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Welcome to My Blog: Arts and Culture Connections

Dear Colleague, Imagine a world without theater, music, dance, visual arts, books or the support of our essential cultural institutions. Unfortunately, the current political climate has awakened us all to the possibility that we may be standing at the threshold of what could become be a dark, abysmal and soulless landscape. Against that backdrop, today, I am launching my new blog to champion the arts, … Continue reading Welcome to My Blog: Arts and Culture Connections

The Mile-Long Opera: An Effective Template for Engaging Diverse Audiences

As my readers know, my blog Arts and Culture Connections has the mission to examine, critique and share global community engagement initiatives, as well as celebrate projects that are creating access to the arts for all people, especially those marginalized communities. This week, the focus of my blog is the ambitious effort to bridge the five boroughs of New York City through a common story … Continue reading The Mile-Long Opera: An Effective Template for Engaging Diverse Audiences

The Road to Diversifying Theater Leadership

Nearly a year ago, Joseph Haj, artistic director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, wrote an opinion article for American Theatre, in which he called for succession planning that incorporated diversity as part of the process. At the time of Mr. Haj’s article, he noted that 20 major theaters were undergoing a change in leadership. And he expressed concern that many of those positions would … Continue reading The Road to Diversifying Theater Leadership

Pipeline for Cultivating Leadership in the Arts

My colleague, Jeremy Johnson, Executive Director of Newark Arts, recently made me aware of a wonderful initiative underway for people of color at the Newark Museum. The program was funded through the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative (DAMLI), which was established as the result of a joint venture between the Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation. This program is of particular interest to me … Continue reading Pipeline for Cultivating Leadership in the Arts

Food for Thought for Artists and Arts Administrators

For the past few months, I have been a participant in interviews, panels and symposiums that have focused on history, legacy and the future. Most recently, I had the opportunity to participate in the Scholars Symposium, which was one of the features of the 2018 March on Washington Film Festival. Before a live audience, I interviewed Ernest Green, one of the Little Rock Nine, and … Continue reading Food for Thought for Artists and Arts Administrators

Whose story is it anyway?

Several years ago, the Center for Arts in Society launched an initiative to study and document the impact controversy has on the arts. One of the key points made by cultural sociologist and author Richard Howells was that “controversies in the arts are rarely only about the arts.” Instead, Professor Howells notes, what needs to be examined is the “the power dynamic in both the … Continue reading Whose story is it anyway?

Time for “Artivism:” The call to be “All In” for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity

Nearly 25 years ago, Linda Steele and I worked together on the national tour of “Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk.” Since that time, we have remained in touch, which is a reminder that collaborations in the fields of equity, inclusion, diversity and community engagement are the catalyst for lifelong relationships. Today, Linda is the Founder and CEO of ArtUp, a Memphis-based enterprise … Continue reading Time for “Artivism:” The call to be “All In” for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity

Harlem Week 2018: Showcasing all the Roots that Make a Community Strong

The excitement is building as we approach the annual HARLEM WEEK 2018, which will be held July 29-August 25, 2018. What originally began 44 years ago as a one-week tribute to one of the most culturally-rich neighborhoods in the world has now become a month-long celebration that prides itself on being the connecting thread between individuals, the community, businesses and the arts. The event draws … Continue reading Harlem Week 2018: Showcasing all the Roots that Make a Community Strong

Aging Population Still Values and Appreciates the Arts

People with cognitive impairments, such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, can still experience and enjoy the arts. As a matter of fact, in the book, Creative Arts in Dementia Care, the late dance movement therapist Jill Hayes and voice therapist Sara Povey discuss how “the ‘core self’ in each person can be renewed through the arts, which enables people experiencing cognitive and physical impairments to … Continue reading Aging Population Still Values and Appreciates the Arts

Summer Arts Training Programs: Creating Access for Future Generations

Growing up in Chicago, I had the fortune to be paid to learn to dance as part of my local Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). My twin sister and I took the bus from the south side of Chicago to the west side where the program was held. It was a 90-minute ride and our morning commute often included eating our breakfast on the bus. … Continue reading Summer Arts Training Programs: Creating Access for Future Generations

Using history as a catalyst for community engagement

I was reminded of the power of history during my recent visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, DC. My soul sisters and I decided to celebrate our June birthdays at this esteemed national monument and treasure trove of the African American experience. Upon arrival, we immediately went to the top floor to peruse the arts, culture and … Continue reading Using history as a catalyst for community engagement