Sunday, August 25, 2013

2013's Fifty Most Powerful and Influential People in the Nonprofit Arts (USA)

Good morning.
"And the beat goes on................."

This is the sixth annual Barry’s Blog listing of the Most Powerful and Influential Leaders in the Nonprofit Arts.  It has become far and away the most widely read of my postings (last year it attracted 12,500 page hits in addition to the subscriber base circulation - up from 5,000 additional hits from the previous year).

While I know many (most) people skip this introduction and immediately scroll down to the list itself, two points before you rush to judgment and / or criticize:  
1.  Please don't send me a comment noting the conspicuous absence of artists on the list.  That is intentional.  There are, of course, countless artists, who because of their talent, skill, passion, genius and dedication are both powerful and influential. They greatly influence all of us.  But this list is limited to those leaders who work in the nonprofit arts field as administrators. And that means that not only are artists intentionally omitted, but the classes of curators, directors, publicists, managers, and others are also not the province of this list - though I certainly recognize these people and others have considerable influence.  There are several artists on this list, but their inclusion is because of their role in some facet of the administration of the nonprofit arts, not in their capacity as artists.  Perhaps someone else may wish to compile a list of powerful and influential artists and others, but that is another list from this one.  You have to stop somewhere.

And this list is only a list of those who work in the nonprofit arts field in America.  Obviously there are powerful, influential and admirable leaders across the globe.

2.   A few people (every year) let me know they don't like this kind of list.  More often than not, what they really don't like is the inclusion of certain of the people who are on the list.  It's not that they have anything against any of these people, rather that they want to promote power and influence accruing to a different kind of arts administrator; leaders whose thinking is different from the prevailing approaches of most of the folks on this list.  They want the future to be here now. I understand and appreciate that.  

In fact, I am heartened that the list provokes some discussion about who should have power and influence and why, and where power and influence ought to reside, and why.  One of my purposes in compiling this list every year is that I think it is important to know where the field perceives power and influence to lie, and why - because these people largely determine how the debates in our sector are framed and what the agendas will be. They drive our discussions of policy, and they are the people who control much, if not most of the money, and decide where the funding goes (at least in broad swatches).  They influence what issues should be on the front burner, and what we talk about when we meet. They define our goals and objectives, our priorities and the positions we take – and even the way we do things.  They can ‘green light’ new programs and projects and are chiefly responsible for prioritizing which challenges we address. In large part, they are our most experienced and knowledgeable people – arguably some of our best thinkers; certainly our established power brokers. Some of them represent specific segments within our larger community; others have at-large platforms. They have varied, substantial, and sometimes eclectic resumes and experience.  Some have served in the field for a long time; others are newer to our ranks.  

The reality is that some people do have more power and influence, or are perceived as such - whether anyone likes it or not.  To pretend that any world (ours included) is not stratified, tiered, territorial and subject to politics and disproportionately controlled by an oligarchy at the top is na├»ve.  If as a field, we want to change how we assign power and influence, to whom, when, and why - then that should be pushed via open and transparent dialogue across the sector.  I think it of value to know who we think the people with power are.  I believe the people who work in our field are passionate and motivated and seek the higher good, but I also recognize that they are human beings, and that our field isn’t some separate and perfect world – and that power and influence are tangible currency – sometimes spent wisely, other times needlessly squandered.  And I acknowledge that there are people who honestly think that the people on the list holding power and influence is not necessarily a good thing. 

Power is defined as “the capability of doing or accomplishing something; the possession of control or command over others; authority.”  Influence is defined as “the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others”.  Thus this list does not purport to necessarily measure impact, creativity, accomplishment or lasting effect – but rather who has the ability and capacity to get things done and move others to get things done – and in this case on a large stage -  or (perhaps even more importantly) who is perceived as having that ability, for the perception itself confers a degree of power and influence.  It isn’t meant to be a popularity contest.  Indeed, some of those on the list are perhaps not universally loved - but they do have power and / or exercise influence.  Neither does this list attempt to measure or evaluate anyone’s job performance or skill sets.  

