About the Program

The LA County Arts Ed Collective is excited to offer “The Art of Leadership: From Individual Voice to Collective Impact”, a Theory U-based leadership development intensive for arts education leaders of all levels, who are interested in and/or are already working to advance systems change in arts education.

This multi-session program (5 days spread over 3 months) will focus on individual leadership development as the foundation for collective impact on arts education in LA County. The series offers participants the opportunity to grow their personal leadership capacities and skills; develop and deepen a network of colleagues based on trust and collaboration; work with a diverse cadre of arts education leaders from across the County and align their efforts with broader regional and/or statewide initiatives.

This approach to leadership development asks participants to step outside of their comfort zones to explore new ways of thinking and being - both as a human being and as an agent of systemic transformation in arts education. The series incorporates principles and practices of Theory U, an awareness-based framework for innovation and social change. The Theory U principles and practices explored in this series include:

  • The Power of Listening and Conversation
  • Developing three (inner) Instruments: Open Heart, Open Mind, Open Will
  • Accessing and bringing forth one’s Authentic Self
  • Overcoming barriers in one’s Inner Work
  • Social Presencing Theater

Participants will:

  • Participate in mindfulness exercises, journaling, interactive presentations, experiential learning, case clinics, and embodiment practices.
  • Develop personal leadership presence through practices that cultivate calm, observation, and focus.
  • Explore personal blindspots, expand awareness, transcend ineffective behavior patterns, and enable transformation and innovation.s
  • Ideate, amplify and experiment with innovative approaches for increasing equity and access to arts education across the County.
  • Sense and seize future opportunities and connect to the deeper journey of their personal and professional lives in order to become more effective leaders and change-makers.

Selection for Participation

The 2020 Art of Leadership cadre will reflect the breadth and diversity of professionals in the arts education field, including: advocates, artists, classroom teachers, district arts coordinators, organizational administrators, teaching artists, and many others. We are especially looking for arts educators who focus on LA’s marginalized youth, and/or are from communities that are underrepresented in the arts.

We are looking to create a cohort with particants who are:

  • In varying stages of their careers; from emerging leaders seeking to develop their distinct leadership voice, to established leaders seeking to refine and/or renew their approach.
  • Are representative of the geographic breadth of Los Angeles County (this program open only to residents of LA County) 
  • Working in varying contexts, including schools, community spaces, housing projects, parks, juvenile detention centers, and others.
  • Working in or with institutions of varying sizes; from large-scale non-profit and government organizations, to small-budget and fiscally sponsored organizations, collectives; OR is an individual artist working with the aforementioned institutions.

Participants MUST Commit to:

  • Participate in a 30-minute interview with Art of Leadership facilitators (to be scheduled upon acceptance in the program)
  • Attend and participate in ALL scheduled Leadership Intensive sessions
  • Complete individual and collaborative activities between sessions

Register to Apply

Space is limited; application due Wednesday, December 17, 2019

Wednesday, November 20 Application Period Opens
Wednesday, December 18, 2019 Application Period Closes
Friday, January 17, 2020 Notifications
January 20-
February 14, 2020
Phone Interviews
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
6:00PM - 9:00PM
Welcome Reception
Thursday, March 26-
Friday, March 27, 2020

9:00AM - 5:00PM
Seeing the System and My Role in It (Two Full-Day Sessions; individual and collaborative work between sessions)
Friday, April 17, 2020
9:00AM-5:00PM
My Leadership Edge and the Field of the Future (One Full-Day Session; individual and collaborative work between sessions)
Thursday, May 7-
Friday, May 8, 2020

9:00AM-5:00PM
From Individual Leadership to Collective Impact (Two Full-Day Sessions)
Friday, May 8, 2020
5:00PM-8:00PM
Closing Reception

Event Logistics

Location: Plaza de la Raza, Los Angeles, CA.
Attire Please wear comfortable clothing, as the group will engage in movement for a portion of the day’s activities.
Event Contact: Deb Morales, Coordinator, Arts Education

Program Contact

Kahlil Gaspar
Consultant, Arts Education

Select Images From 2019 Art of Leadership Cohort

Program Background

The Art of Leadership training grows out of the Arts Ed Innovation Lab (AEIL), which began in 2017 as a quest for new approaches that could propel the arts education field forward, disrupting longstanding patterns of incremental progress to achieve exponential change. Participants worked on solutions for the shared goal that all 1.5 million public school students in LA County engage in the arts – all year, every year – as part of a well-rounded public education.

AEIL brought together nearly 80 LA County arts and education leaders – and a handful of state representatives – in a strategic visioning process to reframe the field's challenges and reimagine potential solutions using a Theory U lens. The cross-sector leadership mindset espoused by the AEIL draws insight and expertise from within and beyond a given sector, creating space for many voices and leaders to speak and act on behalf of their communities. To date, the AEIL has produced a Framework for Action and launched more than a dozen prototypes to test new approaches for scaling arts education across the County.

About Theory U

The Art of Leadership series is co-designed in partnership with the Presencing Institute and uses Theory U as its foundational framework. The Presencing Institute partners with organizations worldwide to co-create capacity building and action research programs with the goal of sparking profound societal innovation and change. Theory U, which was developed by the Presencing Institute at MIT, seeks to address the challenges of systemic change by encouraging people to open their hearts and minds to new forms of sustainability, equity and health within organizations and public spheres.