Austin Ruiz ('17) spent his LAPI summer at Arena Stage, a theater in DC known for its commitment to producing works from diverse American voices. Read more about how this commitment was embodied in the Arena production Austin helped to put on, and what he took away from his experiences.
The Hart Leadership Program has a long history of drawing connections between leadership and the arts. LAPI is designed to harness the creativity behind the practice of leadership, and it challenge students to connect their passion for the arts to their academic endeavors.
Beginning in 1996, Hart Leadership Program Director Bruce Payne joined students each spring in New York City as part of Leadership and the Arts in New York (LANY). For a decade, LANY participants took courses such as Leadership, Ethics, and Drama; Policy, Philanthropy and the Arts; Opera: Music and Drama; and Visual Arts: Contemporary Visions. Through these courses and through the scores of plays, operas, concerts, and art exhibits the students attended, they explored questions about the role of the arts in American civil life; problems of ethics, authority, morale and effectiveness in arts organizations; conflicts over art education, censorship and public funding; and insights about political and organizational leadership from classic and contemporary operas and plays.
“In the new world of corporate America,” Payne wrote, “everybody is worried about how to achieve excellence in smaller and flatter organizations. That means finding styles of leadership that work well with smart, self-respecting professionals. Hierarchy never worked very well for complex tasks—and these days, it works less well than ever. So we need to ask: what styles of leadership make sense, and in what situations? People who succeed in the arts have solved that problem in various ways. They know how to coach, they know how to encourage, they know how to praise, and they know how to love. Above all, they know how to express a vision that inspires rather than intimidates.”
According to alumni who participated, LANY was a life-changing experience. “LANY marks the turning point in my Duke career where I truly became an adult. I returned to Duke for my senior year as a different person; I was engaged in learning like I had not been before, my grades improved, I had focus for my life,” one student said.
“Bruce Payne is not only a mentor of mine, but he saved me from living a mundane existence where I only saw things through tunnel vision. I am a better, more successful and more valuable participant since LANY and because of my relationship with Bruce,” said another.
Payne left Duke to become Executive Director of the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation in New York. In 2009, LANY morphed into LAPI, a summer internship program for Public Policy majors. Since then, 27 students have participated in LAPI, working on projects that range from orchestrating art exhibits in vacant storefronts in New York City to developing an arts curriculum at the National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences in Taiwan.
Latest LAPI Stories
Sarah Darwiche ('17) was worried that she wouldn't find creative fulfillment this summer, working with DC Public Schools to create and implement a new K-12 arts curriculum. However, through getting to know her coworkers and learning more about their artistic backgrounds, Sarah realized that she didn't have to give up her own creative ideals in order to push for policy change. Read more about her journey in her own words here.