Leaders come and go, move from one post to another and their fortunes and the fortunes of the organizations they lead change from year to year, as do both the circumstances in which they operate and their own level of activity and involvement.  Thus some leaders included on this list one year, may not be on the radar screen of my nominators the next year. Some leaders are active one year, quiet the next.  Admittedly this is but a subjective exercise and the selections are arbitrary. As such this list is, of course, incomplete and flawed.   All lists are. This one is neither exhaustive nor definitive.  No insult is meant to anyone whose name is not on the list, and I am sure there are many people whose names should be on the list. While I personally agree with most of the final selections, as in prior years there are some I find surprising. I am also confused by the omission of others that I would have thought would have been consensus inclusions. Particularly surprising (and puzzling) to me this year is the absence of the nominations of leaders working so hard in the arts education field.  Some may argue that the categories included are incomplete; that some categories should include more people, others fewer.  People may agree, or disagree that the names on this list have power or influence.  I acknowledge that it is merely a “snapshot’ in time of our leadership; one that tries to recognize influence exercised over the past year, and circumstances that will likely confer the power of influence in the coming year. 

This year's list includes many who have frequently been on the list (and not surprisingly, there is heavy representation of funders who control grants), but I also note a definite trend towards another generation of leaders - included not so much because they have the power of position, or purse or long standing place - but rather because their ideas speak eloquently and convincingly, and their thinking continues to gain traction with an ever widening group.   This list is becoming less about power each year, and more about influence.  Slowly - but surely.  And more of the next generation of arts leaders are appearing on the list.  As the Boomers retire, that trend can only get more pronounced.  Power is never wholly static, nor is influence - both are in a constant state of flux and transition - nowhere more so than in our perceptions.  (Certainly the perception of who has power and influence is a fickle thing; (Half the names on this year's list were not on last year's list; almost half of this year's people have never been on the list before).

I also note that there is a shift in many places of power and influence moving from state agencies to city agencies.  That may be largely a function of the fact of state funding cuts, and cities faring better in garnering public and private financial support.  Funding cuts have curtailed the reach of state agencies and with less money for grants, programs and projects, their influence has naturally ebbed.

And as the private (foundation) funders continue to try to  pick up some of the public funding slack - there has been a rise in their visibility, and in their power and influence.  Like everywhere else in society, money talks.

There are, of course, countless unsung, brilliant leaders in our field – whose exemplary accomplishments and contributions are known to but a small circle and whose reputations are thus not yet widely established.  That they did not make this list in no way diminishes their contributions; rather it is more likely an indication that they are not yet, for whatever reason, perceived as having as much power and influence as others in our field. Doubtless the profile of many of these leaders will rise over time. Others may move on.  This list includes individuals who principally operate on a national stage, and most have long term tenures in the field and years of experience.  But even though only six years old, the list has changed over time, and will, I suspect, continue to morph in the future.

Finally, this year WESTAF and I launched the Arts Dinner-vention project, which will take place at the end of next week.  This is an attempt to give a platform and voice to some of those exemplary leaders and thinkers in our field who are not necessarily likely to be on this list -- yet.   It is a small attempt to acknowledge the influence of those coming up in the ranks.   (And actually some of the dinner guests did make the list this year - indicative of change in the wind.) 

Each year I ask leaders from all parts of our sector and all parts of the country to send me their nominations for the most powerful and influential leaders in our field.  The process is anonymous and none of the nominators know the identity of any of the other nominators.   At least 50% of the nominators in a given year are different from the previous year.  All are free to nominate anyone they thought qualified, including themselves - the only caveat being that this was about arts administration and organizational leadership, and so I asked that we leave artists off this list (that’s a whole other listing - see disclaimer above).

Neither I, nor any employee at WESTAF, (which distributes this blog, but in no way has any part whatsoever as the author or originator of this list) was eligible for inclusion on the list.

This year I continue to group those on the list in broad categories - (e.g., National Leaders, Foundation Leaders, Policy Wonks, City Agency leaders, Bloggers, Researchers etc.), in no particular ranking.

For all those on the list, congratulations.  You deserve the recognition.  As I said last year, I wish this came with a trophy, or a cash prize or some dinner in a big city to publicly laud your achievements, but I am, alas, without the means or platform to enact such luxuries. 

And finally:   Don’t shoot me.  I’m just the messenger.

