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  • Barry's Blog: December 2008
    table Related to the above dramatically enhance investment in cultural diplomacy Increase the resources available at each embassy for cultural advancement that helps other nations understand the diversity of our country better and also invest more in large scale cultural exchange helping our greatest not necessarily largest or best funded organizations to tour internationally and helping to bring artists of other cultures here to tour the US Explore how the NEA can deal with a broader definition of the arts to encompass not just nonprofit arts organizations but arts happening in the for profit or unincorporated realm this is a huge and growing area of the arts By focussing only on supporting nonprofit arts organizations the NEA is missing a large swath of the arts sector especially art forms and artists embraced by a younger generation That should keep our new NEA chair busy for a while JODI BEZNOSKA I m just back from a marketing conference which began a mere 5 days after President Elect Obama s campaign made history I m not sure if everyone on this blog shares my feelings but I still feel the energy and excitement of the campaign now as organizations mull over Obama s arts policy and marvel at the genius of his grassroots social network based campaign I thought the sense of possibility and change would fade once the election was over I am so glad it hasn t and I can t wait to get more involved In the next year the arts field needs to quickly and with decisiveness do two things 1 Determine how we can advance President Elect Obama s arts agenda available for download at http www barackobama com pdf issues additional Obama FactSheet Arts pdf 2 Steal as much as we can from the marketing brilliance of his campaign to help our own efforts Smart corporations and organizations all over the world are going to try to copy what Obama s team did But it will only work if their cause is relevant and inspiring The future of the arts feels pretty relevant and inspiring to me This will be so much more interesting than worrying about the economy don t you think NANCY GLAZE We will see a downturn in contributed income most notably from major donors who rely on stock Cash flow in all arts organizations will be stressed and lines of credit as a tool for managing cash flow will be very limited Organizations will be wise to focus more intently on serving their constiuents with activities that engage them in meaningful ways Exepct donations to be more modest with even less funding from the corporate sector It is possible that public funding will increase under the new administration but not right away The young people who have so recently shown interest in politics will demand programming that speaks to their concerns and time of life A renewed focus on volunteerim in the arts sector may be a factor given the recent volunteer activity by Millenial Generation 18 29 This may also be a time when some venerable institutions disappear Those that have not kept up with the rapid changes of the past 7 years or so may find themselves out luck as the stress of financial contraints catches up with them On a hopeful note I expect many artists to flourish as folks look for diversion and meaning during this chaotic time DAVID PLETNER I spent several days doing legal work for the Obama campaign in Ohio and had a chance to reflect on your questions A couple of thoughts 1 I believe an important 2009 arts trend is to acknowledge and support arts activity that takes place outside nonprofit arts organizations The arts interests of the American people are overwhelmingly populist amateur non institutional and culturally based Even younger artists with professional aims are increasingly working outside of the nonprofit arena Especially for the NEA it seems essential to lead on this and not focus only on grant support for nonprofits This may well be an important strategy for the long term sustainability of arts organizations 2 And need I even mention it in an Obama era arts education is a clear priority The arts education field is poised more than ever to reintroduce and strengthen K 12 arts education in the schools There are substantial new resources of people information alliances and understanding 2009 is the year major progress can be made Oh the times they are a changin ANTHONY RADICH My predictions for the coming year are 1 Between five and seven state arts agencies will be threatened with closure however all of them will survive though with financial haircuts 2 Many arts based Obama supporters will be disappointed by his actions in the arts How can t they be Their expectations have been high and not rooted in his track record in the area of culture 3 The leaders of two major national level arts service association will be pried out the door These difficult to remove types will no longer be able to serve up the same old bromides for their suffering constituencies and remain as credible service organization leaders 4 The promotional financial falsehoods regarding the economic value of supporting film production in the states will be unmasked This will leave many arts advocates to run for cover on this issue 5 The good side of the recession will be the closure of nonprofit arts organizations that have run out of audience and purpose The field will lose many excellent efforts but it will lose even more entities that should have died some time ago ROBERT BOOKER As some one who woke up one morning surprised to find that Jessie Ventura as my new Governor I am not the best at making predictions But here goes I think that due to the economy we are going to see a number of things occur in the Nonprofit arts industry 1 Donors are going to pull back due to a combination of their investments paying poorly and simply the jitters about the economy This pull back may take the form of smaller gifts delayed payments split payments and simply limiting the number of organizations they support in a season However while we may see some limited giving meaning giving to specific causes or organizations that could benefit some groups if they can make the case to be that special cause 2 Audiences are going to pull back a bit Think about the nesting activities we have seen in the past Already we are seeing benefit attendance down in both the social service and arts arenas in Arizona Attendance at these fundraising events are on average down by 1 3 in the Phoenix area alone 3 The attendance pattern and giving pattern of young people will be of particular interest Many of these younger workers have not actually experienced a downturn in the economy like this in the past and they may have a tendency to react more strongly to the recession I know some of my team are particularly worried about employment the future and their resources 4 Cash flow issues of nonprofit organizations will continue to be a major issue in their budgeting and this alone may cause the closure of some groups 5 Funders especially public funders who base their resources on a combination of investments and appropriations will have some problems making their commitments to their grantees With mid cycle reductions to state arts agencies we are already seeing this occur across the country 6 A positive in these times will certainly be a growth of nontraditional arts industry models a blending of nonprofit and for profit initiatives and the growth of do it yourself arts facilities and product These initiatives and actions will be led and facilitated by younger artists young staff members and individuals that look at arts participation based in breaking down barriers and enhansed personal participation ROBERT BUSH Some arts and cultural groups will go out of business but the art will not die and artist will survive We will finally get around to seriously looking at the flaws of the 501 c 3 structure laws governing endowments i e I have 30 million in endowment corpus but no earnings to spend and the under capitalization of the sector Look out for the new innovative and very creative this is our time to shine SHANNON DAUT I consider myself a cynical optimist As such I have some hope for the next year even in our very difficult economic times I think that hard times force us to prioritize and use our talents and money as effectively as possible So in the next year I think we ll see the arts field looking for ways to innovate and reach out to new partners and communities The incoming Obama administration gives me even more hope as he seems to fundamentally get that the arts and our creative communities can be partners in improving our country WESTAF recently convened a symposium on State Economic Development and the Creative Economy I was delighted by the optimistic without the cynical nature of the discussion rather than focusing solely on the current economic condition the participants discussed radically new ways to transform the arts field and our institutions into a vital economic force in state government This kind of thinking when translated into action will help our arts field continue its evolution into the 21st century WAYNE LAWSON think the arts sector is facing and will continue to face the effects of the recession Count the number of state governments facing huge deficits Check the number and amounts of arts donations from all the various sectors who usually give What are they going to do Both the non profit arts world and the public agencies that fund them are going to have to re think how they are doing business Where have we heard that before Change is here so strongly evidenced by the election of Barack Obama And change is expected by those who voted for him and I would gather that most of us in the arts world did He cannot do it alone Now how do we effect that change in light of this recession Business cannot be done in the same way I would suggest that a variety of private foundations and other funders bring together folks from the arts world to have some serious discussions about this change We are all in it together and it has only just begun Perhaps a think tank here and there