Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium

+ ART.



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.


Experience the inaugural SphinxCon for Cultural Diversity


Leaders from all disciplines of the performing arts, academia and the philanthropic sector will share ideas, challenges, successes, and lessons learned in pursuit of increased diversity

SphinxCon is the first inaugural convening on diversity in the performing arts and will feature 35 speakers from across the globe in Detroit, Michigan from February 15-17, 2013 at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel. The goal is to create a platform of ideas, challenges, and insights to inspire participants to transform diversity initiatives in arts organizations around the country.

This convening represents a critical mass of performing arts leaders and practitioners and creates a space for discussion, sharing, building connections, and critical thought. On participating in the conference, Delroy Lindo, world renowned actor and featured speaker at SphinxCon said, “My hope is that, as a result of attending this conference, people will be moved to create opportunities for people in general; and for young persons in particular, where opportunity might not exist.” Additional featured speakers include Farai Chideya, award-winning author, journalist, professor, and lecturer who shared, “The message of the inaugural SphinxCon cherishes innovation and diversity in the arts, two things I treasure. I appreciate the commitment of the organizers and can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Guests are encouraged to REGISTER NOW at  The registration fee is only $99.99 for the three-day event (student rate is $35.00. ID is required at registration).

Visit for more information!

SphinxCon Ad 8.5x11

The Sphinx Organization transforms lives through the power of diversity in the arts.

Hosted by the Marriott Renaissance Center and presented in partnership with the Detroit Public Television, SphinxCon is made possible with the support from The Knight Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.  Google is the official technology sponsor for SphinxCon.

Arts Journal Picks

If you’re not checking into Arts Journal you need to get with the program. It’s incredible that a platform for arts news is so unappealing to look at, but the content is incredibly rich. Arts Journal is a one stop shop for all your arts news that is written intelligently, intelligibly, and with a real awareness of current times and trends.

With hours more of finals work before the semester is over, I can’t think of a better mode of procrastination than to serve you up some my Saturday pick of Arts Journal articles and why you should read them:

NPR: Online Video Sites Go Pro And Get Original

Why should you read it: As we move more and more into our science fiction future of an entirely digital lifestyle, it’s important to realize arts organizations must constantly test where they can fit in and how they can use new media or we’ll fall too far behind.

Tasty Tidbit:

“Networks started on the radio and then they moved to television, and then cable came about, and then hundreds more networks arrived,” Taylor says. “And now I think we’re going to see a slew of new networks that are being born on YouTube and other digital platforms.”

The Globe and Mail: I should never have encouraged my teenage son to read

Why should you read it: Recall your first experience with Dostoevsky (I was 16. I spent an entire summer in bikinis and Crime & Punishment) with this father’s tongue in cheek rendition

Tasty Tidbit:

The house has become dangerous to one’s sense of self. Living life with a cast of Dostoyevsky characters puts you on edge. If you’ve never read any of these novels, try to imagine faultless but unrelenting discourse from somebody who won’t shut up and follows you around talking while you try to, say, wash the dishes, do some laundry or pay the bills. These characters grab you by the back of the head and rub your face in your inadequacy and their superiority. They make you feel like the intellectual equivalent of the 98-pound weakling.

The New York Times: Caught Out of Time

Why should you read it: Federal government sponsored memories of ex-slaves. As  Zora Neale Hurston penned, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

Tasty Tidbit:

These narratives are as poetic as they are complex, tendentious and subtle; they spotlight the voices of those who had the most at stake in the war and lived to see it from the longest view. Voices like Fountain’s (who died July 4, 1957) add considerable dimension to Robert Penn Warren’s Homeric frieze.

Wired Science: City Lights Seen From Space Reveal How Countries Change

Why should you read it: It’s cool. And there are videos.

Tasty Tidbit:

“We can now ask how does observed lighting behave in response to things such as population and economic growth, external investments, war, and economic collapse,” said Christopher Elvidge, who leads the National Geophysical Data Center’s Earth Observatory Group, during a presentation here at the American Geophysical Union meeting on Dec. 7.

Vanity Fair: You Say You Want a Devolution?

Why should you read it: It seems while our technological lives f(x) = 2^x, our cultural lives are flat lining. This is definitely worth the long read. Are we, the emerging arts leaders, the cure to this cultural stalemate, or are we feeding into the stodgy same?

Tasty Tidbit:

Ironically, new technology has reinforced the nostalgic cultural gaze: now that we have instant universal access to every old image and recorded sound, the future has arrived and it’s all about dreaming of the past. Our culture’s primary M.O. now consists of promiscuously and sometimes compulsively reviving and rejiggering old forms. It’s the rare “new” cultural artifact that doesn’t seem a lot like a cover version of something we’ve seen or heard before. Which means the very idea of datedness has lost the power it possessed during most of our lifetimes.


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