Episode 87: There’s the Intent and There’s the Impact

Lecolion Washington, CEO and Executive Director of the Community Music Center of Boston, discusses some of the barriers to seeing more diversity in symphony orchestras across America, what systemic change takes, and how to create an organizational culture that is success-based, not deficit-based.

Lecolion WashingtonLecolion Washington, CEO/Executive Director of the Community Music Center of Boston. M.M. Manhattan School of Music, B.M. University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Washington has established himself as a leader for the next generation of arts entrepreneurs, and he has been a staunch advocate for the relevance of music as an agent for social change.

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Episode 79: Opening Doors and Creating Pathways

Sociedad Latina is the oldest Latino youth organization in Boston. Its creative youth development program supports young people from middle-school into early college or career. Executive Director Alex Oliver-Dávila, discusses the symbiotic relationship they have formed with numerous local colleges which allows their students to experience a pathway to higher education and bridges an institutional gap between higher education and community-based organizations.

Alexandra Oliver-Dávila For more than 20 years, Alexandra Oliver-Dávila has worked to create a community that supports Latino youth, values their input, and believes in their ability to create positive social change. Serving as Executive Director since 1999, Alex has transformed Sociedad Latina into a cutting-edge, data-driven, creative youth development organization. Under her leadership, Sociedad Latina has increased and diversified its budget, expanded board membership, increased the number of youth and families it works with and expanded programming.

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Episode 70: Out Youth Theater – Revelatory Experience for Performers and Audience

The Theater Offensive presents the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer lives in art so bold it breaks through personal isolation, challenges the status quo, and builds thriving communities. Evelyn Francis, Interim Artistic Director, discusses their youth program – a national model for creative youth development – where young people not only create original work and share it back to the community, but are true partners in developing a range of expanded opportunities within the program.

Evelyn Francis. Photo by Joel Benjamin.Evelyn Francis, Interim Artistic Director at The Theater Offensive, is a theatre artist, award-winning educator, and established arts administrator with experience working directly with over 10 Boston area arts organizations. Evelyn’s M.A. in Theatre Education from Emerson College culminated in a thesis, which examined the effects of devised work in the lives of LGBTQ youth.
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Episode 65: Museum Apprenticeships Transform Lives of New Bedford Youth

The City of New Bedford wanted to increase its high school graduation rates. As their response, New Bedford Whaling Museum launched the High School Apprenticeship Program, which provides resources and support to students that deepen community engagement and cultivate college and career readiness. Director of Apprentices and Interns Christina Turner and then Vice President of Education and Programs Sarah Rose share how the apprenticeship program has grown into a nationally-recognized model for creative youth development – with a 100% graduation rate for its participants.

Sarah Rose (left) and Christina Turner (right)Christina Turner is the Director of Apprentices and Interns at the New Bedford Whaling Museum where she directs the Museum’s High School Apprenticeship Program which earned the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award and the 2018 American Alliance of Museum Education Committee’s Excellence in Programming Award. In this role, she leads all recruiting and community engagement efforts and designs, implements, and evaluates all aspects of the program’s curriculum, daily activities, and operations.
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Episode 55: Generate and Cultivate Engagement

Zakiya Thomas, Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Executive Director of Education, Community Engagement and Inclusion, discusses how evaluation and accountability are key for institutions seeking to reach new audiences.

She says the same rigor that organizations apply to visitor experience or to the quality of work on display needs to also be applied around how that organization works with communities and the kinds of outcomes they expect to see.

Zakiya ThomasFor more than fifteen years, Zakiya Thomas has worked to develop engaging educational and public service initiatives designed to strategically align business, marketing, public relations and community engagement objectives.

She currently serves as the Executive Officer for Education, Community Engagement and Inclusion for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Continue reading “Episode 55: Generate and Cultivate Engagement”