This post continues our series featuring each of the current members of the Arts Council’s board. We thought you’d like to get to know a few things about the people who help direct the organization, support its mission, and work to secure its future. Ours is a volunteer board of leaders from the community who are selected for their essential skill sets and personal commitment to the arts.
Steven Leibensperger, graphic/exhibit designer for The Crayola Experience, got involved with the Arts Council in 2008, serving on the Professional Development committee. A fine artist in his own right, he’s been on the board since 2010, generously contributing both his creative ideas and design talents. Steven received the 2011 Crayola Outstanding Service to an Arts Organization Award, honoring his volunteerism as a board member for the Lehigh Valley Arts Council.
What is your connection to the arts in your life and/or career?
I have always had a connection to the arts since a young boy and pursued it as a career path. In addition to working as a graphic and exhibit designer, I own my own clothing company that features my designs. I am also a fine artist and musician.
What attracted you to the organization at first? Why have you continued to support it?
The first thing that attracted me was the selfless efforts of the people involved, especially Randall Forte, the executive director. Speaking with him, I felt instantly inspired to help out in whatever capacity I could. I support the Arts Council through volunteering my time, donating money and doing graphic design.
What drew you to becoming a board member?
What drew me was getting an inside look at how the non-profit worked and what they did behind the scenes to be advocates of the arts, as well as a chance to voice my two cents on issues and matters involving our community and the arts.
What are the impacts made by the Arts Council that are the most significant to you? Why? What more could be done?
The educational aspect of teaching artists no matter what age. Programs that we set up to better artists as people and to have them gain knowledge on the business end of the arts and how to sustain themselves as a professional artist are probably what’s most significant to me.
I say this because I wish there had been something like that around where I grew up and lived as a youth. I think we can continue to preach these methods of education as well as reaching out to a younger demographic by possibly getting involved more in the elementary through high school development of young artists.
What are the biggest challenges that you see facing the arts in the Lehigh Valley?
Economics are probably the biggest challenge facing the arts. Funding for the arts has taken a major hit over the last few years and it’s damaging all aspects of art as we know it. Finding a way to sustain art programs, local businesses involved in the arts, and artists in general will be challenging if things continue on this trend.
How is the Arts Council and its board positioned to help meet those challenges?
We have programs and plans in place to help the arts community at large deal with these struggles and create a new strategy for artists and arts businesses alike.
What would you like to see happen in the next 3 years to ensure that the arts and the arts community remain viable/strong?
An impact in youth education and development would be a great thing. Helping to educate the young artists of tomorrow may be the best way to protect our creative future.