Aims to support BIPOC administrators
The Network for Arts Administrators of Color announced in December who would make up its new slate of “ten regional BIPOC business and cultural leaders who will serve as sponsors and mentors to the group’s 2021 class of rising regional arts administrators.” Now, the mid level arts administrators have begun meeting with the executive level business leaders in preparation for a packed program in the spring. The mentoring program aims to build interactions between the administrators and executives through one-on-one meetings, career counseling, workshops, discussions, and networking events, all in the hopes of advancing equity and diversity within the Boston arts world. ArtsBoston Director of Programs Ola Akinwumi described where participants are at in the program and what they are expecting in the spring.
“Since NAAC Boston’s second cohort began its work last year, the business and cultural leaders who serve as mentors—and the rising arts leaders they’re mentoring—have met in private sessions to set goals and plans for their work together.
Throughout the spring, NAAC will sponsor a series of professional development workshops for cohort members that can help them build a relevant and practical knowledge base. Some of the topics include networking, fundraising, and self-care. The group will have opportunities to go behind the scenes of productions by some of the region’s largest nonprofit arts organizations, like Celebrity Series of Boston.
Successful networking can be stressful even in non-pandemic times, but it’s even more intimidating in a virtual meeting world. Combined with the unique experience their mentors share, rising BIPOC arts professionals get a chance to learn, meet new colleagues, and create a path for themselves and their careers through NAAC Boston.”
Jazzmin Bonner is a program manager for StageSource and a co-producer for Plays in Place, and she has served as a mentor twice. She spoke to the value that the NAAC program has for people in the arts industry.
“Being an arts administrator of color can be an isolating and challenging experience,” Bonner says. “We face particular challenges around culture, interpersonal communication and promotion that require a specific set of skills and awareness. This Mentor/Sponsor program is a great way to address those challenges with smart matches and deep sharing of knowledge and networks.”
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.