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  • Barry's Blog
    rest of society seeks to keep abreast of knowledge germane to its work and to communicate within its own sphere and outside of it to its constituents stakeholders the public and governing authorities Communications is at the very essence of everything the sector does key to its mission operations and its success as an enterprise No sector today lives in a vacuum distinct or apart from the technology that has changed the world Facebook Twitter You Tube Instagram Vine and scores of other communications platforms did not exist a decade or so ago Smart phones tablets mobile apps and even email are a relatively new reality All of these tools make it easier to both send and access information data thinking opinions and ideas and those twin abilities are both a boon to what the nonprofit arts community does and an increasing challenge for it in managing how it communicates While available information is virtually infinite the resources of the sector and its component organizations is not Chief among the scarce resources with which the nonprofit arts field contends is time Limited funding streams impact the ability of arts organizations to employ personnel necessary to adequately identify analyze and apply the volume of information available in some useful way to a typical arts organization s business operations and other objectives The learning curves of new technologies themselves require an increasing investment of time to master While a perceived information overload and the consequential implications of such a status is nothing new the nonprofit arts field has a dearth of information about which communications tools we use how we are managing that usage and the impact of that usage on organizations and personnel within those organizations This report seeks to begin to provide a baseline of knowledge about the communications tools being used by nonprofit arts organizations and personnel and the management of its communications activities within and between arts organizations A national representative survey instrument designed to ascertain arts organization and leadership communications perceptions behavior habits and usage was created to obtain that baseline information in an attempt to begin to understand how arts organizations are communicating Specifically the inquiry sought to understand which communications tools arts organizations and personnel use and to what extent which sources of information are valued and trusted how arts administrators are managing the volume of available information and the impact of the increased available information on a variety of markers relating to productivity job satisfaction and organizational efficiency It also sought to determine whether or not the increased volume of available information is thought to constitute information overload when the volume of information being dealt with exceeds the ability to make sensible decisions for the field While the volume of available information is increasing as are the ways to communicate that information the capacity of human beings to process the increased information is not getting any faster Causes of the rise of available information and resultant overload include i the ease and cost effectiveness of sending more information to more people ii the lack of filters to simplify and summarize information iii the chances of factual errors and inconsistencies in the available information and iv the failure of people who pass on information to first process it themselves Every communication ours included adds to the potential of overload The natural response to the paralysis of overload is for human beings to install filters that can make the inflow manageable Thus for example one response to too many emails in your inbox is to simply not read a certain percentage of them If your email to someone to whom you want to communicate falls into this category you haven t communicated at all Effective communications increasingly must concern itself with getting past the filters installed by people to manage the overflow How we communicate how we manage our communications strategies and tools and the impact of our communications choices are complex subjects and the project recognized early on that preliminary data is needed on which future research and inquiry by both theorists and practitioners within our field can build Drilling deeper into our preferences perceptions and behaviors will be necessary in order to better enable our field to improve the effectiveness of its communications minimize the negative aspects of the information onslaught and maximize the positive impacts of how we manage information going into the future The challenge to our organizations is twofold First to effectively and efficiently manage the flow of communications and information and second to translate the information we access into knowledge that will benefit our operations and advance our missions Given the time expended on managing communications and information and the centrality of those efforts to almost everything we do it is essential for organizations to proactively address the challenges faced in this arena SUMMARY OF FINDINGS A survey of a representative sampling of arts organizations finds that their internal and external communications includes a variety of traditional and technological methods each varying in its preferred usage and perceived effectiveness While this study was intended to establish a baseline of communications perceptions behaviors and impacts the following conclusions may be reasonably drawn from the survey responses 1 Communications from arts administrators and organizations and from others to them is a major occupier of time Email in particular dominates average weekly time expenditures 2 The field s perception of the value and impact of the increased information available to it and the communications it sends and receives indicates a struggle with that volume with a large bloc believing the sheer volume is or is becoming unmanageable 3 While the increase in information being communicated and being received is perceived as having a positive impact on organization productivity there is a majority bloc that believes it is a negative on a personal level 4 While the struggle with managing communications of all types and the pervasive feeling among the respondents that there are significant negative impacts on their time and abilities to do their jobs most arts organizations do not have any formal plan to address these issues 5 Due to the limitations of this survey it is unclear the extent to which arts organizations are aware of and are dealing with communications and information issues including the challenges posed to staff personnel 6 Most arts organizations do not have the resources to engage a full time communications officer Administrators are challenged to relate the increased information to their specific needs 7 It may be a myth that the inclusion of an Executive Summary in reports is the preferred method of review by arts administrators 8 For many organizations this respondent observation encapsulates their challenge We have 20th century resources in a 21st century environment INTERNAL Preferred methods of communication While a wide range of communications tools are employed by arts organizations including traditional and technological three principal means dominate email face to face meetings one on one staff department and the telephone all of which might today be considered old school Communications plans staff officers More than three quarters of arts organizations do