The next generation of arts leaders is here

We are currently in the middle of writing a paper with Youth Speaks that is the culmination of two convenings with hip hop activists and research on the nonprofit arts sector and the next generation of artists and creative leaders. Here’s a brief snapshot of the framing of the work, from James Kass, Director of Youth Speaks:

This project has been prompted by the following realization: although many of us have found success in the nonprofit sector, or are on a trajectory toward it, it has been and continues to be a real struggle to get traction. The nonprofit performing arts ecoystem is not set up to welcome new people and new ideas into the system, unless those “new” people reflect already-constructed pathways. Many of us who hosted and participated in the convenings have benefited from visionary insiders, figured out survival tactics, or just been plain lucky, but the system is still as difficult for outsiders to penetrate as it was when we busted our way in 15 years ago. Although some of us have succeeded at moving from the outside to the center, we wonder if we have created more openings for others to do so too, or changed the system as a whole. To us it seems as though the “system” is still biased towards maintaining what already is, instead of opening to what might be coming next. This is particularly true in regards to the most marginalized voices, who often reflect the “audiences” everyone is trying to reach, but rarely are partnered with in deep and meaningful ways that can shift the arts sector to both be more inclusive, but also more reflective of the future of this country.

Read the midterm progress report on the project. And check back for the full report, or sign up for our mailing list.

And if you’re curious about how young artists are changing things up, check out this video by MC Frak as part of the Youth Speaks Bigger Picture campaign against Type 2 Diabetes: