That's correct, a champion. In fact, every art form needs many champions. The sort of people who are willing to tackle art as a business and take on the role of arts leadership.
"We feel that many of our guest speakers exemplify great arts leadership," says the Logan Arts Leadership Institute's co-director Samara Napolitan. "One of our most popular guest speakers is Stanford Thompson, the founder and CEO of Play On! Philly. Inspired by El Sistema, Venezuela’s social development and music education program, Stanford’s organization provides daily music instruction to Philadelphia communities that have little access to music education. Many of our students become involved with the Institute because they want to ensure artistic opportunities are available to all; they view Play On! Philly as an innovative solution as arts education programs become less available in public schools."
Thus is the struggle of arts leadership. These leaders make art accessible, they drive the passion for art and they ensure that art remains vibrant and alive where it may have otherwise fallen stagnant.
"Arts leadership is especially important today for several reasons," says Napolitan. "First, arts leadership is a commodity that is in short supply. There is certainly not a shortage of artists, but there is a lack of skilled arts leaders and managers to support artists and their audiences. Second, the current leadership of many arts organizations is nearing retirement age. It is vitally important that the next generations are prepared to take on these leadership roles in arts and cultural institutions of all sizes. Third, future arts leaders will be confronting a field transformed by rapidly advancing technology, as well as potential audience members whose schools did not provide arts education. We need strong, innovative and talented arts leaders more than ever to help organizations adapt and thrive."
Strong, innovative and talented. These words not only describe the traits that arts leaders need to possess, they describe the two determined, hard-working twenty-somethings that head up Logan Arts here at Interlochen, Napolitan and Lauren Greene.
"As a graphic designer, the future of the arts directly impacts and interests me," says Greene. "I am passionate in my belief of the importance of the arts and was excited by the opportunity to foster that interest in a new generation of arts leaders. I studied both fine art and leadership during my undergraduate experience and this opportunity afforded me a perfect merging of these two disciplines."
"I first became interested in arts leadership while working as an arts journalist and studying to earn my Master’s degree at Syracuse University," continued Napolitan. "I encountered many stories of struggling arts organizations, and my graduate cohort often discussed the issues facing cultural institutions due to the economy and the shifting media landscape. When I encountered this position, I saw it as an opportunity to actively confront these issues while inviting young people to join the conversation."
"The Logan Arts Leadership Institute helps high school students and college undergraduates understand the kinds of experiences and study required for new leaders in the arts," explains Greene. "It provides a framework for students to build leadership skills specifically relevant to the challenges facing the arts today."
"The Logan Arts Leadership Institute is an expansion of a leadership course that was originally taught by President Kimpton at Interlochen Center for the Arts," Greene continued. "The future of the arts is uncertain and needs a new generation of leaders. To reach a broader audience, expansion beyond the Interlochen campus became necessary. Funding received from Kay Hardesty Logan and the E.E. Ford Foundation have made the virtual environment that now houses the Institute a reality."
Logan Arts recently lauched the 2013 year with over 200 active participants. For more information about this opportunity, visit www.interlochen.org/LoganArts.