025: Artist and nonprofit leader Cheryl Chamblee coaches creatives in times of transition

Why are transitions so difficult and so important to pay attention to? How can artists and arts organizations manage transitions with grace and confidence? Artist and nonprofit leader Cheryl Chamblee discusses her process for moving clients through change and letting go, ultimately supporting them in ‘the hard work of saying no to the good things so they can get to the rewards of the best things.’

Cheryl Chamblee is a writer, strategist, theater-maker, and mama with more than 20 years of experience as both an artist and a nonprofit leader. As co-Artistic and Managing Director of both hands theatre company, she led the making and producing of 10 years of original work in Downtown Durham and beyond. As Executive Director of the Chatham Arts Council, Cheryl recently led the creation of a new focus and identity, including the creation and implementation of the Chatham Artists-in-Schools Initiative. She attributes much of her learning over the last five years to partnerships with caring, engaged artists and Board members in Chatham County. Cheryl’s nonprofit coaching work centers around impact and sustainability, and she coaches leaders, boards, and creatives in times of transition. You can find her at onebrokenteapot.com, and you can see her writing featured in Sirsee, Volume 1, in a new project TBA later this year, and at her website.

This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox! Podcast recorded at Shadowbox Studio in Durham, NC.

Time break-down:

[0:00] Episode intro and Cheryl’s bio.

[1:37] TRANSITIONS: What kinds of transitions are Cheryl’s clients facing? What is Cheryl’s role in supporting them? Her four step process and why the question-asking part is the most important.

[8:11] How did Cheryl develop her process?

[10:08] Why are transitions so difficult for individuals and organizations? And why is it so important to pay attention to those transitional moments?

[13:33] An example of a individual artist leader who Cheryl worked with (a founder expanding her org)

[16:25] LETTING GO: How do artists approach the letting go process? What do we hold onto, what do we let go of, how do we decide? Who do we ask? Why do artists seem to do this easily while making art, but seem challenged when it comes to the business side?

[25:50] “I offer support and perspective and a framework for the hard work of saying no to the good things so that you can get to the rewards of the best things.” THIS IS AMAZING. How did Cheryl come to this powerful statement? How would she help someone wanting assistance with making hard decisions about what to say no to? (And a client example)

[34:32] Cheryl’s observations about her experience as an artist and also as an arts administrator. Artists and admins: let’s show that we care for each other more cuz we’re on the same team. Grace and gratitude.

[40:32] How has the nature of Cheryl’s art-making changed over the last few years? How has she managed her own transitions?

[42:53] What’s next? Writing on her blog: onebrokenteapot.com. April 14:  ClydeFEST 2018 

[44:23] Thank you and sign-off

Artist Soapbox podcast is a listener supported podcast. If you listen, please support the podcast by sharing episodes with friends and contributing via our Patreon campaign.

If you have feedback, questions, suggestions, please email artistsoapbox@gmail.com. FEEDBACK IS EVERYTHING TO ASBX.

Leave a Reply