Don’t Quit.
Barry

HERE THEN IS THE 2013 LIST:

National Leaders:
Janet Brown:  President and CEO, Grantmakers in the Arts
Her star can’t get much higher -- or can it?.  She is everyone’s choice as one of the principal people responsible for moving the nation’s philanthropic and government arts funders into new roles and thinking.  Unafraid to tackle such diverse challenges as race and racism, federal funding of arts education, and the need for arts organizations to have adequate capitalization - she remains unassuming and the consummate diplomat.  She has forever changed Grantmakers In the Arts, and probably the field as well.  "Inspiring" is the word one nominator used.

Bob Lynch:  President & CEO, Americans for the Arts
The Godfather of national arts service organizations, he has built one of the largest and most effective arts organization machines in the field, with a major presence in areas ranging from arts education and research, to business and marketing, to emerging leaders, to professional development -- all on the base of local arts agencies.  It is Americans for the Arts that defends and seeks to protect the National Endowment for the Arts budget - and without those efforts the agency might not have made it this far.   Bob refuses to slow down and is on the road as much as anyone in the industry, and he is the default public spokesperson for the field. Few people love their jobs as much as he does his.  

Joan Shigekawa:  Acting Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts
Joan has astutely, competently and professionally filled in as Chair of the Endowment following Rocco’s departure, and has done so with quiet class and grace.  

Aaron Dworkin  President - The Sphinx Organization
Reportedly a serious candidate for the Chair of the Endowment, for whatever reasons he prefers to remain as the highly visible head of one of the country’s most regarded performing arts organizations.  Very adept as using the bully pulpit and working philanthropic and corporate funders, he has made the Sphinx organization a premier training ground for gifted young classical artists of color -- and in the process has become a national figure himself. 

Maria Lopez De Leon - Executive Director, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture
Her influence and cachet grew even more last year with her ongoing place on the National Arts Council and her increased profile as one of the art sector’s foremost leaders of color.  As the Latino community grows, and becomes more active in the field, her influence cannot help but expand.  On people's short list for bigger things?

Jamie Bennett - Chief of Staff / Director of Public Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts
Rocco’s, and now Joan's, Chief of Staff and the Director of the Endowment’s public affairs arm, Jamie is one of the nonprofit arts highly respected rising stars.  He has a huge network of supporters, a razor sharp analytical mind and is unafraid of sharing his thinking.  His fan base has grown substantially over the past year, due in part in appreciation of someone who cuts to the chase.  He appreciates the big picture, while understanding how the details work.  

Mario Garcia Durham - Executive Director, Association of Performing Arts Presenters
He continues to deftly attend to the needs of the nation’s presenters while simultaneously fashioning that field into a more cohesive whole.  Pressure is on as people expect big things from him.

Adam Huttler - Executive Director, Fractured Atlas
Still the most visible and successful of a new generation of arts leaders, Huttler has grown Fractured Atlas into a national influential powerhouse while keeping a “start up” buzz going.  Like others of his niche, he is tireless and refuses to parse his words to placate the past.  Has had significant influence on the way small arts organizations do business.  Future Hall of Famer maybe?


Regional Leaders:
David Fraher - Executive Director, Arts Midwest 
Described as a “savvy, go-to guy on any subject”, Farher runs Arts Midwest - one of the regional arts organizations.  Nearing his 30th year at his post, he is far more than just a survivor.  After a half a lifetime in one gig, there isn’t much he hasn’t seen or about which he can’t say; “Been there, done that.”  That kind of experience is invaluable.  His commitment to support for arts organization infrastructure and the professional development of leadership, and his forging lasting relationships with funders and other partners, coupled with strong programs of artist support have made him a national leader in the field.  

City Agency Leaders:
Jonathan Glus - CEO, Houston Arts Alliance
Awash in funding, Houston's municipal arts agency is the envy of most of the other city agencies in the country, and Jonathan is the one who heads the decision making process as to where to spend a seemingly almost endless money stream.  As the first head of the organization, his exemplary performance has significantly raised Houston’s and his own reputation.  On the way up.

Michele Boone - Commissioner, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
She reportedly has Mayor Rahn Emanuel’s ear, and is using that access to wring increasing city support for the arts, arts education and artists in the windy city.  Named to a handful of most powerful lists, she is seen as one of the “go to” people in the sector for advice and her opinion.

