A Challenge to Non-White Arts Leaders

I am personally appealing to and challenging the arts leaders from underrepresented communities (that is, the communities that are not fully represented in the leadership of US arts organizations) to apply or nominate. The Certificate in Cultural and Ethnic Arts Leadership Program deadline is fast approaching and there are still slots available.   The challenge, as I have writtenand spoken about, is not financial.

Rather, I believe that there is a large number of people qualified for these slots who are not applying or being nominated because: 1) they believe that no “program” can get them to become CEOs of arts organizations; 2) they themselves do not believe that they will have a fair chance even with the skills, to be selected to leadership positions; 3) some feel that all CEOs do is raise money so why bother, and 4) some do not have the confidence that they have what it takes to be a leader.  For those who fall into category 3 and 4, I suggest you reconsider.  If you do not believe you have what it takes to be a CEO, you may not have it, but many of you may be perpetuating the problem, and CEOs and future CEOs believe that by leading an arts organization they can change the world.

But for all others, I challenge you to apply! This program will expose you to a faculty of leading arts executives, the program is for all purposes a scholarship program, and not only does our country need different, diverse arts leadership, the boards of most arts organizations are seeking it as well.

Particularly for those of you who question our sincerity and motives, I say this is your chance to change things.  So museum professionals, performing arts professionals, arts center managers, foundation program directors and arts agency people, this is your chance. Apply and/or nominate now!

James Abruzzo, Consultant, Consulting, Executive Search, Nonprofit Compensation, Expert Witness, Challenge

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