More First-Person Advice

Ok, so Monday Inspiration is a little late this week, but it’s worth the wait.

Barry Hessenius from WESTAF posted an essay that is full of first-hand advice from prominent arts leaders. Some of my favorite tidbits?

From Randy Cohen, Senior VP of Research and Policy for Americans for the Arts:

Change is a constant condition. When faced with multiple choices, lean towards the one you fear most—that is usually where the greatest treasure is buried. Be brave!

From Claire Peeps, Executive Director of the Durfee Foundation:

I’ve learned that people are our most valuable resource and that it is in our collective best interest that they be nurtured and sustained. This is true for leaders who must take care of the staff who work for them, and it is true of emerging leaders who must remember to take care of themselves.

From Michael Alexander, Executive Director, Grand Performances, two different pearls:

“When the sea rises, all ships rise with it.” Devote part of your work time and your personal life to the causes that will benefit our field and our world. Your professional life and your personal life will benefit in the process. My most important role models in the arts each practiced this providing leadership by devoting time and resources to our field.

And this:

“To be interesting, be interested.” Former CAC member Fred Sands said he told that to all his employees. I think it is worthwhile for all of us to listen more and talk less. And listen everywhere. Our audiences have remarkable wisdom – even the children. Ask good questions. Remember too that different communities have different ways of addressing challenges.

I find Michael Alexander’s sea image of particular interest. I think that many of us approach the world on two levels, or maybe in two separate spheres: family and work. To treat the larger community as a confluence of those spheres? Well, (aside from being a kickin’ Venn diagram,) it would show the amazing personal power of the arts to transform families, communities…each of us from without and within. And to buy into the idea that one success influences other successes? Call me a Commie, (On a side note, does anyone actually call people ‘Commies’ anymore? Or have I totally dated myself?)but I think that paying it forward in that large a manner can only be a good thing.

(How’s that for inspiration? I hope it was worth the wait!)

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