Michael Spring - Director, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs
He helms one of the major urban arts agencies in the country and is a major player in the arts advocacy efforts both in Florida and on the national stage with his deep involvement with Americans for the Arts.  Savvy, down to earth, experienced and knowledgable, he is highly esteemed by his colleagues.

Roberto Bedoya - Executive Director, Tucson / Pima Arts Council
Placing himself at the center of last year’s increased dialogue on race and racism (as manifested in the larger arena of the question of equity), he has established himself as someone who must be included in any conversation about the arts as related to people of color.  He asks hard questions adroitly clothed in academic language, and is pushing the envelope.  

Laura Zucker - Executive Director, Los Angeles County Arts Commission
A fixture on this list, she remains the pen ultimate administrator who runs one of the best shops ever.  If something is on her priority list, the chances are that it is on everyone in LA’s list. 

Olga Garay - Executive Director, Los Angeles City Department of Cultural Affairs
Having raised $21 million in additional funding for the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, she, together with Laura Zucker at the County Arts agency, have put Los Angeles on a solid footing for the future.  She is a politician, knows how the game is played, and has worked well with the Mayor and City Council. 

Research:
Sunil Iyengar - Director, Office of Research and Analysis, National Endowment for the Arts
He has raised the role of, and respect for, the NEA’s research activities, as well as the value of arts research, ten fold in the past year by championing transparency and a greater understanding for research.  

Anne Gadwa Nicodemus - Principal, Metris Arts Consulting
She’s starting to climb out from Ann Markusen’s shadow and shine in her own right, and is increasingly recognized as one of the key, pivotal point people in the world of arts data and research.  

Randy Cohen - Vice-President, Research and Policy, Americans for the Arts
Still the face of arts research and data to the rank and file of the nation’s arts organizations, he criss crosses the country preaching the gospel of the value of arts as confirmed by all kinds of data. Unapologetic chief defender of the importance of the economic argument for arts support.  It works, and hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  His easy going style have made him very popular in the field.

Ian David Moss - Director of Research, Fractured Atlas
Through his blog Createquity, he has ramped up understanding and respect for both the value and the process of serious data collection and research.  This year he spearheaded the establishment of an online community - the Cultural Research Network - with other stalwarts in the research community, and it has taken off.  He also has expanded his reputation as project advisor and strategic planner.  As one nominator put it:  “While his blog is a major voice in the field, his work consulting on a number of large-scale community-based strategic planning efforts have helped us envision new models for arts organizations and the way they are embedded into their community.”  Big future in the field.


Advocacy:
Danielle Brazell - Executive Director, Arts for LA
Los Angeles has one of the handful of the country’s best arts advocacy organizations, and Danielle is its heart, soul and brains. She has learned the ins and outs of effective lobbying by being proactive for a long time now, and has raised the visibility of her organization to the point where people across the sector have taken note.  Another rising star.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli - Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs - Americans for the Arts and Executive Director Arts Action Fund
Narric Rome - Vice-President, of Government and Public Affairs - Americans for the Arts
Consummate government experts, tireless protectors of the NEA and hearlded teachers and mentors to a generation of arts advocates across the country.  Nobody in the field knows more about the maze of intrigue in the political corridors of Washington D.C. than Nina.  And the Arts Action Fund remains the sector's best foray into real world lobbying.  

Arts Ed:
Yo Yo Ma - Artist
His artistry commands respect and attention, and his passion has made him the champion of the argument that the arts are essential to full growth of every individual in America.  Willing to use his celebrity to further arts education.


Philanthropy:
Darren Walker - President, Ford Foundation
With a solid background in arts philanthropy, and having played a major role in the ArtPlace efforts, his impact and influence on the field, already substantial, is expected to grow in the coming years as he assumes the leadership of the nation’s largest foundation. Since 2010, he has served as vice president for Education, Creativity and Free Expression at the Ford Foundation, where he has shaped more than $140 million in annual grant-making around the world, covering areas as diverse as media and journalism, arts and culture, educational access and opportunity, and religion.  He has been a driving force behind initiatives such as JustFilms, one of the largest documentary film funds in the world. He may walk softly, but he carries a very big stick.  Lots of eyes on him.

Ben Cameron - Program Director, Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Still the best public speaker the arts has yet to put forward.  He is a thinking man’s philanthropist with money to spend, and he continues to have major influence on arts philanthropy.

