how does one break into this world? Ah yes. The internship. Internships have the potential to be great career launchers. They also have the potential to become traps. All work and no pay makes Jane a tired intern. The New York Times recently published an article detailing the struggles of many 20-somethings – “a population historically exploitable as cheap labor” – as they learn that “long hours and low pay go hand in hand with the creative class.”

But the good news is, it feeds us (maybe just ramen noodles at first.) We in the arts get the extra perk of our work feeding our souls. It’s why we do it. And it’s an exciting time to dive in.

The Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University on April 7 will feature a panel discussion on career beginnings and advancement. Come get in on the discussion!

Panelists include:

Jojo Ruf – National New Play Network: Jojo Ruf is the General Manager of the Ruf HeadshotNational New Play Network, an alliance of 47 nonprofit theaters across the US that champions the development, production and continued life of new plays.  Jojo is also the Coordinating Producer for the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University, an Associate Producer for the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, a freelance writer for theatreWashington, and works as a Teaching Artist for Ford’s Theatre.  She has worked with Arena Stage, the Kennedy Center, Theater J, Welders Theatre, and Georgetown University as a freelance producer and director.

Most recently, Jojo served as the Coordinating Producer for Georgetown University’s Convening on Global Performance, Civic Imagination, and Cultural Diplomacy and as the Coordinator for Theater J’s Spinozium and other Beyond the Stage events for New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza.

Christopher K. Morgan – Christopher K. Morgan & Artists: Christopher K. Morgan is Artistic Director of Washington DC area contemporary dance company MorganChristopher K. Morgan & Artists, the Artist in Residence in the Dance Program at American University and the Director of the Dance Omi International Dance Collective, an annual residency for choreographers in New York.  All of his work stems from a belief in the urgency of live performance in an increasingly isolating, commercial, and digital world. His choreography has been presented in 18 countries on 5 continents.  In April 2011 Dance Magazine profiled him as one of six breakout choreographers in the United States.   Christopher is the recipient of a 2011 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for Choreography, a 2012 and 2013 Individual Artist Grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, and a 2013 Native Arts & Cultures Foundation Fellowship.

Allison Peck – Freer-Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution: Allison Peck is peck picthe Head of Public Affairs and Marketing for the Freer|Sackler, the Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art in Washington, D.C., where she oversees all strategic marketing, public communications, media relations and advertising for the museums’ exhibitions and programs.  She has a professional background in project management, and has worked in communications for a variety of non-profits, including museums, art dealers, and social service providers.  Allison has a graduate degree in Arts Administration from American University in Washington, D.C., and an undergraduate degree in Art History and Strategic Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Anne L’Ecuyer – American University: Anne L’Ecuyer is a writer and a consultant who stays closely connected to an international network of city leaders, cultural Anne L'Ecuyerprofessionals, and individual artists. She is an expert in creative industries and cultural tourism, as well as the contributions of the arts toward educational, social, and environmental goals in communities throughout the United States. Anne previously served as Associate Vice President for Field Services at Americans for the Arts and is the author of Public Funding for the Arts at the Local Level. She owns and operates the Washington Writer’s Retreat, a private writing and research residency in the nation’s capital.

Register for EALS 2013 HERE.

Art…and the Stagnant Business of Art.

What happens when an arts organization’s business model no longer works?

Well, as with the metaphor of the shark, it must continue to move forward or it will die.

For decades, the arts organization model has remained largely unchallenged, because there was no reason to challenge it. It almost served as a microcosm of “The American Dream.” Everyone wanted to start their own organization, and the great entrepreneurial spirit in the United States created a thriving environment for this mindset. Margo Jones, one of the regional theatre pioneers in the 1950’s, supported the idea, saying “What our country needs today, theatrically speaking, is a resident professional theatre in every city with a population over one hundred thousand.”

However, as Rocco Landesman so famously said, audiences have begun to dwindle while the number of organizations continues to rise, and there should be fewer arts organizations. I am in no way saying that some organizations should just close up shop so that another can benefit. But this is definitely something to think about. There are only so many contributed dollars out there for the arts. This trend of continued marketplace crowding will eventually lead to organizations relying quite heavily on earned income to meet budget. And as I mentioned a few weeks ago, many organizations must keep prices low (affordable) in order to fulfill their missions. Put those two factors together, and it doesn’t add up to success.

