On Thursday June 21, we gathered at Leadership Louisville for our NeXt graduation and final presentations. The evening started with Jo Lloyd- Triplett with Leadership Louisville congratulated all NeXt graduates and encouraged us to check out the Leadership Louisville opportunities. She was followed by Christen Boone who led the NeXt class in a reflection of the 10 months we have spent together, allowing each of us to voice our feedback. The night was then handed over to each group.
The Theater 502 group started off the night by presenting their guidebook for the board for a strategic plan for the next 3 years. They were followed by a the Maryville Elementary group that presented on their Arts Week that happened in April and featured a focus on a different art form each day. The Steam Exchange group presented on their strategic plan as well, which included a business model for their screen printing to off-set their program offerings. The Western Middle School for the Arts Group presented on their West Best Fest which helped to spread awareness in the community for the school with over 700 participants. Lastly, the Commonwealth Theater group presented on their decade fundraising event that raised over $16,000.
After the presentations, the NeXt class enjoyed cocktails and refreshments before the graduation ceremony. Stephanie Sturgeon, NeXt Gen Board Chair, spoke to the class about the opportunities that NeXt has opened for her and encouraged everyone to take advantage of the networking. Cynthia Knapek spoke about the two defining qualities she sees in a leader: the willingness to raise your hand and show up and they show up and get things done. Kendrick Riggs of Stoll Keenon Ogden and Mike Croce of Stock Yards Bank also congratulated the class and stood with Christen Boone as everyone received their plaques and gifts from Revelry, courtesy of Mo Mcknight-Howe, NeXt liaison from the Fund for the Arts Board. JP Davis served as MC for the awards ceremony, and it was interesting to hear what all my classmates were taking with them from this opportunity.
When the ceremony was over, it was difficult to part ways. NeXt has been a huge part of the last 10 months for me, and the relationships that we have built in the process will definitely be lasting. I know that I was not the only one that had difficulty saying goodbye, as the group did not disperse quickly! I am thankful for the opportunity that NeXt has given me and the relationships it has helped me develop. I am looking forward to my next steps in the art community, as well as the leadership that my fellow classmates will bring to the Louisville Arts Community.