Judith Jennings - Executive Director, Kentucky Foundation for Women (KFW), 
Leading a private, independent philanthropy that supports feminist art advancing social change, Jennings’ championing of women’s issues in the arts, has earned her the growing respect of the philanthropic field.  She continues to show up on more people’s radar screens as a rising voice.

Ruby Lerner - President & Executive Director, Creative Capital

Lerner’s influence on grantmaking to artists continues to expand. She’s been around the block enough to fully understand all the issues in trying to help artists not just survive, but actually "thrive" - and the funding community listens attentively to her opinions.  One nominator described her simply:  "She is a very, very smart lady."

Kary Schulman - Director, Grants-for-the-Arts - San Francisco
Another 30 year veteran, Schulman has navigated the minefield that the SF Arts ecosystem can be with consummate skill, and in the process has helped nurture and incubate scores of what are now model organizations - adhering to the philosophy of sticking with organizations while they grow.  Over her span she has overseen many times tens of millions of dollars in grants, and she has played an important role in protecting the hotel tax revenue stream that funds her organization - Grants-for-the-Arts - from the political machinations of wannabe politicians bent on cutting the funding.  Few San Francisco arts organizations would today still be around were it not for Schulman's funding help at some point.  A remarkable legacy for an unassuming stalwart.

John McGuirk - Program Director, Performing Arts Program, Hewlett Foundation
Having run both Irvine's and Hewlett's arts funding programs, and very involved in GIA, McGuirk continues to be a major voice in the sector, especially in California where Hewlett funds heavily in both arts education and performing arts.  Organizations throughout the greater Bay Area are his constituents, so he wields considerable influence. He's halfway through his tenure, and the next two years will be his legacy.  

Huong Vu Bozarth - The Boeing Company
Huong oversees The Boeing Company's Global Corporate Citizenship Pacific Northwest Region arts, culture, and civic grants portfolio. Previously, she was the senior arts program officer at The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, guest curator at contemporary performance center On the Boards, director of grants programs at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, fellow at the National Endowment for the Arts, and organizer of visual arts exhibitions. She is currently an advisory commissioner for the Seattle Arts Commission and a board trustee for the Seattle Parks Foundation, and she sits on the Board of GIA.
Deepa Gupta - The Boeing Company
Gupta is currently the Director of Education Initiatives and Strategy in the global corporate citizenship group at The Boeing Company.  Prior to Boeing, Ms. Gupta served as a program officer for The MacArthur Foundation where she managed its institutional building program called the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, the arts and culture grant program, and internal efforts to define a framework for MacArthur’s programmatic strategy development and impact assessment.  She is a member of the National Council on the Arts.

Because Boeing as a private sector corporation is so heavily involved in support for arts and culture, Huong and Deepa are in great demand as speakers, advisors, and participants in all the policy convenings of the sector.  

Carol Coletta  - former Director, Arts Place.  Now Vice-President, Community and National Initiatives, Knight Foundation
Under her direction, Arts Place became the major arm (and funder) of the Creative PlaceMaking movement, and she was the movement's spokesperson, champion and articulate defender.  Her direct experience with cities helped form her approach, and helped land her the VP position at Knight - where (while she will be once removed from the arts) she is likely to still have impact and sway on arts funding.  
Jeremy Nowak - Interim Director, Arts Place
Carol Coletta’s successor, Nowak is a Non Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution as well as a Non Resident Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Urban Research. He currently serves as the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s board of directors. He was President of the William Penn Foundation from 2011-2012 in a somewhat stormy tenure, and the CEO of The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) in Philadelphia, which he co-founded in 1985. Among his publications is Creativity and Neighborhood Development, a monograph that integrates art and cultural practices within a community development framework.  He certainly has the position and power to accomplish an ambitious agenda.  Time will tell where his priorities lie and how he will helm the PlaceMaking apparatus - and whether or not he has found his niche and a support base.

Josephine Ramirez -   Program Director, Arts - The Irvine Foundation
Foundations change their focus and stated strategic goals all the time, but few shifts have had as much play and influence across the philanthropic sector as Irvine's move to "Engagement" as their operating philosophy.  Whether breaking new ground, or recognizing and smartly reflecting a growing trend, their focus change has had major impact on the field, and Josephine is the one at the epicenter of the whole thing.  She has handled both criticism and applause with professionalism and humility and won a legion of fans in the process.  


