Giving Thanks: Inspiring Tidbits from Across the Arts

November 22, 2011

At this time of year, I’m always (naturally) reminded of things for which we should give thanks. First and foremost, it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to work with my amazing new colleagues here at Mizzou and to continue to work with New Music Everywhere in Madison. And of course it’s a treat to collaborate with the visionary folks at Arts Enterprise and USASBE who are working so hard to make such good in this world.

Another bright spot I’d like to mention is that there has been a flurry of exciting news around innovation in the arts over the past few months. Sometimes I think these projects get lost in the shuffle, but despite the generally dreary economic and political outlook, I’ve seen a host of arts organizations making a tremendous impact. I’m inspired that there are so many artists out there helping to change their communities through innovative arts programming. Here are a couple of spirit-raising tidbits I’ve discovered over the past few weeks that are worth checking out over the holiday:

Artists for Humanity (Boston, MA) – this amazing organization has, since 1991, given voice to talented and underserved youth. They train at-risk teens to produce eco-friendly and socially-driven art works, and then employ them as artists. They have raised more than $6 million for aspiring arts entrepreneurs, and have mentored an incredible roster of success stories. This is one of the most inspiring organizations I’ve seen, and they are housed within one of the coolest and greenest buildings in the country.

The Weill Music Institute, Carnegie Hall (New York, NY) – though this may still be largely an unknown project, America’s most iconic hall serves some 170,000 people annually with programs and partnerships that allow people regardless of age or background engage with great music. I love that they are striving to leverage their status to set an example for how to create community impact; lots of great ideas there for other urban community music programs.

Arts Incubator of the Rockies (AIR) (Fort Collins, CO) – thanks to receiving a $100K “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, this new arts incubator will restore the historic Carnegie Building in Fort Collins, and utilizing Creative Capital‘s dynamite strategy hopes to serve artists in 10 states. A great example of collaboration and how arts organizations turn a little into a lot.

Arts Enterprise – just announced the 2012 National Summit will be hosted and held March 23-25, 2012 at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA! Designed by students for students, this year’s theme is “The Creative Economy and YOU” and it will bring leading thinkers together with the arts entrepreneurs of tomorrow. A powerful reminder of how it’s never to early to change the world!

Finally, I’m always thankful to have a voice in this conversation, and hope to continue this discussion with you for a long time to come. Have a great Thanksgiving weekend everyone!

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