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  • Barry's Blog: Interview with Vickie Benson - The McKnight Foundation
    friction between organization executive directors and their Boards is real or perceived board micromanagement What is the role of a funder in addressing that problem What ought a funder demand in terms of Boards competency and behavior if anything Vickie As a rule of due diligence program officers ask questions about governance staff board relationships etc There are varying stages of an organization when boards of directors are needed to roll up their sleeves and serve in day to day functions of the organization and then of course at other stages boards have more of a policy role All boards have fiduciary responsibilities Barry Which should be the greater priority funding the creation of art or access to it And if a healthy balance is your answer where is that balance Vickie The decision should be based on the foundation s or program s mission Accordingly McKnight focuses on the structures that are helpful and crucial to working artists We surveyed the field and saw that it would be impactful for McKnight to marshall its grantmaking resources in this direction given others attention to access and education One is not more important than the other we need it all but foundation staff and boards need to make choices about how their resources can have impact in fields Barry How do you balance allocation of foundation funds between the needs of specific organizations and the needs of the sector as a whole For the most part funding goes to organizations as project program or operational support Should foundations have as part of their portfolios initiatives that strengthen the entirety of the ecosystem How is addressing that goal constrained by the territorial limitations of working for a family foundation Vickie The McKnight Foundation staff and board realize that although we work in Minnesota our work has impact nationally and beyond and vice versa We know that a portion of the grantmaking resources is well utilized for support of national associations and data in particular Case in point is the Cultural Data Project we know that having credible data for our field can only be helpful to the working artists in that field Barry How do you know when its time to pull the plug on a grantee Are legacy grantees sometimes getting an undeserved free ride and what is the cost and impact on the whole of the arts ecosystem Vickie Program staff are thoughtful about making exit or final grants because no matter what size the organization those funds need to be replaced and it is generally complex regardless of the size of organization Each foundation has to thoughtfully assess whether or not to continue funding The one generalization that I will make is that it is better for the field when assessed on a case by case basis and not decided in a sweeping exit That said missions and directions of foundations change This has occurred as long as there has been philanthropic giving it is a reality of the field Barry Which services do you think arts service provider organizations need to do a better job at providing and why Vickie I am fortunate to live in a land of 10 000 lakes and many incredible artist service organizations Many times the leaders of these organizations are artists and are deeply connected to artists They are nimble at seeing opportunities ahead for artists and figure out how to connect and network the opportunities I think it would be an interesting question to pose to the artist service organizations about how grantmakers could do a better job because I think in general the service organizations are incredible Barry Because things are now in a constant state of change and there is little that any organization can completely rely on for anything but the very short term it seems futile to engage in any long term planning Yet an approach that focuses on being adaptable innovative and flexible is hardly a plan by itself Where is the balance between the need to be flexible and adaptive and the need to have some kind of roadmap to follow Vickie I think that you just nailed it in the last sentence the key is finding the balance between those aspects of planning The days of spending inordinate amount of time on a five year plan that sits on the shelf are long over Flexible and relevant organizations moved away from that kind of planning long ago Strategic frameworks that stay true to mission while also underscoring adaptibility are the roadmaps that organizations seem to be creating and following Barry Assess the sector s efforts at community engagement Vickie I think that the arts and artists in particular have long been leaders in community engagement I believe other sectors look to the arts to get ideas and inspiration Barry What drives you crazy about the nonprofit arts sector Vickie I ve been blessed to spend my entire career in this sector I ve made incredible friends I have a great network of colleagues I am intellectually challenged on a regular basis I ve always felt at home in this sector I ve been privileged it hasn t driven me crazy just the opposite actually We talk a lot about technology particularly as it may relate to our marketing fundraising and audience development efforts Yet we seem perennially two steps behind mainstream private sector business in making technology work for us How can funders help the sector better integrate technological innovations into their businesses By sharing success stories and ideas I would have you turn to the great work that Sarah Lutman has done on behalf of the Wyncote Foundation Like Link Share How Cultural Institutions are Embracing Digital Technology Also I would have us all look to Media Impact Funders who are helping us understand the possibilities for artists and cultural organizations in understanding the creative opportunities that exist in technology Barry If there were an Arts Funder Hall of Fame who would you

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2015/03/interview-with-vickie-benson-mcknight.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: WESTAF launches the Creative Vitality Suite, a new online tool to measure the robustness of an area’s creative economy
    CVSuiteTM tilts toward research not just advocacy Data are updated quarterly except nonprofit data which is updated annually CVSuiteTM reports places creative economy advocates at the table with informed economic development specialists who expect to discuss findings rooted in credible data sources BUDGET FRIENDLY The Creative Vitality SuiteTM is a budget friendly tool Annual subscriptions starts as low as 3 500 The CVSuiteTM includes comprehensive data and analysis and does not require an agency or organization to assist with local data collection The CVSuiteTM allows for annual tracking of an array of data streams and provides credible trend data The CVSuiteTM provides for timely actionable information and allows for low impact inclusion of this measure in annual budgets LOCALIZED DATA The CVSuiteTM gives developers and planners as well as arts advocates and administrators concrete measures to make informed decisions about jobs commercial cultural business activity and development of arts related businesses and institutions WESTAF designed the CVSuiteTM as a tool for state and local level measurement of the creative economy The CVSuiteTM contains economic data for every ZIP Code county MSA and state in the nation You can compare virtually any geographic and political subdivision with any other nationwide and make relevant local comparisons with urban rural and demographically similar areas Grant data are accessible by U S congressional district and will soon be available by state legislative district TIMELY DIRECT ELECTRONIC ACCESS The online tool gives you 24 7 access to creative economy data WESTAF believes this easy to access online tool will help arts advocates administrators and researchers present reliable up to date information about commercial and nonprofit arts in any community DATA VISUALIZATION The Creative VitalityTM Suite helps you picture the data Using the CVSuiteTM tool you can download reports with easy to read charts and graphs Data used in charts and graphs can be customized to give a community a detailed analysis of how many creative sector jobs already exist how much sales activity the sector generates and taxes paid Check it out In a world where data is increasingly an essential component in making informed judgments and decisions it may be of tremendous use and value to your organization in everything from audience development media support donor solicitation advocacy and growing relationships with government and business partners I m not the most technically oriented person but I am impressed with this tool Have a great 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