might help I don t believe anyone can do it alone In five years it is going to be a very different and perhaps difficult place to do arts business We better be part of the solution and not the problem I would suggest to Mr Ivey transition team for the NEA AND NEH to do what the President Elect is doing gather around himself a variety of folks in the field from the past the present and those he thinks will be thought provokers of the future and get as much feedback and insight that he can Then get that position paper together and get it on the President s desk There are so many issues which need to be discussed before new leadership is put into place the creative economy globalization the role of the individual artists funding for our arts institutions across the country the list goes on But start now Don t wait Involve as many insightful and thoughtful thinkers as you can Change is here Take Advantage of it EBONY MCKINNEY There will be more of an emphasis on individual giving as well as creative funding ideas rooted in entrepreneurship and social venture philanthropy Arts orgs will more closely cultivate their constituencies through technology and more targeted communication and audiences donors patrons will make very earnest and long lasting decisions about their priorities values energy and money Arts orgs will become more savvy about capacity building and infrastructure development as they look at ways to pool resources and instate a living wage for workers There will be a greater demand for peer based learning opportunities and arts administration type classes finance strategic planning program design communication strategies ect minus the university plus the most contemporary thinking Learning cohorts are in The next generation will organize themselves and more cohesively express themselves They will also work on advancing new frameworks and building strong networks locally regionally nationally and possibly globally We want to think in new ways Funders will form strategic partnerships and pool resources to build new capacity building initiatives that address these needs Fiscal sponsorship will increasingly allow artists art workers and small arts orgs initiatives to be more organized and impactful and agile Artists collectives and art houses will continue to innovative in communities creating high quality art work while working with non artists and the non arts sector Demand will increase for community based arts opportunities like the Creative Work Fund and SFAC s Arts Communities A new openness pride and curiosity will feed arts workers desire to work abroad as part of arts exchange programs and diplomacy initiatives The most adventurous may even forgo the program and head off independently Going to colleges and universities abroad is also more attractive The art sector will emphasize self help collaboration investment knowledge and community building to not only address the present economic crisis but the arts sustainability in the long term The next NEA chair should 1 Encourage modern and expanded opportunities for professional development capacity building and peer learning 2 Give serious counsel to the best ways to enrich and deploy both next generation arts and culture workers and soon to be retiring baby boomers committed to sustaining arts 3 Seek opportunities for collaboration with non arts 4 Can the Arts Corp work with the Green Corp What is the role of art in the massive infrastructure development that is going to take place 5 Be dynamic analytical and engaging 6 Communicate strategically up and down partly by harnessing technology 7 Have a depth and diversity of relevant experience working alongside artists educators and cultural leaders and advocates 8 Possess a well rounded perspective on the future role of arts advocate of value building knowledge building and sustained learning I want an innovator in the vein of Cheryl Dorsey president of Echoing Green and Paul Schmitz president of Public Allies who were both just appointed to an Obama administration team charged with developing an innovation agenda for the country HANUL BAHM I think with the gorgeous outcome of this election you re gonna see a lot more initiative and momentum from people who aren t usually organized or formally represented especially emerging self taught and urban artists artists whose practice exists largely outside of the c v system In short lots of people from the low end We just got a giant green light to own the sense of personal empowerment we ve harbored all along but that s been gradually beaten out of us over the years So you re gonna see more mobilization and stepping up from ranks that are usually under the radar of most arts administrators And they will bring a very different ethos with them Overall artists will now feel that they can beat the machine whatever that may be Artist and arts administrator both are keenly sensitive and affected by the political climes of their nation We will feel a little more comfortable in our skins and in speaking out addressing long festering problems and coming up with directive useful solutions Artists will also ask for more accountability and reciprocity from arts administrators In the arts world the machine is the curator gallery media funder system and the game of getting known critically approved networked and therefore fundable By this statement I don t mean to pass any judgment on artists who ve toiled for years matured their expressive capacities and finally got recognized for their creativity and hard work nor on the incredibly resilient dedicated arts administrators who bust their tail to serve artists and the public Rather it is about the institutionalization of the arts and how gatekeepers relate to artists There will be more insistence from the artists for more investment into their creative process and less emphasis on the comodification or output driven production of their art Many funded and sponsored artists tailor their creative output based on the tastes and needs of institutions or orgs who have been good to them but it sometimes stymies their creative evolution There will be more insistence for funding and technical support in all phases of the arts process production and post production It s already happening but you will see more and more artists working in decentralized networks creating alliances with like minded practitioners over the globe to pursue their projects And their funding distribution and networking models will be vastly different from what we ve known They will create their own means seemingly overnight borrowing from entrepreneurial models Of course nothing was overnight and there will have been untold hours of labor on the front and back end On the flip side you will see more artists applying through formal arts opportunities whose content and substance is less conceptual or design y Their gestalt will lean more toward on the complex poetics and of culture and story specific especially in regards to marginalized folks You will see great breadth force of expression sensibilities and experimentation in their ranks Their work will feel more personal and experiential I promise you this work will be good just like works that come out of censorship or post censorship nations are good They just lived through decades of pressurizing a coal mine inside Now they are going to mine their diamonds You will see an awesome amalgamation of more veteran artists and arts administrators using their clout brilliance and hard earned wisdom to invest in new directions and ways of doing things They will revive the revolutionary grassroots ethos that got them into arts in the first place and channel it into initiatives they ve been wanting to unleash all along They will take pause from the typically dizzying cycles of production and deadlines that normal envelope them look at the elevation they ve scaled and make room to invest in a few signature initiatives dear to their hearts You will see more artists stepping up in the ranks of formal and informal leadership within organizations and communities There will be more insistence on creative problem solving collaboration teamwork and a functional sustainable model of doing things No one will believe we have to continue enduring politics as usual And good news There is consensus and great dialogues to be held across generational divide between those who have clout and those who do not And it is those without the clout who will initiate these talks They will insist that systems benefit and serve everyone s well being You will see leaders who are 16 and leaders who are 91 And no one will be demeaned or resented for their age Their value will be weighed by the strength and creativity of their contributions and how well it serves the collective good It will not be less based on tribal identification similarity of upbringing pedigree or demographics Also there will be an insistence for mechanisms of accountability and checks and balances within arts organizations Well maybe the last statement is more of a hope than a prediction we ll see You will see an insistence from artists and arts organizations with and without their 501c3 to provide seed money larger quantities of small and mid size grants Not just for arts education funding but a myriad of things including arts creation and development cross city residencies professional development capital expenses especially refurbishing run down spaces and programs where artists can serve the workforce as consultants or contractors as well as communities We will be wise to explore new models of paying and commissioning artists to pursue their art I trust that someday soon a brilliant group of people will adapt Kiva s model of microfinance and apply it to artist projects Nickels and dimes You will see more artists and arts orgs asking their communities to save their nickels and dimes for art I m hedging my bets toward a trend that will see arts orgs catering more to their audiences than to grant funders requests of them Arts organizations will need to think beyond scensters and loyal patrons and think of developing new audiences They will need to