by Chamidae Ford
4Culture not too long ago introduced Nina Yarbrough shall be their subsequent arts program director. Yarbrough will start her new function this September after she finishes her duties because the enterprise improvement supervisor for the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas.
In response to a press launch from 4Culture, the place is a senior management function that “oversee[s] the event, implementation, and analysis of our arts funding packages and serves as a liaison to the King County arts neighborhood.”
Yarbrough, a Cincinnati, Ohio native, moved to Seattle in 2014 to get her grasp’s in arts management from Seattle College. As a author, playwright, and performer, Yarbrough has all the time had a ardour for the theater. She approached her M.F.A. program as a approach to enhance her artistry, however alongside the best way, it broadened her understanding of the monetary points of the humanities world.
“After I discovered what fundraising was and what it meant in relation to being an excellent chief, that’s once I realized, ‘Oh, if I truly wish to excel, in any path in my profession, whether or not I wish to lead an arts group or whether or not or not I might be [an] artist who owns all their very own work, [I will need to know how to raise money],” Yarbrough mentioned in an interview with the Emerald. “So I received into the business in order that I can be taught what it’s about. And for the previous 5 years, I’ve been doing simply that. Understanding ‘What does it imply to try to useful resource a company?’”
Since coming to Seattle, Yarbrough has labored for the Seattle Opera, Central District Discussion board for Arts and Concepts, and 4Culture’s Restoration Process Pressure, permitting her to see fundraising and philanthropy on all scales.
“I’ve been lucky to have the ability to see how arts and cultural establishments function in any respect ranges. To ensure that that to occur, your mission must be on level, but additionally you could have to have the ability to useful resource and fund that mission. And that’s what I’ve been doing,” Yarbough mentioned. “As I transfer into this new place, my hope is that I’m capable of convey not solely my capability to know what it takes for organizations to undergo that however my need and willingness to assist change the best way that cash is distributed.”
By way of this function, Yarbrough desires to give attention to dismantling the methods of white supremacy which have lengthy saved BIPOC and LGBTQ+ members from receiving the funding they deserve.
“I’ve no illusions that I’m going to stroll into this place and in some way am going to dismantle racism in philanthropy in america. I do know this isn’t going to occur,” Yarbrough mentioned. “However I’ll be one other voice there, together with my 4Culture colleagues, together with Brian and Josh, who’re going to assist to champion for the sort of change that all of us need.”
For Yarbrough, that technique of unlearning and dismantling methods of oppression begins internally.
“I’m mired in the identical system of white supremacy as anyone else. So which means I’ve discovered sure habits and practices. I’ve internalized white supremacy and cultural norms,” Yarbrough mentioned. “My life’s work is to always undo these norms in myself and decolonize my very own mindset. And so by doing my very own work, I’m capable of, I believe, convey that perspective into what I hope to perform in partnership with my 4Culture colleagues and my soon-to-be relations. I can’t uplift and help my very own folks if I’m not working for my very own liberation.”
As Yarbrough has spent her post-M.F.A. profession immersed within the fundraising sector of the humanities world, she has noticed and skilled the kind of chief she desires to emulate as she steps into her new function. For a very long time, she seen herself as a “servant chief” however has not too long ago turned in direction of a extra collaborative management strategy.
“After I replicate on the moments the place I felt most taken care of, once I felt heard and actually felt related to no matter work I used to be doing, it’s as a result of I knew that if there was a difficulty I might be listened to, I might be taken critically. And even when my solutions weren’t taken to her, I knew that I used to be no less than being critically thought-about,” Yarbrough mentioned. “My present govt director, Sharon Williams, has been a kind of of us for the previous three years; she’s constructed an organization the place it’s a norm. It’s a cultural norm that you just present up as your self, and also you get to embrace all points of who you might be. And I plan to do this [too].”
As Yarbrough transitions into this new function, she feels not solely excited however hopeful about what’s to come back.
“I’m optimistic,” Yarbrough mentioned. “Optimism to me implies that I can see mild on the finish of the tunnel. I simply don’t understand how lengthy the tunnel is. However in the event you simply maintain transferring ahead, we’ll get to a spot that does really feel extra liberated, that does really feel extra simply.”
Government Director Brian J. Carter confused within the press launch that Yarbrough will push 4Culture into an inclusive and financially secure future.
“Nina brings a contagious vitality and an revolutionary mind to 4Culture. She is going to undoubtedly use these qualities to assist the cultural sector get better from the impacts of the pandemic and spur its obligatory evolution to be extra accessible, inclusive, and equitable,” Carter mentioned.
Chamidae Ford is at the moment a senior journalism main on the College of Washington. Born and raised in Western Washington, she has a ardour for offering a voice to the communities round her. She has written for The Day by day, GRAY Journal, and Capitol Hill Seattle. You may attain Chamidae Ford at IG/Twitter: @chamidaeford.
📸 Featured Picture: Nina Yarbrough. (Picture: Michael B. Maine)
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