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2015/03/westaf-launches-creative-vitality-suite.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: In the Skills Adults Think Kids Need to Succeed, the Arts Come in Last
    is that it makes us feel more alive and it allows us to understand and appreciate our world and ourselves in a different way We all know this That s why we love it That s why we do it But we keep trying to justify by another scale that it can never compete in because that is not its purpose Many years ago I wrote a piece The Arts are not Accounting and it still applies Because we have allowed this re definition in order to try to head off the culture wars we have allowed those who really don t understand us to define us and set the parameters for our success This has resulted for us fighting for the scraps of a governmental and educational funding system that no longer understands why we exist Arts and Humanities funding has flatlined for years and this has created the impression that the Arts and the Humanities is ancillary We have to re frame the argument not make a losing argument better The Arts are not about getting ahead we are about experiencing life Right Now We all know this to be true it is an argument that we can make as true believers and put our entire life behind We may not convince everyone but we at least won t accept the slow death of attrition that has afflicted us since we surrendered our right to define our worth to Jesse Helms Reply Delete Replies Barry February 27 2015 at 12 32 AM Thank you Peter Your observation is similar to Carter s below I don t disagree with either of you in that the true value of the arts has or ought to have little to do with job skills getting ahead or making money But as you point out the strategy or default approach to defending the arts centering on its ancillary or instrumental values is a horse that has already left the barn Now what do we do If we are to argue that the arts are about experiencing life right now so as to reframe our value as intrinsic to itself then I think that might take a generation or longer to even begin to establish and I am not sure that value was ever established and in the meantime what will be the cost to arts education to the provision of arts in this country I also think it suspect to adopt the position that there can be only one value to the arts The value to some people may in fact be that it enhances their skills level and even that it helps them to get the job or career they want to get ahead Are we to dismiss them and tell them they are wrong Is it not somewhat presumptive and arrogant on our part to determine for other people what they value and what they don t and why Mind you I don t disagree with your premise but am concerned about where we go from here Is it not possible for there to be multiple values for the arts or must one overarching value be all that we can embrace or tolerate When you say in order to head off the culture wars we have allowed those who really don t understand us to define us and set the perimeters of our success This has resulted for us fighting for the scraps of a governmental and educational funding system that no longer understands why we exist I would argue that those systems never really did understand why we exist and that funding has little to do with understanding anything but rather it is a political act governed by politics And I also believe the culture wars had little to do with culture or even art Those attacks were political in nature and conformed to a political agenda My complaint has long been that in terms of succeeding with those systems it has little to do with our value but everything to do with our political power or lack thereof We have continually made the classic mistake that success in funding has to do with making a convincing argument whatever that argument might be It doesn t It has to do with whether or not those who want something have the political power and on the ground savvy to play the system We don t In that sense I agree with Carter that no matter how well we make the case for the importance of the arts in job preparation or helping people to get ahead it would not be enough to change people s minds I am all in favor of valuing the arts because of how they make us feel how they allow us to experience the world how they elevate beauty and any number of values that I think are core to life itself but I also think we have to defend ourselves from further attack and use every arrow in our quiver in that defense It s entirely possible we made a huge tactical error sometime ago in relying our the argument that the arts are good for the economy or the arts prepare one for a good job or whatever But that s spilt milk now to a large extent And while we can and probably should shift the emphasis back to the values that only the arts can provide I don t think it wise in making that shift to now abandon any other tactic The reality is that people do value the arts for whatever reason just not as much as we believe they should How do we change that mindset Delete Reply carter gillies February 26 2015 at 9 13 PM One of the issues I see is that it can be problematic to argue for the arts on instrumental grounds and that this tendency in arts advocacy itself has perhaps unintentionally brought us to this crossroads I recently posted an essay that

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2015/02/in-skills-adults-think-kids-need-to.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Interview with Jonathan Katz - Part II
    have developed a variety of national programs without needing assistance from NASAA The structure remains one of great potential for various kinds of collaboration NASAA s development of earned revenue strategies or program ideas that a new CEO might pursue could catalyze that collaboration Barry What is your stand on the equity in funding debate Some argue that an unfair disproportionate amount of available funding continues to go to large urban based Eurocentric legacy arts organizations Should more state money go to multicultural and smaller arts organizations in a manner more reflective of current demographic trends What is the role if any of the SAAs in changing the funding allocation paradigm Jonathan There are many kinds of equity that merit policy analysis Race age gender geography income education and language are all factors to be considered As part of their public planning processes all SAAs identify underserved constituencies and the actions they are taking to address concerns Grant making is one measure of attention to equity but for SAAs the make up of councils staffs and panels provision of staff services the availability of leadership and professional development opportunities encouragement of networking and inclusion in promotional and information systems are also important From the data SAAs collect it s not easy to gauge all dimensions of equity in grant making but one can observe the success of the job SAA community development staff have done over decades of traveling their states in the percentage