Photo credit: Nicole Washington.
February 20, 2022—I began writing Arts & Culture Connections exactly five years ago. It was my response to the political disarray; social and racial injustice, as well as the polarity and fear ravaging the country. It also was an absolute necessity for me to step into my power; to speak my truth, and to share my experience and insights about how the arts could and should be utilized to respond to the evolving crisis. (See “Standing Up Against Injustice Amidst the Storm” at this link.)
Since this was my first venture as a blogger, I had no idea what to expect. However, I was both compelled and driven to begin. My initial goal was to amplify how the arts empower our communities—particularly communities of color—and share best practices and trends propelled by inspiration, passion, and love of the arts.
My initial posts were sent to a select group of friends and colleagues, whom I knew would be honest and share their thoughts about both the content and style of Arts & Culture Connections. Based on their feedback, the blog continued to evolve, as well as expand its reach and impact. I recently checked out the analytics—over the course of five years, Arts & Culture Connections has been read weekly by a global audience of over 1,500 arts and cultural professionals and shared through social media platforms, newsletters and websites, resulting in more than 4.8+ million impressions.
Arts & Culture Connections has not only spotlighted issues of racial discrimination and injustice that often impacted or impeded the ability of people of color to work in cultural spaces, but also highlighted the marvelous work being done by so many cultural workers on stage, as well as those working behind the scenes. At the same time, I continued to share the themes from my first book, Invitation to the Party, about the need to make the arts welcoming and accessible to all.
I also have continued to grow in my field. Through blog interviews, special reports and my work with clients, I have been collecting real-time case studies about how access to the arts is created, or how to develop anti-racist arts organizations. I have been able to share these lessons with the students I teach at New York University, Columbia University and Bank Street Graduate School of Education, or during the lectures I give worldwide for professional associations; arts and cultural organizations, and at conferences.
Arts & Culture Connections also has been instrumental in the writing of my new book, Champions for the Arts: Successful Strategies for Engaging Diverse Audiences, which is being released in July 2022. You will receive for more details about the book and pre-order information in upcoming posts.
My deepest appreciation to each of you for your loyal support; for sharing your views and expressing your concerns. I especially am grateful to those of you who have made the time to send encouraging messages, express appreciation, provide comments, ask questions, or offer recommendations. Your contributions and feedback support the ongoing development of this blog.
I also thank my mentor in faith, Daisaku Ikeda, who continues to demonstrate to me the importance of leading with my heart; respecting the dignity of each person’s life, and re-determining daily to do my best as the foremost course of action for humanistic artists and arts administrators.
After five years of working on Arts & Culture Connections, it is clear to me that when our arts and cultural sectors are united and share the same goal—ensuring access to the arts for all—we all will win. Let’s continue working together towards this much needed shift in our society.