Arts Day - Creativity Within

January 6, 2020

Think back to how energized you were the last time you saw a wonderful play or a stupendous concert. Enjoying art is a service to ourselves as leaders, and a strong arts environment benefits our region. For example, the value-added by the arts and culture industry represented 8.4% of the DC economy in 2018. 

As our region continues rapid growth and evolution, wise decisions from leaders pertaining to the arts landscape will become increasingly important to bolster the economy and help organizations stay competitive. 

With this in mind, the Signature Program Class of 2020 gathered before the holidays for Arts Day. The Class set out to examine the business of the arts and theatre landscape in our region and determine ways that leaders can combine energies to help support artists and entrepreneurs. 

To increase insight and exposure to the driving forces of the arts on business we convened a panel of some of our region's most accomplished arts leaders; Theresa Cameron, Vice President of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Strathmore; Adrienne Bryant Godwin, Director of Programming, George Mason University; Khady Kamara, Managing Director, Arena Stage, and Jason Loewith, Artistic Director, Olney Theatre. 

The consensus among the panel was that being in the business of art in our region today demands a nimble approach to building an audience. Panelists discussed the importance of innovation in attracting people to the box-office. Arts organizations are embracing monthly Netflix-like membership models to encourage attendance. There was an emphasis on the importance of departing from the standby plays, musicals, and performances in favor of including new, diverse voices to appeal to a broader audience. 

It was recommended by the panel that the region should commit to affordable housing and transportation solutions to attract the creative talent needed to support a dynamic, growing arts community. According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for an artist is just $23,022 in the United States, far short of what is needed to pay market rent in our metropolitan area. Making our region accessible to talent will be essential to fulfilling the growing demand for top-tier performers. 

Next, leaders were joined by three incredible performer/facilitators from the DC-region who led interactive exercises and shared stories of what it is like to live and work as an artist in our region: Joseph Green, Founder, LMS Voice, Princess Mhoon ('16) Owner, Princess Mhoon Dance Institute and Naomi Jacobson, Actress/Coach

Our guests exposed the Class to acting, dance, and poetry to promote bonding, creative thinking, and leadership takeaways. Leaders tapped into their own artistic skills and grew closer through interactive experiences. Leadership, like great art, requires bold vision, creativity, and imagination -- a balance of contrasting perspectives. The Class of 2020 has all of these qualities and are bringing their talents together for the shared purpose of rising to our region's challenges.

Special thanks to all of our brilliant guests. Learn more about the Signature Program here. 


Arts Day - Creativity Within