and number of SAA grants to rural America The role SAAs play in mapping the availability of arts education the quality of arts education and grade level arts learning proficiency is important in bringing visibility to widespread inequities and making the case for resources to correct them Another model of what SAAs can do is Poetry Out Loud whose 365 000 annual participants represent broad racial and ethnic diversity most obviously among the state champions Barry There may be some agreement on how the arts should move forward in any number of areas but why are there not more codified and official consensus national policies that would guide our collective action on such things as arts education research funding allocation and more What is necessary for the field to develop and establish national policies in these and other areas Jonathan This is a very complex question One book I m writing is focused on the observation that American public policy in general tends to emphasize the protection of individual local and private sector prerogatives So we have the most decentralized education system some of the lowest tax rates some of the free est speech in the developed world as well as a strong resistance to explicit federal educational and cultural policies Hence the absence of official national curricula and need for the state based Common Core our extraordinary reliance on individual tax deductible giving to provide social health and cultural services etc We provide for arts education policy interpretation and a clearinghouse for research in that area through the Arts Education Partnership driven by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the U S Department of Education The Cultural Advocacy Group of national arts service organizations who employ lobbyists does guide collective action collaborates on writing the policy briefs for Advocacy Day and there is a sub group that organizes collective action on education issues A sense of national identity and threat to it from globalization and the need to protect our language music and film industries is not what drives centralized cultural policy in the U S as they do in other countries If it did we d have a ministry or cultural policies driven by a coalition of federal agencies or federal legislation designed by the Congressional arts caucuses We assume our dominance and identify with our popular culture which does dominate the world market place So the most general answer here is that national consensus is not likely to be articulated by an official source but developed in all these areas through the facilitation coalition building will building collective impact these are variations on the theme of a group of leaders who share the vision of a common outcome and whose networks together can influence what will be national policy whether adopted officially or not Lack of consensus as well as absence of infrastructure we should note is also de facto a policy For the reasons I ve noted de facto policy is not uncommon for cultural issues in the United States Barry There is a lot of emphasis today on innovation in the strategies and actions arts organizations adopt to stay healthy SAAs operate in the climate of state government which as a bureaucracy and in its obligation to the public arguably limits to a degree innovation flexibility and creative risk taking How do the SAAs address that challenge Jonathan It might also be said that the bureaucratic requirement of a public planning process the prospect of a peer application review upon which the federal partnership agreement is contingent the need to align with changing state government priorities and the reality that its programs must please constituents in order to motivate advocacy for its resources combine to ensure that SAAs must continually demonstrate a degree of innovation flexibility and creative risk taking Constant consultation with artists and arts organizations as well as other agencies of state government leaders in other fields and other state arts agencies is key to effectively adapting to a changing environment So is monitoring trends in arts participation other leisure time use education the economy politics technology and equity Networking perspective and information make effective leadership possible In my response to another question I mentioned that SAA innovation in programs partnerships and operations is documented regularly in the State to State column in NASAA s monthly online newsletter SAA adaptive ingenuity can be gauged by viewing the last 75 columns that feature three innovations a month over the past six years more than 200 examples selected

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2015/02/interview-with-jonathan-katz-part-ii.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Interview with Jonathan Katz - Part I
    NASAA has the very focused mission of strengthening the state arts agencies The state leaders who created NASAA and govern it are also its clients and support its services with their dues They have been quite clear about their priority needs being knowledge leadership development representation and community They want these needs met in depth and with the necessary frequency that only an association tightly focused on this membership can provide It s not a tent designed to fold over other groups except for a few strategically chosen partnerships NASAA s ability to be as effective as it has been on behalf of the state arts agencies in Congress and in its relations with the NEA has a lot to do with staying on point and thoroughly communicating with and through its members NASAA s budget cash reserve and staff resources are strong and member satisfaction ratings are all very high No members were lost during the two recessions which is an amazing achievement considering we are talking about state government budgets under huge pressure to cut expenditures In fact members have just set records for individual giving to NASAA matching a 50 000 challenge grant and exceeding that match the following year without the challenge grant AFTA s mission and methods are different and consequently right sizing means something different to the two organizations AFTA has numerous member segments and an interest in direct public interface which differentiate it from NASAA On AFTA s Artsblog Chad Bauman s bio notes that when he was director of marketing and communications for AFTA he was responsible for promoting more than 480 different programs NASAA and AFTA are the closest of allies joining forces in advocacy at the federal level through the Cultural Advocacy Group where we ve worked with other groups to determine and manage a unified agenda for the federal cultural agencies and at the state level through joint meetings of SAALA State Arts Advocacy League of America and SAA leaders where we ve shared experiences modeled successes and are fostering good working relationships between agencies and advocates Barry State funding to the SAAs has been a roller coaster ride often rising and falling with the health of the economy Some people have suggested that SAAs may now have less of an impact on their states than they had in the past What do you think can be done to increase and stabilize SAA funding in the future and what action needs to be taken to blast the agencies into a more meaningful orbit Jonathan Let s take this series of statements and questions piece by piece State funding is a roller coaster ride for most agencies and functions of government in most states Tax revenues go up and down often unpredictably and for many different reasons One reasonable definition of success is that gains are maximized and sustained and that losses are minimized and strategically managed It s not irrational to suggest that SAA impact on states is less now because there have been years when SAA aggregate appropriations have been higher not irrational but wrong in most cases The current impact of SAAs is I think in general far greater in the cultural lives