A professional development and networking opportunity for arts and cultural workers of color.
Meet the next generation of arts and cultural leadership.Read about the Participants
The deadline to apply for the most recent Emerging Leaders of Color cycle has passed. The guidelines below are for reference only.
Emerging Leaders of Color (ELC) is a free multi-day professional development program for early to mid-career arts administrators of color. This partnership program between South Arts and its colleague Regional Arts Organization WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation) provides tools, continued learning opportunities and a network to administrators of color who seek to move into leadership positions in the arts and culture sector. This second Southern cohort will build on the success of South Arts’ first cohort and WESTAF’s ELC program which has been attracting, training, networking and promoting a new generation of diverse arts leaders since 2010.
ELC promotes representative leadership and equity in the arts by:
18 participants will be selected for the second Southern cohort of this program, which will occur online in late January or early February 2022. At least one participant from each of South Arts’ nine-state region will be chosen to participate, with participation expenses paid. Selected participants will also be invited to join program alumni for continued leadership development.
Applicants, selected by a panel of program staff, faculty and alumni, will meet the following criteria:
This online convening will include 18 participants, whose expenses are paid. This multi-day convening will occur online in January or February 2022.
Selected individuals will participate in a professional development and team-building workshop at no cost to themselves. The program is designed to:
Deepen participants’ understanding of the arts in the United States and how public support sustains the vibrancy of the sector.
Visit the application portal on the bottom of this page to begin or edit your application.
Salvador has over 20 years of experience helping organizations link their design and innovation strategies with various cultures within the US. Being bilingual and bicultural gives him the ability to recognize the cultural markers that signal inclusion, and he’s committed to open opportunities for all.
For the last 15 years, he’s been professionally invested in helping organizations increase diversity, deepen inclusion, and advancing equity, in a broad range of fields, from arts & culture, to informal education and urban planning.
He’s a founding member of the Emerging Leaders of Color network managed by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) with the goal of increasing POC leadership in policy and arts administration. He is a regular speaker at conferences on DEI topics and is a TED Talk speaker with the talk I’m Mestizo.
Margie Johnson Reese has a 35-year portfolio as an arts advocate and arts management professional. She received a BA from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington and an MFA in Theater from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She is an advisor to the International Council of African Museums based in Nairobi, Kenya and is a Fellow at the Salzburg Global Institute in Salzburg, Austria. She continues to serve as an advisor to the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture in Wichita Falls, Texas, a local arts agency that was seeded and developed under her guidance as the organization’s first Executive Director.
Her work in the local arts agency arena also includes a six-year tenure as Director of the Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of Dallas and General Manager for the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. She held that position under three mayoral administrations managing grant making, arts education, festival production, cultural facilities and public art staff teams.
Margie’s expertise as a grant maker was tapped by the Ford Foundation to advance cultural projects in West Africa. Based in Lagos, Nigeria and serving 14 West African countries, her work centered on cultural policy development and conservation of West Africa’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Through her vision and commitment to restoring dignity to West African antiquities, she became known as the “mother of the Lagos Museum.”
Following her three-year service in West Africa, Margie returned to Dallas and took the position of Vice President for Programs at Big Thought. Her time was spent leveraging public and private sector resources to provide arts education experiences for children and their families. Margie created the Teaching Artists Fellows Initiative at Big Thought, training a cohort of master artist to guide creative learning experiences for children in out of school environments.
Margie continues to contribute to the field of Arts Administration as a consultant to local arts agencies and local municipalities, helping them develop inclusive arts policies that respond to contemporary community goals. Recent clients include The Houston Arts Alliance, The Greater Baton Rouge Area Arts Council, One Columbia (Columbia, South Carolina) and Asante Children’s Theater in Indianapolis, Indiana. She often serves as the keynote speaker at arts conferences around the globe and is an adjunct professor at Goucher College in their graduate school of arts administration.
She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.
Joy Young, Ph.D. has more than 25 years of experience in the arts as an entrepreneurial performing artist, arts administrator, and academic. Joy’s work as a performing artist included owning a successful music studio and performing as a recitalist, sanctuary soloist, studio and background vocalist. Her 14-year tenure with the South Carolina Arts Commission was highlighted by serving on the executive leadership team as the agency Director of Administration, Human Resources, and Operations. Joy also implemented a variety of programs at the South Carolina Arts Commission to include arts/artist entrepreneurship; nonprofit leadership and organizational development; cultural tourism; statewide conferences and convening; and the AIR Institute. Joy’s contribution to the arts at the national level include service as a grant reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts, member of the Committee for Individual Artists with Grantmakers in the Arts, and a mentor for the NASAA DEI Mentorship Program.
Most recently, Joy served the Executive Director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. Her work saw her committed to a team who worked together implementing innovative programs, developing and executing proactive and quantifiable arts and culture initiatives, and broadening relationships with new networks and stakeholders. Joy found tremendous success capitalizing on the power of public-private partnerships as a strategy to significantly increase the Cultural Council’s earned revenue.
Joy enjoys sharing her experiences from the field in the classroom by preparing the next generation of arts administrators in the Master of Arts in Arts Administration at Winthrop University to be adaptive leaders. Joy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music, Master of Arts in Voice Performance, and the Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership. Her research interests include arts leadership, program assessment and evaluation, and organization and leadership adaptations amid dynamic environmental paradigms.
Additional faculty will be announced shortly.
Participants will learn the history of arts administration in America and gain an understanding of how the landscape has been shaped. With that knowledge of existing systems and infrastructure, we will learn and discuss what the future of arts and culture can become.
Some of the topics of sessions and conversations will include:
Participants will also have one-on-one time with the faculty to discuss projects, career goals, work-life balance, and more.
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 October 2021.
Who is eligible to apply?
Candidates will meet the following criteria:
Can I apply if I’m moving to one of the eligible states?
If this is the case, please contact Ethan Messere to discuss your situation; firstname.lastname@example.org, or 404-874-7244 x809.
When is the application deadline?
Applications must be submitted on or by Wednesday, December 1, 2021, 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.
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. Exact timing of activities is to be determined, but these workshops will likely take place as a series of workshops in late January or early February 2022.
Will there be any out-of-pocket costs associated with participating in the program?
No, this is an all expenses paid program.
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, past participation in high level professional development, 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 December 10, 2021.
Can I reapply if I’m not selected?
Yes. Future opportunities will be publicized on the South Arts website.
The deadline to apply for the most recent Emerging Leaders of Color cycle has passed.
For more information about the Emerging Leaders of Color Program, contact Ethan Messere.Contact Us