But some organizations are creating their own remedy for the situation. Program partnerships between organizations with similar missions are sprouting up all over, and outright mergers are becoming less and less surprising.

Noted thought leader in organization business models, Andrew Taylor, also preaches that not every great idea warrants its own non-profit organization. (Check out his fantastic presentation on the topic HERE)

On top of that, Marilyn Struthers notes that foundations and other funders are no longer interested in funding “stability” and are now interested in funding “flexibility” in arts organizations. My own experience writing grant proposals in the past year supports this. Every proposal instruction packet specifically asked how the organization could handle changes.

We must be open to changing our thinking about the arts business model in order to continue the success of arts organizations in the US.

The New/Innovative Organization Models panel at the 6th annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University on April 7 is a fantastic opportunity to discuss what’s next for the arts business model. You can join some of the greatest leaders in the topic for an intimate conversation. Those panelists include:

Thaddeus Squire – Culture Works Greater Philadelphia: Squire has been hailed as a “visionary” voice in the contemporary arts by David Patrick Stearns of The squire picPhiladelphia Inquirer, and in 2011 was named one of Philadelphia’s top 76 “Creative Connectors” by Leadership Philadelphia. He has also received Philadelphia City Paper’s “Big Vision Issue Choice Awards ‘09” for his work as originator and producer of Hidden City Philadelphia. He is a curator, consultant, writer, and producer. In 2005, he founded Peregrine Arts, which served the fine and performing arts, and history/heritage fields with integrated creative, management, and audience engagement services. In early 2010, Mr. Squire retired the Peregrine brand to create two new organizations: Hidden City Philadelphia and CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia, the latter of which will continue Peregrine’s consulting and management work.

Rachel Grossman – dog&pony DC: Grossman is a performing artist, administrator, and producer working in non-profit arts, education, and community program management grossman picin the Washington, DC area. Rachel spent two years at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company launching their “connectivity” innovation and serving as the company’s first Connectivity Director. She spent four seasons as the Director of Education & Outreach at Round House Theatre and prior to that she managed programming in the education and community programs departments at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Arena Stage, and CENTERSTAGE (Baltimore, MD). She was an Associate Producer for the 2010 Source Festival, focusing on Literary Management and Casting, and also spent a few years producing with eXtreme eXchange. Rachel is a former member of Referendum: Political Arts Collective, performed with DC Playback Theatre, and adjudicated with the Helen Hayes Awards. Rachel served on the Interactivity Foundation’s Arts & Society panel, exploring the arts and public policy.

Margaret Boozer – Red Dirt Studio: Boozer lives and works in the Washington, DC metro area. Her work is included in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Boozer picMuseum, The Museum of the City of New York, The US Department of State, The Wilson Building Public Art collection and in many private collections. Boozer taught for ten years at the Corcoran College of Art and Design before founding Red Dirt Studio in Mt. Rainier, MD where she directs a ceramics and sculpture seminar. Her Red Dirt Seminar is a graduate school with no grades. It’s a sculpture studio with a taste for ceramics. It’s a collective work environment with shared resources. It’s a critique group.  It’s a business-of-art incubator.  It’s an exhibition space, a workspace for visiting artists, and on random Friday afternoons, the site of spirited art discussions with interesting visitors.  At its core, Red Dirt is about what can happen with the coming-together of talented, smart and curious people, working toward greater accomplishment in their professional practice.  It’s about drawing on the resources of artistic community, and at the same time giving back.

Moderator: Andrew Taylor:  E. Andrew Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the Arts Management Program at American University, exploring the intersection of arts, culture, Andrew taylorand business. An author, lecturer, and researcher on a broad range of arts management issues, Andrew has also served as a consultant to arts organizations and cultural initiatives throughout the U.S. and Canada, including Overture Center for the Arts, American Ballet Theatre, Create Austin, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among others. Prior to joining the AU faculty, Andrew served as Director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration in the Wisconsin School of Business for over a decade. Andrew is past president of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, and is a consulting editor both for The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society and for Artivate, a journal for arts entrepreneurship. Since July 2003, he has written a popular weblog on the business of arts and culture, “The Artful Manager,” hosted by

To participate in this and other fantastic panels, resgister for EALS 2013 at

“But I hate asking for money….”