not have a formal communications plan for internal organization communications 65 do not have a staff communications officer Nearly 60 do not have a formal plan for external communications These figures suggest that a large bloc of arts organizations may not be dealing directly with communication issues within their organizations One can speculate on the reasons for the lack of communications plans 1 a lack of resources time money 2 the difficulty in creating organization wide plans due to differences in staff generational preferences for the use of various communications tools 3 a belief that such a plan is would not be of sufficient value to justify its creation 4 the possibility that such a plan would be essentially outdated on creation and 5 unawareness of the challenges administrators are having in this area EXTERNAL Effectiveness of various external communications tools In order of perceived effectiveness the top five tools are Email Website Convenings Events Facebook Telephone Again with the possible exception of Facebook these tools are basically traditional Of those organizations that use Facebook 34 post a few times a week 22 post daily 23 post 2 to 4 times per day and 10 post once per week Preferred sources of incoming information Communications from sources outside the organization are most often read reviewed from these sources in order Colleagues Peers Constituents Community leaders Foundations Other arts organizations within the discipline Information from colleagues peers constituents and community leaders hold the most importance and sway to arts administrators Effectiveness of various communications The most effective communications tools for external communications are in order Email Convenings events Website Facebook Meetings MANAGING COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION Coping with the increase 63 say the volume of information and communication is growing and becoming increasingly more difficult to keep pace with 15 said it was out of hand and they were feeling overwhelmed 21 thought it a reasonable amount and had no trouble handling it Perhaps the single most important finding from the survey document is the number of arts administrators who view the increase in the volume of communication to and from others as a real or potential problem one that is a threat drain to their most important resource time Perception of the value of the information available 38 think about 25 of the available information received communications are of value to them 28 think about half of the available information received communications are of value to them 18 think less than 10 of the available information received communications are of value to them Challenges to managing communications Nearly 80 think that a lack of time is the biggest challenge in staying abreast of all the information available Nearly 40 think their biggest challenge in staying abreast is relating the information available to their needs Hours Spent Per Week Dealing with Various Communications Tools Email 23 spent 7 to 10 hours per week reading and responding to email 22 spent 11 to 15 hours per week reading and responding to email 18 spent 16 to 20 hours per week reading and responding to email 16 spent more than 20 hours per week reading and responding to email Over half the respondents spend 11 or more hours dealing with email each week or one quarter of a traditional 40 hour work week Conferring one to one with coworkers within the organization 33 spent 4 to 6 hours per week conferring one to one 22 spent 7 to 10 hours per week conferring one to one 13 spent 11 to 15 hours per week conferring one to one Other major time consuming activities 28 spent 4 to 6 hours talking on the telephone 31 spent 4 to 6 hours searching the internet 28 spent 4 to 6 hours attending staff department meetings 23 spent 4 to 6 hours on social networking sites Impact of the increased volume of communications 36 think the volume of communications information positively impacts their productivity 27 think it negatively impacts their productivity 44 think it negatively impacts their time to reflect and brainstorm 28 think it positively impacts their time to reflect and brainstorm 43 think the volume negatively impacts their ability to effectively manage their time 46 think the volume positively impacts their organization s success 58 think the volume positively impacts innovation 48 think the volume positively impacts organizational adaptability There appears to be a split between the perceived value of increased communication information to the organization on the one hand and to the individual administrator on the other The balance of these two seemingly different conclusions poses a major challenge to organizations Other Findings REPORTS AND STUDIES Volume of reports received Nearly 40 receive 3 to 5 studies and or reports each month 18 receive 6 to 10 per month 10 receive 10 or more per month Reports reviewed Nearly 60 read or scan 1 to 2 reports per month 30 review 3 to 5 per month Less than 5 review more than 10 per month Preferred method of review 41 read select sections of the reports and studies they receive 28 scan the whole report 25 read or scan the Executive Summary section and this relatively low number flies in the face of conventional wisdom that the Summary of Findings is the preferred method of report review CROWDFUNDING 19 reported having engaged in a crowdfunding campaign in the past year of that number 18 reported having engaged in more than one such campaign 20 of those that engaged in a campaign reported raising 5000 to 10 000 20 reported raising 10 000 to 20 000 It is my hope that these preliminary findings on our habits behaviors and perceptions about the tools we use to communicate our management of those tools and the impact of the increase in available information on our organizations and personnel will encourage arts organizations to take a long look at their communications and information management As a preliminary study the findings suggest more questions than they provide answers We ought to consider 1 the effectiveness of our communications and how we can improve them and 2 the implications of our behaviors and perceptions on our business practices and what alternatives to current practices exist Special thanks to WESTAF the Knight Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation for their support of this project Have a good week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 11 53 PM No comments Friday March 18 2016 Election Update and What It Means for the Arts Good morning And the beat goes on And the insanity that is this election continues We still don t know what Trump s position on the arts is We do however now know exactly what Ted Cruz s position on the arts is On his website he lists 25 federal agencies he would immediately eliminate on his ascendancy to the Presidency including the National Endowments of the Arts and of the Humanities and PBS funding too If Cruz is President the Endowments are history The chance for an open brokered GOP Convention looms larger and were that to happen the chances that if Trump were denied the nomination his supporters would likely go ballistic Can it happen Yes If no candidate has the requisite number of pledged delegates on the first ballot and that is a possibility then all delegates are free to vote for anyone they choose on subsequent ballots Those are the rules Trump s whining notwithstanding And his argument that if he has the most delegates and he s close to the fifty percent plus one he should get the nomination is like a football team arguing that they were