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Over a six-month period, participants engage in a series of activities that includes three intensives focusing on self-awareness and self-management; mutual influence; and gaining tools to create communities and a state where everyone can experience and express creativity in their daily lives. Participants commit to three in-person meetings as well as individual reflection work. Participants are chosen through an application process to MCACA.
Program participants from across the state of Michigan gain tools and perspective needed to strengthen their leadership skills and develop relationships with an extraordinary cohort of peers dedicated to advancing the arts and culture field.
MCACA will begin accepting applications for the 2022-2023 cohort of Rising Leaders (running October 2022 - April 2023) in June 2022.
Contact MCACA Arts Education Program Manager Chad Swan-Badgero at 517-241-6747 or BadgeroC@michigan.org.
Caroline Barlow – Caroline can be found behind the scenes as well as on stage. Barlow is a musician and cultural arts organizer based in northern Michigan. She is both curator and performer. She has 10-years of work experience in community arts organizations and has a passion for community development through the arts. She has held positions with two prominent nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Northern Michigan. Beginning with Interlochen Arts Academy where she served as a residence hall counselor, and currently with Blissfest Music Organization. She has been with Blissfest since 2014, having held various positions, including volunteer and outreach coordinator, program assistant, and as an artist-in-residence for Michigan Arts Access program collaborations. She is currently working as Blissfest’s talent buyer. As a singer-songwriter, she constantly seeks out new and exciting collaborations on and off stage. She performs with several Michigan-based collaborations such as The North Carolines, Hand in the Hopper, The Lonely Lovers, and as a solo artist. She has a BA in International Studies from North Carolina State University, and she’s a member of Folk Alliance International and The Americana Music Association.
Luke Barnett – Luke serves as the executive director of the Sam Beauford Woodworking Institute in Adrian, Michigan. Luke is an artist that specializes in sculpted chairs. Luke was named “Top young woodworking professional” ﬁnalist of 2021. He has won awards and been featured in internationally published magazines, including November, 2014 of Popular Woodworking Magazine in which his Continuous Arm Rocker in aged mustard ﬁnish was chosen as the 2014 “Best in Seating”. Early American Life Magazine named Luke as Top American Craftsman in the Windsor chair making ﬁeld for 3 consecutive years. His chairs have been displayed in the traveling Smithsonian museum exhibit called “The Way We Work”. Luke was a featured speaker at 2018 International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, Georgia. His speech titled “Be the Spark” focused on engaging students at younger ages through community outreach. Luke was name “40 under 40” class of 2021 by the woodworking industry for his contributions to the ﬁeld of woodworking.
Nicole Bush – Nicole is the Art Education Manager at Paint Creek Center for the Arts in Southeastern Michigan with the mission of bringing quality art-making opportunities to as many individuals as possible. Since starting there in 2018, Nicole has established the Art Anywhere outreach program, oversees the sold out fine art summer camps, and manages over 250 classes, workshops, and events annually. Nicole holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Michigan State University with a minor in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and a certification in Global Education. They have over eight years of experience of working with local art nonprofits. In their free time, they enjoy working in the mediums of embroidery and ceramics.
Benjamin Champagne – Benjamin is a production manager and event coordinator that helps to inspire people. Benjamin knows that when people have life changing experiences they take that with them wherever they go. Benjamin currently works for the Temple Theatre and Saginaw Art Museum in Saginaw, MI, but he has worked in venues across Michigan and toured the country with several bands. Benjamin is an accomplished poet and writer with many pieces published in the last decade and was named Saginawian of the Year in 2016.
Adam DesJardins – Adam is the Resource Services Coordinator at CultureSource, a regional arts service organization working to support arts and cultural organizations and artists in the seven counties of Southeast Michigan. Adam works to coordinate CultureSource’s regranting initiatives and connect people to monetary and non-monetary resources to better support and develop their work in arts and culture. Hailing from Ann Arbor and currently rooted in Detroit, Adam has years of experience in, and passion for, arts and cultural programming throughout Michigan and beyond. He has worked for a plethora of arts organizations including CMAP, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, UMS, the Detroit Jazz Festival, and VSA/Accessibility at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Most recently, Adam designed and managed programs and convenings at CultureSource as Programs Manger, and was a 2019 Creative Community Fellow via National Arts Strategies. Adam has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan, enjoys junking for free furniture in Detroit, dancing, and spending time with his grandparents.
