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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.

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Experience the inaugural SphinxCon for Cultural Diversity

SPHINX ANNOUNCES HISTORIC INAUGURAL CONVENING ON DIVERSITY IN THE PERFORMING ARTS: SPHINXCON!

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 www.SphinxCon.org.  The registration fee is only $99.99 for the three-day event (student rate is $35.00. ID is required at registration).

Visit www.SphinxCon.org 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.
 

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.”

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