close to scoring a touchdown within inches even and so they should be given the points Absurd Would Trump delegates defect and vote for someone else on a second or later ballot Unlikely but we won t know until it happens if it happens A big problem for Republicans if their convention blows up Clearly there are those in the Republican party who believe that were Trump to get the nomination that would so damage the brand of the party that even a loss to the Democrats would be preferable to ceding the party to the Trump outliers There are also those who believe it more important to defeat the Democrats even if that means supporting a Trump or a Cruz no matter how distasteful that might be Rock and a hard place for them But victory by the Republicans in their bid for the White House seems likely to be very bad news for federal arts funding Randy Cohen at Americans for the Arts recently announced new public opinion sampling that we might use in lobbying Congress or State legislatures or City municipal governments The study clearly indicates that 1 Americans support arts funding and more noteworthy 2 Americans would support elected officials who vote for that support And that likely voters are even more likely to vote for an official who supported the arts than unlikely voters That s a big deal That s very valuable information to make your local elected officials aware of because it gives them cover for a positive vote According to the study Americans support increasing federal arts funding When asked about increasing federal government grants to arts organizations from a per capita rate of 45 cents up to 1 effectively doubling the NEA budget more than half of Americans support the move 54 percent Likely voters are significantly more likely to support this increase than unlikely voters 56 percent vs 34 percent State and local government arts funding has high approval ratings Twice as many Americans approve of their state and local governments awarding grants to artists and arts organizations than disapprove local government 57 percent vs 25 percent state government 55 percent vs 27 percent Community oriented arts funding has high public value When presented with specific types of arts funding opportunities public support skyrockets Respondents are especially likely to favor government arts funding for art in parks and public spaces 71 percent and to aid returning military personnel in their transition to civilian life 69 percent Sixty eight percent favor using the arts to beautify blighted areas create programs for the elderly and promote pro social behavior with at risk youth Federal candidates can feel safe voting to increase support for the arts This study sends a positive message from the public to their elected officials We will support you at the polls when you fund the arts All else being equal Americans who are likely to vote in the 2016 presidential election are most likely to vote in favor 38 percent than to vote against 19 percent a candidate who wanted to increase federal spending on the arts to 1 per capita Millennials are especially likely to vote in favor of this increase 47 percent vs 13 percent who oppose it Stay tuned This is going to be a very interesting next six months Have a good week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 12 23 AM No comments Wednesday March 2 2016 What The Election So Far Means for the Arts Good morning And the beat goes on Have a little energy today so thought I would attempt this What The Election So Far Means for the Arts The short answer is probably that we don t absolutely know for sure Except for this Background Who is elected President is important to the nonprofit arts for two principal reasons First the President prepares the annual budget for Congress to consider If there is money in that budget for the arts humanities museums arts education and in various government agencies like housing veterans affairs etc etc for arts support it is easier for us to succeed in getting that budget in some form through Congress If there is no money for any of those things in the budget it is axiomatically much more difficult to get it put in by Congress especially a Congress where arts support may be in the minority And second if the President champions the value of art and culture to American society that imprimatur goes a long way in our ability to leverage that support in other ways So who wins is important We are now well into the Democrat and Republican primary process The rules governing each are slightly different and important to understand The Democrats work under a system of proportional allocation of delegates to their convention at which they will select their nominee for the Presidency So hypothetically if Clinton wins 60 of the vote in a state with 10 delegates and Sanders wins 40 she gets 6 delegates and he gets 4 delegates In addition to the delegates available from each state the Democrats also have what are called super delegates elected officials Congress City Mayors Governors State office holders and party officials There are about 750 of these super delegates To win the Democratic nomination a candidate has to have 1250 votes so the super delegate votes are a very powerful bloc These super delegates are free to vote for any candidate at the convention but most pledge to support a candidate prior to the Convention though they are free to change their minds The Republicans changed their rules for delegate allocation in 2014 Now the contests held prior to March 15 are awarded proportionately just like the Democrats After that most of the states are winner take all meaning that if any of the candidates win a primary though in most states they have to get over a threshold of 50 of the vote they get all the delegates from that state The Republicans don t have the super delegate category So what is likely to happen Given Clinton s victories on Super Tuesday coupled with her already pledged super delegates it will be difficult for Sanders to amass the delegate count needed to win the nomination Her impressive showing among all the communities of color make her hard to beat She has to be considered the presumptive nominee That doesn t mean that Sanders is likely to drop out He did better than expected on Super Tuesday winning four states Vermont Oklahoma Colorado and Minnesota and as importantly he has money in his coffers For him this whole campaign has been as much about his message as actually winning Of course nothing is for certain until the actual convention vote and as Yogi Berra use to quip It ain t over til it s over but it s hard to see Sanders prevailing On the Republican side given Trump s Super Tuesday wins he is clearly the one with momentum and the ongoing front runner status If he beats Rubio in his home state of Florida he s far ahead and Kasich in Ohio again Trump is ahead mid month it very likely IS all over Cruz s wins in his state of Texas and neighboring Oklahoma and Rubio s one victory in Minnesota notwithstanding Trump continues to confound the pundits and the so called experts who have utterly failed to understand the anger and frustration in both parties with the dysfunctional government in Washington He has been as outrageous as anyone could have possibly imagined and yet he continues to win People are fed up They want an outsider On the Republican side there is all kinds of jockeying and maneuvering both publicly and behind the scenes There is a sizable portion of the party who fear Trump will not be able to beat Hillary and that he will otherwise damage the party including the fear that his being the head of the ticket will negatively impact all