Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pittsburgh: New Director for Multicultural Arts Initiative

Robert A. Reed, the new executive director for the Multicultural Arts Initiative, has traveled the globe as a musician and an administrator for various symphony orchestras.
But it's a trip he took as a fourth grader in Louisville, Ky., that may have made the biggest impact.

Stepping onto a school bus in his best dress clothes, the excited 10-year-old was on his way to hear the Louisville Orchestra on a field trip that for him was more about getting away than it was about the arts.

But as he listened to the orchestra from his seat in the balcony, he was struck by the music.

"The impact was just so strong, I knew immediately as a fourth grader that that's what I wanted to do," Mr. Reed recalled. "When I got back to school I went that same day to the band director and said I wanted to be in the band."

He asked for a clarinet and he's been involved in music ever since.

Mr. Reed, 44, took over the helm of Initiative about a month ago, coming here from Arizona where he was the former administrator and orchestra manager of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

The Initiative is a funding and advocacy organization that supports culturally diverse arts programming with an emphasis on African-American programs. "I've always wanted to be able to give back to my community, the African-American community, because the community has always been good to me," Mr. Reed said.

He called his position at Initiative a combination of giving back and doing something in the arts that is just "an intoxicating opportunity."

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