An Interview with George Faison: Collaboration is the Key to the Future

I recently had the opportunity to interview the internationally renowned choreographer and dance legend George Faison, Ph.D. Dr. Faison began his career as a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He launched his Broadway career in 1970, with the musical Purlie, and later became the first African-American to receive a Tony Award (1975) for best choreography for his work on the play … Continue reading An Interview with George Faison: Collaboration is the Key to the Future

An Interview with Dr. Ed Holmes: Providing Arts Opportunities for All People

This week’s Champion of the Arts is Edward S. Holmes, Ph.D., who recently was promoted to the position of Senior Vice President of Equity and Inclusion at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wisconsin. A native of Washington, D.C., Dr. Holmes moved to Madison to attend the University of Wisconsin, where he completed his undergraduate degrees in English and Political Science; a Masters … Continue reading An Interview with Dr. Ed Holmes: Providing Arts Opportunities for All People

An Interview with Reginald Van Lee: Expanding the Traditional Model of Philanthropy

On the home page of the website of Reggie Van Lee is his favorite quote: “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you understand why.” A renowned philanthropist and a tireless arts advocate, who also donates his time and expertise to nonprofit organizations, today Reggie is a living example of the “why.” I have known … Continue reading An Interview with Reginald Van Lee: Expanding the Traditional Model of Philanthropy

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

Helping Youth Impact Broadway

There are two theatrical productions coming to Broadway in 2019 that showcase the global impact of African-American artists and their contributions to America’s cultural heritage. Previews begin on February 28, 2019, for “Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations.” And “Tina—The Tina Turner Musical” is scheduled to open in the fall. If we are truly committed to fostering the next generation of multicultural … Continue reading Helping Youth Impact Broadway

Sphinx LEAD: Inaugural Program Launched to Train Arts Leaders and Administrators

Sphinx LEAD: Inaugural Program Launched to Train Arts Leaders and Administrators I first introduced the Sphinx Organization to the readers of Arts and Culture Connections last year with a blog about its founder Aaron Dworkin. The organization has helped foster and cultivate thousands of classically-trained musicians of color, who have gone on to win national competitions and perform in many of the country’s greatest orchestras. … Continue reading Sphinx LEAD: Inaugural Program Launched to Train Arts Leaders and Administrators

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:

Viola Davis “Drops the Mic” on Hollywood’s Portrayal of Black Women

Award-winning Actress and Producer Viola Davis recently made headlines while accepting the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 Breakfast. Ms. Davis used the platform to speak her mind about the importance of truthful and authentic narratives, and she brought her “A-Game.” Her December 5, 2018, speech was so powerful that it made international headlines. and the video of … Continue reading Viola Davis “Drops the Mic” on Hollywood’s Portrayal of Black Women

Black Curators Taking the Helm in the United States and Europe

Last year, I posted a report on my Arts and Culture Connection blog about the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative (DAMLI), a program established as the result of a joint venture between the Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation, to diversify curatorial and management staff at art museums across the United States. Twenty institutions are participating in the program—18 at urban-area museums across the … Continue reading Black Curators Taking the Helm in the United States and Europe

Government Shutdown Imperils the Arts!

This past Friday (January 11, 2019), the Performing Arts Alliance sent out an urgent letter via email to its membership informing them of the dire impact the government shutdown is having on the national arts community. The Alliance is the national policy advocate, leadership forum, and learning network for America’s nonprofit performing arts organizations, artists, and its allies. The email was shared with me and … Continue reading Government Shutdown Imperils the Arts!