The Spring Issue of Arts Presenters’ Inside the Arts is out. When I first got the hard copy version, I quickly scanned through to see if there was any mention of my former colleague, Lehua Simon’s talk. At first, I only saw the picture on the back cover.
I started to get a little miffed when it didn’t appear like any mention was going to be made in the recap of the conference. How could they ignore an event that made such an impact!? Finally, I saw the coverage in a few paragraphs on the last page of the recap article.
I excitedly reported this to Lehua and other former colleagues who later informed me I missed probably the most prominent mention of all, APAP President Mario Garcia Durham’s lengthy discussion of Lehua’s impact upon the conference in his letter.
I have mentioned before that walking into a conference and quickly achieving recognition seems to becoming Lehua’s forte. The fact that people are able to come from relative obscurity and in 5 minutes energize others by presenting themselves is what excites me about the arts. There was no invocation of politics or attempts to elevate one group to the detriment of another. Lehua just talked about experiences that made her passionate about the arts and it resonated with a large group of people.
While those five minutes are longer, (though less bloody minded), than Conan the Barbarian’s famous statement about what is best in life, it can be helpful to remember that it doesn’t take long to inspire passion in others, be it other arts people or audiences.
What I appreciated most from Mario Garcia Durham’s letter was when he wrote:
“When Simon walked on to stage, she represented leadership activated in the moment. She embraced the risk, took up the challenge and succeeded.
Simon is a fine example of individual leadership that makes an impact through personal creativity, determination and empowerment. She didn’t get to APAP on her own, but she took all the steps to get there and was ready in real time to participate in ways she hadn’t imagined.”
This encapsulates a lot of what we say about being leaders in the arts- embracing risk and being agile and open enough to participate in whatever possibilities present themselves.