Finding A Professional Path
Something that people do not mention about networking is that being around ambitious arts leaders makes you more motivated and dedicated. Networking is such a cold word to describe what I have gotten as part of the Leadership Council. While one of the reasons I was excited to join Emerging Arts Leaders was to network, I got more than just LinkedIn Connections. In the last year, I have gotten a mentor, friends, and professional development and support in a field that does not have a defined career path.
Navigating the professional development landscape as an arts leader can be chaotic. Other professions have clear paths, if you want to be an accountant, you have to take the CPA test, if you're going to be a doctor, you have to go to medical school. However, if you want to be in arts administration, I don’t really know what you’re supposed to do. For the most part, learning your path as an arts administrator feels like working a lot of projects until you find the thing you like the most, and then convincing someone to pay you for it.
I did not know arts administration was a career field until I was a junior in college. Even now I am still learning how this field is extensive. I did not know you could be a professional grant writer or a professional grant reader; I yet do not understand how you someone gets either of those jobs.
Being part of EAL/LA made me aware that both of these professions are options for my future as an arts leader. I am not saying I will become a grant reader or writer, but I have the opportunity to learn if that path is for me.
While I am still figuring out my career path and developing my strengths, it has been amazing being part of EAL/LA. My peers send me jobs I didn’t know existed and encouraged me to apply. They inspire me, to be around people who know their career paths and who are still developing themselves as leaders and artists to better the community they currently serve. Being surrounded by arts leaders from different sectors, organizations, and backgrounds have made navigating the arts administrative path a little less daunting for me, an emerging arts leader.