be imaginative and expansive in how their articulate their mission and broach audience engagement They will need to make a case for relevancy and resonance to demographics and income earners beyond the usual faces in their crowds In economically tough times arts organizations cannot be about the personal taste of the program folks It will have to make a case for personal relevance and value for their audiences There will be more push toward sustained dialogue and engagement with audiences And they will be happy to spend on the arts Maybe they won t write a check if they re solicited for a donation but they will still show up in droves to programs performances screenings and openings Along these lines you will see arts administrators asking for lots of professional development Literacy in collaboration project management grassroots marketing web 2 0 plus the basic triumverate budgeting fundraising and grant writing will be insisted upon My hope is that we ll develop strategic partnerships with other arts and professional development orgs as well as the creative private sector to enable and fund some of these demands There are already peer learning groups forming including the recently established Bay Area Emerging Arts Administrator Network that are addressing these needs I am hopeful that there can be more dialogues just among arts orgs to identify and address collective challenges identifying best practices and sharing their resources There is a ton of group genius in the art sector to be mined So you will also see arts administrators asking for and creating such opportunities wanting to know what folks in Minneapolis or Seattle are doing wanting to meet one another whether in a cafe or on Skype If I could tell the new NEA chair four things it would be to 1 Think of all the assets skills and literacies an artist brings to her communities and economies Create a giant list Think of businesses and organizations that can benefit from out of the box creative problem solving Enable programs that employ artists in these capacities or lets them initiate projects along these lines Find ways to keep them employed but not over employed so they have time to devote to their art 2 Invest in the professional capacities and well being of your artists and arts administrators This includes livable wages and pro rated health care for people who may not work full time or be covered by an employer 3 Devise a way to support the whole ecology of arts in any given town Or better yet asks towns to identify what localized solutions they can think of to sustain optimal arts activity Not just for the ballet operas symphonies and award winning career artists but really a whole new generation of practitioners whether you re into their work or not Seed the ground Trust the ground There are new paradigms messages and mediums of arts coming already here in fact Invest in them 4 Look outside the known the tried and true practices of the arts field Look at what NSF does They fund a whole ton of R D and have massive levels and tiers of funding they offer Few people doubt that science and technology drive a huge economic and intellectual engine Industries the medical world and the whole of developing and prospering nations all require and need scientific advancement Science almost appears recession proof How can we make the same case for arts and prove its viability What can we learn from the entertainment industry which also seems to prosper in economic downturns How do other countries empower and employ their artists What best practices can we glean ROBERT LYNCH Predictions 1 Many arts organization mergers and consolidations fewer arts organization closures than might be expected 2 Universal cutbacks in operations and staffing expense 3 Drop off in high end arts product sales in commercial arts markets 4 Arts audiences turn to more local and intimate arts offerings as cultural tourism slows 5 Continued challenges and slippage in corporate and foundation arts support 6 Confusion lack of understanding about the value of the arts in the private philanthropic leadership CEOs Boards in America 7 Private individual arts donor funding fatigue but holding somewhat steady 8 State government arts funding severely challenged and taking some hits 9 Local government arts funding severly challenged but holding steady 10 federal arts funding modest increase 11 Earned arts income modest increases for arts orgs with marketing creativity and savvy 12 Enrollment in College level arts program will increase go figure P EGGY AMSTERDAM More non profit cultural organizations will be challenged to find ways to collaborate combine services or go out of business Audiences will recognize the value of having robust cultural organizations in their neighborhoods for economic development vitality a sense of place and belonging Perhaps more people will welcome the opportunity to get to know their community cultural assets and become more engaged in the arts through participation attendance volunteerism or contributions Cultural organizations must embrace the research on changing demographics and artistic directors and marketing directors must work together to market the arts The NEA chair will need to be a leader who focuses on cultural policy at the highest level We must retain our image around the world and we have the assets artists etc who can promote the US as a society that embraces arts and culture as a basic right He she must support creation and innovation and find a way to incorporate creativity into broader policy issues Just my quick thoughts PAUL MINICUCCI The non profit arts will be in difficult straits in terms of attracting private sector donations Governments are cutting back arts and human service programs more competition for foundation funds as a result These are dangerous times for the arts I have always believed the arts community enjoyed very broad but very shallow public support During times of austerity any program that is seen as unessential is in danger of extinction There is of course some hope in having Obama as President just because I think he does get it I look forward to him choosing a leader of stature at the NEA which is not a comment on Dana Gioia who I think performed admirably but new blood with a new vision will be invigorating Here in California we are aggressively pursuing the digital arts as The California Digital Arts Studio Partnership Program is being embraced by Governor Schwarzenegger as a legacy program which eventually will return dividends in the form of new resources for arts in schools and our community I don t believe that the arts community has enthusiastically embraced all the facets of electronic marketing available to them We have to break into the digital community either by marketing the arts through digital means or through digital arts products Serious efforts on holographic productions for example need to be undertaken in my view My sense is our message is being drown out by all the commercial noise associated with the Internet and wireless communication I am hoping for the best and want to wish everyone in the arts community a big season s greeting and in the words of one Barry Hessenius Don t Quit ANDREW TAYLOR THOUGHTS FOR 2009 Given the big shake up in the Federal government and the likely shake down in state and local budget deficits abound there s a real opportunity not just for the National Endowment for the Arts but for the collective cultural agencies of the Federal government to become more thoughtful more intentional and more policy focused under the Obama presidency The National Endowment for the Arts National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services could grow beyond granting and discipline specific agencies into more engaged and responsive policy actors in the sea changes to come While we like to moan about the minimal funding afforded these agencies the larger fact is that the arts are EVERYWHERE in our Federal government in education sciences library services commerce even the military one of the largest funders of the performing arts once you account for military bands Yet there s been limited attempts to align all of these various cultural heritage and arts efforts toward a larger public purpose There are already efforts underway to rethink this strategy thanks to Bill Ivey who s on Obama s transition team And a renewing faith and hope for collective action may make such efforts more fruitful in the coming four years The other big news for the arts in 2009 will clearly be the economy and the credit and consumer crashes still to come Disposable income and philanthropic wealth will draw more competition for a smaller supply And many arts organizations carrying legacy strategies and business models will struggle limp along or fall away The temptation will be to move toward popular content The salvation will be in another direction bringing true clarity of purpose and focus of intent to each organization s work With resources evaporating resourcefulness may emerge and dare we say it innovation in the ways we organize foster produce promote deliver and steward exceptional acts of human expression These will be arduous times and awful for many creative and intelligent people in the field But there s opportunity in this stark landscape as well SAM MILLER I can t speak for the others but who would want or dare to make a prediction at this moment in time That things will get better Well perhaps in a few discreet areas support for projects drenched in job creation might stand a chance opportunities and policies in the realm of cultural exchange and diplomacy are likely to improve by the end of 2009 both are a possibility That things are likely to get worse and stay that way for a prolonged period not a risky prediction but where is the pleasure in making such a statement that arts organizations already struggling with limited resources will now be forced to make reductions in programs and staff beyond true viability that closures and cancellations will migrate through the field indifferent to the size discipline quality and historic resilence of its victims