Regardless of the organizations mission, values, programs, etc., what is the ONE common factor that is needed to execute an organization’s purpose?Nervous Wreck


As much as we dislike connecting our important work to the dollar, the simple fact is that without it, we cannot pay our staffs, purchase materials, and pay the electric bills…and thus provide our services. So there we have it, we must have funds to fulfill our missions. However, unless you are the lucky few, earned income doesn’t even come close to covering your budget. So to take the statement even further; we must have CONTRIBUTED funds to fulfill our missions.

Now with the Sequestration set to go into effect, the NEA budget will be cut by 5%, or $7.3 million, and the grants will decrease. (But lets be honest, NEA funds have really just become a stamp of approval…and important stamp, that is…rather than actual difference-making funds) Foundations are changing the focus of how and what they fund. And corporate philanthropy, while rebounding, will not cover the balance. So, lets take that earlier statement even deeper. We must have INDIVIDUAL contributed funds to fulfill our missions. 

This can be a problem, though, because this all important aspect of non-profit management is most likely the most uncomfortable aspect of non-profit management. It is just human nature to avoid asking for money, even from people you know.

But proper cultivation, care for the mission, and honest inclusion in the organization (letters, tours, meetings, asking for advice, etc.) makes the potential donor WANT to give to the organization. This is all a team effort, though. It should include multiple levels of staff and board members. I won’t get into the role of the board in fundraising…..that is a whole other topic for another post. But I do encourage you to look up the 9 things a board can do in fundraising. Those include (courtesy of Sherburne Laughlin):

  • ID prospects
  • Write thank you notes
  • Write notes on annual appeals
  • Go on a site visit
  • Make an introduction
  • Make an ask
  • Give $$ themselves
  • Cultivate donors
  • Know enough about the organization to talk about it

This April 7, you have an amazing opportunity to discuss this all important topic with leaders in the field. The Fundraising and Development panel at the 6th annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium will provide the chance to ask your questions and pick their minds.

The Fundraising and Development panel will include:

russell willis taylor pic

Russell Willis Taylor – National Arts Strategies: Russell Willis Taylor, President and CEO of National Arts Strategies since January 2001, has extensive senior experience in strategic business planning, financial analysis and planning, and all areas of operational management. Educated in England and America, she served as director of development for the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art before returning to England in 1984 at the invitation of the English National Opera (ENO) to establish the Company’s first fund-raising department.

Mrs. Taylor has held a wide range of managerial and Board posts in the commercial and nonprofit sectors. She received the Garrett Award for an outstanding contribution to the arts in Britain, the only American to be recognized in this way. In 2013, Russell was honored with the International Citation of Merit by the International Society for the Performing Arts, presented in recognition of her lifetime achievement and her distinguished service to the performing arts.

Barbara Ciconte – Donor Strategies, Inc.: For thirty years, Barbara L. Ciconte,ciconte place holder CFRE, has helped nonprofits think strategically and work smarter.  She has experience in all facets of nonprofit management and resource development. Barbara has worked with local, regional, and national organizations in strategic planning and assisted them in building more effective resource development programs in annual, capital and endowment giving, major gifts, planned giving, corporate and foundation relations, chapter/affiliate relations and special events.

Prior to becoming a consultant in 1999, she spent thirteen years at American University, where she served as the law school’s director of development and was responsible for managing the college’s successful $20 million capital campaign, which was part of the university’s $100 million Centennial Campaign. A leading national educator on fundraising and board development, Barbara is the co-author of Fundraising Basics: A Complete Guide, Third Edition 2009 published by Jones and Bartlett Learning.

Pete Miller pic Pete Miller – DC area arts donor: Pete became an enthusiastic playgoer after a high school class brought him to the Folger Library to see a production of Love’s Labours Lost. During his seven years in the Air Force, theater availability varied – pretty good in Austin, Texas, not so easy to find English language plays in Kaiserslautern, Germany, great DC theater available during his final tour at the Pentagon.  He continued to see a lot of DC theater while working for KPMG for four years, during which time he moved into the District.  He worked for AOL for eleven years, mostly in network operations, at the same time working his way up within Woolly Mammoth from volunteer usher to board member.  With his long time partner Sara, he co-chaired the Breaking New Ground capital campaign. Pete averages around 100 evenings of theater per year.  In addition to volunteering for Woolly, Pete also works on a volunteer and occasionally paid basis with a number of other DC area arts organizations.

