Emerging Leaders of Color

Overview

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

About Emerging Leaders of Color

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.

Program Goals

ELC 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.   

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.

Who is this program designed for? 

Applicants, selected by a panel of program staff, faculty and alumni, will meet the following criteria: 

  • Have less than ten years of experience working in arts administration 
  • Self-identify as a person of color 
  • Are employed as a cultural worker or arts/cultural programs administrator or have been recently employed in arts administration with plans to continue work in the sector (this program is not designed to serve individual artists.
  • Have not had an opportunity to participate in high-quality professional development during their capacity as an arts administrator
  • Is a current resident of South Arts’ nine-state region

This online convening will include 18 participants, whose expenses are paid. This multi-day convening will occur online in January or February 2022. 

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. 

Important Dates: 

  • Application deadline: December 1, 2021
  • Applicant Notification: December 15, 2021
  • Program Dates: January/February 2022

Visit the application portal on the bottom of this page to begin or edit your application.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Experience – 25% - Applicant has a background and experience in arts administration that does not exceed 10 years, conveys interest in being involved in the sector over the long-term, and demonstrates significant promise.
  • Access – 15% - Applicant has limited access to professional development opportunities commiserate with the level of this program.
  • Personal Reflection – 25% - Applicant demonstrates thoughtfulness, passion and/or self-reflection. Response shows consideration for the responsibilities that come with leadership and a preparedness to take on the challenge. Applicant shows commitment to the arts sector long-term.
  • Endorsement – 15% - Endorsement expresses confidence in applicant’s capacity to lead within an organization and/or in the broader community. Speaks to strength of character, commitment, personal and/or creative potential. 
  • Overall Application – 20% - Application is thoughtful and shows effort. Applicant demonstrates initiative in current position, conveys a strong desire to participate in the program, and an openness to learning from others and sharing personal insight.

Previous ELC Participants

Meet the twelve participants from the first Southern cohort of Emerging Leaders of Color.

Meet the Cohort

Faculty and Curriculum

Faculty

Margie Johnson Reese  | Independent Consultant

Margie Johnson Reese 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 | Vice President of Programs, South Arts

Joy YoungJoy 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.

Curriculum Sample 

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: 

  • Arts Policy and Data; National Trends, Issues and Opportunities
  • What does it mean to be an arts organization “for the community” as a leader of color?
  • Self-Care in Times of Struggle
  • Strategic Foresight for Equity in the Arts 

Participants will also have one-on-one time with the faculty to discuss projects, career goals, work-life balance, and more.

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 October 2021.

About Eligibility

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

  • Have less than ten years of experience working in arts administration 
  • Self-identify as a person of color 
  • Are employed as a cultural worker or arts/cultural programs administrator or have been recently employed in arts administration with plans to continue work in the sector (this program is not designed to serve individual artists.
  • Have not had an opportunity to participate in high-quality professional development during their capacity as an arts administrator
  • Is a current resident of South Arts’ nine-state region

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; emessere@southarts.org, or 404-874-7244 x11.

About the Application

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.

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. 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.

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, 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.

Application Portal

Once you have reviewed the guidelines and program details above, visit our GoSmart application portal to apply for Emerging Leaders of Color

Begin your application

Questions?

For more information about the Emerging Leaders of Color Program, contact Ethan Messere.

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