As most people who read the news know by now, the Linden Endowment for the Arts is closing. LEA provided a space for many artists in Second Life to express themselves. For them to shutter is something truly sad, but I’m also happy to note there’s an effort to begin again–a LEA 2.0, possibly! A group in-world has formed pooling suggestions on how to change the arts program so that it lasts longer this time. I’m so happy to hear of this!
As someone who’s gone through a serious roller coaster with the last LEA council, I’ve seen the uglier side of their machinations. Hazing, bullying, and power struggles are what I experienced and saw in the short time I’ve sat on their roster. After quitting, I wrote up my experiences here on this blog. It was met with both praise and criticism, but you know what? I spoke my truth in an earnest effort to bring about change, and there’s no way I would ever let anyone invalidate my experience. And as we all know, it’s the truth that will set you free in the end.
So what’s the one simple trick I think that can save the Linden Endowment for the Arts? It’s one I’ve suggested all along.
Just One Little Thing
Actually rotate out all of its council members so that power doesn’t get to anyone’s head. This is what ultimately ruined things last time–people got comfortable, sat on the council seats for too long, and that’s when the fighting started.
Make it so there is a max time people serve on LEA’s selection committee, and after that they have to wait a minimum amount of time (like six months?) before they can serve again. Make sure fresh faces are always in rotation there so not too many incumbents sit on the council seats over and over. Make sure there’s oversight to point out any accusations of hazing, bullying, and power trips so that no one else goes through what I and others have dealt with.
That will cut out so much drama, so much heartbreak, and keeps the program serving the community for as long as possible.
The Linden Endowment for the Arts can still be something great. LEA 2.0 might be the answer. But will we want to make the changes necessary for it to happen?