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

Cultural Appropriation: Elevating the Hidden or Disregarding the Less Powerful

In this era of social and political fracture, the question of cultural appropriation has popped up on social media, spurred by a recent opinion article in the New York Times. The genesis of the article, titled “Finding the Beauty in Cultural Appropriation,” was a conversation at last fall’s Lagos Fashion Week, an annual event featuring designers from throughout Africa. The writer, Connie Wang, an editor … Continue reading Cultural Appropriation: Elevating the Hidden or Disregarding the Less Powerful

First-ever Education and Community Engagement Conference Marks New Era in the Performing Arts

Dear Colleagues, I am pleased to report that last week the Performing Arts Centers Consortium held its first-ever Education and Community Engagement Conference at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The conference was three days of meetings, dialogues, panel discussions and enriching one-on-one conversations to share and learn from each other about our nationwide efforts, including Canada, to engage various communities with the performing … Continue reading First-ever Education and Community Engagement Conference Marks New Era in the Performing Arts

Generation Z Offers Challenges to Arts and Cultural Organizations

I recently ran across articles in the online editions of Pacific Standard Magazine and the New York Times about “Generation Z” or “Gen Z,” the post-Millennial generation of youth born after 1995. Both articles offer an urgent message for the leaders of conventional arts organizations and cultural institutions: “business as usual is no longer an option.” The New York Times article describes these 68 million … Continue reading Generation Z Offers Challenges to Arts and Cultural Organizations

Exploring “White Fragility” and Why Diversity in the Arts is Essential

Last week, the podcast, “CI to Eye” focused on the issue of race and its impact on arts and culture with a candid and provocative interview featuring sociologist and author Robin Diangelo, Ph.D. Erik Gensler, president of the digital arts marketing consulting firm Capacity Interactive, discussed white fragility with Dr. Diangelo and why diversity is essential among those who control the arts and entertainment we … Continue reading Exploring “White Fragility” and Why Diversity in the Arts is Essential

Doing the Tough Work of Succession Planning

Many arts and culture leaders work very hard and are focused on day-to-day operations. But what happens if a key leader chooses to leave the organization? How can you ensure that the organization will continue to fulfill its mission and thrive? How do you assure funders or your board members that your organization is sustainable? I recently had the privilege and pleasure of facilitating a … Continue reading Doing the Tough Work of Succession Planning