Emerging Leaders of Color

Overview

A professional development and networking opportunity for arts and cultural workers of color.

About Emerging Leaders of Color

The Emerging Leaders of Color (ELC) Professional Development Program promotes representative leadership and equity in the arts by: 

  • Building a cohort of cultural leaders of color in the southern United States who are committed to the advancement of the arts. 
  • Engaging diverse emerging leaders in coursework and activities designed to strengthen competencies and prepare participants for leadership positions in the field. 
  • Providing opportunities for promising arts professionals to establish networks that support their careers. 
  • Advocating for the cultural interests of the communities participants represent and serve. 
  • Deepening participants’ understanding of the arts in the United States and how public support sustains the vibrancy of the sector.   

Between 11 and 13 participants will be selected for this partnership program between South Arts and its colleague Regional Arts Organization WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation). This is a Southern pilot of the Emerging Leaders of Color (ELC) program for cultural workers and arts administrators located in seven states in the southern region. Building on the success of WESTAF’s ELC program which has been attracting, training, networking and promoting a new generation of diverse arts leaders since 2010, the South Arts program will serve to advance Southern vitality through the arts through leadership development.

Who is this program designed for? 

Candidates will meet the following criteria: 

  • With some exceptions, be under the age of 35 
  • Have less than ten years of experience working in the arts 
  • Self-identify as a person of color 
  • Are employed as a cultural worker, arts/cultural programs administrator or be a significantly arts-interested community member such as a volunteer or a public official (the program is not designed to serve individual artists.
  • Have not had an opportunity to participate in high-quality professional development sessions 
  • Is a current resident of the following states in the South Arts region (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee) 

This inaugural convening will include between 11 and 13 participants, whose expenses are paid. At least one participant from each of these seven states will be selected.  

What does the program offer? 

  • Selected individuals will participate in a professional development and team-building workshop at no cost to themselves. The program is designed to: 
  • Build a cohort of cultural leaders of color in the southeastern United States who are committed to the advancement of the arts. 
  • Engage diverse emerging leaders in coursework and activities designed to strengthen competencies and prepare participants for leadership positions in the field. 
  • Provide opportunities for promising arts professionals to establish networks that support their careers and the cultural interests of the communities they represent and serve. 
  • Deepen participants’ understanding of the arts in the United States and how public support sustains the vibrancy of the sector. 

Applications must be submitted through Formstack. You will be asked for your contact information, and a written/audio/video (your choice) response to this prompt: #InequalityIs: Jeff Chang on race, culture, and inequality. Applicants are also required to upload a letter of endorsement from a colleague as a PDF. 

Important Dates: 

Application deadline: September 15, 2020

Applicant Notification: Late September, 2020

Program Dates: Late fall 2020

Faculty and Curriculum

Faculty 

  • Salvador Acevedo. Vice President of Culture Strategy at Scansion. San Francisco, California.
  • Margie Johnson Reese. Executive Director, Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts & Culture. Wichita Falls, Texas.  
  • Tamara Alvarado. Executive Director, Shortino Family Foundation, San Jose, California.

Curriculum Sample 

While the curriculum will be adapted to respond to the unique dimensions and dynamics of the South, it will include components such as: 

  • “Designing Our Future” Imagining Inclusive Systems Workshop 
  • DEI is About Sustainability Too 
  • Speaking Truths: Personal Perspectives on Leadership 
  • Cultural Democracy 

Ready to Apply?

Begin your application for Emerging Leaders of Color today.

Apply now

Frequently Asked Questions

We recognize that applicants will have many questions as they begin exploring the Emerging Leaders of Color Program. We have assembled this FAQ to address the most commonly-asked questions. If your question is not addressed here, please contact us.

FAQs last updated March 5, 2020.

About Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply?
Candidates will meet the following criteria:

  • With some exceptions, are under the age of 35
  • Have less than ten years of experience working in the arts
  • Current resident of one the participating South Arts region states (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee)
  • Self identify as a person of color
  • Work as an arts administrator or a significantly arts-interested community person such as a volunteer or a public official. (This program is not designed to serve individual artists.)
  • Has not had an opportunity to participate in high-quality professional development sessions

Why aren’t residents in Mississippi or Florida eligible to apply?
While most South Arts programs are open to individuals living in any one of our nine states, occasionally there are exceptions due to funders’ area of interest, restrictions of some kind, or other situations. Please visit www.southarts.org to learn more about our many region-wide programs and services.

Can I apply if i’m over 35 but I have less than 10 years of experience? 
We exercise a certain degree of flexibility around this criteria but ask applicants to adhere as closely as possible to the age and experience guidelines.

Can I apply if I’m moving to one of the eligible states before July?
If this is the case, please contact Ethan Messere to discuss your situation; emessere@southarts.org, or 404-874-7244 x11..

About the Application

When is the application deadline?
Applications must be submitted on or by Tuesday, September 15, 2020, 11:59 p.m. ET.

What materials will I have to submit with my application?
The online application will collect your contact information, and applicants are asked to respond to a video clip on the topic of cultural equity. Responses can be either written (uploaded as a PDF) or an audio or video response (included as a link.) Applicants are also required to upload a letter of endorsement from a colleague as a PDF.

How would I create a link to share my audio or video response?
For video, upload your video to Youtube, change your privacy settings to unlisted or private and paste the link in the field. For audio, there are free sites such as Soundcloud where you can upload your audio to their site and paste the link to the page.

What should my letter of endorsement contain, and who should it be from?
An endorsement should come from a colleague who can speak to your professional qualifications. Endorsements must be 200 words or less and make the case for your suitability for the program based on stated criteria.

About the Convening

When and where is the convening going to take place?
Due to the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, this convening will occur online. Timing of activities is to be determined.

Will there be any out-of-pocket costs associated with participating in the program?
No, this is an all expenses paid program.

About Selection

Who is on the selection panel?
Staff from the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) which is where the program originated, South Arts staff, program faculty and alumni.

What does the selection panel evaluate?
The panel weighs the applicant’s professional experience and background, degree of thoughtfulness, commitment and clarity conveyed in the personal reflection, the professional endorsement, and additional considerations including race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, community (urban/suburban/rural), discipline, years of experience and affiliation with a culturally-specific organization.

When will applicants be notified of their status?
Applicants should expect to hear by late September 2020.

Can I reapply if I’m not selected?
The South Arts ELC is a pilot program in 2020. Future opportunities will be publicized on the South Arts website should additional funding be secured.

Questions?

For more information about the Emerging Leaders of Color Program, contact Ethan Messere with South Arts or Chrissy Deal with WESTAF (chrissy.deal@westaf.org 303-629-1166).

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