Jason Rapp

Let’s raise up South Carolina’s ‘Emerging Leaders of Color’

Promoting representative leadership + equity in the arts

Application deadline: Friday, April 17, 2020, 11:59 p.m. ET


Two regional arts organizations, the South Carolina Arts Commission’s partner and collaborator South Arts and WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation), are selecting up to 13 participants for the southern pilot of WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color (ELC) program.

South ArtsWESTAF’s ELC program has shown success in “attracting, training, networking and promoting a new generation of diverse arts leaders since 2010,” according to South Arts, who hope to bring that energy to the Deep South states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Selected individuals will participate in a 3-day, 2-night executive-level professional development and team-building workshop at no cost to themselves.

The program is designed to: 

  • Build a cohort of cultural leaders of color in the southeastern U.S. who are committed to the advancement of the arts. 
  • Engage diverse emerging leaders in coursework and activities designed to strengthen competencies and prepare participants for leadership positions in the field. 
  • Provide opportunities for promising arts professionals to establish networks that support their careers and the cultural interests of the communities they represent and serve. 
  • Deepen participants’ understanding of the arts in the United States and how public support sustains the vibrancy of the sector.   

The intensive development and team-building sessions will take place* July 8-10, 2020 in Atlanta.


So who makes a good candidate?

Self-identified leaders of color residing in one of the seven states listed above with fewer than 10 years of experience working in the arts who are also (most likely, but with exceptions) younger than 35. Good candidates can be employed as a cultural worker, arts/cultural programs administrator or be a significantly arts-interested community member such as a volunteer or a public official (the program is not designed to serve individual artists). They also must not have had an opportunity to participate in high-quality professional development sessions. 

The application, found at this link, must be submitted through Formstack. The deadline is Friday, April 17. Applicants will be asked for your contact information, and a written/audio/video (your choice) response to this prompt: #InequalityIsJeff Chang on race, culture, and inequality. Applicants are also required to upload a letter of endorsement from a colleague as a PDF. 

For more information about the Emerging Leaders of Color Program, contact Mollie Quinlan-Hayes with South Arts, mquinlanhayes@southarts.org, 404.874.7244 x 31, or Chrissy Deal with WESTAF, chrissy.deal@westaf.org, 303.629.1166.

* Until further notice, of course.


The South Carolina Arts Commission is proud to further its own efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion by spreading the word about the ELC program in South Carolina to enrich the applicant pool and, we hope, get at least one South Carolinian among the southern cohort.


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