Sticky post

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

New Curator Position at The Met Provides More Opportunities for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Photo credit – metmuseum.org Artnet News recently reported that The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) is planning to hire its first full-time associate curator of Native North American art in an effort to create “an increasingly robust program of Indigenous American art” throughout its museum. The job description posted on the website of the American Alliance Museums notes that the new curator will be … Continue reading New Curator Position at The Met Provides More Opportunities for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Taking the Lead to Expand Classical Music’s DEI Efforts

Photo Credit: Brian Hatton I recently read an exciting report about a new program sponsored by the Sphinx Organization—it is offering grants to expand diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs in the world of classical music as a catalyst for initiatives it hopes will create more opportunities for artists of color. The Sphinx Venture Fund will make available $300,000/year over five years to a handful … Continue reading Taking the Lead to Expand Classical Music’s DEI Efforts

Black Panther – 2 Effect

I know I am among the millions of fans who are besides themselves with glee to learn of the planned May 6, 2022, release date for the sequel to 2018’s iconic  film, “Black Panther!” As I previously shared with the readers of Arts & Culture Connections in a blog about the “Black Panther Effect,” the film’s blockbuster success ($1-billion in 26 days) offers a template … Continue reading Black Panther – 2 Effect

Reflections on Harlem during the 45th Anniversary of HARLEM WEEK

Photo: courtesy of The Apollo the Apollo Theater I recently had the honor and pleasure of participating in a gathering of thought leaders at an Uptown Hall meeting commemorating the 45th Anniversary of HARLEM WEEK to discuss the role of cultural and arts organizations in preserving Harlem’s cultural traditions and advancing change. Produced by L. Adé Williams, this meeting at the world-famous Apollo Theater, was … Continue reading Reflections on Harlem during the 45th Anniversary of HARLEM WEEK

Lessons for Cultural and Arts Organizations: Do You Really Know Your Donors?

I am given the opportunity to review graduate student theses and dissertations. Usually, they are about audience development or diversity, equity and inclusion. However, I recently read a thesis about philanthropy in the African-American community. It was researched and written by Christina E. Dennis, and I thought the existence of her work was important to share with the readers of Arts & Culture Connections. A … Continue reading Lessons for Cultural and Arts Organizations: Do You Really Know Your Donors?

The Groundbreaking Efforts Required to Extend An Invitation to the Party

I recently was talking with a dear friend and colleague, Voza Rivers, who reminded me of the groundbreaking community engagement work we did together in 2005 for the theatrical production “Tierno Bokar.” The play, which is a true story about the Sufi mystic and the power of tolerance, was written by the multiple Tony- and Emmy-award winning director Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne, and based … Continue reading The Groundbreaking Efforts Required to Extend An Invitation to the Party

Operation Breadbasket: How Arts and Culture Helped Foster My Political Awakening

I was riding around the city of Chicago last weekend when I began reminiscing about the first time I experienced the integration of the arts, culture and economic development, as well as the power of a community to fight for economic equity. The genesis for me was my participation in Operation Breadbasket on the South Side of Chicago. Operation Breadbasket was a national movement founded … Continue reading Operation Breadbasket: How Arts and Culture Helped Foster My Political Awakening

Bravely and Honestly Tackling the Work of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

The first semester of teaching my newest course at New York University, “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts,” has just ended. This course introduced the students to the concepts of culture, diversity, and equity, and assessed the ways that arts and cultural organizations can either include or exclude people from different backgrounds. It also addressed how to cultivate a culture of diversity and inclusion … Continue reading Bravely and Honestly Tackling the Work of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Leadership and Financial Power Expand Access to the Arts

Photo Credit: Ford Foundation You may recall the Arts and Culture Connections blog last year about the honor and privilege I had to moderate a discussion at the 92nd Street Y with the phenomenal Ford Foundation President Darren Walker and the amazing co-founder of Dance Theatre of Harlem, the late Arthur Mitchell. When I read the recent profile of Mr. Walker in the New York … Continue reading Leadership and Financial Power Expand Access to the Arts

Champion of the Arts: Nina Simon Pries Open the Doors

When Nina Simon walked into the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH) as its newly appointed executive director in 2011, the museum had $16-thousand in the bank; $36-thousand dollars in unpaid bills and no philanthropist in the wings ready to write a big check. Although the museum had been in its location for 20 years, she said people remembered the building as a … Continue reading Champion of the Arts: Nina Simon Pries Open the Doors