Kathryn Grabowski – Kathryn has over a decade of combined experience in public programming, arts administration, fundraising, and the music business. Holding a B.M. in Flute Performance from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, she understands the importance and impact of the arts and humanities firsthand. Kathryn has worked to bring together communities across Metro Detroit for programs that run the gamut, including Detroit’s annual Concert of Colors music festival, artist residencies, concerts, dance and theatre programs, panel discussions, family programs, educational workshops, music lessons, large conferences, and most recently, internationally-reaching virtual programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Having worked in many facets of the live arts industry, Kathryn’s approach to developing artistic programming with community endeavors toward equity, justice, inclusion, and accessibility for all.
Garrett A. Lefkowitz – Garrett has been serving as the Youth and Adult Programs Manager at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance since 2019. In his role, Mr. Lefkowitz manages the school’s Michigan Youth Ensemble program, summer adult intensives, and the MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institutes. Prior to joining SMTD, Mr. Lefkowitz was on staff at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. While at Detroit, Mr. Lefkowitz worked as their Training Programs Operations Coordinator, managing the day-to-day operations of the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensemble Program as well as the orchestra’s two community ensembles. He has also served on the staff at Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA) in San Antonio, Texas, and Tallahassee Youth Orchestras (TSO) in Tallahassee, Florida. A Cincinnati transplant by way of New York, Mr. Lefkowitz received a BA in Music Performance from Albion College, a MM in Music Performance from The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!), and a MA in Arts Administration from Florida State University. When not at work, Mr. Lefkowitz tries to keep up with his clarinet practice, enjoys a good book, and can be caught watching either FC Cincinnati or Liverpool F.C. playing soccer on the big screen.
Clara Martinez – Clara, Dance Director at Everett High School, is a lifelong dancer with a passion for community organizing. In all her roles, she approaches her work as both arts educator and community leader. Clara knows that students and community members are the experts- everyone else is in service to them. Clara has served as a Teaching Artist and as Director of Clara Lucia Y Compania, which received the Arts Council of Greater Lansing’s 2016 Community Artist Grant. In 2017, Clara presented her work, “Creating a Democratic Dance Classroom: Participatory Politics and Civic Engagement in Dance Pedagogy“ at the National Dance Education Organization Annual Conference. Clara also co-directed work with Deanne Rivera and premiered "love in the time of trump" at Kristi Faulker's ASSEMBLE Women's Work Festival. In 2020, Clara won Best Dance Instructor in Lansing’s City Pulse Top of the Town Awards. She is Chair of the Michigan Dance Council, Co-Chair of the City of Lansing Mayor's Arts & Culture Commission, and Chair of the Mayor's Arts Education Committee. Clara is pursuing her Masters of Social Work (MSW) in Organization & Community Leadership at Michigan State University. Clara received her Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance from The Ohio State University.
Katherine Mayberry – Katherine is an actor, director, and the executive director of the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company, Michigan's only year-round, touring Shakespeare company. She holds an MFA in Shakespeare in Performance from Mary Baldwin University/American Shakespeare Center. She has also studied with the London Theatre Exchange and at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. She was part of the 2018 cohort of the National Arts Strategies executive program in Arts and Culture Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. Katherine teaches classes in English and theatre at Grand Valley State University, and frequently works as a director and dramaturg with the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival. She also teaches the summer Shakespeare Bootcamp program at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and the Shakespeare major and minor at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. She has taught workshops in Shakespearean acting at such venues as the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Sauk Theatre in Jonesville, Michigan, Sweet Tea Shakespeare Company in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and the Festival Valle Christi in Genoa, Italy.