those other Republicans running for election and re election many in contested races and with minority populations Trump is seen as not a true conservative and more importantly as damaging the brand over time After his third win Cruz continues to argue that he is the one to stop Trump and so the rest of the candidates should drop out and everybody should coalesce behind him The problem is a lot of the party stalwarts just don t like him and many fear he is too conservative to prevail in a general election And he didn t do nearly as well in the Super Tuesday southern states where the Evangelical and Conservative cards ought to have played better for him Instead Trump came out the victor Rubio continues to make much the same argument though without the support of multiple victories He continues to enjoy much of the support of those who initially thought Jeb Bush was the one to lead a more moderate conservative Republican base but having won only Minnesota and his meltdown in the debate last month the big money has yet to rally to his support Kasich continues to argue that he is the one best positioned to beat a democrat but his loss to Trump in Massachusetts yesterday belie his argument All of them continue to insist they will stay in the race until the bitter end though that end is likely to come sooner than later for at least a couple of them And all of them in the race helps Trump The Stop Trump movement has arguably come too little too late The momentum remains with him If he beats Rubio in Florida and Kasich in Ohio the bandwagon effect may come into play and we very well may then see if not a stampede to endorse Trump at least a long and steady stream of such endorsements as the party leadership wants to be in line for plumb appointments in a Trump administration Christie was just the first angling for the Attorney General appointment perhaps Nowhere is self interest more prevalent than in party politics and politicians are not averse to making deals with the devil if it helps them personally A President has enormous power including the patronage of appointments and beltway insiders always want to be in the game The Republicans have been out for eight years Just because they may not like Trump is hardly any reason for them not to get behind him and hopefully share in the spoils Ditto for business interests Now it is possible thought improbable and it may well be a strategy of some of those who are desperate to stop Trump from getting the nomination that no candidate would have the requisite delegate numbers on the first ballot to secure the nomination and we would have a so called brokered convention And after the first ballot virtually all the delegates are then free to vote for anyone they want on subsequent ballots Then you have back room deals being made read the ultimate self interest The problem with this strategy is that millions of those who voted for say Trump were he to be then denied the nomination might very well bolt the party insuring a Democratic victory something the Republicans want to avoid at any cost It would be great theatre though So what does that mean for the arts Can Trump win Can Cruz or Rubio or Kasich Can Hillary All the candidates have high negatives all have baggage But there is no question that despite the handwringing and dumbfounded consternation on the part of lots of people yes any one of them can win Remember the American voters are an odd bunch We elected JFK Nixon twice Reagan then Clinton Bush and Obama If that isn t all over the map then I don t know what would be And there is the tendency for us to vote the other party in after one party has occupied the White House for two terms Give the other guy a turn And people are pissed off in general at everything All the people Ok most of the people anyway The warnings by Rubio Cruz Bush and the GOP stalwarts that Trump can t win that he doesn t represent the Republican party that he s a liability are nonsense in that if he wins the delegate count he will be the party nominee and the party will with some exceptions perhaps get behind him That doesn t mean he won t stumble and elections are often decided on people stumbling But so far every seeming stumble hasn t hurt him Testimony to the anger of his supporters I think Assuming Trump is the presumptive nominee Trump s victory numbers are still less than 50 though approaching that milestone in a couple of states and he has alienated huge blocs of voters even in his own party The same is true for the other Republican candidates But that may not mean much and the Democrats will be making a fatal mistake if they count on it as their firewall And after the convention Trump and the rest are likely to tone down their incendiary rhetoric and try to move to the middle That may work it may be a flawed approach and alienate their bases Hillary will be a formidable opponent not likely as easy to derail as Rubio Cruz and the rest of the GOP candidates were for Trump and the Clinton machine is far more experienced than were the Republican candidates and they can dish it out with the best of them including Trump But Trump will be formidable too The email problem will continue to dog Hillary But Trump may have some as yet undisclosed skeletons in his closet too Lots of money will be spent but it s doubtful either side will have a huge financial advantage I don t know how Bernie might fare but if he were to get the nomination I suspect he would fare better than many think One advantage the Democrats have is that the party including the candidates should have no trouble getting behind whomever wins the nomination Will the Republicans put on a happy public face Victory for the Democrats will likely hinge on their ability to mobilize the African American Latino a and Asian communities to get out and vote reminding them of Trump s assuming he is the nominee extreme positions on issues important to them And motivating the Millennials that Bernie excited will also be key It s the ground game that will be critical to the Democrats It s all about organization Trump and the Republicans need the disaffection and anger to continue and would be helped enormously by a souring economy or perceived slights to America by Russia China or others or a terrorist incident on U S soil god forbid This election is likely to be close The fact is that most people will have likely sided with one of the two well before the vote in November There will be a small group of undecideds who will decide the election and in a small number of states In fact the election will again likely be determined by the voters in half dozen or so states Florida Ohio Colorado Virginia Pennsylvania Iowa and perhaps Wisconsin New Mexico and Nevada Some of Obama s victorious states like Michigan might be in play this cycle Few of the Romney won states will be It s no accident that the Republican convention is in Cleveland Ohio and the Democrat convention is in Philadelphia Pennsylvania two in play states Most of the rest of the states are pretty solidly blue or red Ok ok so What does that mean for us in the nonprofit arts sector On the Democratic side both Sanders and Clinton can be expected to be arts supportive They may or may not actually get it but both can pretty reliably be expected to support the NEA Arts Education and the general proposition that arts and culture are important to the country I wouldn t look for any game changing support but at least they will defend the status quo The arts stand to be better off under a Democratic President than a Republican one in this election IMHO We don t know much about the positions on the Arts and Arts Education