of states now than in the past Over the years SAAs have established partnerships within state government and in communities throughout their states that leverage their resources and increase their impact The arts education programs of SAAs are more integrated now in school systems statewide than ever before Their integration in Common Core activities STEM and 21st Century skill initiatives their expanded inclusion of students teachers teaching artists parents and other educators over the years their establishment of statewide programs such as HOT Schools Whole Schools A Schools and others the NEA s longtime support of the professional development of SAA arts education managers the development of working relationships between the SAA arts education managers and state education agency arts education managers the research and teaching resources now available online and the models of mapping access surveying the quality of teaching resources and assessment of learning in order to demonstrate an equity case for arts education have all made today s SAA arts education activities more impactful than in years past Among state arts agencies the expanded knowledge networking and communities of practice in creative economy creative aging cultural district development arts and healthcare cultural tourism and other program areas have also leveraged SAA impact Within individual states SAA impact is multiplied by agency partnerships in tourism youth development rural community development transportation economic development education and other program areas Public value strategies have changed the relationships between SAAs their grantees constituents and authorizers increasing SAA impact And the more sophisticated knowledge resources available now to SAAs from NASAA AFTA and other service organizations and websites have also contributed to increasing SAA impact As Regional Arts Organizations have developed partnerships tapped resources available to multi state consortia and produced programs that take advantage of economies of scale their member SAAs have gained impact This all may be differently perceived by specific arts groups who over time have not experienced their SAA grants keeping up with inflation Increasing and stabilizing agencies generally comes from focusing on the value building basics Aligning goals and activities with the priorities of state government and the interests of key decision makers Fostering a strong advocacy network building its resources and developing a good partnership between it and the SAA Using the planning process and targeted programs to broaden the constituency for the arts to include educators the travel and tourism professions the business community health care and aging industries the information technology sector etc Encouraging collaborations between the public arts agencies and the philanthropic community These practices are well known and understood but they are still challenging to implement strategically methodically opportunistically and constantly Every program and operational activity of artists arts organizations local arts agencies and the SAA has to be perceived and implemented as an advocacy activity As we headed deeply into recession a decade ago I developed a workshop on what it takes to make a quantum leap One factor is the habit of mind to imagine taking programs to scale If it costs X dollars to reach one tenth of the students in the state with an arts education activity or Y dollars to provide a performance in 7 cities or Z dollars to prepare and tour an exhibit to 3 venues in 3 counties how much would it cost to reach every student in the state 100 cities with a performance each all 75 counties with the exhibit Another habit of mind is imagining the funding or distribution support of a powerful partner or network Supposing a major corporation decided to support your agency s new initiative supposing a foundation or bank or accounting firm decided to sponsor a residency or an arts scholarship or an artist internship with a for profit in all the communities where it does business What are the pieces that had to be put into place for a program like Poetry Out Loud to go from zero to 365 000 students annually Another habit of mind is aligning your mission with the mission of one or more other influential constituencies and targeting a big collective goal Think of the Legacy funds in Minnesota and how water resources hunting and cultural activities became beneficiaries of a constitutional amendment slightly increasing the sales tax Another habit not just of mind but of will power as well is to go through the same process of building the constituency the relationships with authorizers and the familiarity of request a thousand times until the resource environment ripens and everything that didn t work completely but which but built your accountability over time falls into place Like the magnificent jump in Florida s arts appropriation for this fiscal year The point is that the same play designed to achieve a first down can also be considered as a system and designed for a scenario in which it scores a touchdown Quantum leaps require imagination analysis and management Barry If your successor asked you Where are the danger spots in this job What do I need to know to protect both myself and NASAA as I assume the helm what advice would you give him her Jonathan NASAA is a national association Despite technology there are months between meetings and great distances between members and staff It is also a network of people who want easy productive relationships with their authorizers and colleagues There are always high hopes that the CEO and staff can resolve the problems and conflicts that arise So my advice includes Never forget your influence depends on the capacity and willingness of your leadership and membership to support you Always cultivate and solidify support internally before taking a position externally You will accurately perceive a thousand injustices to your field and members that doesn t mean they will be grateful for the opportunity to confront either the issues or people involved If you can t imagine a clear path to board members taking up leadership and becoming spokespersons on an issue seriously consider spending your time and energy on something else Rehearse how you as CEO represent yourself and NASAA when you answer the question that you will be asked constantly So what is NASAA up to Regardless of what you know you have to sound like you re in control Learn to identify issues that divide your membership and avoid them whenever possible Beware of attractive partnerships they are always more complex stressful and time consuming than can be imagined even when they are worth it You will constantly be requested for NASAA to endorse statements and join coalitions Debating responding and following through on these can be incredibly time consuming Put an expeditious process in place with the board for this that weeds out whatever is not close to mission and worth follow through Don t assume anyone remembers anything from a previous meeting or previously distributed materials There is no such thing as off the record Practice saying negative things in constructive language People remember how you said something and made them feel long after they remember what you said Barry Assess the state of professional development for SAA leaders and staffs and what needs to be done to offer all those people meaningful and adequate opportunities to improve their management skills What are the biggest needs in the advancement of SAAs management skills training And are we attracting the breakthrough thinkers we need to successfully meet the challenges SAAs face Should we be looking outside the arts for some of that leadership Jonathan There are excellent SAA leaders who have not excelled at producing or presenting art but I think it s a great advantage for SAA leaders and staffs to have their service informed by that experience I think skills