who wants to be that messenger And who wants to say that after these negative waters recede that left standing might be a smaller more determined group of artists and arts organizations fire hardened lightly touched by survivor s guilt bouyed by the support they received from their community throughout the down cycle who wants to be that pale version of Cassandra So sorry not to be more forthcoming but poised between hope and despair who really wants to be even modestly Delphic MOY ENG Big trends Demographic shifts 60 plus and youth demos increasing Baby boomers aging and reaching retirement age US Census forecasts an increasingly racial ethnically diverse population and by 2040 Caucasians will become a minority That has transpired in California in 2000 Technology driving changes in everyday life unimaginable 20 30 years ago enabling people to be connected 24 7 if you have a money to purchase the hardware and pay rent to be connected whether its cable itunes mobile device satellite radio and living increasingly for younger people in virtual time settings than geophysical world Urbanization with fast growing mega cities such as Mexico City Shanghai other cities in China How to most effectively address global warming and its effects from melting ice caps thinning ozone layer Persistent and growing gap between the haves and have nots the effects of the economic inequities lack of or no access to education inequitable trade and aid policies which negatively suppress or undermine the economic opportunity in developing countries Current economic crisis unfolding in the US which is undermining confidence in the financial system reeking havoc on people s job opportunities retirement funds mortgages and ability to obtain credit loans for major life milestones new business business expansion college home purchase and improvement What the Obama Administration might consider in the area of arts and culture They are the first presidential administration I can remember with a well articulated and comprehensive platform in arts and culture I m particularly encouraged and excited by their interest in arts education and media policy A few brief suggestions It is time to bring together the policy regulatory strands that affects arts culture and entertainment under one individual or supra agency US Culture Minister or Senior Advisor to President on Culture This individual and or agency similar to Homeland Security but much more positively focused on the promotion of cultural literacy and promotion and support of US culture I would envision an exploration and development of a new policy regulatory and funding framework that would encompass support for individual participation in arts and culture to make it part of everyone s life enhancing the quality of one s life improving civic engagement see the Chorus America studies and supporting cultural literacy This could mean supporting programs which encompass the creation of investment forums by people like you and me to commission a new work to offering a subsidy allowance for a family to purchase one artwork of meaning to providing every child a musical instrument of his her choice with a how to DVD CD web based curriculum Undergirding this framework is the belief that every individual is creative and accesses that creativity in many different ways That cultural literacy and creativity are developed and fired by a variety of ways including arts education as part of a child s preK 18 education Secondly the impact of technology and media in our lives is profound Access to abundant media experiences is 24 7 whether on the web or on our mobile device as is our ability to share those cultural experiences whether music film or media is so easy Large corporations such as Warner Bros EMI Clear Channel and transnationals increasingly control what we see hear Content has grown increasingly homogenized via television and music recording companies more risk adverse less likely to bankroll new risky innovative projects As Bill Ivey writes poignantly in his most recent book arts inc music as cultural assets of a country are not fully understood and valuated in the way that they should be And how shall we rewrite or rather refine the rules to financially reward the creative ideas products e g song in the face of sharing music for free Or recognize the nuanced differences between artistic influences in a work versus plagarism Thirdly a huge challenge will be to get our arms around the definition of arts of culture of diversity and what they mean in a country that grows increasingly diverse demographically linguistically and culturally For example in the San Francisco Bay Area more than 120 languages are spoken here That simple factoid hints at the large question for any agency which fosters and support arts culture and participation in arts and culture Given the inevitable financial limitations what art what cultures gets to count What is supported and why How best to support in a full thoughtful and effective way JONATHAN KATZ Challenges opportunities for the next chair of the NEA see that artists and arts organizations fully participate in the policy priorities of the Obama administration these include universal health

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  • Barry's Blog: November 2008
    way of networking of casting the proverbial wider net At the heart of the Obama effort was the theoretical application of the economy of scale i e it is easier to reach tens of thousands of people to raise small amounts of money to ask for moderate commitment than it is to focus on only large donors and people willing to make major commitments It is egalitarian in its approach It probably doesn t make sense to try to sell X Box games by placing ads in the AARP magazine but that is precisely the kind of thing we continue to do on many levels not just our marketing efforts to audiences but in our efforts to re think our funding streams the way we recruit new employees our approaches to gaining public support Our sector as well as countless other sectors is already beginning to understand and employ new approaches based on the Web 2 approach There are workshops webinars even books on how to integrate a variety of approaches to address single challenges But we need to ramp up those efforts we need a sector wide kind of commitment to first learn how to use the new approaches then aggregate our efforts collaboratively and experiment in pilot projects how we might become more adept at employing the new technologies to develop new and expand existing audiences garner financial support from brand new sources and aggregate public support from heretofore untapped communities We need to become experts in generational differences and communicate variations of our messages to different target markets and we need to do that on a large platform now Though the economy is in trouble and predictions are that philanthropy and giving will drop people still gave record amounts of money to Obama because they thought it was critically important While the individual contributions were in large part small and thus affordable to the donors in the aggregate they were record setting And the Obama model asked them for money over and over again and it worked Of course this election was unique But why can t the arts replace some of the lost income from falling public and even foundation support by taking the exact same approach Perhaps we need to do it on a big scale instead of by individual organizations I don t know But I know we have an incredibly valuable product art culture and I know we have enormous untapped support Why can t we raise huge amounts of money from small individual donations I don t know but I personally think we could There needs to be a clarion call on a national basis for all arts organizations to acquire expertise at a vanguard level This needs to be a kind of Kennedyesque Land a Man on the Moon in ten years commitment that reaches down to every organization irrespective of its size in every state in the country But we need to do it in two years Funders should take note of the challenge and needs and work together to enlist the senior leadership of our sector in making this a national priority And all of those leaders who complain there simply isn t the time or money to move much faster than they already are need to re assess and re evaluate the consequences of not making the time finding the resources to join this bandwagon The promise of the Obama Campaign success is to change the paradigm of how we market arts culture to our audiences how we fund our efforts and change the process of philanthropy and how we recruit and manage a whole new level of public support for interest and involvement in and attitude towards our value and contributions to society Sometimes I think we over analyze our challenges sometimes I think we make the potential solutions more complex than they need to be The beauty of the Obama fundraising model was it s simplicity Doubtless improvements on the model will get ever more sophisticated But they aren t likely to change the premise tap into the small donor We need to clarify some of our thinking The way to deal with an ever bigger world may just be to deal again with the smallest parts Something to think more about My two cents anyway Have a good week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 10 04 AM No comments Sunday November 9 2008 November 09 2008 INTERVIEW WITH ALAN BROWN Hello everybody And the beat goes on Alan Brown is one of the most influential and widely respected thinkers in our sector particularly in the area of audience development He graciously agreed to this interview Alan s Bio Alan Brown is a leading researcher and management consultant in the nonprofit arts industry As a principal of WolfBrown his work focuses on understanding consumer demand for cultural experiences and on helping institutions funders and agencies see new opportunities make informed decisions and respond to changing conditions He has studied audiences visitors and patterns of cultural participation in almost every major market in the U S and has led