Giving Compass' Take:

• Aileen Alon explains the '7 Ps for Power' that will help art leaders and administrators advance community development and support arts ecosystem within a community.

• How can integrating arts into community development work spur growth? What opportunities exist in your community to engage the arts?

• Read about how arts education is helping individuals who experience homelessness, hunger, mental exclusion.

I fell into the role of arts administrator in 2011—and at an organization whose focus isn’t the arts but rather community development. To be completely honest, I had little knowledge or practical experience in either arts administration or community development.

I was, however, driven by the desire to combine my love for the arts with my innate nature to help others, and the person who interviewed me saw that as more valuable than proven experience in the field. It seemed that stars had aligned, and through the national service program AmeriCorps Public Allies, I was placed at the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC) in Opa-locka, FL, to help jumpstart their arts initiatives.

But I was, and have been, committed to understanding and strengthening my local arts ecosystem through my work to provide direction and ensure its relevancy.

It is imperative for arts leaders and administrators to not just think out of the box, but also to work outside of it in order to help the arts field evolve and stay relevant, particularly with changes in funding, patronage, and social value. Arts-integrated community development allows arts and non-arts leaders to support their arts ecosystem while creating solutions for community issues. It’s not easy work, especially when you’re new to it. In my experience, I have found that it requires the following 7 P’s for Power:

  1. Passion
  2. Perspective
  3. Planning
  4. Persistence
  5. Patience
  6. Perseverance
  7. Partnerships

Read the full article about community arts development by Aileen Alon at Americans for the Arts.