related to strategic planning public policy making systems thinking problem solving negotiation organizational dynamics and persuasion as well as fluency with social media and up to date understanding of trends affecting participation in the arts are all extremely valuable to someone working for an SAA I m a little unsure of what the questions about attracting breakthrough thinkers and looking outside the arts for leadership actually mean State arts agency innovation in programs partnerships and operations is continuous and documented regularly in the State to State column in NASAA s monthly online newsletter Anyone who questions the creativity with which SAAs are adapting to their environment can go to the online newsletter archives and view the last 75 columns that feature three innovations a month over the past six years more than 200 examples selected from among many more This month features three ways state arts agencies and regional arts organizations have harnessed Internet enabled technology to better serve the arts Delaware s new smartphone app connects artists and audiences statewide making it easier to browse the state s arts and culture opportunities and to make plans to enjoy them What s On available for free on iTunes and Google Play features an interactive map locating ongoing and upcoming performances exhibitions films concerts and more across Delaware By tapping event icons on the map a user immediately accesses links to event websites as well as contact information driving directions and other useful information These listings and their logistics also are available in the form of a searchable list Pennsylvania s new website features grantee stories and videos In addition to a new agency Facebook page the site features a section entitled What You Do that showcases the work of PCA grantees to organize and present diverse arts and culture events Incorporating its new YouTube channel PCA features in this section videos telling Impact Stories of its Arts in Education grantees and recognizing the Best of the Best projects supported by its Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts grants Through their regional arts organization the New England Foundation for the Arts the six New England states have just rolled out CreativeGround a free on line creative economy directory featuring 30 000 profiles of cultural nonprofits creative businesses and artists of all disciplines and mediums Designed to meet the needs of the region s artists arts audiences and arts administrators as well as non arts entities like city planners and private developers CreativeGround allows users to sort profiles through specific combinations of variables such as arts disciplines services populations served languages spoken institution business type venue characteristics and accessibility collaborations statewide partnerships created between the arts and other constituencies creative planning methods peer training and consulting networks etc Beyond these examples I m aware of a great deal of SAA testing of new methods and new program partners to address the new forms of art and the new business models that artists are constantly creating The SAAs in the states of Washington Colorado and Kansas have even changed their names to represent better their evolving brands and missions The question of whether some leadership to meet the challenges SAAs face should come from outside the arts could be understood to ask whether ideas and models from other fields should be considered by arts leaders to identify and solve problems They should be and are Diverse professional backgrounds in addition to the arts abound among SAA staff members responsible for communication operations and financial management grant processing information technology research and evaluation In addition conference speakers and workshop leaders planning consultants program partners in many fields such as health care and tourism grantees as well as state officials colleagues in other state agencies board members of cultural organizations including the regional arts organizations all provide ideas and perspectives from outside the arts The environmental scanning and problem solving activities in strategic planning and program evaluation activities also provide opportunity for drawing upon expertise from outside the arts The question could also be understood to ask whether we should hire more people who do not have professional experience in an art form with an arts group or in cultural policy Many successful SAA EDs past and currently have come to their positions from primarily government academic or business backgrounds but they have usually brought with them at least a passionate conviction about the public benefits of the arts if not actual professional arts credentials I haven t observed them to operate their agencies significantly differently from their colleagues Knowledge of and experience in some combination of creating presenting interpreting and appreciating the arts is such an asset to carrying out so many of the primary tasks for someone in any SAA leadership position that the idea of looking for people from outside the arts is more likely to be detrimental than helpful more likely to lead to disaster than revelatory innovation Also I m wondering what different hiring practice would be useful when it seems that most public arts agencies are currently being informed by leaders with backgrounds that combine professional credentials both in and outside of the arts I don t see a shortage of such people especially among emerging leaders who have all sorts of professional experience related to digital technology skills Barry You ve also seen many changes over the years at the NEA What do you think the NEA could do better And how can the relationship between NASAA and the NEA be improved to the benefit of both Where in that relationship can collaboration be improved You once raised the issue of having more of the NEA funding allocated to the states Is that a position one that is arguably potentially appealing to Congress NASAA might or ought to revisit Jonathan Let me follow the practice of phrasing everything positively and looking ahead I think the NEA serves itself and the public well when it creates ongoing conversations and a variety of forums with its constituents especially those that represent organized and influential cultural networks for strategic consultation That means exchange of perceptions ideas and information about trends and issues and exploration of the roles all parties could play separately and together to broaden deepen and diversify participation in the arts To facilitate this kind of dialogue state leadership to federal leadership is one of the primary reasons that the SAAs created NASAA I want to be perfectly clear that being a former CEO I am not speaking here on behalf of NASAA but I think that a strategic conversation between NASAA and the NEA on the topic of how best to advance arts education for instance could be tremendously beneficial Actually I didn t raise the issue of having more of the NEA funding allocated to states from 20 of grant funds at the time In the aftermath of the Mapplethorpe Serrano and NEA 4 controversies members of Congress themselves raised the issue and some specifically tested our response to having all of the NEA grant funds go through states which we immediately and strongly advised

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2015/02/interview-with-jonathan-katz-part-i.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Dinner Vention Guest's Follow Up Interview
