Mike Nourse, Arts Education Designer & Director at Hyde Park Art Center, believes art can be used to amplify voices and catalyze change. With over 20 years directing arts programs across Chicago, Mike has made it his life’s work to provide platforms for youth and communities to share their stories. (Watch our webinar with Mike HERE.)
Get to Know Mike
In the early years of his teaching career, Mike Nourse focused on developing his own artistic voice by creating video works responding to mainstream media messages. This helped him recognize the power of using art to shape narratives and perspectives. Mike started small by rearranging 24 hours of news coverage before moving on to re-editing speeches and films.
As Mike's career progressed, he made weekly self-reflection a priority in his teaching. Each week Mike would advise students to map out their artistic process, set goals, and reflect on what they learned. This helped Mike and his students stay focused on personal growth rather than just perfecting artistic techniques.
The Magic of Intrinsic Motivation
In addition to self-reflection, Mike learned the importance of fostering intrinsic motivation in students. He encouraged them to create projects focused on social issues relevant to their lives rather than just learning skills. Mike also challenged students to think about the "why" behind their art rather than just the "what." By helping young people connect their art to their inner purpose and passions, Mike saw them unlock new confidence and self-direction.
Lead Like Mike: Create Space for Voice and Discovery
Mike's decades of experience demonstrate the power of creating opportunities for people to express themselves and share their perspectives. As organizational leaders, we can learn from Mike's approach to intentionally provide platforms for the voices within our teams and communities.
For you and your team, this might look like facilitating team storytelling sessions to learn each other's experiences, encouraging imagination exercises to spark new ideas, and showcasing team member projects on issues affecting your organization.
When leaders actively listen, seek to understand, and validate the perspectives of those around them, it makes people feel truly seen, heard, and celebrated. This intrinsic motivation unlocks creativity, collaboration, and commitment. Amplifying voices is a must-try learning leader strategy to build an organizational culture that draws out the diverse voices and talents of your team.
Today Mike continues amplifying voices by chairing the Chicago Art Department board and running arts programs empowering youth. Mike lives out his belief that art can help people shape narratives, speak truth, and create positive change.