numerous strategic planning efforts Prior to joining with Tom Wolf and Bill Keens as a partner in WolfBrown Alan served as principal of Alan S Brown Associates 2003 to 2006 and as President of Audience Insight LLC and Associate Principal of AMS Planning Research Corp 1990 to 2003 From 2000 to 2002 Alan directed the Classical Music Consumer Segmentation Study for the John S and James L Knight Foundation and 15 orchestras the largest private study of classical music audiences ever undertaken in the U S Within the past few years he has directed proprietary studies for the Brooklyn Museum of Art Long Wharf Theatre Jazz at Lincoln Center the Aspen Music Festival and the University Musical Society among others From 2005 to 2007 he directed a groundbreaking study of the values and motivations driving attendance and donation for a consortium of 15 major university presenters Currently he is leading a large study of cultural engagement for The James Irvine Foundation in California segmentation studies for the Philadelphia Orchestra and Steppenwolf Theatre a major research effort for the Dallas Arts Learning Initiative and an evaluation of the Creative Campus grant program for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Alan has directed numerous strategic planning assignments and feasibility studies for arts facilities and programs in New York California Florida New Jersey Texas and Ohio As a facilitator he has supported many board meetings retreats expert panels industry roundtables and public meetings In 2007 he facilitated a meeting of the CEOs of 10 national service organizations on the topic of knowledge management in the cultural sector Recently Alan has been writing and speaking about the value system surrounding arts experiences His essay An Architecture of Value appeared in the spring 2006 edition of Grantmakers in the Arts Reader and his work on Assessing the Intrinsic Impacts of a Live Performance serves as the basis for keynote addresses this year in Miami New York Seattle Minneapolis Denver and Edinburgh Prior to his consulting career Alan served for five years as Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival a multi discipline performing arts presenter in Michigan He holds three degrees from the University of Michigan a Master of Business Administration a Master of Music in Arts Administration and a Bachelor of Musical Arts in vocal performance Alan makes his home in San Francisco with a Yellow Labrador Retriever named Golden Brown THE INTERVIEW BARRY In your study The Architecture of Value wherein you posit a new vocabulary for discussing the benefits on arts experiences based on the Rand Study The Gifts of the Muse you suggest that by expanding the terms we use when we try to describe the benefits of arts experiences we might better convey our meanings to a broad array of those we wish to engage in a dialogue At a session on the National Arts Policy Roundtable at last June s Americans for the Arts conference in Philadelphia a survey of school principals and business corporate leaders as to which skills arts education purportedly imparts to students are likely the most valuable to businesses there was almost diametric opposing views where the school principals cited as do we in the arts problem solving as likely the most valuable skill arts education may deliver to corporate America and the business leadership citing problem identification as likely the number one advantage The business leaders apparently thought that business is pretty good at problem solving but less adept at problem identification This suggests that even after decades of the arts community s concerted efforts to build bridges by and between the nonprofit arts and corporate America hopefully leading to meaningful partnerships we may still be talking to each other without benefit of any common vocabulary We may in fact be making the mistake of assuming we are on the same page and that fundamental lack of any consensus as to a common language may help to explain why most of our relationships with businesses continue to be surface interactions more often than not confined to the most simplistic of relationships e g Corporate sponsorship of arts events but no real partnerships that are premised on mutual benefits We know what we want from them money and support We assume we know what they want from us if anything and those assumptions may or may not have any validity at all Taking two of the sub categories of benefits as set forth in your 2006 paper personal development and human interaction which seem the most promising as to providing direct benefit to business industry from the business perspective what can you suggest might be a more promising approach in beginning to craft a vocabulary that would resonate with business ALAN You bring up several interwoven issues here The disconnect between the cultural sector and the business community is not just a vocabulary problem The business community fully understands the need for a creative workforce It s the only way that they can remain economically viable in the long run They also understand quality of life and economic impact arguments The real disconnect is that the cultural sector is more or less frozen in a solicitous position kneeling in front of the business community hand extended asking for more money Rather arts leaders need to start an open and honest dialogue with business leaders about what value they need from the arts community besides opportunities to entertain clients and whether or not they are willing to provide it If I were a corporate CEO I would be supporting arts education and participatory creative activities for my employees because that s the front line of the creative revolution The other problem we have in making the case for many of the personal and interpersonal benefits of the arts is lack of generally accepted metrics and measurement systems Public policy tends to accrete around bodies of data Until we can present business leaders and political stakeholders with yearly progress reports on the levels of creative capital in their community we re unlikely to get a high level of support In other words you can t win the game unless you know the score That s one of the reasons I m a researcher BARRY A second question on the Architecture of Value paper For at least the past decade the arts have been discussing and even debating how we can more persuasively Make the Case for the Value of the Arts Considerable research has been conducted and we have amassed significant data to bolster our claims of value to the economic educational and civic life of communities across America What is your current thinking perhaps as suggested in this paper on how we can move more systemically towards successfully making our case ALAN If our programs were so relevant so beneficial so responsive and so demanded by the public we wouldn t have to argue so much about their value would we The short term answer to your question is that we have to talk differently to different stakeholders about the value of the arts Parents will be more likely to respond to certain language while business leaders might respond to other language and so forth We probably don t want to tell our legislators about the erotic benefits of dance Seriously We have a lot of arrows in our quiver and we need to get more adept at using them all Private donors for example tend to respond to intrinsic benefits illustrated through stories of impact A first step would be for every arts institution to articulate a value agenda To what ends to you offer programs What benefits are you working to create in your community When I present the value framework to arts groups most of them can t answer these basic questions they sort of throw their hands in the air and say we do it all But I think it s increasingly important for arts groups to develop a very focused value agenda and then start assessing themselves on it Of course this can be done without compromising artistic standards although it might require rethinking mission or strategy This is really about holding ourselves accountable to a higher standard of public value The same challenge applies to funders A lot of them fund good proposals without really considering what impacts they are privileging So they wind up supporting the visible grant writing parts of the cultural system while a mounting body of research seems to suggest a shift in public value to other parts of the cultural system e g participatory arts practice Funders can be architects of impact not just supporters of delivery mechanisms The long term answer to your question is that increased public support of the arts the big needle will not move until much larger percentages of adults are engaged in creative activities that make the essentialness of the arts self evident highly personal and therefore worth fighting for In the arts we ll never have a crisis like global warming to galvanize support although the business community has done us a great favor by problematizing the creative workforce issue So I think the best arts advocacy strategy is to awaken the creative voice in every citizen especially youth BARRY In the August issue of the On Our Minds section on your website www wolfbrown com you cite a recent news report that the Guitar Hero game featuring Aerosmith sold half a million copies at 50 per on release a far greater gross than the band s most recent album release and commented that the real messages here are about the tectonic shift towards participatory engagement in culture new frontiers of interactive creative expression made possible through gaming and of course money changing hands at the speed of light I noted that press item and had similar thoughts myself In a study I am currently doing for the William Flora Hewlett Foundation on generational succession and management issues I have heard in focus groups composed of Millennials and Generation Xers the repeated complaint and observation that our sector is far too slow in adapting to and adopting current new technological means of both communicating to and capturing our audiences What are your