Consultants:
Alan Brown - Wolf / Brown Consulting
Perhaps the most widely known and respected of all the arts consultants plying their trade today, Brown’s research and analysis continues to hold great sway over the thinking of the field.  One nominator described his influence thusly:  “He is so adept, and quick, at both recognizing and describing new trends, he holds the rapt attention of the nation’s arts leaders - and particularly the funders."

Russell Willis Taylor - President and CEO, National Arts Strategies
Her Executive training initiatives remain the ‘sterling’ entries in the field - endorsed by scores of participants and funders, and the network of graduates of her programs gives her a huge base of contacts seeking her advice and counsel.  


Policy Wonks:
Bill Ivey - Author, lecturer, former Chair of the NEA and Director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy 
Back in the national spotlight this past year with his book: Handmaking America,  Ivey continues his role as one of the pre-eminent thinkers on the importance and workings of creativity in America, and one of the most respected of all our policy mavens.  

Steven Tepper - Associate Director, Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy / Associate Professor, Department of Sociology - Vanderbilt University
Widely recognized as one of the leading cultural policy experts in the sector, his involvement with SNAPP (the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project) and its conference this year at Vanderbilt and the release of its report, raised his visibility even higher.           

DISCIPLINE AREAS:

Theatre:
Meiyin Wang - Associate Artistic Producer, Public Theater / Under the Radar Festival
Greatly respected and admired head of the Under the Radar festival and her championing of new, and cutting edge theater, Wang is widely seen as one of the rising voices in the theater community.   

Visual:
Nina Simon -  Executive Director, Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
Back on the list again this year for her growing leadership of a new generation of museum directors.  Risk taker, thought leader, out of the box experimenter, her blog is not only widely read and discussed, it is widely quoted.  Increasingly regarded as one of the faces of the future of museums because of her bold, innovative community emphasized approach.

Opera:
Marc Scorca - President and CEO, Opera America
Champion of Opera - not just for his membership but Opera everywhere.  He’s been in his post since 1990 and has overseen growth of his membership from 120 opera companies to nearly 2,500 members.  Collaborative style, he’s an effective champion of opera, music and the arts domestically and internationally.  He cares, and people respond to that.  

Music:
Jesse Rosen - President / CEO, League of American Orchestras
When Rosen talks, people listen.  Passionate, well versed in the issues facing all of the arts sector, he continues to speak for and on behalf of the nation’s music sector - bluntly and authoritatively.  

Kristin Thomson - Future of Music Coalition
Accomplished researcher in the area of musicians' revenue streams, she is shining a spotlight on artist survivability in the changing economic marketplace.  She is also a pioneer in helping arts organization’s to better utilize digital technologies.  

Bloggers:
Diane Ragsdale - Jumper
Thought provoking blogger, she champions the artist and the underdog and asks everyone to think.  One nominator noted:  “She challenges us to reconsider our  views about fulfilling the role of arts in community, measuring success, and public obligation.”  Widely read, she has a major influence in certain policy areas.

Andrew Taylor - The Artful Manager
Back in full form as one of the nation’s most widely read bloggers and now settled in as a professor at American University,  he has an uncanny ability to find the small things that make a big difference and provokes his large readership to think outside their own areas of expertise.  Doubtful there is anyone blogging on the arts who is more respected and beloved.  

Thomas Cott - You’ve Cott Mail 
Doug McClellan - Arts Journal
As one nominator put it:  These two are “The kings of arts industry content aggregation. If you’re not following them you’re not in the loop, period.” 
Cott is also an increasingly respected expert in the area of marketing, and McClellan
leads the charge in questioning the role of arts journalism in the wider pantheon of news and commentary from his new post as a member of the USC faculty.  Those who interact with him appreciate his keen insight and his intelligence.

Michael Rushton - For What It’s Worth
Director of the Arts Administration program at Indiana University, Rushton’s no nonsense approach is winning him loyal readers across the field.  Using his economics background, he asks the hard questions,  and questions the basic assumptions of the field, as he debunks common held theories and ideas.  


