Launching the Center for the Development of Arts Leaders!

For the past few months, From the Top has been hard at work launching our Center for the Development of Arts Leaders! This blog is the first in a series written by Linda Gerstle, Director of Education and Community Partnerships, chronicling the pilot year of this program. Enjoy!

The anticipation and excitement of the January 7-9 launch of From the Top’s Center for the Development of Arts Leaders remains with us all – three months later – as we continue to watch this pilot year unfold. When our future arts leaders, mentors, and partners all convened on that inaugural evening, it was the first time that any of us were able to meet the whole group in one place at the same time. After four months of planning, recruiting, interviewing, and making our decisions – it was nothing short of magical – kind of like catching lightning in a bottle!

Arts Leaders and mentors enjoying a musical interlude during the three-day CDAL launch.

Funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, From the Top’s new Center for the Development of Arts Leaders (CDAL) builds on From the Top’s long-standing commitment to the development of young musicians as instruments of change in their communities. CDAL will further this commitment by training an annual group of young musicians from the Boston area, and disseminating tools and strategies for developing young arts leaders through multiple media platforms.

From a great pool of applications, we chose 20 young artists for our pilot year (only three of which are From the Top alumni), ranging in age from 14-22 – the majority high school age from Greater Boston and just a little beyond to New Hampshire and Maine. They are diverse in every way including as musicians. Over the course of this year, our 20 arts leaders will work together in teams with a mentor and a community partner to design and implement an applied project that addresses the partner’s needs. (More on these projects to come in subsequent posts).

Through regular convenings, From the Top staff are using an array of team and skill building strategies towards creating a dynamic community around a shared passion for the power of music to empower, inspire and create change. We are enjoying our opportunity to see the arts leaders and mentors form new friendships and meaningful partnerships– on any given weekend or weekday night you can find a CDAL team meeting at the Panera Bread by our office. Our class of arts leaders are dedicating serious time to this work – 20 hours a month and are incredibly thoughtful about the ways in which they can make a difference. As one arts leader said – “I would like to walk away from this experience and clearly say how I can best use my talent and skills to cause positive change in the community around me.”

And so… meet the CDAL class of 2011-12!

Visit our web site to meet the arts leaders, mentors and our community partners.

Here are the teams and partner sites:

Hopeful Connections (Team 1) –  AstraZeneca Hope Lodge, Jamaica Plain

GEEK System – Conservatory Lab Charter School, Brighton

CALteam Delta – Goddard House, Assisted Living, Brookline

Hopeful Connections (Team 2) – MusiConnects (Boston Public Quartet) at Chittick Elementary School, Mattapan

RadioWAVES – Roland Hayes School of Music, Roxbury