    we re going to have to move differently in our business practices and so a good thing to do is to model and unlikely alliances are the only way that we see our business thriving And we are about thriving John Arroyo This question has been on my mind a long time well before the 2014 DinnerVention This is likely due to the fact that I no longer work in the arts on a day to day basis which is not to say I don t support the arts in other ways For the last 15 years I have worked on various aspects of urban planning design and development a career that has afforded me a broad spectrum of intersections between the physical and social infrastructure of cities This spectrum has ranged from housing and transportation to economic development and arts and culture Nonetheless even after completing numerous technical projects and completing several urban planning and design degrees I was consistently pegged an arts administrator more than anything else This was certainly not an error I worked in arts administration for nearly a decade I just felt it was just too narrow a description of my interests My persistent struggle was getting other cultural workers to see that my work went beyond the traditional arts and cultural setting and that this was a good thing Today the intersection between urbanism and arts and culture isn t as much of a stretch as it was over a decade ago when mixing the two felt quixotic and unicorn like My decision to return for my first graduate degree in urban planning and design garnered comments like Wow John you re making a big career switch from people who worked in formal arts and culture settings museums galleries theaters and opera halls I often responded that I always worked in planning just with an arts and culture focus Where my more traditionally arts oriented friends saw my career trajectory as detracting from the norm I saw it as an opportunity to create a necessary bridge between otherwise unlikely entities During graduate school my interests naturally swayed towards economic development housing law and policy urban design and local finance The more I dug deeper the more I realized how essential it was for the arts and cultural sector to break out of its shell Today the association between urbanism and arts and culture still feels nascent I regularly receive emails from arts and cultural institutions working to improve civic life or defending the arts as an essential components of quality of life I could not agree more but I can t help but feel that the arts and cultural sector have much more work to do on this front Whenever I attend an arts related event I see the same arts patrons Whenever I see petitions to support an arts related issue I see the same arts advocates signatures It feels as if a lot of effort is invested on ensuring the longevity of support among the believers What I would like to see is more effort spent on developing relationships with the non believers or non arts specific focused advocates For me this contingent represents perhaps one of the greatest untapped resources for arts and culture support in the 21st century A friend and long time arts advocate recently told me You never see hospitals and schools go through the budget cuts suffered by arts organizations What protects them Relevance I responded The arts have the same opportunity but they have struggled to cement their relevance in the way other functions of civil society have I consistently see housing developers and transportation groups garner support by tapping into non traditional networks such as healthcare the sciences universities and youth development But I rarely see the arts do the same I m fortunate to have seen many successful partnerships with unlikely entities in practice far too many to list Here are a few of my favorite ones categorized by their unlikely sector Housing and Urban Development I first learned about the Portland Or based Sojourn Theater at an American for the Arts conference in June 2009 They presented on BUILT self described as A devised participatory site specific show staged in a new Condominium tower show floor that included an original civic planning multi phase board game based on a community engagement research process Homelessness In 2007 2008 the Los Angeles County Arts Commission launched Artful Solutions Pathways From Homelessness the nation s first regional effort to include the arts as an important component of support services for homeless populations and to provide data that can be used in the future to help solve the challenges of homelessness Urban River Revitalization In 2009 the ongoing revitalization of the LA River became the focus of Cornerstone Theatre s Touch the Water the fourth play in Cornerstone s Justice Cycle series exploring how laws shape and disrupt communities Juvenile Justice NeON Arts is a program of the NYC Department of Probation through a partnership with Carnegie Hall s Weill Music Institute The program takes place in DOP s Neighborhood Opportunity Networks NeONS and offers young people in New York City including those on probation the chance to explore the arts through projects in a variety of disciplines including dance music theater visual arts poetry and digital media Additional initiatives led by organizations such as ArtPlace America the National Endowment for the Arts the Mayors Institute for City Design and foundations such as Bruner Loeb Surdna Kresge and Irvine illustrate why transformational leadership is integral to the success of these projects Transformational leadership is leadership that isn t afraid to take risks even when it s uncomfortable When successful it is this type of leadership that serves as an example by encouraging creative ideas and calls to action I previously coordinated the nation s largest summer arts internship program the LA County Arts Internship Program over 100 interns at performing arts literary arts music and dance organizations across Los Angeles County I ve been a great fan of the program given my personal experience as an alumnus of its companion program The Getty Foundation s Multicultural Undergraduate Internship Program The beauty of the program was its overall goal Our job in leading the internship program wasn t just about developing a new generation of arts administrators It was about instilling in interns the value of the arts whether or not the interns pursued future cultural work either independently or as staff at an arts organization Over time I saw that many interns became doctors lawyers and entrepreneurs all professions that afforded them the financial ability to support the arts as a season subscriber to their local opera as a financially savvy board member at a community theater or as a major donor to the capital campaign for a museum extension Unlikely partners are essential to the future of a healthy arts ecosystem where people aren t fighting to prevent arts related budget cuts they re fighting to increase it Rachel Grossman Three examples of partnership with unlikely entities My first job out of college I assisted the Kellogg Foundation supported artist in residence in Battle Creek MI He was a painter and activist artist a recovering alcoholic prone to abrupt mood swings and very groovy I was a theatre maker and youth worker well organized but under experienced looking to find her way and make an impact Despite cultural age style knowledge skill name your area difference we successfully mounted two large scale outdoor community art projects working across town with everyone from Parks Rec department to the local mall Joy art imagination community When I was at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company I created The Claque a community of highly dedicated volunteer audience members focused on creating facilitating and advancing the theatre s connectivity initiatives Essentially they were the connectivity department s army The theatre staff at that time myself and my assistant worked in partnership with a group of fifteen audience members who were previously unassociated with one another They were unlikely because they were strangers some of whom had little to no investment in the theatre before joining The Claque They transformed into my associates complicit in the work of engaging other audience members in productions Curiosity expertise dedication community If I m working through a business problem now I have three go to sources