observations on the way our sector is or is not staying current with the technology and using newer technology in our efforts to address a host of issues from audience development to courting new donors to generational leadership succession Where do you see our efforts in this area going Are we or should we be figuring out how to deliver our product in non traditional but arguably more marketplace competitive ways What advice do you have for the sector ALAN One of the biggest challenges facing cultural providers is how to be relevant to constituents in a range of settings It s not enough any more to expect people to come to a central location for a live experience While the value system around the live experience remains strong consumers are increasingly facile with multi channel engagement At the same time setting plays a more and more important role in decision making particularly among communities of color The recently released Irvine Foundation study of cultural engagement in California s Inland Regions suggests that cultural provides that want to serve diverse communities need to start thinking more in terms of venue diversification and getting out into community venues The study also identifies the home as the dominant setting where cultural activity happens Bedroom as cinema living room as concert hall and kitchen as crafts workshop That s the metaphor that a lot of people are living with How can cultural organizations be present in this metaphor If you re an orchestra why would you care about what music people listen to at home or in their cars If you re a theatre why would you care about what TV shows people watch at home If you re a dance company why would you care about social dancing in bars and clubs If you re a museum why would you care about what s hanging on the walls in people s homes If we truly want to scale up impact we have to start asking hard questions about how we can involve people in the arts who will never darken the door of a theatre or museum Until we can start making more points of relevance with people in the settings where they live eat drive and exercise the impact of the arts can never be fully realized Then there is the matter of interpretive technologies We are at the cusp of a new era of music visualization In a few years we ll be able to project high definition images of music visualizations above the stage at concerts Not the sort of thing you see on a PC but 3 D animation

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  • Barry's Blog: October 2008
    appointment of someone from our field Please take the time to send this letter off first thing Wednesday morning And pass this message on to as many people as you can Take control of our future Thank you BTW I will be conducting a Workshop on the ABC s of Effective Non Profit Advocacy and Lobbying on December 9th at Compasspoint in San Francisco from 9 00 am to noon With new elected officials at all levels coupled with the current economic crisis it is more important than ever that we know how to lobby Please pass the word to your colleagues and constituents A DDENDUM MONDAY NOVEMBER 2nd 11 00 am Pacific Time I ve been asked if I would again make my political predictions for tomorrow s election I had good luck in 2006 and called the Dems gains in the House Senate within two seats I probably shouldn t push my luck and rest on my laurels but no risk no reward so here is how I see it for tomorrow Don t shoot me if this is wrong I see Obama winning relatively big I see the Dems picking up 24 to 26 House seats and 7 Senate seats Whomever you support please vote Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 4 53 PM No comments Newer Posts Older Posts Home Subscribe to Posts 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

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  • Barry's Blog: August 2008
    leader Knows the arena as well or better than anyone Gets out into the field rather than staying office bound If arts education is in reality a separate and distinct sector he is the head man 5 ALAN BROWN PRINCIPAL WOLF BROWN CONSULTING Likely the most respected independent consultant in the whole arts culture field Hugely influential Respected by arts organizations funders artists and other consultants Current guru of audience development theories 6 SAM MILLER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LINC LEVERAGING INVESTMENT IN CREATIVITY Pioneer in the burgeoning area of direct artist services Persuasive case maker detailed thinker Very focused Global traveler and large network of contacts Both smart and realistic Bringing the artist to the decision making table 7 CLAIRE PEEPS DURFEE FOUNDATION Though the Durfee Foundation based in Los Angeles is relatively small her position as Chair of the Board of Grantmakers in the Arts has given her a large platform and influential voice in helping to shape Foundation agendas Well liked Term over soon 8 DANIEL WINDHAM WALLACE FOUNDATION MOY ENG HEWLETT FOUNDATION TIM MCCLIMMON AMERICAN EXPRESS FOUNDATION SUE COLITON PAUL ALLEN FOUNDATION Four prominent leaders of Foundations with arts programs each with large agenda huge budget and lengthy experience in the field Strategic thinkers Closely watched by other foundation leaders 9 DANA GIOIA CHAIR NEA Chair of NEA always in the Top Ten due to huge impact of funding in rural states and broad grants budget Bully pulpit used well Was effective in increasing NEA budget via working well with Congress As his term is nearly over his stock is now fading Lame duck status 10 JONATHAN KATZ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NASAA Long time leader and voice of state arts agencies Wide network and deep experience Understands the issues in depth helps set agendas and priorities Affable personality makes him accessible and well thought of 11 AN DREW TAYLOR BOLZ CENTER FOR ARTS ADMINISTRATION UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MADISON SCHOOL OF BUSINESS Probably the most influential blogger in the arts administration field Travels to conferences extensively The voice of university arts administration programs by virtue of his being President of the Association of Arts Administration Educators Enormously influential 12 CONGRESSWOMAN LOUISE SLAUGHTER CONGRESSMAN NORM DICKS MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG Slaughter Dicks are the voice of the arts in Congress and the major forces behind protection of and expansion of the budget of the NEA Mayor Bloomberg is the political protector of the arts in New York and widely respected among the nation s Mayors 13 ELI BROAD AGNUS GUND Very active Los Angeles and New York philanthropic leaders representative of the small class of very wealthy donors across the country who use their wallets to leverage local community support Usually confine their largess to the major cultural institutions and are one reason for the health of many of those organizations Patronage isn t dead yet 14 ANNE KATZ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ARTS WISCONSIN CHAIR STATE ARTS ACTION NETWORK Head honcho of the fledging State Local Arts Agency field and point person in charge of the advocacy efforts Locals continue to function as hubs in communities across the country and still wield considerable power in the aggregate There remains a wealth of street smart experience in those organizations and their power remains somewhat untapped 15 LAURA ZUCKER LOS ANGELES ARTS COMMISSION MICHAEL SPRING MIAMI DADE CULTURAL COUNCIL PEGGY AMSTERDAM GREATER PHILADELPHIA ARTS CULTURE ALLIANCE LEE KESSLER ARTS SCIENCE COUNCIL CHARLOTTE MECKLENBURG Best of the Class of Local Arts Agency leaders from Los Angeles Miami Philadelphia and Charlotte respectively Each a respected experienced leader on both the local and national fronts Each noted for their ability to get the job done 16 ARNIE FISHBAUGH MONTANA ARTS COUNCIL KRIS TUCKER WASHINGTON STATE ARTS COMMISSION PHILIP HORN PENNSYLVANIA COUNCIL ON THE ARTS Long time senior State Arts Agency leadership representative of rural mid sized and large states 17 MARIALAURA LESLIE MIAMI DADE COUNTY DEPT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS SH ANNON DAUT WESTAF DAVID DOMBROSKY Director of Center for Arts Management and Technology at Carnegie Mellon Representative of the best and brightest of the next generation of arts leadership Smart savvy insightful with new ideas to address old problems The future 18 KEVIN MCCARTHY RAND CORPORATION MARGARET WYSZMIRSKI OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY The two premier long established researchers in the arts field Their work is rigorous academic and sets the standard for inquiry into the measurable aspects of arts evaluation and research Their studies invariably set agendas and spur debate 19 RICHARD FLORIDA PROFESSOR CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY AUTHOR The Rise of the Creative Class and its implications for our field continues to provoke dialogue and controversy A real life hero to the field which has understandably embraced Florida s thesis wholeheartedly Taught the arts a new vocabulary and armed them with a big arrow for their quiver Has become an icon 20 NINA OZLU RANDY COHEN GARY STEUER AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS The highly energized loyal and capable backup team for Bob Lynch at Americans for the Arts They strategize implement and are largely the ones behind the research advocacy lobbying public policy and business the arts initiatives of AFTA A better team can t be found 21 CORA MIRIKITANI DIRECTOR CENTER FOR CULTURAL INNOVATION DONNA WALKER KUHNE INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT BARBARA SCHAFFER BACON INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT Three of the more prominent and highly regarded thinkers consultants in the field Cora formerly the head of the Irvine Foundation Arts Program is the west coast counterpart to Sam Miller in the movement to provide services to and build a community within the artist field Donna is the field s major domo in diversity audience research Barbara is long standing big picture thinker 22 PATRICE WALKER POWELL DEPUTY DIRECTOR NEA BILL IVEY DIRECTOR CURB CENTER OF ART ENTERPRISE PUBLIC POLICY NEA current deputy and long respected among the nation s arts organizations and the most active of the former NEA Chairs Patrice knows everybody and Bill very successful author and speaker heads the Curb Arts Culture think tank at Vanderbilt University 23 LOIS