Rising Voices:
Laura Zabel - Executive Director, Springboard for the Arts
As one nominator described her:  “the it girl for innovation in public community arts organizations”, she is on everyone’s list as an innovator and visionary - particularly in the support of artists.

Richard Evans - President, EmcArts
One of the field’s foremost purveyors of adaptive change for arts organizations, his organization is at the forefront of pushing for innovation in the way the sector thinks and operates.  Skilled at forging new partnerships and collaborations, he is paving new ways to respond to community needs.

Clay Lord - Vice-President Local Arts Advancement - Americans for the Arts
His blog New Beans continues to break ground in the audience development arena thinking, and he is at the forefront of raising the issue of equity in arts support and funding.  








8 comments:

  1. I can't help wondering if it makes sense to single out the most "powerful" and "influential" people in an industry that has neither the power nor influence to keep its theaters, concert halls and galleries full. We're a diminishing industry that's steadily losing customers and steadily losing relevance in the broader culture. To publicly proclaim 50 individuals every year to be power elites when elitism is one of our biggest problems seems to me to be counterproductive. I mean no disrespect to the people on the list; they're good people who deserve recognition. But wouldn't it be more appropriate to focus on humility rather than power for a change, and on measurable results rather than insiders' influence?

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    Replies
    1. A perfectly valid question Trevor. I don't know. But at least the exercise gets people like you thinking about the issues of power and influence, and I think that is a positive outcome. I hope people in the field ask lots of questions about power, influence and all the intended, and unintended, consequences of the way our system works (or doesn't work), and what it means.

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  2. Barry,

    First of all, thank you for the work that you do to publicize current trends, best practices, and general information about arts administration and navigating the oftentimes difficult waters of the non-profit world.

    I wanted to quietly and humbly note the absence of Dance under areas of disciplines; perhaps this is because you don't believe dance as a discipline has much power or influence, or perhaps you don't believe that anybody operating in the dance world has the power or influence to warrant making the list, but I spend a great deal of time arguing for the legitimacy of dance as an art form against decades of hierarchical discrimination and thus its omission on a list like this is not insignificant.

    It is, in the end, your list, and I respect your right to populate it as you see fit (and I certainly respect your knowledge and awareness and thus your choice making). I just wanted to advocate for my corner of the arts world.

    Thank you again for your work and your writing.

    Warmly,

    Alexander

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  3. Thank you Alexander. The choices are not necessarily mine. I rely on my nominators, and sometimes fields are given short shift. Last year John Michael Schert and Trey McIntyre were included from the dance sector. Having helmed Alonzo King's LINES Ballet for a stretch, I am not only enthralled with dance, but I personally fully recognize that there are exemplary leaders with influence in the dance community. And I stand foursquare in the camp that dance is as important as any other arts discipline. The list is arbitrary and subjective, and, I concede, sometimes capricious and falls short.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I definitely appreciate the list's reflection of the shifting tides of influence from year to year, and of course appreciate your words of support. I continue to look forward to your musings, insights, and observations, and will encourage my colleagues to continue to make waves and push forward and I hope some of them turn up on next year's list!

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  4. I'm stunned that Dance was not included in the disciplines, nor was there any Dancer or Dance organization represented. I guess Dance is not influential afterall?

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    1. There are no defined mandatory inclusions in the categories. Thus under the disciplines category heading there is no automatic entry for dance - nor for film, crafts, multi-media or other important or legitimate disciplines - because no one from that discipline was singled out by enough of my nominators to be deemed more powerful and influential than the other 50 people on the list. As I replied to Alexander, the list is fickle and imperfect. If I allot a space to every discipline and include someone who represents that designation, then the list isn't necessarily about the most powerful and influential people overall. That is not to say there aren't powerful and influential people in the dance community - just that no one person stood out this year on the nominations. And yes, that is a function I suppose of an imperfect system.

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  5. Interesting how there are mentions about arts education but no leaders from the arts education community (and no YoYo Ma, as great as he is, is not an arts education leader). With all the important work being done to advance arts education (the advocacy, the state research, the development of standards) as well as the fact that arts education in the US remains stable in most communities (exceptions being in some major urban areas) I would hope the folks who are responsible for advancing arts education would be included. That said... I LOVE the inclusion on Sunil, Jamie and Joan from the NEA and could not agree more with the importance of their work!

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