a systems designer analyst a political fundraiser a tax lawyer All of them are able to work with me to dissect and strategize different approaches than the list of go to solutions provided by the sector or field heretofore sector field It is to their advantage to see an ambitious passionate arts administrator dedicated to strengthening and diversifying the area theatre community succeed It s a return on their friendship and their individual donation investments in local organizations Knowledge problem solving infrastructure community Partnership is a broad term that s become along with a number of other words hopelessly jargonized Every organization or individual is partnering or in partnership with another entity but are these really relationships of mutually agreed upon goals risks and benefits Because that defines a partner It s a reciprocal give and take toward achieving a shared vision not a resource exchange in order for one party to achieve his vision Partnership is vital to leadership because the lone genius leader has been revealed to be a myth because regardless of industry the most exciting companies and projects the most rewarding workplaces the most innovative solutions result from the mixing of multidisciplinary cross sector minds The culture underlying Generation X and exploding from Millennials runs in opposition to the image theory and praxis of great singular leader If we embrace partnership with unlikely entities at all levels of operation as the key practice for being a great 21st century leader in the arts sector field s the other behaviors and practices on our list inherently come into play However if we continue to faux partner with everyone from colleagues to communities the status quo prevails and I believe the arts sector field s will stagnate and grow more obsolete in the lives of a majority of U S citizens I endorse a take back of the word partnership by having arts leaders approach all relationships as partnerships Question 2 Ron Ragin wanted at the outset to discuss structures of power and how that impacts the models the field uses He also talks about the social political and economic consequences of place and borrowed Roberto Bedoya s Sovereignty of Place concept and opined as has Bedoya that culture can be a tool and also a weapon What are your thoughts on how structures of power impact the application of the various models the sector uses Sanjit Sethi When thinking about ideas around models of power and its connection to place I can think of no better technological analogy than one that has become literally figuratively and conceptually so embedded in American vernacular then the drone In a not so recent past figment of science fiction the drone has rapidly become an entity which defies the identity of an individual technological device The drone is also an incredible symbol of the contested space around innovation power cultural development and the ability to critique the state From the exotic large wingspan to images of it flying over Afghanistan Yemen Iraq and other places of United States military intervention to the recent crash of a small 500 drone on the White House lawn to organizations like Code Pink utilizing drones at protests to survey police activities these devices act as a fulcrum in which there are no clear answers as to who controls what they are Power itself has become both more concentrated as we see with wealth in the increasingly powerful 1 and at the same time more diffuse with entities from micro finance organizations like Kiva to college students being able to overthrow decades long kleptocracies in the Middle East While this contradiction may strike some with a degree of unease I believe this is the perfect time for cultural organizations to engage in a power placed based self assessment to see if they have the ability to create shifts in what they see as unequal structures of power For the earlier part of the last decade we saw on drones as synonymous with the military industrial complex big fearsome objects with its oblique gray paint and missiles mounted underneath the wings nothing could be less likely to be used as a tool for social change Now we see drones performing in ways that assist communities in need communities that feel voiceless individuals that have experience significant trauma I m reminded of the short yet tremendously poignant video shot by a drone by a neighbor of a large scale industrial pig processing plant in the Midwest showing the acres upon acres of untreated raw sewage that was inaccessible to the public eye and was to stay that way from the owners perspective Now with over two million hits on YouTube this video has forces the owner of the pig farm to make changes and engage in the neighbors demands for a more environmentally responsible and transparent operation The ACLU flies drones when permissible over specific protests to record abuse by authorities This ability to watch the watchers is a significant one and is a key too for individuals and organizations that are able to be adaptable savvy and interested in pushing the boundaries around the establishment and dominant paradigms of power Maybe all leaders of innovative cultural organizations need to take drone flying training classes Learning how to fly a drone is frustrating and daunting at first one feels all thumbs until at a certain point when the device takes flight it becomes incredibly liberating An assistive tool allowing one to perceive and see and engage with a world that was originally beyond you this is not merely about power this is about the identity of one s own ideas and ones organizational mission in the context of a rapidly changing and contested world Ebony McKinney Writer Elaine Scarry wrote in 1985 that what separates the weapon and the tool is a gulf of meaning and intention connotation and tone Culture is often spoken of in conjunction with the arts but it s also behavior attitudes and ways of living of a particular group or people With this definition I can start to understand how culture shapes the selection of a goal and how it s pursued What differentiates a Jane Jacobs who called for diversity density and dynamism in cities or a Jan Gehl who argues that cities should support human needs for intimacy and inclusion from a Robert Moses who seemingly favored highways over public transit and automobiles to humans Can culture be conceived as intention attitude behavior and tone When Roberto Bedoya Executive Director of the Tuscon Pima Arts Council spoke at the 2013 Creative Time Summit he cited the development of American reservations the Chinese Exclusionary Act of 1882 the World War II internment of the Japanese and the present day militarization of US Mexico border as powerful examples of containment and displacement fraught with very real social political and economic consequences This is culture wielded a weapon by government structures Currently Bedoya s PLACE People Land Arts Culture and Engagement initiative funds projects that explore the aesthetics and ethos of belonging and disbelonging and speaks to his philosophy of cultural and civic stewardship PLACE supports projects the surface antagonisms and tensions within the region and invests in local agency that negotiates with and challenges power Grantees include a theater piece called No Rooster in the Desert which chronicles women s journeys across difficult terrain Other pieces explore the border patrol s use of racial profiling as well as desert ecology and water scarcity For the originators of these projects culture appears to be a tool for liberation Late last year I had the opportunity to hear MacArthur Genius and Project Row House Founder Rick Lowe speak at UC Berkeley s Art Research Center last year He spoke of the ethical decisions one makes when deciding to make artwork and the politics that lie behind one s choices Who gets to determine what is art and what s not And let me tell you it s of no little importance who gets to make that decision he warned