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Redesigned EAP Fellowship aims to accelerate change in the arts

EAP_1314FellowshipNowOpen_WebsiteGraphicWhat are the most challenging problems facing the arts sector in the Bay Area? And what can our arts network do to tackle them?

For 3 years the EAP Fellowship Program has asked these questions, each year gathering a diverse cohort of artists, advocates, and arts leaders to answer them collectively. Over the course of 9 months, the EAP Fellows engage in both dialogue and action, intended to simultaneously build their professional skills and advance the Bay Area’s arts and culture sector as a whole.

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Now in its fourth year, the EAP Fellowship has been re-designed to accelerate change in the arts. The retooled program will advance four emerging conversations:

  • Open Systems: What is the relationship between an arts organization, its mission achievement/impact, and its social and environmental context? With an increasing number of artists and arts organizations engaged in work promoting social justice, equity, and resolution of racial and socioeconomic conflicts, EAP is creating space for dialogue on cultural policies and systems that are open, responsive, transparent, and accountable.

  • Networked Approaches: Thanks in large part to new web-based tools, more arts organizations are realizing the power of networks, and rethinking how “network” and “community” relate to the purpose of their organization. EAP seeks to identify and share best practices, and collectively discover what styles of leadership are required to work in a networked way.

  • Regenerative Practices: With an under-resourced field like the arts, questions of sustainability are always paramount in the minds of arts leaders. The stress is felt not only by organizations, but by the individuals who work for and support them. EAP seeks to renew the energy and passion that drives people into the sector, and at the same time identify programs and practices that will encourage a healthier arts ecosystem.

  • Research & Development: Historically under-served, R & D activities in the arts include support for new forms, support for inquiry-based (rather than outcome-based) work, and promotion of innovative arts management practices and structures. As a new wave of innovators, investigators and entrepreneurs emerges, EAP seeks to advance an ecosystem that supports and values research and development in the arts.

The EAP Fellowship program also examines and redefines the skillset that will be required for arts leaders. In a sector where work roles are constantly evolving, EAP is exploring a more encompassing set of “hats” that arts workers must wear. EAP Fellows will explore the following four leadership roles, and will facilitate skill-sharing within their cohort:

  • Content Creators – event producers, data-driven decision makers, researchers, writers, thought leaders, action-oriented facilitators

  • Connectors – network weavers, people who forge new relationships, help discover shared values, manage communities, and whose work creates a sum that is greater than its parts

  • Visionaries – prolific communicators, compelling storytellers, strong advocates, inspiring leaders, natural innovators, lighting rods, strategic dynamos

  • Team Leaders – coaches, motivators, intrepid organizers, quality controllers, creators of systems, tacklers of complex projects, high achievers

To spur the creative juices of the group, EAP also brings in established leaders from the arts, and sometimes beyond, who share their wisdom by engaging in facilitated panel discussions and open forums. Past guests have included:

  • David Cody, president, San Francisco Permaculture Guild
  • Deborah Cullinan, executive director, Intersection for the Arts
  • Rachel Fink, director, Berkeley Repertory School of Theatre
  • Ken Foster, executive director, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
  • Erica Gangsei, manager of interpretive media, SFMOMA
  • Joe Goode, executive & artistic director, Joe Goode Performance Group
  • Renee Hayes, associate director, Grants for the Arts / SF Hotel Tax Fund
  • Heather Holt Villyard, executive director, ArtSpan
  • Adam Huttler, executive director, Fractured Atlas
  • Sharon Maidenberg, executive director, Headlands Center for the Arts
  • Stanford School of Design (d.school)
  • Marc Vogl (formerly of the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation)
  • Akaya Windwood, executive director, Rockwood Leadership Institute

The EAP Fellowship’s heady mix of dynamic conversation and learning-by-doing is a unique offering, strengthened by the organization’s position as a network- and community-builder for the San Francisco Bay Area’s arts scene. The work of the Fellows, realized through public panel discussions, small group meetups and forums, publishing, and other engagement efforts, will be realized over the course of the year. The Fellowship will culminate in Emergence, the EAP annual convening and one-day conference, on Monday, June 2, 2014 in San Francisco.

Interested applicants are encouraged to apply by July 15.

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The EAP Fellowship Program was redesigned, with feedback from past participants, by the 2012-13 EAP Leadership Team: Chida Chaemchaeng (Leadership 2009-13), Bea Dominguez (Fellow 2010-11, Leadership 2011-13), Michael DeLong (Fellow 2011-12, Leadership 2012-current), Adam Fong (co-founder, Leadership 2009-11, Director 2011-current), Virginia Reynolds (Fellow 2011-12, Leadership 2012-current), and Ernesto Sopprani (Fellow 2010-11, Leadership 2011-current).

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