5 Questions to Quanice Floyd (Arts Administrators of Color Network)

Quanice Floyd is a music educator and arts administrator based in the D.C. metro area. With a decade of experience teaching music in public school programs, she currently serves as the Executive Director of Arts Education in Maryland Schools. As a passionate advocate for equity in the arts, Quanice founded the Arts Administrators of Color (AAC) Network in 2016 to empower arts leaders of color through mentorship programs, networking events, professional development opportunities, and annual meetings. Recognizing that marginalized communities cannot overthrow systems of oppression alone, the AAC Network also hosts a leadership institute for white accomplices that includes anti-racism training and tools for dismantling white supremacy. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting communities of color and bringing systemic inequities into sharp focus, especially in the arts. In response, Quanice and the AAC Network have established an Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund for BIPOC artists and arts administrators. We asked Quanice five questions about the AAC Network, their current fundraising efforts, and how we can help.

What inspired you to start the Arts Administrators of Color Network?

I started the organization after a conversation I had with a classmate of mine, Ariel Shelton, who is now on the Board. We kept finding ourselves at arts leaders events with no racial or ethnic diversity, and honestly, we were sick of it. We thought, “Wouldn’t it be dope to get POC arts leaders together in the same space? Imagine what would come of that.” And thus, the AAC Network was born.

Arts Administrators of Color Network 2019 Convening--Photo by Jimmy Pham

Arts Administrators of Color Network 2019 Convening–Photo by Jimmy Pham

What programs, tools, and resources does the Arts Administrators of Color Network currently provide?

Our organization has five staple programs that have expanded over the past four years. Those programs are our annual convening, which is a yearly gathering for arts leaders of color to heal and uplift one another; our mentorship program, where we match emerging leaders with executive leaders to work on professional goals; our networking events, which are social opportunities for arts leaders to create genuine connections with one another; our professional development series; and the Art Accordingly podcast, which interrogates systems of oppression in the arts sector and highlights arts leaders of color who are moving the field forward.

We also have additional programs such as the Accomplice Leadership Institute for white arts leaders who want to support our work, and the Sankofa Project, which highlights elder arts administrators who paved the way for us.

Part of the Arts Administrators of Color Network’s vision is to “build a pipeline for arts administrators and artists of color.” Where does that pipeline start, and what are the major checkpoints over the course of a person’s education and professional development?

Pipelines don’t existed because there is a lack of investment from organizations and educational institutions into the field. A pipeline implies that there are processes and systems that fully invest in the leadership of employees and next generation of leaders so that when you get to the end of that “pipeline,” you have the dream leadership position that you’ve been preparing for over time. This investment has to be from the ground up, meaning there needs to be investment in the K-12 experience, undergraduate experience, internship/fellowship experience, employment experience (on-boarding, leadership/professional development, conference), etc. The only way to truly be in a “pipeline” is to have access to these opportunities that help you get to the final line. In the 2016 Race to Lead Survey, the data discusses that there is a huge racial gap in the nonprofit sector when it comes to hiring, which suggests that when it comes to internships, fellowships, and employment, people hire and invest in those who look like them. There are structural and institutional barriers already set in place before a leader of color can even submit their resumes to an open position, thus a leader of color has to create their own paths to success.

Arts Administrators of Color Network 2019 Convening--Photo by Jimmy Pham

Arts Administrators of Color Network 2019 Convening–Photo by Jimmy Pham

In the wake of COVID-19 gig cancellations and loss of income, the Arts Administrators of Color Network has set up an Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund. Who does this fund support, and are you still accepting applications?

This funds supports artists and arts administrators who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and have been directly impacted by the effects of COVID-19. These are micro-grants of $200, and we have been extremely excited about all of the support we’ve received thus far. We currently have almost 8,000 applications and rising, and have raised about $30,000. We are raising funds continuously because arts leaders need support continuously during these unprecedented times.

How can readers support your emergency fundraising efforts?

Donate through our GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/artsleadersfund

Donate to our organization through Paypal Giving Fund: paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/2812938