Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony and Pacific Northwest Ballet Announce New Fellowship for Arts Leaders of Color

Courtesy of Seattle Opera

Three of Seattle’s biggest arts organizations have announced a new initiative to support emerging arts administrators and leaders of color.

Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Seattle Symphony have announced the inaugural cohort of the Seattle Arts Fellowship, a new initiative for emerging arts leaders and administrators of color. The 2021/22 fellows are Dalanie Harris (Seattle Symphony), Kierra Nguyen (Seattle Opera), and Gabriela “Gabi” Páez Shutt (Pacific Northwest Ballet). Each fellow will be placed at one of the presenting organizations for a year. Areas of focus will range from marketing, community education, and artistic planning. Beginning in 2022, the program will also include broadcasting as Classical KING FM 98.1 joins the roster of presenting organizations.

Kierra Nguyen, a dancer and visual artist from Seattle, is looking forward to broadening her tools as someone dedicated to a lifetime in the arts, “The foundational goals of this fellowship uphold my belief that art and artists must be cared for in a way that will sustain their growth for generations to come. As a recent college graduate, I want to continue to engage in arts administrative roles that promote the arts in informed and innovative ways.”

The paid fellowship includes hands-on work experience in administration and learning opportunities including leadership training, skill building, mentorship and networking. The cohort will engage in peer-to-peer learning, connect with local arts leaders, and build a strong network to support their career development.

In addition to making a positive impact on Seattle Symphony, Dalanie Harris, a bassist and podcaster from Los Angeles, reflects on what she hopes to gain during the experience, “Ultimately, I’d like to be in a position to uplift, celebrate, and bring awareness to Black music in return for all the joy it has brought to my life and the world. I’d like to be challenging the ways we as individuals interpret and analyze music.”

The Seattle Arts Fellowship is available to individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) or as ALAANA (African/African American (diaspora), Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American/Indigenous, and Asian Pacific Islander). The program is designed for those who have just entered the workforce such as college graduates or those transitioning into nonprofit arts careers.

“My ultimate goal in the arts is to increase access to arts education for students, specifically low-income students,” said Gabi Páez Shutt, a recent graduate from Florida State University with an M.A. in Arts Administration. “I was very fortunate to have incredible performing and visual arts education through my public schools, but this is not the case for many students.”