A New Black Arts Executive Director Pipeline Program

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Preparing Black Artists, Administrators, Philanthropists, Creatives, and Cultural Workers by Angela N. Carroll

Visionary social innovators and beloved Reservoir Hill Dovecote Café owners Cole and Aisha Pew have had an extraordinarily busy and productive year. In partnership with local and national entrepreneurs, the pair facilitated countless initiatives designed to combat systemic disinvestment in underserved communities within Baltimore City; food deserts, home ownership, lack of investment in POC led ventures, and others.

The latest venture, The Black Arts Executive Director Pipeline Program, launched via sister organization Brioxy, seeks to prepare Black artists, administrators, philanthropists, creatives and cultural workers for arts administration leadership careers.

“In the past year and a half we have worked with hundreds of leaders around the country,” Cole shared during a brief interview. “Part of our goal over the next couple of years is to really deepen our roots in Baltimore and to be able to support leaders from across different sectors.”

The Black Arts Executive Director Pipeline Program raises important questions, and a direct plan of action to bridge long standing racial and economic divides within art institutions.

“The city has a population that is very diverse and that is not traditionally reflected in the institutions across the arts and cultural world here in Baltimore,” Cole continued. “Sixty-five percent of the city is Black. We would love to see sixty-five percent of the administrators, staff, executive directors and leadership of arts institutions in the city reflect that diversity.”

Anyone with an interest in art and a plan to become an Executive Director of an arts organization in the next two years is invited to apply.

“Whether you want to lead the Walters Museum, or you want to run community arts, or you want to run a cultural community arts space, there is room for all three of those prospective executive directors in our program,” said Cole.

The application went live July 7th, and when we met a few days later for the interview, over fifty applications had already been received. The response to the announcement, largely distributed by word of mouth and social media, is telling. POC communities in Baltimore City want change and transformative practices that will erode long standing racial and economic disparities within the city’s cultural institutions. The response also raises critical questions, mainly, what are institutions doing to create equitable and inclusive opportunities for qualified arts administrators who aren’t white?

This August – November, 20-30 selected participants who live and work primarily in Baltimore, will be prepared for Executive Director positions in a wide range of local and national arts institutions. Through a series of intensive workshops and trainings, future arts administrators will engage fundamental leadership topics; strategy, managing teams, evaluation, finance and fundraising, as well as “self-care tools” to help them maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Cole hopes that enthusiasm around the pilot program from prospective arts administrations and arts institutions will help illuminate the need for similar programs.

“We are really excited. And it’s just about a much larger conversation and about what it looks like for us to ask the question, how do we hire Black Baltimore?” Success of The Black Arts Executive Director Pipeline Program will reveal the viability of developing and investing in similar programs designed to tackle racial, economic and/or gender disparities in other sectors within Baltimore.

All applications for The Black Arts Executive Director Pipeline Program Application are due by July 19. If selected, the $100 application fee will cover all participant expenses. Interested artists and creatives are encouraged to APPLY.

Interested in learning more about Brioxy? Check out this short video.

Application located here.

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