Syracuse University partners with Broadway's Araca Group to mentor alums

Jacob Coakley,,9/7/11

Syracuse University is looking to build on its network of alums to help their recent grads. The Araca Group -- the producers behind Urinetown on Broadway and a little show called Wicked -- was formed by three guys, two of whom are Syracuse alums. The partnership between Syracuse and Araca will give selected recent grads mentorship as they mount a production Off-Broadway. The students are responsible for all fundraising and production tasks, with the Araca group providing guidance. The first show in this series, Pluck the Day, opens [today], Sept. 8. This seems like a great experiment in developing new producers and new theatre artists -- with an upside of talent scouting for the Araca group, too. The press release mentions that the partnership between Syracuse and Araca selects the young alums who will be mentored to produce-presumably because Araca has looked at the projects themselves and have some interest in seeing what possible future they may have. This is a fairly ingenious way of empowering the next generation of producers, letting them search out and find fresh new talent, then helping fund (in an indirect way) a low risk production of a new play to see how it flies. Heck, it certainly beats another staged reading. The four projects will all be presented at the American Theatre of Actors in New York City.


A weeklong "atelier" for young arts festival managers from around the world

International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts website, 8/31/11

The Atelier for Young Festival Managers - initiated by the European Festivals Association (EFA) - will take place in Izmir/Turkey from 24 to 31 October 2011, hosted by the International Izmir Festival.

Following its last remarkable edition in Singapore (May 2011), the Atelier IZMIR 2011 will bring together 47 talented young festival managers from 31 countries, eager to learn from the experience of 10 renowned festival directors, artists and cultural managers from all over the world. EFA welcomes renowned festival directors who will guide the participants throughout the seven days of the Atelier.

"The opportunity offered to participants to engage with managers and artists of such international reputation also makes the Atelier a unique stage to explore creative ideas and open up new perspectives," EFA President Darko Brlek underlines. "Izmir will be the inspiring setting for the fourth edition of the Atelier. The exceptional historic and cultural features of our ancient city bonding Asia to Europe offer a lot of food for thought for the emerging artistic directors," stresses Filiz Sarper, Director of the International Izmir Festival.  The public is invited to the closing session on Sunday, 30 October 2011. A keynote speech by Robyn Archer (Creative Director The Centenary of Canberra (2013), Artistic Director of The Light in Winter, Melbourne), as well as a roundtable with an outstanding group of festival directors and cultural actors will bring IZMIR 2011 to a close. Atelier participants experience intense discussions, inspiring presentations and decisive encounters which shape their careers as art professionals. With the Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Görlitz (2006), Varna (2009), Singapore (2011) and the coming edition in Izmir, 150 young festival managers will have benefitted from this unique experience. Latest news and more information on presenters and participants can be found at


Australia Council backs mentor program for Indigenous arts producers

Australia Council website, 8/16/11

Upcoming Indigenous performing arts producers Joshua Bond, Lara Croydon, Alison Murphy-Oates and Rosealee Pearson will team up with some of Australia's leading arts organisations, as part of the Australia Council's Emerging Indigenous Producers Mentorships, a new program designed to assist Indigenous producers develop their professional skills, expertise and knowledge in the performing arts sector. As a key initiative of the Australia Council's Indigenous Market Development Strategy, the producers will be employed and mentored over an 18-month period starting in 2011.


Resources for mentors & mentees, both face-to-face and virtual

Peggy Burt,, 9/1/11

In Los Angeles, the Emerging Arts Leaders program has developed a formal mentoring program called the Arts Professional Advisors Link and it is highly regarded as a national model. The program offers participants valuable guidance and encouragement to strengthen their leadership capacity. In corresponding with one APAL participant, Elda Pineda of P.S. Arts, she wrote, I think there's an interesting difference of mindsets between the two generations. Many of the '25-35' generation came into their careers with the intention of working in arts management and with the idea that there should be a clear path for career advancement; the main reason for wanting a mentor through the APAL program. But I found that a common theme with the generation of current leaders/mentors is that they often "fell into" their current work after gaining valuable experiences at other jobs and careers that may or may not have had anything to do with the arts. The most oft repeated advice was to "be open and try things that interest you, even if it's not directly in your intended career path." Are we too single minded in our pursuit of a successful arts career? Maybe. But the pressure to have an impressive resume in order to compete in this job market is very real. An organization that encourages online mentoring is ArtsLEAF, based out of New York. From their website: "Despite the widely recognized value of mentoring in the arts, the arts community faces a considerable obstacle for effective mentoring -- professional artists are often traveling, hindering an ongoing face-to-face mentoring relationship . ArtsLEAF's merging of mentoring for the arts with online communications makes it possible to transcend these impediments, helping to support the growth of generations of artists." Whether it is face-to-face or virtually, as you enter in to a mentor/mentee relationship, be sure to carefully consider where you are now, and where you want to go in your career.


Other resources:

Americans for the Arts' Emerging Arts Leaders Mentoring Program

Dance USA's Mentorship Guide

The Kennedy Center's DeVos Institute of Arts Management

NY Arts & Business Council's Multicultural Arts Management Internship program

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