Leaders of Color Fellowship Professional Development Program

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Application closes Wednesday, August 31 at 11:59PM MT

Program Overview

The six United States Regional Arts Organizations (RAOs) are currently seeking fellows for an all-expenses-paid, 8-month fellowship to be held online from October 2022–May 2023.

This fellowship is designed as a robust strategic leadership development program for leaders of color who have promise and/or demonstrated performance aligned with equity. As such, applicants are strongly suggested to receive pay from their employers for hours spent engaging with this fellowship opportunity. The RAOs are available to provide a letter of support as a resource by request.

Fellowship key dates:

  • 2-Hour Orientation: Friday, October 14 at 4–6pm MDT
    • Due to the wide range of time zones, the 2-hour orientation for residents of the U.S. Jurisdictions in the Pacific region will translate into the morning of Saturday, October 15 at 8am–12pm ChST. 
  • Half Day Core Sessions: October 20–21 at 2–6pm MDT
    • Due to the wide range of time zones, half day core session dates for residents of the U.S. Jurisdictions in the Pacific region will translate into the morning of October 21 and 22 at at 6am–12pm ChST. 
  • Half Day Monthly Sessions: the third Wednesday of every month at 2–6pm MDT 
    • SESSION #1 – November 16, 2022
    • SESSION #2 – Wednesday, December 7, 2022 (First Wednesday of December, in acknowledgement of the holiday season)
    • SESSION #3 – January 18, 2023
    • SESSION #4 – February 15, 2023
    • SESSION #5 – March 15, 2023 
    • Due to the wide range of time zones, half day monthly session dates for residents of the U.S. Jurisdictions in the Pacific region will translate into the morning following the third Wednesday of every month.
  • Fellows Summit: April 19, 2023
    • Due to the wide range of time zones, core session dates for residents of the U.S. Jurisdictions in the Pacific region will translate into the morning of April 20, 2023. 
  • For technical assistance, please contact jadeelyssa.cariaga@westaf.org or +1 (303) 629-1166 x854.

 

About the Application

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Candidates will meet the following criteria:
    • Self identify as Black, Indigenous and/or a person of color; 
    • Self identify as an early, emerging or mid-career leader in the field of arts and culture; 
    • Is an arts administrator or a significantly arts-interested member such as a volunteer or a public official; 
    • Current resident of the United States, including U.S. Jurisdictions (American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands); and
    • Have not participated in or have participated in limited amounts of high-quality professional leadership development opportunities.
  • LGBTQIA2S+ individuals, disabled people, low-income and individuals residing in rural, remote or frontier areas are encouraged to apply.

Can I apply if I’m moving to one of the eligible states or jurisdictions?

  • If this is the case, please contact Jade Elyssa Cariaga to discuss your situation; jadeelyssa.cariaga@westaf.org, or +1 (303) 629-1166 x854.

About the Convening Sessions

Where will this take place? Is it in-person?

  • Due to the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, this convening will occur online.

Will there be any out-of-pocket costs associated with participating in the program?

  • No, this is an all expenses paid program. 
  • In-kind contributions and resources will be provided for assignments as needed and as is supportive within the capacity of each RAO.

Are Fellows compensated for their time during their participation?

  • Fellows are strongly suggested to receive pay from their employers for hours spent engaging with this fellowship opportunity. This fellowship is designed as a robust professional development program for leaders of color who have promise and/or demonstrated performance aligned with equity.
  • The RAOs are available to provide a letter of support as a resource by request.

What have been some of the program outcomes?

  • In 2019, WESTAF commissioned an independent evaluation of the ELC program to assess whether we were meeting our stated program goals effectively. Key findings included:
    • The program is well regarded by alumni and others in the field.
    • The program achieves its goals to develop leaders of color committed to the arts.
    • There is strong communication among participants and with WESTAF.
    • The program influences both the personal and professional lives of participants.
    • As a result of the program, participants feel empowered and more capable of influencing the arts field.
    • A strong majority of participants believe that the program positively affects their understanding of and capability to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

About Fellowship Selection

Who is on the selection panel?

  • Staff from the RAO where the applicant resides, trusted stakeholders, program faculty and alumni.

What does the selection panel evaluate?

  • The panel weighs the applicant’s professional experience and background, degree of thoughtfulness, commitment and clarity conveyed in the personal reflection, past participation in high level professional development (if any), and additional considerations including race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, community (urban/suburban/rural), artistic discipline, years of experience and affiliation with a culturally-specific organization

When will applicants be notified of their status?

  • Applicants should expect to hear by Friday, September 23, 2022.

Can I reapply if I’m not selected?

  • Yes. Future opportunities will be publicized on this website.

About the United States Regional Arts Organizations

Representing six geographical regions of the United States, we strengthen and support arts, culture, and creativity in our individual regions as well as across the nation. We serve the nation’s artists, arts and culture organizations, and creative communities with programs that reflect and celebrate the diversity of the field in which we work.

Learn more about the six individual RAOs and our collective impact.

Program History

In 2010, WESTAF established its Emerging Leaders of Color Professional Development Program (now known as the Leaders of Color Fellowship), which promotes multicultural leadership and equity in the arts by:

    • Building a cohort of cultural leaders of color in the western United States who are committed to the advancement of the arts.
    • Engaging diverse leaders in coursework and activities designed to strengthen competencies and prepare participants for leadership positions in the field.
    • Providing opportunities for promising arts professionals to establish networks that support their careers and the cultural interests of the communities they represent and serve.
    • Deepening participants’ understanding of the arts in the United States and how public support sustains the vibrancy of the sector.

Learn more about our history of engagement with program alumni.

In 2019, WESTAF commissioned an independent evaluation of the ELC program to assess whether we were meeting our stated program goals effectively. The evaluation provided alumni with an opportunity to reflect on the experience and any influence it may have had on various aspects of their personal and professional lives. Key findings included:

    • The program is well regarded by alumni and others in the field.
    • The program achieves its goals to develop leaders of color committed to the arts.
    • There is strong communication among participants and with WESTAF.
    • The program influences both the personal and professional lives of participants.
    • As a result of the program, participants feel empowered and more capable of influencing the arts field.
    • A strong majority of participants believe that the program positively affects their understanding of and capability to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.