Thor Rasmussen - Thor is the Marketing & Creativity Manager for the Saginaw Art Museum and Temple Theatre. Among other things, in his work at these organizations, Thor pioneered hosting a podcast and developing a local talent showcase broadcast through social media channels. Prior to his full-time work with the museum and theatre, Thor served as a speech-language pathologist at Ascension St. Marys in Saginaw, MI. He continues this work there on an occasional basis. Currently Thor is a member of the Saginaw Arts and Enrichment Commission, on the Saginaw Career Complex Graphic Arts Advisory Committee, and a member of the Saginaw Chamber Ambassador group. In addition to this community involvement, Thor owns and operates THOR*tography, a small photography business focused on documenting the best parts of real life. He enjoys the outdoors with frequent hikes at local parks with his wife and four young children.
Justin Rogers – Justin is a Black poet and literary program coordinator from Detroit, Michigan. Rogers is an advocate for the amplification of Black voices. With InsideOut Literary Arts, Rogers coordinates after school intensive-creative-writing programming. Rogers is also a Literary Outreach Coordinator with Poets & Writers where he is expanding funding and visibility opportunities for Detroit’s literary community. His work is published or forthcoming in Tinderbox, Mobius Magazine, Verse Daily, 3 Elements Review, The Metro Times, and Detroit Action among others. Rogers is the author of ‘Nostalgia As Black Matilda” (Rinky Dink Press 2018) and ‘Black, Matilda’ (Glass Poetry Press 2019).
Abigail Tykocki - Since 2019, Abigail (she/her/hers) has been employed by the Michigan State University College of Arts & Letters. She started as teaching faculty for the Arts, Cultural Management, & Museum Studies program and marketing and promotions specialist for the Department of Theatre. Recently she has accepted the position of Production Manager for the Department of Theatre, in addition to her existing responsibilities. Abbie holds a B.A. in Theatre from Michigan State and a Masters in Arts Management from Columbia College. She has worked in marketing, fundraising and audience development for Vermont Stage and Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. During her time in Chicago, she served as the youngest member of the Joseph Jefferson (Jeff) Awards Committee and as Managing Director of Infamous Commonwealth Theatre. As an equity-trained stage manager, Abbie has worked with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Encore Theatre, Z-Space, Yerba Buena Center, The Factory Theatre, Peppermint Creek Theatre Company, and Starlight Dinner Theatre. She has also directed productions for Vermont Stage, Stowe Theatre Guild, and Girls Nite Out Productions. Abigail currently serves on the Arts Commission for the City of East Lansing and as President of the East Lansing Pinecrest Neighborhood Association.
Of all of the seminars, trainings, and other retreats I have attended in my life, this is one of the most lovely and valuable I have ever experienced. From start to finish, from the cohorts to the accommodations, MCACA outdid themselves putting together a top-notch leadership intensive that forged great relationships, expanded horizons and approaches, and exposed us to new ways of thinking. Worth every minute.
I've attended several leadership trainings, and the Rising Leaders program didn't focus on just the work, or how to work with others, but focused on us as individuals and how we work with others and do the work. That refreshing approach was everything.
From the talented leaders in the class, the accommodations, to John McCann's gracious and compassionate listening and instruction, everything was top notch!
The program was amazing. I was unsure of what to expect beyond a usual leadership program, but this was so specifically tailored to non-profits and seemed to fit flawlessly with where I am in my career, that it just nailed it.
I've taken more ownership of being able to be a leader even if I'm not in a leadership position within my organization.
I am more direct and honest in my feedback to others. I spend less time trying to mask my mistakes or shortcomings and spend more time being solution oriented.
I cannot fully say how much I appreciated the views and differences each participant brought to this experience.
Stepping away from our daily grind and surrounding ourselves in professional development to take that time to really connect with ourselves and review our roles was so necessary.
The most helpful part of the program is that it was ultimately focused on improving each of us as people, not as workers at our jobs. That focus on each of us as individuals helped to create an amazing atmosphere of openness and learning, which was the most helpful part of the program.