of the Republicans especially Trump Optimists will believe that as a New Yorker of substantial means he understands the arts somewhat Cruz and Rubio having positioned themselves as strict conservatives for whom policy dogma is paramount including tax cuts budget cuts and increased military spending would not in my opinion likely be arts supportive Cruz in particular would seem the least arts friendly Both Cruz and Rubio scored at the bottom in the Arts Action Fund Congressional Report Card And even Kasich and the theoretical moderates cannot be considered as arts supportive A victory by any of these candidates might very well bode ill for arts support in Washington come 2017 and it is not inconceivable to me that any one of them might zero out federal government funding support Then again Trump or any of them may confound people and move towards the moderate center after the election Or not Trump is the wild card we have no idea where he really stands And we need to know We need to get to his people now not in November or December and find out if he has a position and try to get him to go on the record as at least ok with the NEA and arts education We don t want him to embrace the conservative dogma that funding for the arts ought to be a private matter or that we simply cannot afford to support the arts How do we get to him I don t know Through Christie or Giuliani or someone else in his circle I suppose But get to him we must The sooner the better What would happen if there were a serious challenge to funding the NEA What if as President Trump or Cruz or Rubio echoed the hardliner position that the government ought not to be in the business of funding the arts And what if our usual economic and other arguments fell on deaf ears One ace in the hole that we have is that 40 of the Endowment funding by law goes to the states and regional organizations and we could mount considerable local constituency pressure on the White House and on Congress to make sure they don t get rid of money coming into their districts That s a lot of work It would be far better for us if Trump s position was to hold the status quo The worst case scenario and herein lies the real danger of a successful attack on the full funding of the Endowment while only a 150 million drop might send a very bad message to state legislatures and even city councils that already have factions that want to defund their state and municipal arts agencies and embolden many to emulate the feds and get rid of local funding Could that snowball That would compound the problem in the short term by removing even more funding from the table and worse would set a precedent that would take a long long time to overturn It might herald the beginning of the end of public support for the arts and that in my opinion would be a disaster of epic proportions It could certainly create a have have not situation for public funding depending on the politics of where you live A GOP White House victory this time around may involve an uphill battle to secure NEA support or the support of a Trump or any GOP Administration championing of arts and culture as a primary societal value Not for sure of course but conventional wisdom suggests a likely lean to the right might put the arts in the crosshairs of those that believe at best that the arts should be private sector funded Ironically Trump might actually be a better gamble for the arts than either Cruz or Rubio This is for a huge sector of the public a protest election Both Trump s and Sanders base are those who are fed up with the system and see no hope for its functioning Indeed they want to turn it on its head In a sense Trump and Sanders are opposite sides of the same disaffection and anger coin and that is appealing to a large segment of the voting public They are movement candidates and the fact that both are short on setting forth how they would make good on their promises is irrelevant to their supporters They each speak a truth as their supporters hear it and that seems all that counts Things that might logically matter in an election have come to be irrelevant and meaningless People don t care about details or specifics or even their own logically best interests They are making a statement Don t expect things to fall into

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: 2016 National Arts Index
    successful Metropolitan Opera simulcasts 2 000 theaters in 66 countries and 3 million tickets sold annually Arts Engagement is Fluid How the public participates in and consumes the arts is ever expanding thanks to advances in technology and a public seeking more active engagement in their arts choices The data indicate that people are not walking away from the arts but they are finding alternatives to some of the traditional delivery mechanisms downloading music instead of buying a CD from a retail store or watching an opera simulcast at the cinema instead of live in the opera house In 2013 31 percent of the adult population attended a live performing arts event a long and steady drop from 40 percent in 2003 Art museum attendance also continues a slow decline with 12 9 percent of the population attending at least once in 2013 which is down from 15 5 percent in 2003 On the other hand Americans continue their personal involvement in the arts as maker and creator Chorus America tell us there are 250 000 choirs in the U S with 32 million people singing in them by increasing their arts volunteerism and receiving more college arts degrees Almost certainly related is the decreasing share of households making contributions to the arts a figure that dropped annually between 2007 and 2012 from 9 3 percent to 8 2 percent before showing a fractional uptick to 8 3 percent in 2013 Arts Volunteerism Two Index measures show the range of volunteer engagement in the arts Volunteering at an arts organization was the choice of service for over 2 2 million people in 2013 up 16 percent from 1 8 million in 2010 In another federal study of volunteerism 5 7 million Americans say that arts activities such as playing music are their main activities while volunteering regardless of type of organization they volunteered for a school or church for example Arts Organizations Foster Creativity Through New Work Year after year entrepreneurial arts organizations nurture new ideas innovative leaders and creative energy Between 2002 and 2013 audiences were treated to more than 11 500 new works over 150 new operas 1 446 orchestral works 3 054 plays and almost 6 500 movies Regardless of the economic cycles America s arts industries continued to produce new and exciting work for their audiences Prospects are good for the arts Since 2002 there are two indicators that help explain the health of the arts sector total charitable giving and overall employment These two factors explained a substantial 72 percent of the change in the Index value between 1999 and 2013 This makes sense of course People who are working especially within the confidence of a growing job market have more discretionary income to engage in the arts both personally and as consumers and are also financially more able to make charitable contributions Thus the increases in employment and in overall levels of charitable giving in 2014 and 2015 are promising signs for the arts

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2016/04/2016-national-arts-index.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: The Big Picture
