Arts / Faith and Humanities

SU Arts Leadership is a Partner in New Seattle Arts Fellowship

Written by Karen Bystrom

November 24, 2020

The Seattle University Arts Leadership program is partnering with four leading arts organizations to launch the Seattle Arts Fellowship, which supports emerging leaders and administrators of color.

The fellowship was initially seeded through Seattle Opera’s efforts and grants from Opera America. Now, in addition to the opera, presenting institutions include the Seattle Symphony and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Each organization will offer a fellowship in areas ranging from marketing, community education, artistic planning and, starting in 2022, broadcasting. A broadcasting role will also be available at Classical KING FM 98.1. 

“Black, Indigenous and People of Color are an integral part of what this artform should be now and in the future, both on stage and behind the scenes,” said Christina Scheppelmann, general director of the Seattle Opera. “With the Seattle Arts Fellowship, we invest in their voices and in their leadership.”

As a program partner and adviser on curriculum for the Seattle Arts Fellowship, Seattle University will provide financial aid to candidates accepted to both the fellowship and SU’s MFA in Arts Leadership.

“I’m pleased that our program is working in partnership with these major Seattle arts organizations to provide a robust learning opportunity for future BIPOC arts leaders. The MFA degree in Arts Leadership is the perfect complement to the hands-on experience that fellows will receive working inside these significant arts organizations,” says Kevin Maifeld, director of the Arts Leadership program.

The application deadline for the Seattle Arts Fellowship is noon, February 1, 2021. Selected fellows will be notified in the spring and begin work in summer 2021. Application information is available online or by email.

Candidates may apply for the MFA in Arts Leadership online or contact Kevin Maifeld, program director, by email for more information.

“There is nothing more important than cultivating new perspectives and voices for both the broader arts landscape and for our own organizations,” said Brenda Barnes, KING FM CEO. “We are thrilled to be included in this groundbreaking program.”

In addition to the fellowship itself, this new initiative includes racial equity trainings for the leadership, board, and staff at each of the four institutions.

“We are dedicated not only to equal representation across our staff, board and artists on our stage, but to building meaningful opportunities for BIPOC to gain access to leadership positions in arts administration,” said Krishna Thiagarajan, president and CEO of the Seattle Symphony. “… We will use our artists, stages and partnerships with nonprofit and corporate leaders to help bring forth the next generation of leaders.”

“PNB is thrilled to be working with these organizations in making a meaningful investment to diversify our workforces, embrace anti-racist learning agendas and action steps, and more fully reflect our community across every part of our organization,” said Ellen Walker, executive director of Pacific Northwest Ballet.

The Seattle Arts Fellowship is available to individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) or as ALAANA (African/African American (diaspora), Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American/Indigenous and Asian Pacific Islander. Candidates must be 18 or older. The program is designed for those who have just entered the workforce, such as college graduates or those transitioning into nonprofit arts careers.

Fellows will receive hourly compensation at the rate of $24 an hour, plus full benefits commensurate with what full-time employees receive. (Relocation expenses will not be covered). The experience will include hands-on work experience in arts administration, as well as leadership training, skill building, mentorship and networking. Finally, the fellowship cohort will engage in peer-to-peer learning, connect with local arts leaders, and build a strong network to support their career development.