SPA 362 – Spring 2019
Leadership Development  Lab II

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Week 8: Leadership in the Arts

We start this week with two analyses that bring together the traits of successful leaders and the traits of successful artists.  We meet Pamela Joyner, a banker turned art collector who now collects, shows, and mentors emerging artists.  We get just thumbnail sketches of a number of young artists in New York, and of their coaches.  Finally, in two short videos we meet Christine Kuan, who is developing the next generation of arts leaders.  In the second video, she begins to segue us to next week’s topic – leadership in education.

Leadership and Art / Leaders and Artists?

Are there some ways in which leadership is like art?  From art historian / management consultant Iris Lavy and her book, Untitled: Art & Leadership (2014).

Are there some ways in which leaders are like artists?  Michael O’Malley offers a number of ways – and one comparison notable by its absence. From his book Every Leader is an Artist: How the World’s Great Artists Can Make You a More Creative Leader (2012)

Finally, this articlette on arts and leaders by marketing author Kevin Daum, “4 Great Leadership Lessons from the Arts,” in Inc. magazine (2013)

Pamela Joyner: Banker, Collector, Philanthropist, Mentor

Joyner is featured for reshaping African American Art History by the wmagazine where they explore a lot of her background, and specifically talk about her role in rewriting art history. Joyner herself discusses why she is so interested in this part of art history. She intentionally searches for unrecognized artists outside of the stereotypical art canon. The article also specifically looks into some of her more specific and recent collections.

The Museum of Art at Duke University discussed Joyner’s collection, dedicated to African arts. What does Joyner seek in a piece she hopes to obtain? Joyner puts an emphasis on understanding the history behind each of the African pieces, and the history of each of the artist. In the end, she has accomplished a great collection due to her determination to create such a feat of work.

You might also enjoy her TEDtalk on these ideas (video – 13 min)


EmcArts helps leaders of color who are in the arts sector and experiencing barriers to mentorship, professional support, etc. Their work intends to address this gap through creating spaces for people to combat these challenges, with a focus on rising leaders of color.

“In a time of great uncertainty and shifting demographics, the work of arts leadership pivots crucially around the ability to adapt to complex and changing circumstances, and the ability to reflect and fully engage the communities that arts leaders serve. Additionally, leaders of color continue to experience challenges in accessing leadership opportunities. If the field is to thrive in the future, the pipeline of talent needs to be urgently diversified, and systems of leadership development need to be built for greater equity and inclusion.” – EmcArts.  Meet some of the young artists

Christine Kuan, Sotheby’s
Director and CEO of Sotheby’s Institute of Art

Kuan on supporting women artists (video – 4 min)

Kuan on training the next generation of arts leaders (video – 2 min)


Ilana Glazer, Comedy Central’s Broad City

Glazer talks about her accomplishments in television, her political activism, and her emerging role as a leader


Essay Prompts – Use any of these or create you own prompt

A colleague of Joyner’s said:“She has embraced undervalued and neglected artists, but when she needs to, she buys at the top of the market. She’s not a collector who is working in only one way.”  What does this say about Joyner’s leadership style and the vision she sees for how we should view art history?

How can leaders like Kuan and Joyner serve as role models for people of color in the arts sector? How do the challenges leaders face in the arts overlap or differ from challenges leaders face in the political or business sphere as we have discussed in class? What role do leaders in the arts play in regard to initiating widespread change or possibly influencing policy?

What do our arts leaders seem to have in common with the leaders we’ve looked at in past weeks?  In what ways are they different?

We’ve studied a lot of women in leadership this semester – how are diversity and inclusion important in leadership or the study of leadership? How are your conversations shaped by including these ideas?