Looking Back on EALS 2018

“ART NOW to me means ORGANIZE NOW and ALWAYS.”

Seema Sueko, 2018 EALS Keynote Speaker

After months of careful planning, the Emerging Arts Leadership Symposium 2018 came to life early Sunday March 11. The morning began with coffee and pastries, but also an opportunity to chat with all of the diverse, friendly and driven attendees. Kaylee Lindahl, a member of the EALS Executive Committee, led the group in a simple yet effective ice-breaker that left us all smiling (a tough feat for an ice-breaker as we all know!). Once most of the attendees had met each other, it was time for the opening event: the keynote speech from Seema Sueko.

The Abramson Recital Hall was buzzing with engaged conversation and handshakes before Seema Sueko took the stage. In her engaging and inspiring speech Ms.Sueko told three stories that animated the importance of organizing around shared self-interests to create intersectional relationships between communities, organizations and artists. Her key question when creating a partnership is always, “What do you really want?”

Often, the answer to this question opens doors for artists, arts organizations, and community partners. It can heal broken feelings from board members and create visibility for issues or people that are often overlooked. It can create increased revenue, increased participation, and increased artistic merit. If you want to read more, luckily we have the whole speech of wisdom up here!

It’s safe to say that every participant left the recital hall inspired, and ready to delve into their topics of choice in the first round of panels: New Life for Early Music, Dear White Museums: The Role of Museums in Unmasking Society’s Inequities, and Responding to the Unthinkable: Handling an Arts Crisis.

The sessions consisted of vibrant discussions between panelists on topics ranging from the importance of creating space for early music to the history of diversity and inclusion-driven positions in art and culture institutions. Attendees participated with thoughtful questions for the panelists in order to make connections with their current organizations or interests.

During lunchtime, participants got their zen on in Yoga for the Creative Spirit, laughed and considered new perspectives with Brown Faces White Spaces Live Podcast, got resume advice at Resume Reviews by EALDC, and visited the Arts Administrators of Color Table for information and good conversation.

The afternoon panels that followed kept the creative ball rolling with conversations about female mentorship, social justice-driven arts, and the importance of cultural diplomacy. Participants heard about the different career paths that the panelists of Women in the Creative C-Suite: Breaking the Glass Ceiling took, the different goals and residency programs offered by Halcyon at Spotlight with Halcyon Arts Lab, and the different ways cultural exchange programs can foster peace at The Art of Exchange.

Robert Lynch, Akua F. Kouyate-Tate, and Quanice G. Floyd continued the conversation in Americans for the Arts’ Town Hall on the Future of Leadership in Arts Education. EALS has traditionally been a kickoff event for Arts Advocacy Day, and hearing about the tools emerging leaders could use to broaden and diversify the leadership pipeline in the field of arts education was the perfect way to get people talking about the future of arts leaderships.

After the dynamic conversation of the Town Hall, attendees were lured back into the Katzen Rotunda by the smooth sounds of DC-based band, FOOTS X COLES. While enjoying some great barbeque and a glass of rosé, attendees got to decompress with their new friends and share their experiences with each other.

Attended the symposium and want to send feedback? We would love to hear from you! Email auartsymposium@gmail.com

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Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium

c/o Sherburne Laughlin

Katzen Arts Center at American University, Room 215

4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20016



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© 2017 by EALS.