Associate of Programs and Marketing
LeAundra Richardson discovered her love for music early — she began piano lessons at age six and was playing violin with her school orchestra by fifth grade. “I was just always talented at [music] and enjoyed it,” the Oberlin, Ohio, native says of her germinal attraction to and immersion in the arts. Music, as well as theater, also exerted a strong emotional pull on her. She recalls attending a play as a small girl and thinking, “ ‘I would love to do something like that.’ I was a shy kid,” she explains, “so seeing a way to better express myself really appealed to me. Music and theater have really helped me grow my self-confidence.”
She focused on music academically, and excelling at the violin, LeAundra was offered the opportunity in middle school to attend Baldwin Wallace University’s string camp, the university’s summer music program for young string musicians. She continued to attend summer music camps at BW through high school, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, decided to attend college there.
At BW, she studied Arts Management, with a major in management and a minor in music. She also gained a lot of real-world experience while in college through various internships: under Bill Rudman at The Musical Theater Project, Erika Haskell in the BW Conservatory Events Office and Sandra Goerz at the Joyful Noise Neighborhood Music School. These positions all led to LeAundra joining Arts Cleveland as the organization’s Marketing Intern in January 2014.
The fit was a good one, and in August of that year, a few months after earning her bachelor’s degree, LeAundra was asked to continue as the Arts Administration Fellow and joined the full-time staff. In 2016, she became the Associate, Research and Advancement. During LeAundra’s time at Arts Cleveland, she’s been in charge of creating the Creative Compass E-mail newsletter, helped plan and market the Creative Intersections Conference, led the Public Officials Recognition Breakfast and assisted Kristin Puch with grants.
As Arts Cleveland’s sole musician, however, a project she’s very passionate about is a new one, Play It Forward Cleveland!, a multi-sponsored program to donate musical instruments to kids in underserved communities in the Cleveland area. LeAundra was heavily involved in the drive’s planning and in handling its administrative tasks, including scheduling meetings and phone calls, taking meeting notes and putting together task lists in preparation for the drive dates. All the work paid off when the early 2019 inaugural event proved to be a huge success.
Part of her passion for that venture stems from her awareness of the constructive influence that playing music can have on anyone’s, but especially kids’, neurologic, cognitive and psychological development. “Music has a tremendous impact on brain function and memory,” she points out, “and it can really help people come out of their shells.” Ultimately, she says, “The arts can really affect people’s lives — you never know how they can change your life for the better.”
Contact: (216) 575-0331, x132 or LeAundra@artscleveland.org