    mixes together simple clear definitions strong opinions new ideas and in your face strategies all designed to help the good guys win Robert L Lynch President CEO Americans for the Arts Hardball Lobbying is an essential tool for every nonprofit leader who wants to see systems change and public dollars flow to the causes they care about Tim Wolfred Psy D Director of Leadership Services CompassPoint For those who want to begin a nonprofit I can think of no better guide and toolkit that Hardball Government students should read this as an insight into decision making as Barry explains how government and groups interact with one another at all levels Hardball is definitely not a book to collect dust but one to get dog eared highlighted debated and used Representative Adam Schiff U S Congress 29 th District California Click here http amzn to d1whZU HIRE BARRY TO SPEAK AT YOUR CONFERENCE email barryarts comcast net HIRE BARRY TO LEAD WORKSHOPS in Advocacy full and half day sessions customized to your situation Managing the Generational Divide in the Workplace The Business Side of the Music Industry email barryarts comcast net Popular Posts Widget by Blogger Buster Blog Archive 2016 11 April 1 March 4 The Big Picture Communications Survey Report Election Update and What It Means for the Arts What The Election So Far Means for the Arts February 3 January 3 2015 57 December 2 November 4 October 6 September 4 August 8 July 4 June 8 May 5 April 3 March 5 February 4 January 4 2014 68 December 6 November 4 October 7 September 6 August 4 July 10 June 4 May 9 April 4 March 5 February 5 January 4 2013 64 December 5 November 3 October 12 September 5 August 4 July 4 June 5

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2016/03/the-big-picture.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Communications Survey Report
    almost everything we do it is essential for organizations to proactively address the challenges faced in this arena SUMMARY OF FINDINGS A survey of a representative sampling of arts organizations finds that their internal and external communications includes a variety of traditional and technological methods each varying in its preferred usage and perceived effectiveness While this study was intended to establish a baseline of communications perceptions behaviors and impacts the following conclusions may be reasonably drawn from the survey responses 1 Communications from arts administrators and organizations and from others to them is a major occupier of time Email in particular dominates average weekly time expenditures 2 The field s perception of the value and impact of the increased information available to it and the communications it sends and receives indicates a struggle with that volume with a large bloc believing the sheer volume is or is becoming unmanageable 3 While the increase in information being communicated and being received is perceived as having a positive impact on organization productivity there is a majority bloc that believes it is a negative on a personal level 4 While the struggle with managing communications of all types and the pervasive feeling among the respondents that there are significant negative impacts on their time and abilities to do their jobs most arts organizations do not have any formal plan to address these issues 5 Due to the limitations of this survey it is unclear the extent to which arts organizations are aware of and are dealing with communications and information issues including the challenges posed to staff personnel 6 Most arts organizations do not have the resources to engage a full time communications officer Administrators are challenged to relate the increased information to their specific needs 7 It may be a myth that the inclusion of an Executive Summary in reports is the preferred method of review by arts administrators 8 For many organizations this respondent observation encapsulates their challenge We have 20th century resources in a 21st century environment INTERNAL Preferred methods of communication While a wide range of communications tools are employed by arts organizations including traditional and technological three principal means dominate email face to face meetings one on one staff department and the telephone all of which might today be considered old school Communications plans staff officers More than three quarters of arts organizations do not have a formal communications plan for internal organization communications 65 do not have a staff communications officer Nearly 60 do not have a formal plan for external communications These figures suggest that a large bloc of arts organizations may not be dealing directly with communication issues within their organizations One can speculate on the reasons for the lack of communications plans 1 a lack of resources time money 2 the difficulty in creating organization wide plans due to differences in staff generational preferences for the use of various communications tools 3 a belief that such a plan is would not be of sufficient value to justify its creation 4 the possibility that such a plan would be essentially outdated on creation and 5 unawareness of the challenges administrators are having in this area EXTERNAL Effectiveness of various external communications tools In order of perceived effectiveness the top five tools are Email Website Convenings Events Facebook Telephone Again with the possible exception of Facebook these tools are basically traditional Of those organizations that use Facebook 34 post a few times a week 22 post daily 23 post 2 to 4 times per day and 10 post once per week Preferred sources of incoming information Communications from sources outside the organization are most often read reviewed from these sources in order Colleagues Peers Constituents Community leaders Foundations Other arts organizations within the discipline Information from colleagues peers constituents and community leaders hold the most importance and sway to arts administrators Effectiveness of various communications The most effective communications tools for external communications are in order Email Convenings events Website Facebook Meetings MANAGING COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION Coping with the increase 63 say the volume of information and communication is growing and becoming increasingly more difficult to keep pace with 15 said it was out of hand and they were feeling overwhelmed 21 thought it a reasonable amount and had no trouble handling it Perhaps the single most important finding from the survey document is the number of arts administrators who view the increase in the volume of communication to and from others as a real or potential problem one that is a threat drain to their most important resource time Perception of the value of the information available 38 think about 25 of the available information received communications are of value to them 28 think about half of the available information received communications are of value to them 18 think less than 10 of the available information received communications are of value to them Challenges to managing communications Nearly 80 think that a lack of time is the biggest challenge in staying abreast of all the information available Nearly 40 think their biggest challenge in staying abreast is relating the information available to their needs Hours Spent Per Week Dealing with Various Communications Tools Email 23 spent 7 to 10 hours per week reading and responding to email 22 spent 11 to 15 hours per week reading and responding to email 18 spent 16 to 20 hours per week reading and responding to email 16 spent more than 20 hours per week reading and responding to email Over half the respondents spend 11 or more hours dealing with email each week or one quarter of a traditional 40 hour work week Conferring one to one with coworkers within the organization 33 spent 4 to 6 hours per week conferring one to one 22 spent 7 to 10 hours per week conferring one to one 13 spent 11 to 15 hours per week conferring one to one Other major time consuming activities 28 spent 4 to 6

