Emerging Art Leaders

In 2010, Simone Perraza and Dominic Arellano planned to meet each other for the first time on a Saturday to talk about, unknowingly, the same idea – Emerging Arts Leaders Detroit. What came in time was a fleshed out program to serve Detroit's emerging arts and cultural administrators.

Within the arts in Detroit, there is a strong need and opportunity for collaborations between organizations, communities and industries that share the same interests. Since as early as 2008, members of Emerging Arts Leaders Detroit (EALD) Steering Committee have been involved in various discussions and studies on the issues of leadership succession, connecting the next generation of leaders from the Detroit arts community, and empowering them to take the reins and incorporate their own ideas to solidify and advance quality arts and access to creativity in the city and region. A key component to the future of our region’s art community is both establishing and operating a young professional art leaders network, using a successful organizational model/format, and identifying key individuals inside the Detroit region’s arts and cultural community.

In 2011, Steering Committee members conducted research interviews and discussions with the following key organizations for input, ideas and feedback about the “Emerging Arts Leaders Detroit” effort: Emerging Leaders Network in Pittsburgh, Emerging Leaders Network in New York, Emerging Leaders Network in Washington D.C., Americans for the Arts’ (AFTA) national Emerging Leaders Council, Ann Arbor Arts (A3) Leaders, New Leaders Art Council of Michigan (NLACM) and the state arts council Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA).

Specifically, survey data pulled from the 2009-2010 Emerging Leaders Network, a nation wide network and program of Americans For The Arts, indicted that emerging art leaders are looking for ways to educate themselves and connect with others in their field. In Detroit, where the arts play a large role in our community, it is critical to start establishing a network of our own. Building, connecting, and elevating the skill set of this network will strengthen and create more opportunities for art managers and entrepreneurs, art organizations, and artists. EALD also advances many of the initiatives this region is already addressing (education, connecting people for a better and stronger community, entrepreneurship, better jobs, etc).

Based on research from other networks, to better assist emerging arts leaders in their professional development, there are a number of needs EALD will need including support from other organizations, and an advisory and steering committee.

The first EALD Steering Committee (2010-2012) included Sioux Trujillo (community + public art: Detroit, Kresge Artist Fellow 2009, Megan Miller (Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit), Dominic Arellano (Forward Arts, the Few Records), Jessica Guzman (VSA Arts Michigan) and Simon Perazza (ArtServe Michigan). After laying the foundation of researching other emerging art leadership programs, studying their surveys of art administrators and talking with their leaders, the committee decided in 2012 Forward Arts was the best organization to nurture and build the program, and create a new Steering Committee and structured program to launch.

After a long, hard road, the program launched in 2014 and announced EALD’s new Steering Committee in January 2015.

If you would like to know more and/or get involved, please email


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