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Meet an Emerging Arts Leader: Shauna Howard

​We're partnering with Emerging Arts Leaders: Philadelphia to introduce you to some of the exciting arts and cultural professionals working on behalf of our sector. This month's interview is with Shauna Howard.

Number of years working in the arts:
12 

Degrees/certificates:
Associate’s degree in Music from Community College of Allegheny County; Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Temple University; Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology from the Flourishing Institute

Current occupation:
Freelance singer and the owner of Fierce Stitch, LLC 

Other work experience in the arts:  Voice instructor, recording artist, fiber artist (crocheting), and salsa dancer. In addition to my board involvement with Emerging Art Leaders: Philadelphia, I serve on the board of SCORE Philadelphia as the Vice President of Membership – occasionally, I volunteer to mentor artists & creative entrepreneurs to help them turn their art into thriving creative businesses.

What keeps you engaged and passionate when it comes to arts and culture?  
Art is universal.  Everyone experiences the arts and everyone is capable of creating life-changing art, which makes it such a magnetizing field to study and work.  

What’s the most exciting or rewarding aspect of your current job?  
The voice is the only instrument that has the privilege of utilizing text to create music, so it’s an honor to be a musical conduit of the universal human experience.  

At Fierce Stitch, I enjoy creating winter accessories with my hands using techniques that my grandmother taught me as a child.  It’s incredibly gratifying to share my lessons and experiences with other artists and help them turn their art into thriving enterprises as well.  In my opinion, artists are the most intelligent group of people in the world; however, we’ve been led to believe that if we “live” in the studio and perfect our art, someone will come along and take care of our business needs.  When an artist realizes that they have the capacity to strategically plan their own growth, their world opens up to new possibilities of life as a full-time artist.

How did you get involved with Emerging Arts Leaders: Philadelphia? How does being active with EAL:P fit in with your long-term career goals?  
I was made aware of Emerging Arts Leaders: Philadelphia through the Small But Mighty Arts organization.  I attended EAL:P’s Creative Conversation in 2015 on Penn’s campus to learn more about the organization.  At the time, I was interested in joining the board of an arts organization and providing professional development services to artists using some of the mentors at SCORE Philadelphia, so serving with them was a professional win-win.  

Professionally, I look forward to more chances to share my gift of music with the world.  As an arts advocate, I want to work with more organizations where I can help artists to grow their creative enterprises through programming, business mentoring, advocacy, and strategic planning.

In your opinion, what is the most significant issue arts leaders will have to grapple with in the next 10 years? 
If Philadelphia wants to become a leading city for the arts, then it needs to come up with creative realty options for its artists.  It’s a hard pill to swallow for real estate developers and city planners, but you have to provide affordable real estate options to attract artists if you want to attract artists to create art in Philadelphia.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I ate vegetables for the first time in 2012.  I was a “meat & potatoes" gal for most of my life, but in 2012 I was introduced to green smoothies & it changed everything about my life.  Since then, I haven’t had a cold & I adore produce shopping.  I’ve always prided myself in being an open-minded person, yet when it comes to food I’ve been quite conservative – now, I try new veggies and new cuisines, which subsequently allows me to meet new people, go new places, and have new experiences!