Empowering leaders on stage and behind the scenes to create a more equitable future in the arts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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Our Vision

The arts provide the prism through which we can first envision, and then build, a better and more just world.

– Camille Zamora, Turn The Spotlight Advisor
 

 
 

Turn The Spotlight Founder & Executive Director Beth Stewart

We all want to see ourselves reflected – on stages, in stories, in CEO suites. The arts industry, like so many others, has a long history of prioritizing homogeneous leadership and perspectives. For those of us who value the vital perspectives of women and people of color, the enormity of the task at hand can be nearly incapacitating.

For years, I was hamstrung by this perspective – and I wasn’t alone in that sense of malaise. Knowing with absolute certainty that we can’t wave our wands and fix everything, it can feel more comfortable to attempt nothing – to begrudgingly tolerate the status quo and wait for the day when the stars magically align and we suddenly feel empowered to create the change we want to see.

What I’ve come to realize is that the very act of naming a problem out loud and publicly committing yourself to moving toward a solution can be what causes that sense of alignment. The time is perfect when you take action, not the other way around.

Our power together – the brilliance of our shared light – is equal to the task at hand, and the caliber of mentors and advisors that form the Spotlight Team is a testament to the timeliness and utter necessity of our mission.

At Turn The Spotlight, we believe systemic change is crucial. We also believe that one-on-one mentoring can have real impact, particularly in an industry where so many professionals are freelancers working outside an established institutional framework.

Our mission – our way to bring light to the darkness – is to identify, nurture, and empower leaders, and in turn, to illuminate the path to a more equitable future in the arts. We offer mentorship by and for exceptional women, people of color, and other equity-seeking groups, with a particular interest in supporting artists who are using their talents and skills to strengthen their communities and pursue social justice.

Our top-tier mentors are singing lead roles at the Metropolitan Opera, developing permanent exhibitions at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and using their art in collaboration with science to educate audiences about sustainability. They are experts in an array of artistic fields who will act as sounding boards and storytellers. We expect that each of our Fellows will emerge from this season-long mentorship with a clearer picture of what lies ahead, and a deeper well of fuel to get there.

Nearly all of our first cohort of Fellows have founded organizations, produced or commissioned new work. Each has a distinctive voice and clear personal mission, and they’ll be collaborating on a striking breadth of projects, including building community investment in arts entrepreneurship, developing a line of gender non-binary swimwear, and confronting personal violence through performance.

We believe these versatile and inventive arts leaders and activists are the way forward, and we are immensely honored to be able to share their continued growth with you. Meet our 2018/19 Fellows in the gallery below!

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Beth Stewart
Executive Director & Mentor

 
 

 

Turn The Spotlight Voices

 
 
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“It is argued and largely believed that the arts is a place where a variety of perspectives can be seen, heard, and experienced; but historically, the perspectives given the most platforms have come from one affinity group. It’s time to turn the spotlight on the next generation of creative voices, a generation that further aims to highlight all of its variants and diversity.” 

Julia Bullock, Soprano

 
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“The classical music industry continues to lag woefully behind when it comes to diversity, especially in leadership positions within larger-budget organizations. Turn the Spotlight is providing the essential mentorship and support those from marginalized groups require in order to reach high-level career goals. I am thrilled to be part of this essential resource for deserving artists across the field.”

Lidiya Yankovskaya, Conductor

 
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"Mentorship is one of the most powerful tools for raising up the next generation of leaders and artists. If you're lucky, you'll happen upon a mentor who's experienced, knowledgeable, and willing to guide your steps. Turn the Spotlight offers that kind of mentorship and guidance without waiting for luck. This program will be transformative."

Celeste Headlee, Journalist and Author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter

 
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“The arts provide the prism through which we can first envision, and then build, a better and more just world. To deliver on this, our talent pipelines and cultural institutions — our arts delivery systems — must champion equity and offer radical welcome to those who have historically not been invited in. By throwing the doors wide open, the most promising previously unheard voices will be encouraged to join, even lead, the table. And make no mistake: it will take all voices to create real transformation. 

It’s a joy to join with Turn the Spotlight to do exactly what the name infers: refocus the illuminating power of the arts.”

Camille Zamora, Co-Founder of Sing For Hope

 
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“It’s so important to support the voices of people – and the ideals – we believe in, and we’re living in an age in which personal attention can feel like a luxury. I’m so proud to be part of Turn The Spotlight, which is actively working toward creating a more equitable future in our industry by fostering the strong and diverse voices of individuals who clearly have incredible contributions to make."

Jamie Barton, Mezzo-soprano