arts

Don’t talk to me about diversity

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by Denise St. Omer I’m tired of talking about diversity. You heard me right. I’m a black woman in philanthropy and I’m done engaging in conversations about diversity. Conversations about diversity create spaces for people to engage in activities that make them feel like they’re doing something, but don’t actually move forward toward creating inclusive […]

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Philanthropic redlining in practice

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A conversation with Lar’Juanette Williams, Memphis Black Arts Alliance In the study, we explore this idea of “philanthropic redlining,” where essentially certain groups – primarily black- and brown-led organizations – are just excluded from traditional funding. Can you explain how you have experienced that with Memphis Black Arts Alliance or within the nonprofit sector? I […]

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A view of value

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by Tawanna Brown Detroit, Michigan reminds me a lot of Memphis. As a first-time attendee of this year’s Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) Conference, there were aspects of the convening, held in Detroit, that felt very familiar. Both cities hug mighty rivers, entrenched in histories muddied with issues of race and class. Though world-renowned transportation operations are […]

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Music Cities Convention Memphis

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Memphis Music Initiative was proud to partner with Sound Diplomacy to present the Music Cities Convention in Memphis in October. The conference brought more than 200 people to our city, hailing from 60 cities and 15 countries, to talk about equity and access in a music city. Our own Amand Pugh attended and wrote this […]

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Arts, equity and social justice: Americans for the Arts Conference

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Hot, sunny, and beneficial would be the best way to sum up my experience in San Francisco. The Americans for the Arts Conference was held in the beautiful Bay Area from June 14-18. My experience in San Francisco was not typical according to locals that I encountered because of the extreme heat (90 degrees plus!); […]

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Teaching artists and purpose threads: Lincoln Center Education Summer Forum

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During the Spring semester of 2017 MMI’s then In-Schools Director, Lecolion Washington, issued a simple request: Attend a workshop and/or conference that will enhance your work. At this point I had been to a few conferences and although they broadened my perspective of the national arts engagement field I wanted something more focused on the […]

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Cohort one, year one: INE in action

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by Doug Waddill There are invisible lines everywhere we go.  There are boundaries of cities, states, and counties that are real, but they cannot be seen with the naked eye.  There are more figurative “lines” that occur as well.  For example, when one moves from hungry to full or from a run to a sprint.  […]

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Our strategy: introducing the Institute for Nonprofit Excellence

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by Kiesha Davis With a multitude of challenges, the nonprofit sector working with community to support those needs are often pushed beyond their own capacity to do so. Sector leaders, and those all to often focused on serving communities of color, are routinely faced with a barrage of competing interests calling for their attention and […]

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The MMI Experience

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by Allyson S. The Memphis Music Initiative has really lived up to the objective of planting seeds and fruitful information into the hearts and minds of teenagers of color in a safe environment. We have become a community of strong leaders, better artists, and creative individuals. Our thinking has widened its horizons because of the […]

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Developing the approach: MMI’s in-school strategy

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A conversation with MMI Executive Director Darren Isom Talk about the development of the in-school strategy. The in-school program strategy plays a critical role in the success of MMI’s larger youth and community impact strategy.  Key to the success of our work is engaging students in all facets of their lives. And schools, important in […]

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