Saturday, November 10, 2007

Emerging Leaders in the Arts

October was National Arts & Humanities Month and, in honor of that, an organization called Americans for the Arts sponsors "Creative Conversations" across the country. These Creative Conversations are: "local gatherings of emerging leaders in communities across the country and are part of a grassroots movement to elevate the profile of arts in America during National Arts & Humanities Month." I attended a small meeting last year, but there wasn't a Boston area meeting this year.

But here's a video published in Oct 2007 from an network of "Emerging Leaders" that grew out of one of these Creative Conversations outside of Seattle. It's 23 minutes, but well worth the time!

This makes me think more and more about the next generation of leaders in the arts, a theme that constantly came up in my personal statement for the Arts in Education program here at Harvard Graduate School of Education. During my six years in New York City, there certainly were a ton of arts organizations there, but I still felt a certain disconnect with the scene and a distinct longing to connect with other leaders involved in the promotion of the arts. This was echoed in the video above by Jordan Howland: "Working in the nonprofit sector, we're often isolated a bit by our workload, or our locale and it's sometimes hard to get a big picture view of what's happening in the arts and in our community." I take comfort in knowing that I wasn't alone in my experience and this longing to be surrounded by like-minded individuals is one of the main reasons why I'm here at the AIE program at HGSE. This AIE community is wonderful and amazing and I can't say enough about it, but I can't help but wonder about what happens after graduate school. What happens when I lose my built-in support system?

Well, I guess there's something I can do about this... because of a class cancellation, I had the luxury of a big brainstorming morning on Friday and an idea is slowly forming in my mind. Why can't there be a network of like-minded folks in the Boston area? Of course, I'm still new to the area and the scene and so there may already be a network of emerging leaders in the arts that I don't know about, but if there isn't, why couldn't I create one? Really, why can't I just make this happen?

And so here I am, about to embark upon a new possible venture... I'm really interested in the possibilities of gathering emerging leaders in the art organizations to meet one another in informal and formal environments to promote conversations between arts organizations and arts disciplines. What I'd like to do is to explore the creation an organized and cohesive network of emerging leaders in the arts for the Boston area.

I'm still fleshing out a plan of action and not really sure how this'll all work, but let's see where this takes me! Wish me luck and I'll keep you posted.