A Few Words from Debbie Mentors and Leaders on the Journey I've always been a believer that we learn by watching others. As we grow and mature, we emulate and adopt those qualities that are passed down to us that make us better individuals.
Don't you agree that the journey is so much easier when people share their knowledge and talents with us, when we have people in our lives to look up to, to mentor us and to lead us?
It is no different with our organizations. There are many organizations that I have been affiliated with over the years that have helped me grow into the arts administrator that I am today, and these same organizations have been instrumental in focusing the mission and direction of the organizations that I've served.
There is one organization in particular though, that I will lovingly call the "mothership," and it has been there at every step of the journey. It is known to all as Americans for the Arts. This national arts service organization takes a leadership role in guiding the arts community whether on a national, statewide or local basis. They are there for us at every turn and for every topic that comes across our desks. They have helped shape the national conversation on arts education, on cultural understanding, on placemaking and public art, on economic prosperity, on workplace innovation, on revitalized cultural districts, on diversity and on cultural tourism. And those of us who are affiliated with them, have molded and shaped our organizations to reflect the values that they have captured and shared from their national perspective.
As a local arts agency who serves individual artists, arts educators, and arts/cultural organizational leadership, the Arts Council of Greater Lansing appreciates our connection to the greater national conversation. We absorb the knowledge and direction that Americans for the Arts shares, and in turn, we pass it on to our constituents and followers.
On a yearly basis, Americans for the Arts brings those of us affiliated with the arts, of every size, shape and form, together to share our successes and our challenges, to learn from experts in the field, to soak up best practices and grasp new trends. Their annual convention, taking place this year in Chicago, is a time to reconnect to friends and colleagues from near and far who all believe that the arts are the driving force in the transformation of our communities. And the Arts Council staff (Josh, Dawn and I) are headed there in June to be a part of the conversation, to share what is going well in Lansing, and what we still need to work on, and to continue to gain knowledge and wisdom.
I would be remise if I didn't also mention our gratitude for the scholarship support that Americans for the Arts has provided to support Josh, who is our emerging leader and newest staff member. I am excited about introducing him to national colleagues and to witness all the passion and ideas that they bring forth. Those of us who have had the privilege of attending Americans for the Arts conventions over the years know the value of connecting to people from around the country and ingraining ourselves in the combined impact we have together. Being able to experience the convention with our entire leadership team will allow us to work off of each other when we return in new and exciting ways.
Thank you Americans for the Arts for being there for us--to answer questions, provide resources and exude your vision as we grow our region to be fully transformed through the power of the arts.
Deborah E. Mikula