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

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

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?”

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

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

What Will It Take to Foster Change?

The fervor of the U.S. midterm election has finally died down. However, the one thing that has not changed as the result of the millions of ballots cast is our nation’s deep class, racial, social and cultural divisions. As a matter of fact, according to a report compiled by the FBI, hate crime in America has had its biggest spike since September 11, 2001. As … Continue reading What Will It Take to Foster Change?

A PRELUDE to Something Greater

I recently wrote a blog about the value of sponsoring an Open House as a way to activate arts and performance spaces and invite audiences to taste—sample your programs. This week I am paying homage to the value of pre-performance experiences that benefit the venue, the artists and the community. New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) launched its PRELUDES program nearly 20 years ago. In … Continue reading A PRELUDE to Something Greater