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  • Barry's Blog: July 2008
    once a problem is identified then resolving it in their favor is more of a technical exercise Creativity is in the identification process and you know from their point of view that makes a lot of sense because the sooner a company can identify problems the quicker it can address them and the less potential downside there will be Business is still not all about taking risks it s about minimizing them It s not that they fail to realize risk taking is part of the competitive process it s that to survive they must have the capacity to minimize the costs of the risk process VOCABULARY so Tonto Kemosabe means best buds right When we talk about creativity we mean the arts and how it fosters and promotes creativity When business talks about creativity they are primarily talking about innovation and entrepreneurism When GE changed their slogan to Imagination at work they don t necessarily mean what we in the arts take that to mean Yes they definitely mean the generation of new ideas for that is the lifeblood of any business enterprise but they also mean advanced thinking in the execution of those ideas In the process of moving ideas to reality that process must be managed effectively and efficiently and that management needs to be creative too The point is that our community and the business community are yet to agree on the basic vocabulary for creativity We mean different things when we use terms like creativity innovation value etc We must now make as our next priority arriving at a consensus with business and industry on what we mean when we talk to each other and to define what values we are looking to expand Both them and us not just us Otherwise we aren t going to get anywhere Two things need to happen next First we need to begin to approach our interaction with business and industry not just from the point of them ultimately supporting us but also from the point of what can we specifically do for them And second the best way to begin to figure out what we can do for them is to first agree on our vocabulary In short we have to demonstrate to them that we understand what they want when they talk about the value of creativity and we can talk with them about how the arts can help them get it Now in the long run we can hopefully expand what they think of as creativity and our role in its creation sustainability application function and the like but first we need them to understand that we understand what they are talking about because we aren t yet there folks I think it s time to move from the smart and strategic recommendations that we ve come up with over the last few years to specific albeit small action steps THE FUTURE PREDICTIONS FROM AN EXPERT One of the most interesting and entertaining of the featured speakers was Andrew Zolli a mid thirties well regarded and highly networked self described futurist whose keynote presentation was witty chock full of who knew data and provocative intimations as to what it all might mean I am a big fan of futurists I find the very exercise of looking at data and today s realities and trying to hypothesize as to what all the current reality might morph into down the line to be fascinating As Mr Zolli freely admitted more often than not we all get it wrong All futurists love demographic and especially population data and Mr Zolli was no exception Here s a few facts By 2050 there will be 9 2 billion people on the planet We re looking at a steady 40 to 50 growth rate in Africa the rate is 120 only in Russia and Europe is the rate on the way down For the first time in history we are on the cusp of being truly urban more people living in cities across the planet than in rural or suburban areas There is also a fundamental shift from the western to eastern worlds So for example London is currently one of the top Twenty Cities by popultion in the world By 2020 it won t even be on the top 20 list And by 2020 the number three biggest city in the world will be Lagos Nigeria By 2025 there will be far fewer people on the planet who are in the middle of their lives and far more either older or younger What good is all this information to us Well here s one example as older people may need to stay on the job longer to maintain their own longer life spans that fact may mean we will be looking towards boomers who would otherwise be retired to fill some of the nonprofit arts leadership posts that will go unfilled because there aren t enough people in the younger cohort available to fill all the jobs that will need people Ironically maybe the solution to some generational succession challenges will be the older generation If older women who outlive their husbands begin to increasingly move in with their daughters or daughters in law that may change the nuclear family dynamics How does that affect us America is headed towards a national no majority ethnic group Whites may be the largest group but they will not have a majority no group will by 2050 What will this mean to the arts provision of content in the future For the first time ever in America women outnumber men in college Can the glass ceiling last much longer Does this impact financial support for the arts in future We are seeing the rise of social networks because it seems the smaller the community the better and more meaningful the communication Networks become the water cooler of the future Too big and there goes any meaningful converstion around the water cooler Haven t

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  • Barry's Blog: June 2008
    course of a day than there is time for protecting the institutional memory of so many people leaving the field or likely to leave in the next decade to name but a few How do all of these and all the other issues of professional effective arts administration differ if at all for multicultural arts organizations What special challenges and needs do multicultural organizations have that ought to be addressed And of course can any such needs be addressed in our current situation Clearly the future of protecting and expanding multicultural arts and all that might mean to our society s future lies largely in the hands of the leadership of the multicultural arts sectors themselves But what are we doing to make sure we provide every advantage to that sector so that it can provide leadership within its community Of course many might argue that the needs of the multicultural arts communities are no different than the whole or any other sector of the whole of the arts culture community and that as we identify the needs of the whole and prioritize them addressing those priorities benefits everyone I agree But I would also argue that there is a fragility to certain aspects of multicultural arts provision that demands and deserves in all our best interests some special attention particularly in the tougher times Let s move on to GENDER as the second issue Art and Artists I don t think gender is really an issue here I think we have relatively equal opportunity for both men and women to be artists Creativity is largely in the arts sector anyway gender blind I suppose there might still be some general bias within the education system that continues to teach young girls that they have limitations boys don t but I think and hope that we continue to make progress in finally getting rid of that dangerous stupid admonition Access and Audiences Here too I think Gender is less of a challenge than multiculturalism and race By and large women have as equal or even greater access to arts and to being artists as do men Our audiences from dance and theater and music to museums and film have as many women in the seats as men perhaps even more and maybe the Gender issue here is even how to involve more men and boys Administration It is in the area of Arts Administration and Leadership where I think Gender raises issues that we ought to address Though I don t know for sure observation suggests to me that there are probably more women running arts organizations than men more women on staffs but with more men running the very biggest cultural organizations I m not sure if that holds true in the multicultural arts organizations but I think it probably does In part of course this is a legacy from our past when the arts weren t considered important enough for men to devote careers in the field and the pay was so low that it discouraged breadwinners from looking to it as a steady source of income Of course much of that reality has or is changing though still unfortunately not completely The arts are an industry attracting talented smart people of both sexes from all backgrounds everybody is a breadwinner today by necessity and the pay is getting better though I think not yet actually competitive Again I don t know but I suspect women are paid less than their male counterparts even in our sector at least at certain levels and in certain places both horizontally and vertically within an organization and within the field as a whole I know for a fact based on the ongoing Youth Involvement Study I am doing with the Hewlett Foundation that there is a current and growing due to the failing economy problem with mid level mid career women arts administrators who simply cannot afford to stay in the field and are opting out for higher paying jobs either in other sectors of the nonprofit universe or in the private sector With increasing inflation kids reaching college age and the looming expense of providing higher education and even future retirement needs greater now than they were in the past more and more women who would like to continue to pursue arts administration as a career path can no longer afford to do so Is that or will that be true for men too What do we do Having mid level management exit the field is a potentially huge problem for those are the leaders we have been cultivating to assume the helm of our organizations To what extent is there a glass ceiling still in place in our industry While there are women in all kinds of leadership positions within our field is it the norm at the highest levels Certainly well qualified women lead many major institutions head foundation programs occupy government seats of power run boards of directors and come from all areas of the private sector But is there still any remainder of inequality in our field I m just asking I don t know But I do know that we ought to know answers to these and other questions raised herein and lying out there Because we need the answers to questions like these if we are to make intelligent choices in terms of what strategies we embrace to address our challenges Fortunately the arts culture universe has come a long way towards establishing a level playing field based on gender Perhaps more so than on race but that may be true across our whole society What are the special Gender issues for the arts culture nonprofit universe And what might we do to address issues that arise These are just questions for us to consider and not ignore Considering race and gender multicultural arts provision and the challenges facing women in arts administration as part of addressing all of the needs of our sector

