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Urban Arts Leadership Program March 20, 2018

Status: Complete…

The Weekend Intensives are a series of professional development workshops. These sessions are conducted by Kibibi Ajanku on Friday (6-9) and Saturdays (9-5) from September to December each year. They often include a guest lecturer, panel discussion, or workshop presenter to deepen the training. Through these sessions, Fellows develop skills in entrepreneurship, marketing, social media, crowd funding, grant writing, financial literacy, and more so that they enter their placements with strategic-level business and leadership abilities.

These intensives are more than a lecture; they require preparatory reading and project follow-through. For example, Cohort 2018 has been tasked, as an archive of their experience, to create a video documentary and curate an exhibition. The assignment is that the two be planned with matching messaging that speaks to inequity within the art sector in an effort to work for social justice. The Urban Arts Leadership Program is fortunate to have George Ciscle (Contemporary Museum) and Doreen Bolger (BMA) as trusted advisors. Both generously conducted informative workshops complete with PowerPoint presentations. Stay tuned for the exhibition opening has been designed to feature the first viewing of the UALP Cohort’18 documentary.


UALP Cohort 2018 Placements

After a thorough and competitive application process, cultural organizations were selected to act as host organizations for the current cohort of UALP Fellows.

The following Host Organizations placements have been defined for the current UALP program year:


Host Organization

Renz Balagtas

Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Kamera Breland

Maryland Citizens for the Arts

Alexis Dixon

The Walters Art Museum

Tracy Hall

Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Center

Tylar Hinton

Baltimore Clayworks

Asia McCallum

Everyman Theater

Kai Singleton

Baltimore Center Stage

Checking In…

Monthly Brown Bag Discussions

These themed discussions take place in the Motor House 3rd floor conference room in two separate groupings… One for the UALP Cohort Members and one for the UALP Host Organizations. They are most often informal rap sessions, workshops, or events surrounding a topic. The purpose is to continue to unearth implicit bias in the cultural workplace, highlight victories and successes within the fellowship placements, support and correct difficulties, as well as interrupt the direction of misinformed good intentions.

Monthly Reports from Host Organization and Cohort Members

While these reports, by design, require very little time or effort, they are the paper trail that will record the experience of the Urban Arts Leadership Program in real time. Please consider them a valuable artifact and treasured historical programmatic confirmation. The reports represent the opportunity for frank and candid documentation that purposefully strengthens the case that a positive pipeline is necessary for under-represented emerging leaders. The monthly report is simply an email blurb (1-2 paragraphs)... successes, victories, difficulties, concerns.

From the Field…

A Few Words from Our Host Organizations

Alexis has been an active contributor to the Walters in the month of February… Alexis has also been a part of our internal capacity building workshops that have focused on program evaluation. She contributed to the prototyping of a survey instrument for determining student interest in the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East galleries. These galleries are among our most frequently toured, as their content connects to middle school curriculum. However, the tour outline has not been substantially revised in what might be close to 20 years. We are working to make this tour experience more responsive to student interest and to then reframe docent training to better solicit and respond to the knowledge and curiosity that students bring to the interpretation of those collections.

-Verónica E. Betancourt, Walters Art Museum

Renz had his introductory meeting with several Clarice staff in late January and it quickly became clear there were lots of ways Renz could make meaningful contributions to the organization during his fellowship, in addition to enhancing his knowledge of and experience with working in a large arts organization. He is very mature, conversational, creative, confident and easy-going. These are all valuable assets in a colleague!... Renz’s projects allow him to collaborate with several Clarice staff members including Erica Bondarev Rapach, Associate Executive Director, Jane Hirshberg, Assistant Director of Campus and Community Engagement, Megan Pagado Wells, Associate Director of the Artist Partner Program, Rika Dixon White, Director of Marketing & Guest Experience and Richard Scerbo, Director of NOI+F.

- Erica Bondarev Rapach, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

I am happy to report that Kamera has already assumed a large and important role in Maryland Citizens for the Arts. Her current administrative duties are active on two fronts. Kamera has been tasked with being the primary communicator for our upcoming National Arts Advocacy Day (AAD) event in partnership with Americans for The Arts. Her jobs include: contacting Maryland Federal Lawmakers and setting up meetings, liaising with the MD delegation attending AAD and helping to organize and streamline the meetings between constituents and lawmakers. Kamera’s long-term project curating an individual artists survey and focus group is also off to a successful start…

- Nicholas Cohen, Maryland Citizens for the Arts

A Few Words from Our 2018 Cohort

I will start by saying, I am tired! I've had a professor tell me before to make sure I always "max out" in whatever work I'm doing. Run to the work, not away from the work. A typical week here includes staff meetings, paperwork, and 1-2 events. I love the service events that we do. Actually, on Monday, we did a "story circle" event with about 50 guests, centered on drug addiction and mental health. I enjoyed seeing the diversity in the room, from the Lexington Market stereotype, to the few Johns Hopkins students in the room. We are bringing into fruition the idea of making sure this theater is open for EVERYONE, not just people who can afford tickets.

Doing this work has put into perspective my career goals as a designer, because now I am considering being a teaching artist in Baltimore City Public School System as well.

My last note-- I enjoy seeing familiar faces because our local industry is so small. Kenneth Morrison, who did one of our UALP sessions attended one of our events.

-Asia McCallum, UALP Cohort’18

Missing Janica…

…And she’s off!

This is exactly what UALP is meant to do. We are excited as Janica Alston moves into position as the YMCA Program Manager for their Big Brothers, Big Sisters Mentorship Program.

Welcoming Renz…

Life is a series of continued blessings! I now have the great pleasure of welcoming Renz Balagtas for UALP Cohort’18 to GBCA as the Assistant Program Manager. We are already “moving and shaking”… stayed tuned!


March 14 – Host Organization Brown Bag Check-In

Theme: Special Issue… Racism

March 16 – Cohort’18 Evening Rap Session & Check-In

Theme: Identifying Implicit Bias in the Workplace

April 11 – Host Organization Brown Bag Check-In

Event: Equity & Inclusion Workshop with Donna Walker-Khune

April 13 – Cohort’18 Evening Rap Session & Check-In

Event: Networking… UALP partners with Arts Administrators of Color DMV

April 14 – Cohort’18 Equity and Inclusion Workplace Facilitator Training

Location: TBA

May 16 – Cohort’18 Evening Rap Session & Check-In

Theme: Guest TBA

May 18 – Host Organization Brown Bag Check-In

Theme: TBA

June 13 – Cohort’18 Evening Rap Session & Check-In

Theme: Closing

June 15 – Host Organization Brown Bag Check-In

Theme: Closing Out

June 28 – Urban Arts Leadership Cohort 2018 Graduation

In Closing…

"Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art." -Wikipedia

Jointly and individually, we are a representative of the arts sector of Baltimore and its surrounding counties. We should and must be guardians constantly activating forward vision and super hero powers with sensitivities and behaviors that address the past, present, and future. This is not only about audience numbers and bottom lines. It is truly about a paradigm shift in reflexive actions that will continually move us intentionally to core inclusivity within arts sector leadership. Those who understand must lead to way, and those who truly understand know that there is no end game. The work is rigorous, far-reaching, and ongoing. Thank you for joining me.

It is my opinion that equity and inclusion work is not just a box to be checked. It is work that is urgent and essential to the forward motion of the arts sector as well as any notion that we may have of being prepared and appropriate. My monthly connection with you is important and shows itself in two ways.

respectfully submitted by:

Kibibi Ajanku

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