Lex Liang reviews costume designs for the 2015 production of Blues for an Alabama Sky.

Spelman Leadership Fellows

Each year, through a competitive selection process, the Alliance Theatre will employ three rising seniors from Spelman College as interns. At the conclusion of each year, the Alliance will competitively select one of the three graduating interns to receive a full-time, two-year fellowship at the Alliance in an area of artistic or executive leadership. When fully executed at the conclusion of our three-year plan, the Alliance Theatre Spelman Leadership Fellows program will employ three interns and two full-time fellows annually.

Purpose of the program

The Alliance recognizes the lack of diversity in the top leadership positions of most non-profit arts and culture institutions. This reality, in large part, is due to a lack of intentional cultivation of qualified prospective leaders of color, particularly by larger non-profit institutions. The Alliance does not want to talk about the issue; we want to take action. To do so, we are partnering with Spelman College, a historically black college for women, to launch the Alliance Theatre Spelman Leadership Fellows program in August 2016. The program will be a big first step in addressing the leadership diversity challenges at our theater and will also provide the national field with an annually growing pool of highly-qualified candidates with professional experience at one of the nation's foremost arts centers.

Pilot year

The Alliance Theatre is pursuing funding opportunities with individuals and foundation prospects nationwide to ensure strategic growth as outlined in our three-year plan and beyond. As we launch the pilot year during the Alliance's 2016/17 season, we are simultaneously convening a steering committee of prominent business people and community leaders to identify and leverage crucial engagement, networking, and support opportunities for the Fellows and interns.

Interns for the pilot year

Maya Lawrence
Maya Lawrence

Ciara Jones
Ciara Jones

Janerica Smith
Janerica Smith


FY17 // Pilot Year/Year 1

August 2016–May 2017

  • Staff: rising Spelman seniors Ciara Jones (Drama), Denise Maya Lawrence (Drama), and Janerica Smith (Drama); 10 hrs/week at $15/hr
  • Cost: $24,000
  • Funds secured: $24,000 Turner Diversity Fund spend down ($40,000 total available)
  • Funds needed: $0

FY18 // Year 2

  • Staff: 3 new interns, 1 full-time Fellow from FY17 cohort
  • Cost: $74,000 ($24,000 for interns, $50,000 annual salary and benefits for Fellow)
  • Funds secured: final $16,000 from Turner Fund
  • Funds needed: $58,000 in new funds

FY19 // Year 3

  • Staff: 3 new interns, 2 full-time Fellows: second year for FY18 Fellow, promote one FY18 intern
  • Cost: $124,000 ($24,000 for interns, $100,000 for Fellows)
  • Funds secured: $0
  • Funds needed: $124,000 in new funds



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