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  • Barry's Blog: May 2008
    boards to make fuel more efficient enough to keep things going Fuel is a major variable over which they have little to no control What to do Why is this of any relevance to us and strategic planning Well one possible scenario would invovle the future of tourism which is important to the arts at least tangentially We are part of the tourism eco system Most major cities and regions depend ever more heavily on tourism for local dollars and economic activity Tourism means jobs means local tax money means hotel and hospitality industry income to the arts and perhaps even adds to our audience bases And it s important to a vibrant economy and a healthy economy is important to us So if flying becomes increasingly prohibitive particulalry when combined with increasingly expensive gas for car travel how will that impact tourism And how will that impact us And with the incresing demand for oil and gas in China and India and around the world and the reality that oil prices aren t likely to go down isn t this a very likely scenario as compared let s say with bird flu pandemics A dramatic shift from air travel and car travel too on a global basis will have profound impact on a lot of the way we live our lives beyond it s impact on tourism And some of that other impact may affect us too So for example were global tourism to experience a downturn because of the cost of fuel we could expect a downturn in the fortunes of the hospitality industry hotels resturants etc and because that industry has in Europe and America anyway long been dependent on cheap immigrant labor what kind of impact would that have on immigration trends and movements And would that impact change the patterns of growth And would that change the issues attendant to the growth of cultural diversity Everything seems somehow inexorably connected to everything else The butterfly effect where a butterfly that flaps its wings in Hawaii changes the weather pattern in Asia I don t know the answers to any of these or countless other questions That s the point Do we need to discuss any of this Do we even have the luxury of discussing these kinds of issues Should or rather CAN we include consideration of these scenarios in our strateigic planning if not by individual organizations at least as a field Even if we did is it likely we could do anything positive to protect ourselves anyway And if not why would we bother Should anybody bother I think what does make sense is that arts culture as a sector does need to continually question and debate what should and shouldn t be included in our approach to strategic planning We should continuously debate and discuss what kinds of things we should consider and how we might as a field at least not ignore what other sectors may be addressing And these kinds

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  • Barry's Blog: April 2008
    you do that How do you motivate people to support and become part of your agenda And how do you keep them involved in helping you to realize the mission statement of your organization Robert Louis Stevenson once said Keep your fears to yourself but share your inspiration with others I came across an article on the internet by Carmine Gallo about American business leadership and how they might learn to be more inspiring The lessons are applicable to us as well I think Here s that article THE SEVEN SECRETS OF INSPIRING LEADERS by Carmine Gallo American business professionals are uninspired Only 10 of employees look forward to going to work and most point to a lack of leadership as the reason why according to a recent Maritz Research poll But it doesn t have to be that way All business leaders have the power to inspire motivate and positively influence the people in their professional lives For the past year I have been interviewing renowned leaders entrepreneurs and educators who have an extraordinary ability to sell their vision values and themselves I was researching their communications secrets for my new book Fire Them Up What I found were seven techniques that you can easily adopt in your own professional communications with your employees clients and investors 1 Demonstrate enthusiasm constantly Inspiring leaders have an abundance of passion for what they do You cannot inspire unless you re inspired yourself Period Passion is something I can t teach You either have passion for your message or you don t Once you discover your passion make sure it s apparent to everyone within your professional circle Richard Tait sketched an idea on a napkin during a cross country flight an idea to bring joyful moments to families and friends His enthusiasm was so infectious that he convinced partners employees and investors to join him He created a toy and game company called Cranium Walk into its Seattle headquarters and you are hit with a wave of fun excitement and engagement the likes of which is rarely seen in corporate life It all started with one man s passion 2 Articulate a compelling course of action Inspiring leaders craft and deliver a specific consistent and memorable vision A goal such as we intend to double our sales by this time next year is not inspiring Neither is a long convoluted mission statement destined to be tucked away and forgotten in a desk somewhere A vision is a short usually 10 words or less vivid description of what the world will look like if your product or service succeeds Microsoft s Steve Ballmer once said that shortly after he joined the company he was having second thoughts Bill Gates and Gates father took Ballmer out to dinner and said he had it all wrong They said Ballmer saw his role as that of a bean counter for a startup They had a vision of putting a computer on every desk in every home That vision a computer on every desk in every home remains consistent to this day The power of a vision set everything in motion 3 Sell the benefit Always remember it s not about you it s about them In my first class at Northwestern s Medill School of Journalism I was taught to answer the question Why should my readers care That s the same thing you need to ask yourself constantly throughout a presentation meeting pitch or any situation where persuasion takes place Your listeners are asking themselves what s in this for me Answer it Don t make them guess 4 Tell more stories Inspiring leaders tell memorable stories Few business leaders appreciate the power of stories to connect with their audiences A few weeks ago I was working with one of the largest producers of organic food in the country I can t recall most if any of the data they used to prove organic is better But I remember a story a farmer told He said when he worked for a conventional grower his kids could not hug him at the end of the day when he got home His clothes had to be removed and disinfected Now his kids can hug him as soon as he walks off the field No amount of data can replace that story And now guess what I think about when I see the organic section in my local grocery store You got it The farmer s story Stories connect with people on an emotional level Tell more of them 5 Invite participation Inspiring leaders bring employees customers and colleagues into the process of building the company or service This is especially important when trying to motivate young people The command and control way of managing is over Instead today s managers solicit input listen for feedback and actively incorporate what they hear Employees want more than a paycheck They want to know that their work is adding up to something meaningful 6 Reinforce an optimistic outlook Inspiring leaders speak of a better future Robert Noyce the co founder of Intel INTC said Optimism is an essential ingredient of innovation How else can the individual favor change over security Extraordinary leaders throughout history have been more optimistic than the average person Winston Churchill exuded hope and confidence in the darkest days of World War II Colin Powell said that optimism was the secret behind Ronald Reagan s charisma Powell also said that optimism is a force multiplier meaning it has a ripple effect throughout an organization Speak in positive optimistic language Be a beacon of hope 7 Encourage potential Inspiring leaders praise people and invest in them emotionally Richard Branson has said that when you praise people they flourish criticize them and they shrivel up Praise is the easiest way to connect with people When people receive genuine praise their doubt diminishes and their spirits soar Encourage people and they ll walk through walls for you By inspiring

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