A New Age of Arts Leaders

Tuesday, October 5th, was the first in a series of Boston Arts Leadership gatherings From the Top is hosting to bring together local musicians – high school, college and beyond – who are passionate about using music to make a difference. We met with some of last year’s Margaret Stewart Lindsay Arts Leadership Award recipients as well as some Boston Arts Academy High School seniors involved in the school’s Senior Project Grant Proposal program.


Michael and Brian (left) Noni and Griffin (right)


Among the attendees were four faces familiar to our blog : Brian Kaufman and Michael Reichman of the concert series Musical Diplomacy, and Griffin Gaffney and Noni Carter – two Harvard sophomores developing a project  that promotes literacy and exposure to the arts for Boston middle school students.


Arnold Pesnell, Jonathan Anderson, and Gregory Groover


Joining the group were three new arts leaders from the Boston Arts Academy (BAA): Arnold Pesnell, Gregory Groover, and Jonathan Anderson. Arnold’s project is called Raise Your Voice. A vocal major at BAA, he hopes to develop a voice program at his old middle school focused on ear training, vocal technique, and posture. Gregory, an instrumental music major with a concentration in jazz, plans to create a documentary archiving the rich history and culture of jazz in Boston. Through this documentary, he hopes to inform and inspire the youth of Boston to take a greater interest in the art form. Jonathan, a music tech major, plans to host a benefit concert called Get Right for A Change. All proceeds from the performance will go towards creating a youth program at his hometown’s community center, Lucerne Garden, to help create a safe, fun environment for children from the area.


The Gallery Walk


The goal of this gathering was to start building a community of local arts leaders working towards a shared vision, to inspire and learn from each other.  During the 2-hour event, everyone had the opportunity to present their projects and receive feedback from the group on a particular challenge or dilemma. We asked each participant to write a short description of their project as well as one question/dilemma for the group on large paper posted around the room. Everyone was then welcomed to walk the “gallery” of projects and write questions and comments on others’ projects using colorful post-it notes. The post-it notes were a big hit! After a final group conversation to reflect on the feedback received, everyone was invited to take their large sheets home. The gathering was a great success! Everyone left with new questions, ideas, and perspective, and are all looking forward to the next meeting.

Stay tuned as we follow these inspiring arts leaders as they develop their projects. We will keep you posted on our next gathering happening in February.

Are you a high-school/early college musician in the Greater Boston area who wants to become more involved with your community through music? Check out From the Top’s Center for Arts Leadership today! Applications are due November 12!