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 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:

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

In Solidarity with LGTBQ+ Youth

May 8, 2022—As I am sure you are aware, there recently has been a nationwide flood of unjust and dehumanizing legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community, especially youth. I am proud that the LGBT Employee Resource Group at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center decided to utilize the NJPAC Standing in Solidarity platform to curate a program giving voice to youth who identify as either bisexual, … Continue reading In Solidarity with LGTBQ+ Youth

Racial Healing Circles Help Bridge Differences

Photo credit: Everett Stroye Logo used with permission October 2, 2021—More than 10 years ago, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation joined forces with scores of people from different backgrounds, disciplines, and cultural and healing practices to co-develop a process to address the impact of racial injustice. The process became known as the Racial Healing Circles. I have had the privilege of engaging in this transformative process … Continue reading Racial Healing Circles Help Bridge Differences

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

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

Can Arts Organizations Become the “Third Place?”

Nearly 30 years ago, a curious and keenly observant urban sociologist named Ray Oldenburg wrote about the “anchors of community life”—café’s, pubs, bars, libraries, bookstores, main streets, barbershops, beauty salons and the post office— and called them the “third place.” Dr. Oldenburg, author of the book, The Great Good Place, identified these as neutral, public places where people gather, hang out, informally interact, put aside … Continue reading Can Arts Organizations Become the “Third Place?”

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”