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2016/03/communications-survey-report.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Election Update and What It Means for the Arts
    effectively doubling the NEA budget more than half of Americans support the move 54 percent Likely voters are significantly more likely to support this increase than unlikely voters 56 percent vs 34 percent State and local government arts funding has high approval ratings Twice as many Americans approve of their state and local governments awarding grants to artists and arts organizations than disapprove local government 57 percent vs 25 percent state government 55 percent vs 27 percent Community oriented arts funding has high public value When presented with specific types of arts funding opportunities public support skyrockets Respondents are especially likely to favor government arts funding for art in parks and public spaces 71 percent and to aid returning military personnel in their transition to civilian life 69 percent Sixty eight percent favor using the arts to beautify blighted areas create programs for the elderly and promote pro social behavior with at risk youth Federal candidates can feel safe voting to increase support for the arts This study sends a positive message from the public to their elected officials We will support you at the polls when you fund the arts All else being equal Americans who are likely to vote in the 2016 presidential election are most likely to vote in favor 38 percent than to vote against 19 percent a candidate who wanted to increase federal spending on the arts to 1 per capita Millennials are especially likely to vote in favor of this increase 47 percent vs 13 percent who oppose it Stay tuned This is going to be a very interesting next six months Have a good week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 12 23 AM No comments Post a Comment Newer Post Older Post Home Subscribe to Post Comments Atom Creative Vitality Suite Defined by the 59 SOC codes used in CVSuite Subscribe via email Enter your email address Delivered by FeedBurner Subscribe via Reader Subscribe in a reader Barry s Blog is a service of the Western States Arts Federation WESTAF The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of WESTAF Followers Buy Barry s Book HARDBALL LOBBYING FOR NONPROFITS Barry learned political advocacy the hard way convincing the California legislature to multiply many fold its investment in arts funding In his new book Barry extracts the lessons of his long experience into a readable and impassioned tutorial that has broad application throughout the nonprofit sector John Kriedler former President Community Initiative Fund This is a powerful provocative and daring look at the ups and downs of fighting for beliefs The book straightforwardly mixes together simple clear definitions strong opinions new ideas and in your face strategies all designed to help the good guys win Robert L Lynch President CEO Americans for the Arts Hardball Lobbying is an essential tool for every nonprofit leader who wants to see systems change and public dollars flow to the causes they care about Tim Wolfred Psy D Director of Leadership Services CompassPoint

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2016/03/election-update-and-what-it-means-for.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: What The Election (So Far) Means for the Arts
    far every seeming stumble hasn t hurt him Testimony to the anger of his supporters I think Assuming Trump is the presumptive nominee Trump s victory numbers are still less than 50 though approaching that milestone in a couple of states and he has alienated huge blocs of voters even in his own party The same is true for the other Republican candidates But that may not mean much and the Democrats will be making a fatal mistake if they count on it as their firewall And after the convention Trump and the rest are likely to tone down their incendiary rhetoric and try to move to the middle That may work it may be a flawed approach and alienate their bases Hillary will be a formidable opponent not likely as easy to derail as Rubio Cruz and the rest of the GOP candidates were for Trump and the Clinton machine is far more experienced than were the Republican candidates and they can dish it out with the best of them including Trump But Trump will be formidable too The email problem will continue to dog Hillary But Trump may have some as yet undisclosed skeletons in his closet too Lots of money will be spent but it s doubtful either side will have a huge financial advantage I don t know how Bernie might fare but if he were to get the nomination I suspect he would fare better than many think One advantage the Democrats have is that the party including the candidates should have no trouble getting behind whomever wins the nomination Will the Republicans put on a happy public face Victory for the Democrats will likely hinge on their ability to mobilize the African American Latino a and Asian communities to get out and vote reminding them of Trump s assuming he is the nominee extreme positions on issues important to them And motivating the Millennials that Bernie excited will also be key It s the ground game that will be critical to the Democrats It s all about organization Trump and the Republicans need the disaffection and anger to continue and would be helped enormously by a souring economy or perceived slights to America by Russia China or others or a terrorist incident on U S soil god forbid This election is likely to be close The fact is that most people will have likely sided with one of the two well before the vote in November There will be a small group of undecideds who will decide the election and in a small number of states In fact the election will again likely be determined by the voters in half dozen or so states Florida Ohio Colorado Virginia Pennsylvania Iowa and perhaps Wisconsin New Mexico and Nevada Some of Obama s victorious states like Michigan might be in play this cycle Few of the Romney won states will be It s no accident that the Republican convention is in Cleveland Ohio and the Democrat convention is in Philadelphia Pennsylvania two in play states Most of the rest of the states are pretty solidly blue or red Ok ok so What does that mean for us in the nonprofit arts sector On the Democratic side both Sanders and Clinton can be expected to be arts supportive They may or may not actually get it but both can pretty reliably be expected to support the NEA Arts Education and the general proposition that arts and culture are important to the country I wouldn t look for any game changing support but at least they will defend the status quo The arts stand to be better off under a Democratic President than a Republican one in this election IMHO We don t know much about the positions on the Arts and Arts Education of the Republicans especially Trump Optimists will believe that as a New Yorker of substantial means he understands the arts somewhat Cruz and Rubio having positioned themselves as strict conservatives for whom policy dogma is paramount including tax cuts budget cuts and increased military spending would not in my opinion likely be arts supportive Cruz in particular would seem the least arts friendly Both Cruz and Rubio scored at the bottom in the Arts Action Fund Congressional