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

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 League of Professional Theatre Women’s Rachel Crothers Leadership Award Luncheon

The League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) last week held its inaugural Rachel Crothers Leadership Award Luncheon, which was named for the trailblazing woman who helped transform American theater. Ms. Crothers, who was born in 1878 and died in 1958 a few months before turning 80, helped open doors to women in theater. Among her major accomplishments were the professionalization of the roles of the … Continue reading The League of Professional Theatre Women’s Rachel Crothers Leadership Award Luncheon

My SAVVY 5

I recently had the honor to again participate as a “visionary thought leader” at the SAVVY Arts Venture Challenge, which was held the first week in June at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. This pioneering and revolutionary professional development program for performing and visual artists, as well as arts administrators, helps the participants become better entrepreneurs, collaborators and change agents. The program is … Continue reading My SAVVY 5

Conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser: Offering Insights on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

This past week, I participated as one of the keynote speakers and workshop leaders at the Orchestras Canada’s annual conference “Designing the 21st Century Orchestra,” which was held in Ottawa. Organized by Orchestras Canada’s Executive Director Katherine Carleton, the conference participants representing orchestras seeking ways to grow their audiences; expand their relationships with Indigenous artists and communities; diversify their musical performances, and appeal to young … Continue reading Conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser: Offering Insights on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Smithsonian Makes History with Appointment of Lonnie Bunch, III as 14th Secretary

On June 16, 2019, scholar and educator Lonnie Bunch, III, who is the founding director of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC), will make history. That’s when he assumes the helm as the 14th Secretary of the the 19-museums of the Smithsonian Institution; its nine research centers, and the National Zoo. Mr. Bunch’s appointment is historic for many reasons: He is the first African-American secretary; the first historian, … Continue reading Smithsonian Makes History with Appointment of Lonnie Bunch, III as 14th Secretary

Cultivating A Culture of Giving

Billionaire Robert F. Smith’s announcement in May that he would pay off the student loans of the nearly 400 young men graduating from Morehouse College made headlines around the world. But this gift, estimated to be worth $40 million, was not his first. The founder of Vista Equity Partners and the Fund II Foundation, Mr. Smith gave a $20-million donation in 2016 to the Smithsonian’s … Continue reading Cultivating A Culture of Giving

Students Encounter the ‘Weep and Sting” of Racism at Boston Museum

According to the website of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, it offers “innovative programs for students and teachers that encourage exploration of the MFA’s world-renowned collections and groundbreaking exhibitions.” However, a group of African American and Latino honor students from the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy had a different experience—they left their museum visit on May 16, 2019, in tears, shock and anger after being … Continue reading Students Encounter the ‘Weep and Sting” of Racism at Boston Museum

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?”

An Interview with Dr. Indira Etwaroo: Visionary on a Quest to Expand Brave Spaces that Create Change

Indira Etwaroo, Ph.D, is a producer, educator, scholar, and non-profit arts leader. She has worked with institutions across the country and the world to explore the complex intersections between community, performing and visual arts and the topics-of-our-time. A Fulbright Scholar, Indira has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including being named one of The Network Journal’s “40 under 40” national leaders. Indira joined … Continue reading An Interview with Dr. Indira Etwaroo: Visionary on a Quest to Expand Brave Spaces that Create Change