Voices from Emerge 2015: Arts & Entertainment

Voices from Emerge 2015: Arts & Entertainment



 Guest Post from 2015 Emerge Graduate Adam McKeivier.
 Adam is the Development Director for Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented.


This video on Arts and Entertainment was prepared by a team who examined aspects of this issue in our community. Please take a minute to watch.

Our city is in the midst of tackling some serious issues. Transposition, household affordability, growth management and education are just a few of those enormous issues that, depending on how we chose to act, will impact the face our community for a generations to come. As we take aim at these issues and prioritize their relevance, where does the strength and vibrancy of our creative culture fall in our list of values?

This is a question Nicholle, Jess, Joanna and I posed to our Emerge classmates last December as we initiated a discussion around our arts & entertainment sector. Not so shockingly to us, this issue was hardly at the top of many community issues lists.

Days before our class discussion our group was fortunate enough to spend time with Cookie Ruiz (Essential 1995), executive director of Ballet Austin and powerhouse advocate for Austin’s creative community. In just a short time with Cookie it became blazingly clear just how essential and impactful the expression of culture through art is to our city.

An even more apparent revelation from our discussion with Cookie, and later our classmates was the inherent connection between the challenges our artistic community faces and the issues relevant to the city at large–chief among them affordability.

This particular Emerge journey has inspired me to think more deeply about the art around us all the time. The clothes we wear, the landscaping in our neighborhoods, the architecture rising up from our city streets, and the iconic street art that represents our city to the world. These, and many more, are examples of artistic expressions that define our culture and allow us to demonstrate our values.

Through our exploration of this issue we affirmed that art is not simply an act produced for the enjoyment of its patrons, viewers or listeners. Art is an essential part of our community and impacts education, the economy and in the end is a reflection of who we are after we’re gone. Art inspires innovation, the lifeblood our economy and global cachet.

I consider myself to be one of the least artistically talented people around, but I do have a deep appreciation for those with the ability and courage to express themselves through art. Although as a native Austinite with an innate passion for live music of almost any genre, I am admittedly ignorant to the wide breadth of artistic expression at work in our community.

Through this experience I have become eager to broaden my perspective, stretch my point of view and engage with art in a new way. Given my previously mentioned lack of talent, I look forward to supporting the efforts of those whose work enriches my life through their self-expression. It’s through organizations like HAAM, Black Fret and Creative Action that I hope to play a role in strengthening our rich artistic ecosystem.


NOTE: The opinions of Leadership Austin alumni, faculty members, and guest bloggers are their own, and do not represent an official position of the organization.

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