Kendall Ladd – Sitar Arts Center:Ladd pic Kendall Ladd currently serves as the Donor Relations Manager at Sitar Arts Center and works on individual giving & stewardship, events, and grant programs. Sitar Arts Center provides needed arts education opportunities for disadvantaged children & youth in the District. In addition, Kendall has served as a consultant with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative. She holds an MA in Arts Management from American University and a BA in Studio Art from Columbia College.

Panel Moderator:

Andrew taylor

Andrew Taylor – American University: E. Andrew Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the Arts Management Program, exploring the intersection of arts, culture, and business. An author, lecturer, and researcher on a broad range of arts management issues, Andrew has also served as a consultant to arts organizations and cultural initiatives throughout the U.S. and Canada, including Overture Center for the Arts, American Ballet Theatre, Create Austin, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among others. Prior to joining the AU faculty, Andrew served as Director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration in the Wisconsin School of Business for over a decade. Andrew is past president of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, and is a consulting editor both for The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society and for Artivate, a journal for arts entrepreneurship. Since July 2003, he has written a popular weblog on the business of arts and culture, “The Artful Manager,” hosted by (

Attend EALS 2013 on April 7, 2013 at American University for an entire day of panels and speakers like this one. Click HERE for more information, and register for the Symposium HERE.

Tickets now on sale for EALS Benefit

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Tickets have official gone on sale for the 2013 EALS Benefit. Buy them HERE.

The EALS Benefit is a soiree designed to support the 6th annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium.  The benefit will pay homage to the era of AMC’s hit series, MadMen.

Guests are encouraged to dress accordingly and enjoy an evening of socializing, refreshments, and dancing worth of a 1960’s era Madison Avenue. So come dressed in your slickest suit or hippest dress and drink fine white wine. The benefit will be held at the hip Hamiltonian Gallery (1353 U Street NW, Washington, DC).

A superb jazz trio will provide live music. Also, take part in the silent auction to benefit the 6th annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium that will take place on April 7. Items include tickets to shows, restaurants, and art.

So come join us for an evening of art, jazz, food, wine, and fun at the EALS Benefit on February 23, 2013.

Admission to the benefit is only $20 (for unlimited wine, food, art, and jazz?!? WOW!), and you can register HERE.

Benefit Banner image

Announcing the EALS 2013 Opening Plenary Speaker

Register for EALS 2013 HERE.

And now it is time to announce the amazing arts leader who will provide us with the EALS opening plenary address:

Karen Brooks Hopkins, President of BAM

Karen Brooks Hopkins is the president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), where she has worked since 1979. As President, Hopkins oversees the institution’s 179 full-time employees and facilities, including the 2100-seat BAM Howard Gilman Opera House and 874-seat BAM Harvey Theater, the four-theater BAM Rose Cinemas, the BAMcafé, and the BAM Fisher–opening in fall 2012.

Karen Brooks Hopkins, President of BAM Erin Trieb Photography
Karen Brooks Hopkins, President of BAM
Erin Trieb Photography

Since taking over as president of BAM in 1999, Hopkins has led the organization with stunning competency, riding the waves of financial and philanthropic ups and downs. The annual attendance has exploded, the budget has over doubled, and the organization’s endowment has almost tripled to over $80 million. She has also introduced a number of new programs. Such programs include educational programs that serve children, underprivileged teens and senior citizens. In 2004, she unveiled an $8.6 million restoration that returned the iconic BAM neo-Classical building to its former glory. Hopkins has also partnered with Robert Redford to establish the Creative Latitude Festival, which brought Sundance Film Festival winners to BAM.

In May 2004, Hopkins concluded a two-year term as the Chair of The Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), which consists of 33 prominent New York City cultural institutions. In this capacity, she also served as a member of the Mayor’s Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission and is currently a member of the Board of NYC & Company, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and New York’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Hopkins is an active member of the Performing Arts Center Consortium, a national association of performing arts centers, and served as its chair from 1994 to 1996. She was also a participant on the Advisory Committee of the Salzburg Seminar Project of Critical Issues for the Classical Performing Arts from 2000-2002 and a fellow of The Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Center for Business Innovation from 2001-2002.

