Lessons for Cultural and Arts Organizations: Do You Really Know Your Donors?

I am given the opportunity to review graduate student theses and dissertations. Usually, they are about audience development or diversity, equity and inclusion. However, I recently read a thesis about philanthropy in the African-American community. It was researched and written by Christina E. Dennis, and I thought the existence of her work was important to share with the readers of Arts & Culture Connections. A … Continue reading Lessons for Cultural and Arts Organizations: Do You Really Know Your Donors?

The Groundbreaking Efforts Required to Extend An Invitation to the Party

I recently was talking with a dear friend and colleague, Voza Rivers, who reminded me of the groundbreaking community engagement work we did together in 2005 for the theatrical production “Tierno Bokar.” The play, which is a true story about the Sufi mystic and the power of tolerance, was written by the multiple Tony- and Emmy-award winning director Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne, and based … Continue reading The Groundbreaking Efforts Required to Extend An Invitation to the Party

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

Bravely and Honestly Tackling the Work of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

The first semester of teaching my newest course at New York University, “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts,” has just ended. This course introduced the students to the concepts of culture, diversity, and equity, and assessed the ways that arts and cultural organizations can either include or exclude people from different backgrounds. It also addressed how to cultivate a culture of diversity and inclusion … Continue reading Bravely and Honestly Tackling the Work of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Leadership and Financial Power Expand Access to the Arts

Photo Credit: Ford Foundation You may recall the Arts and Culture Connections blog last year about the honor and privilege I had to moderate a discussion at the 92nd Street Y with the phenomenal Ford Foundation President Darren Walker and the amazing co-founder of Dance Theatre of Harlem, the late Arthur Mitchell. When I read the recent profile of Mr. Walker in the New York … Continue reading Leadership and Financial Power Expand Access to the Arts

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