The Hunters Point Library: A Work of Art and A Community Gathering Place

The Borough of Queens, New York, was recently abuzz with excitement about the grand opening of the Hunters Point Library, a building that has been cited by the New York Times as “one of the finest and most uplifting public buildings New York has produced so far this century.” Offering breath-taking views of the Manhattan skyline from its perch on the East River, this new … Continue reading The Hunters Point Library: A Work of Art and A Community Gathering Place

Broward County’s Jewel: The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center:

I had the wonderful opportunity last weekend to visit the amazing Broward County African-American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC) during the annual retreat of the HARLEM WEEK Board of Directors. Located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the AARLCC is a vast repository of African-American, African and Caribbean history and culture—the third of its kind in the United States—joining the Schomburg Center for Research and Black … Continue reading Broward County’s Jewel: The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center:

Learning the Difference between Appreciation and Appropriation from Michelle Heffner Hayes

I was introduced to the work of Michelle Heffner Hayes last year in an article in Dance Magazine. Dr. Hayes is a professor and artist-scholar in the Department of Theatre & Dance at the University of Kansas and she has spent years studying the legacy of cultural appropriation in dance as part of her work. Her interest stems in part from thinking about her own … Continue reading Learning the Difference between Appreciation and Appropriation from Michelle Heffner Hayes

Another Reason to be Counted: Creating Access to the Arts

I have been learning from a number of different associates that one key way we can create access to the arts is by helping to facilitate participation in the 2020 Census. That’s why I decided to reach out to the readers of Arts & Culture Connection to urge you to participate in and advocate for full participation this year, especially at this critical time. What … Continue reading Another Reason to be Counted: Creating Access to the Arts

Honoring the Deceased and Treasuring the Gifts of Life Amidst the Pandemic

As a result of this COVID-19 global pandemic, thousands of people have died, including many creative geniuses, such as the patriarch of the Marsalis family Ellis Marsalis, Jr. Our hearts are filled with compassion and concern for their families and friends as they face the challenge of honoring their loved ones and navigating the quagmire of loss. At the same time, I continue to be … Continue reading Honoring the Deceased and Treasuring the Gifts of Life Amidst the Pandemic

Newark Arts Festival Partnerships Help “Power the Arts to Transform Lives”

                    Many arts councils throughout the nation are examining how best to connect with their respective communities, especially when their budgets are modest or non-existent. I believe we can all learn a lot from the success of Newark Arts, the 37 year-old, nonprofit organization at the center of the massive and innovative Newark Arts Festival, which … Continue reading Newark Arts Festival Partnerships Help “Power the Arts to Transform Lives”

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

Why Our Libraries Matter

While in South Carolina recently for the SAVVY Arts Venture Challenge, I had the extraordinary opportunity to visit the main branch of Columbia’s Richland Library. With state-of-art facilities, extensive programs and meeting spaces, this is not the same public library system I frequented as a child growing up in Chicago. The Richland Library is redefining community engagement, which is why I’m so excited to share … Continue reading Why Our Libraries Matter

The Arts, Optimism and Imagining What Can Be

I recently had the opportunity to revel in “The Art of Optimism,” the focus of TIME Magazine’s special double issue, dated February 18-25, 2019. Edited by award-winning, writer/producer/director Ava DuVernay, this issue is an antidote to the derisive and divisive narrative currently dominating our landscape and a call to both envision and promote the arts “as a weapon for dynamic optimism.” The issue profiles 34 … Continue reading The Arts, Optimism and Imagining What Can Be

Saving Youth Arts Programs

In August of last year, I wrote a blog about the National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs Awards, the nation’s highest award for after-school and in-school arts and humanities programs. The program was celebrating 20 years of providing funding and recognition to the nation’s best programs, primarily in underserved urban and rural communities. These programs provided youth with a broad array of opportunities—ranging from self-discovery … Continue reading Saving Youth Arts Programs