Hopkins has received national and international recognition for much of her work. In 2005, Hopkins received the Encore Award in Arts Management Excellence from the Arts & Business Council of New York, and chaired the Hospitality and Tourism cluster of the Initiative for a Competitive Brooklyn. In 2006, she was elected by the New York State Legislature to the Board of Regents for a term that expired in 2010.

In the spring of 1995, Hopkins served as the executive producer of the Bergman Festival, which celebrated the life and work of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. The success of the Bergman Festival earned her a medal from the Royal Dramatic Theater of Sweden–the first time the honor was awarded to anyone outside of Sweden. Additionally, in recognition of her work on behalf of the Norwegian National Ballet, Norway awarded her its King Olav Medal.

In November 2006, Hopkins was awarded the honor of Chevalier de L’Ordre des arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France, for her work supporting the French arts in the United States. Then in 2007, she was named one of the “100 Most Influencial Women in New York City Business” by Crain’s. That same year, she was appointed Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star, in recognition of her role in solidifying ties between the performing arts communities of Sweden and the United States. And in May of 2012, Hopkins was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

Hopkins graduated from the University of Maryland, and received her MFA from George Washington University in Washington, DC. She also served as an adjunct professor for the Brooklyn College Program for Arts Administration for four years. Her widely read book, Successful Fundraising for Arts & Cultural Organizations, is currently available in a revised second edition through Greenwood Publishing.

For more information on BAM, click HERE.

Register for EALS 2013 HERE

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Introducing the EALS 2013 Keynote Speaker

Register for EALS 2013 HERE.

Aaron Dworkin
-Founder and President, The Sphinx Organization

One of the goals of the 6th annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium is to address what is on the horizon for arts organizations and arts professionals. And one of the recurring themes lately in the “future of the arts” discussion is diversity in the arts, both diversity in art forms and diversity in artists. So as I began searching for a keynote speaker for EALS 2013, I wanted to find someone who could address this theme for our emerging professionals.

Aaron Dworkin, Founder & President of Sphinx
Aaron Dworkin, Founder & President of Sphinx

Therefore, we at EALS are very proud to announce that the keynote speaker for the 6th annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium is Aaron Dworkin, an arts leader widely known for his expertise and work in cultural and artistic diversity.

Named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, a former member of the Obama National Arts Policy Committee and President Obama’s first appointment to the National Council on the Arts, Aaron P. Dworkin is the Founder and President of the Sphinx Organization, the leading national arts organization that focuses on youth development and diversity in classical music. An author, social entrepreneur, artist-citizen and an avid youth education advocate, he has received extensive national recognition for his vast accomplishments.

He has been featured on NBC’s Today Show and Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN, NPR, and Anderson Cooper 360°, and well as in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Detroit News and Free Press, Washington Post, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and People Magazine. Dworkin has also been named one of Newsweek’s 15 People Who Make America Great.

He is the recipient of Harvard University’s Vosgerchian Teaching Award, National Governors Association 2005 Distinguished Service to State Government Award, Detroit Symphony’s 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003 Michiganian of the Year, Crain’s 40 Under 40 and Who’s Who Awards, BET’s History Makers in the Making Award, AT&T Excellence in Education Award, and “Entrepreneur Of The Year” award by the National Black MBA Association-Detroit Chapter.

Mr. Dworkin offers a uniquely strong organizational, fundraising and administrative background combined with an unwavering passion for music and its role in society. As Founder and President of The Sphinx Organization, he has built an infrastructure and led fundraising efforts totaling over 14 million dollars overseeing a staff and faculty of more than 40. The Sphinx Competition showcases the top young musicians of color of the highest artistic caliber and features top professional minority musicians through the all Black and Latino Sphinx Symphony. The organization also impacts groups underrepresented in classical music through its educational and community programming including the Sphinx Preparatory Music Institute and Sphinx Performance Academy, which reach over 35,000 youth each year.

Aaron-DworkinIn his role as a visionary leader, Mr. Dworkin has led two phases of strategic planning with The Sphinx Organization. He also served as the Co-Chair of the Arts and Cultural Education Task Force for the State of Michigan designing the required arts curriculum for Michigan schools and serves as Co-Chair of the Planning Task Force. In addition, Dworkin serves on other strategic planning committees including the League of American Symphony Orchestras.

