Past Symposiums

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The Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium annually welcomes more than 200 aspiring and current art professionals to Washington, DC  to hear leaders in the arts world speak about pressing issues, opportunities, and trends in the field. After each symposium, attendees leave feeling inspired and encouraged to both advocate for the arts and take what they have learned back to arts organizations across the country. Take a look at what happened at our past symposiums:

EALS 2020: Finding Your Purpose as an Arts Leader

March 29, 2020 - Online

Keynote Speaker:

Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Vice President & Artistic Director of Social Impact at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Panel Sessions: Leadership and Artistic Direction in the Performing Arts; Leading the Arts in Academia; and Canvas to Conference Room: Transitioning from Creative Practice to Creative Management

With a Special Address from Robert L. Lynch, President/CEO, Americans for the Arts 

EALS 2019: Coming UP

March 3, 2019

Keynote Speaker:

Melissa Chiu, Executive Director, Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden

Panel Sessions: 

Getting Everyone on Board: The State of Board Diversity & Finding a Path Forward; Breaking Out of the Four Walls: How Museums are Using Digital Strategy to Engage Wider Audiences; Stirring the (Paint) Pot:

Achieving Political Relevance without Alienating Stakeholders; Gateway to Inclusion: Innovative Technology for Arts Accessibility; Dollars, Donors, & Drives: The Continuing Evolution of Philanthropy in Nonprofit Arts Organizations; and Americans for the Arts: Intersectionality Workshop.

With a Special Address from Robert L. Lynch, President/CEO, Americans for the Arts 

EALS 2018: Art Now

March 11, 2018

​Keynote speakers: Seema Sueko, Leader, Artist, and Deputy Artistic Director, Arena Stage; Robert L. Lynch, President/CEO, Americans for the Arts 

Sessions: Dear White Museums: The Role of Museums in Unmasking Society’s Inequities; New Life for Old Music; Responding to the Unthinkable: Handling an Arts Crisis; The Art of Exchange; Women in the Creative C-Suite: Breaking the Glass Ceiling; Women in the Creative C-Suite: Breaking the Glass Ceiling; Town Hall on the Future of Leadership in Arts Education

Panelists: Chloe Bensahel; Risa Browder; Chanel Compton; Alice Culin-Ellison; Catherine Dehoney; Nicole Dowd; Quanice G. Floyd; Maleke Glee; Dr. Nicole Ivy; Stephanie A. Johnson-Cunningham; Akua F. Kouyate-Tate; Allison Peck; Meghan Pressman; Edward Maclary; Dr. Maria Madison; Stephanie Mercedes; Allison Mondel; Elizabeth Racheva; Mirchaye Sahlu; Jennifer Schrock; Liz Shropshire; Jenny Thomas

EALS 2017: Focus Forward

March 19, 2017

Keynote speakers: Jacqueline E. Lawton, Playwright; Robert L. Lynch, President/CEO, Americans for the Arts 

Sessions: Artistic Merit vs. Paying the Bills​; Bridging Divided Communities & Using Art to Heal; Incorporating the Arts & Design Into STEM Learning Makes a Better Workforce; Diversity in Leadership: Creating the Pipeline; Oh, The Places You'll Go!: Careers in the Arts; Relationship Building in Development; Brown Faces White Spaces Podcast Presents: A Seat At The Table

Panelists: Roman Baca; Karen Allen Baxter; Lily Banning; Michael W. Bigley; Tasha Coleman; Chanel Compton; Kelvin Dinkins, Jr.; Benjamen Douglas; Michael Feldman; Sarah Greenbaum; Hrach Gregorian; Monica Harrington; Stephanie Johnson; Bryan Joseph Lee; Kathi R. Levin; Mina Matlon; Jennifer Nelson; Carla Perlo; JR Russ; Meredith Suttles; E. Andrew Taylor; Andrew D. Watson; Bridget Zangueneh 

EALS 2016: + ART

March 6, 2016

Keynote speakers: Deborah F. Rutter, President, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Megan Crigger, Director of Creative Services, City of Kansas City, MO

EALS 2015: Art Redefined

March 22, 2015

Keynote Speakers: Dr. Jane Chu, National Endowment for the Arts; Howard Herring, New World Symphony

EALS 2014: Creatively Making Our Place

March 24, 2014

Keynote Speakers: Francesca Zambello, Washington National Opera & Glimmerglass Opera; Russell Willis Taylor, NAS; Jamie Bennett, ArtPlace America

EALS 2013: Looking to the Horizon

April 7, 2013

Keynote Speakers: Karen Brooks Hopkins, BAM; Aaron Dworkin, Sphinx Organization

EALS 2012

Keynote Speakers: Chad Bauman, Arena Stage and Milwaukee Rep; Adrian Ellis, AEA Consulting

EALS 2011

Keynote Speaker: Rachel Goslins, President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities

EALS 2010

April 11, 2010

Keynote Speaker: Ben Cameron, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and TCG

EALS 2009

March 29, 2009

Keynote Speaker: Bob Lynch, Americans for the Arts

EALS 2008

March 30, 2008

Realizing that there was no current forum for emerging arts leaders and arts management graduate students to come together to collaborate, network, and discuss issues, Michelle Grove, MA Arts Management, proposed the first Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium in 2008. What began as a capstone project has now grown into an essential event for emerging leaders to come together and bond as a national community.


Keynote Speaker: Sandra Gibson, American Association of Performing Arts Presenters

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