Report Card And even Kasich and the theoretical moderates cannot be considered as arts supportive A victory by any of these candidates might very well bode ill for arts support in Washington come 2017 and it is not inconceivable to me that any one of them might zero out federal government funding support Then again Trump or any of them may confound people and move towards the moderate center after the election Or not Trump is the wild card we have no idea where he really stands And we need to know We need to get to his people now not in November or December and find out if he has a position and try to get him to go on the record as at least ok with the NEA and arts education We don t want him to embrace the conservative dogma that funding for the arts ought to be a private matter or that we simply cannot afford to support the arts How do we get to him I don t know Through Christie or Giuliani or someone else in his circle I suppose But get to him we must The sooner the better What would happen if there were a serious challenge to funding the NEA What if as President Trump or Cruz or Rubio echoed the hardliner position that the government ought not to be in the business of funding the arts And what if our usual economic and other arguments fell on deaf ears One ace in the hole that we have is that 40 of the Endowment funding by law goes to the states and regional organizations and we could mount considerable local constituency pressure on the White House and on

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2016/03/what-election-so-far-means-for-arts.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Idea Block
    come into focus Songwriters use this approach sometimes Table the idea and come up with another one to work on that seems to have more life for you Float any idea that is even remotely related to the project or challenge and ask people to pick it apart In facing what is lacking you might be able to again move towards something that will work I think everybody runs out of ideas at some point at least temporarily Don t panic It seems to be a cyclical occurrence with dry periods followed by fertile periods and probably back again Have a good week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 12 10 AM No comments Post a Comment Newer Post Older Post Home Subscribe to Post Comments Atom Creative Vitality Suite Defined by the 59 SOC codes used in CVSuite Subscribe via email Enter your email address Delivered by FeedBurner Subscribe via Reader Subscribe in a reader Barry s Blog is a service of the Western States Arts Federation WESTAF The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of WESTAF Followers Buy Barry s Book HARDBALL LOBBYING FOR NONPROFITS Barry learned political advocacy the hard way convincing the California legislature to multiply many fold its investment in arts funding In his new book Barry extracts the lessons of his long experience into a readable and impassioned tutorial that has broad application throughout the nonprofit sector John Kriedler former President Community Initiative Fund This is a powerful provocative and daring look at the ups and downs of fighting for beliefs The book straightforwardly mixes together simple clear definitions strong opinions new ideas and in your face strategies all designed to help the good guys win Robert L Lynch President CEO Americans for the Arts Hardball Lobbying is an essential tool for every nonprofit leader who wants to see systems change and public dollars flow to the causes they care about Tim Wolfred Psy D Director of Leadership Services CompassPoint For those who want to begin a nonprofit I can think of no better guide and toolkit that Hardball Government students should read this as an insight into decision making as Barry explains how government and groups interact with one another at all levels Hardball is definitely not a book to collect dust but one to get dog eared highlighted debated and used Representative Adam Schiff U S Congress 29 th District California Click here http amzn to d1whZU HIRE BARRY TO SPEAK AT YOUR CONFERENCE email barryarts comcast net HIRE BARRY TO LEAD WORKSHOPS in Advocacy full and half day sessions customized to your situation Managing the Generational Divide in the Workplace The Business Side of the Music Industry email barryarts comcast net Popular Posts Widget by Blogger Buster Blog Archive 2016 11 April 1 March 4 February 3 Idea Block Life s A Pitch Awards Rewards January 3 2015 57 December 2 November 4 October 6 September 4 August 8 July 4 June 8 May 5 April

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2016/02/idea-block.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Life's A Pitch
    Time is the most precious commodity and wasting time on a failed pitch makes no sense on any level Two we can learn something from every pitch large and small successful and unsuccessful and being aware of recognizing when we are pitching and then learning from what worked and didn t work may well make us better pitchers in the long run Because we are all pitching constantly it might help if we pay attention to the phenomenon A good pitch has some identifiable threads 1 Brevity it gets the idea across quickly 2 Substance the idea has merit and legs and deserves consideration 3 Realism the idea is do able on every level 4 excitement the pitch promises a valuable experience and 5 Benefit realization of the substance of the pitch is beneficial to both the pitcher and the pitchee But even if all the elements are top form a pitch may fail And as all pitches are on many levels personal the benefit being pitched must be accepted as such by the person to whom it is being pitched Even when we are not pitching something specific thinking like a pitchman may have benefits Communicating with others in a concise organized and brief way is a good habit Making that communication interesting and appealing as well as reasoned and realistic makes for increased success in getting across our thoughts A successful pitch is rarely an argument for or against something it s rather a portrait of the benefits of embracing that which is being pitched That is usually the call of the person being pitched something Sometimes we succeed sometimes we don t Such is life Go through an entire day and note how many pitches you make small and large intended and unintended And note too which ones were weak and why and which ones worked better and why And at the same time be aware of people pitching you Awareness ought to help you make better pitches and thus more successful ones Have a good week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 12 34 AM 1 comment lindaessig February 21 2016 at 6 51 PM Hi Barry Here s the advice I give my students about pitching Tell your audience why we should care about your work and what impact it is designed to have Remember that a good pitch tells a story it has a beginning a middle and an end and culminates in asking the listener for something attention funding partnership etc Richard Branson billionaire creative industries entrepreneur says a good pitch has five characteristics or elements Paraphrased these are 1 What s in it for the listener 2 Concrete and specific 3 Emphatically asserts value 4 Sustainability 5 People power i e connect Happy pitching Linda Reply Delete Add comment Load more Newer Post Older Post Home Subscribe to Post Comments Atom Creative Vitality Suite Defined by the 59 SOC codes used in CVSuite Subscribe via email Enter your email address

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2016/02/lifes-pitch.html (2016-05-01)
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