A passionate advocate for excellence in music education and diversity in the performing arts, Mr. Dworkin has been a frequent keynote speaker and lecturer at numerous national conferences including Aspen Ideas Conference, The League of American Orchestras, National Association for Schools of Music, National Guild for Community School of the Arts, National Association of Music Merchants, Chautaqua Institution, National Suzuki Association, Americans for the Arts, American String Teachers Association, Ithaca College and the National Association for Negro Musicians. Mr. Dworkin has also spoken at the University of Michigan and Bowling Green State University.

An accomplished electric and acoustic violinist, Mr. Dworkin received his Bachelors of Music and Masters of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, graduating with high honors. He attended the Peabody Institute, the Philadelphia New School and the Interlochen Arts Academy.

Mr. Dworkin currently serves on the Board of Directors of the League of American Orchestra, National Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, National Guild for Community Schools of the Arts, National Society for the Gifted and Talented, Artserve Michigan, WRCJ 90.9 Detroit Classical and Jazz Radio and the NEW (Non-Profit Enterprise at Work) Center. He also serves on the Advisory Board of ASTA Alternative Strings Awards, the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation, the Avery Fisher Artist Program, and the Editorial Board of Downtown New York Magazine.

Dworkin has also served as a panelist on various arts committees, including the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the MetLife Awards for Excellence in Community Engagement, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the National Association of Arts Presenters, Chamber Music America, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Register to hear Aaron Dworkin at EALS 2013 HERE.

For more information on The Sphinx Organization, click HERE.

For more information on the upcoming SphinxCon, the inaugural convention on diversity in the performing arts on February 15-17, click HERE.

Opera is New

The first opera I ever saw was Carmen at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion during a dress rehearsal.  I went with hoity-toity charlatans who told me repeatedly that this was a ‘good introductory opera’ with an air of disgust for my lack of exposure to the art form.  Now, I hate that opera and everything it personally stood for (not to mention if I hear the music in another commercial I might just take up arms).  I digress, opera is meant to be shared, explored, and enjoyed with a company of feelers rather than judgers.  My first experience was less than extraordinary; yes, Milena Kitic was stunning, and yes, the spectacle was more than I imagined; but the taint of others is still palpable.

Since then, I have been to many operas during their actual runs, and enjoyed some more than others.  What sticks in my craw; however, is the lack of diversity of the audience.  As a college student who received free tickets through a generous donation to my university, my ‘kind’ was outnumbered.  The audience was a veritable sea of pink and purple hair (if you don’t know what that means, it’s the color of elder women’s hair).

The last opera I went to was over two years ago, when I was still in LA.  This time I was with a friend at Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, a far cry from Carmen.  It was exquisite.  Thus was the end of my opera going days, with Opera Pacific shuttered and difficulty in affording a ticket to the LA Opera.

My path back to the opera took an unexpected turn this weekend in the most unusual of venues with the most unusual of audiences seeing one of the greatest operas ever written.  Opera in the Outfield at National’s Stadium streamed the live performance of Don Giovanni from WNO‘s performance at the Kennedy Center.  The crowd assembled was massive, the entire outfield covered in blankets and the sweater-clad.  Up into the stadium near half the lower level was filled with people of all ages and creeds.  Children were running around or like the little one next to me, positing questions about the show to his parents.  The entire audience on a whole was a good 30-40 years or so younger on average than the crowd inside the Kennedy Center.  For once, my age group was the majority.

We were free to talk and comment, free to check our phones for everything from the score of the Orioles/Red Sox game to information on the opera itself, free to eat M&M’s and drink coffee, free to sit wherever we pleased, and free to enjoy the way we wanted to enjoy.  I didn’t have to pay for a ticket (although I would have happily paid up to $20 – it was chilly, outside, and the seats weren’t super comfy).  I’m sure thousands of others (for indeed, it was in the thousands) who attended would have paid as well; but we were not asked, nor were we solicited for donations.  Instead, we were simply expected to see and hear.

WNO brought the opera to the masses, in an old custom akin to the Opera Buffa days of Mozart.  People still love opera.  The current problem is the delivery system, but by focusing on social aspects rather than financial and puritanical artistic facets, opera succeeds.

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