The same could be said for creative placemaking efforts of course I believe this is the point Lowe referenced Lucy Lippard s description of land art as focusing the gaze on landscapes too immense to absorb He compared it to social and community engaged art and for much of the talk described ways that he concentrated his time and resources on the social and community actions that we ve lost the focus to take in in order to shift people s perspectives often of themselves Starting with the most blighted houses in the neighborhood Lowe recognized the beauty of genuine authentic and practical need but being an artist he sought a symbolic layer as well After conducting research the staff at Project Row Houses discovered a high number of single mothers lived in the area Understanding that the renovated spaces became transitional housing for single mothers who d previously lived in very raw situations Many had given up on these women In this way the spaces and the women who came to live there came to symbolize the potential of improbable transformations Lowe also set his sights on noticing the value in everyday experiences He talked about quirky older gentlemen whose audacious stroll and theatrical flick of his cigarette seemed akin to individual improvised performances He also described his encounters with a formerly incarcerated man in the neighborhood whom he described as a kind soul The man confessed to Lowe that if he had it to do all over he would be a cook in a

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2015/02/dinner-vention-guests-follow-up.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: A Potential Deep Divide in the Arts Sector is Brewing
    Supervisors are considering this action one year after the Finance and Budget Committee members initially expressed concern that GFTA awarded only 23 of its funds to organizations whose artistic programs authentically reflect the lives and experiences of San Francisco s culturally diverse residents Supervisor Eric Mar called for the Analysts Report after GFTA Director Kary Schulman last year assured the Committee that her scheduled 400 000 plus budget increase would support the new younger upcoming groups that serve the populations that you Supervisors Mar and London Breed referenced Watch the video here Instead in 2013 14 GFTA increased funding for white organizations by a quarter of a million dollars whilst those representing people of color remained unchanged The subsequent report confirmed that virtually no change had taken place during the past 25 years Since then GFTA has just released its 2014 15 grant awards funds to organizations of color increased by six tenths of one percent At its current rate of change GFTA will not achieve cultural equity until the year 2061 The Budget Analyst s report found GFTA s funding for arts organizations reflecting people of color has not changed in over a quarter of a century even though the demographics of the city s population has changed significantly in that time That in 2012 13 while people of color represented 57 of San Francisco s population GFTA funding allocations to organizations from this sector of the population was 23 The report also found that from 2006 07 to 2012 13 the Agency had reduced the percentage of its funding awarded to arts organization of color and it was trending down Further the report goes on to say that GFTA has no plans to alter this allocation or the funding mechanism through which it makes its funding decisions The Budget Analyst s findings has also led to a renewed call for reform through creation of a Department of Cultural Affairs as recommended by the San Francisco Arts Task Force in 2006 something that City Hall at the behest of Ms Schulman has resisted implementing The Task Force Report explained how San Francisco s decentralized and dislocated arts funding of approximately 75 000 000 a year as highlighted in the Budget Analyst s report resulted in little coordination strategic planning transparency or accountability GFTA s policies and their impact GFTA s practice of awarding public funding based on an organization s current budget size produces an arts community similar to the national economy in which the affluent accumulate wealth while the rest of the population struggles to make ends meet The agency s policies represent a form of bureaucratic red lining they promote inequality and discrimination without being patently illegal In 1992 the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors declared that pursuing and respecting cultural equity was the City s arts policy in the City Budget Analyst s study of GFTA the agency s Director repeatedly insists that because she is not mandated to diversify her funding she does not keep statistics on this matter and is therefore not responsible for the inequities of her outcomes Apparently only the Mayor and Board of Supervisors can or will correct this situation Once an organization is added to the GFTA roster it typically stays there some organizations have been on the roster since 1961 when GFTA was founded But over the past 50 years while San Francisco California and the nation have experienced powerful demographic shifts GFTA s annual grant awards have consistently reflected the cultural biases of the 1950s art is for the affluent and hyper educated classical music opera ballet and big museums are what really matter GFTA s practices have institutionalized cultural discrimination its policies guarantee that non profits serving affluent white audiences will annually receive a disproportionate percentage of the City s annual investments in the arts to the detriment of the rest the arts community as well as to the City s long term financial interests Many small groups particularly Asian and Latino organizations whose applications have repeatedly been rejected and have simply stopped applying GFTA s policy of giving its largest grants to organizations with the largest budgets all of which are rooted in western European culture disproportionately supports white organizations that have accumulated substantial endowments over the past century For half of this time other communities were subjected to legalized discrimination and did not develop similar resources For example the Chinese Exclusion Act was still law when the San Francisco Symphony was founded in 1911 and when the SF Opera was founded in 1923 and the SF Ballet in 1933 GFTA s discriminatory and short sighted policies adversely impact the agency s stated goal of attracting visitors to the City Residents of the surrounding Bay Area counties have always comprised the vast majority of these visitors and The US Census Bureau projects that in 2050 only 28 of the Bay Area s 10 million residents will be white It is clearly in the City s long term economic interest to maintain its position as the center of the region s cultural production however to achieve this goal in the future the City will need to promote the evolution of a culturally diverse non profit arts community The San Francisco Arts Commission s website describes its Cultural Equity Grants Program as follows The San Francisco Arts Commission s grant making programs are committed to supporting and building cultural resources for our City s diverse arts communities The SFAC stewards the Cultural Equity Endowment Fund the Neighborhood Cultural Centers Fund and other City resources to foster the values and increase the impact of cultural equity and neighborhood arts The SFAC supports San Francisco artists arts organizations and historically underserved communities through grants technical assistance and capacity building economic development arts education initiatives and community based Cultural Centers Grants from the Cultural Equity Endowment Fund provide support for the enrichment of San Francisco s multicultural landscape and are intended to ensure that all people who make up the city have fair access to information financial resources and opportunities for full cultural expression as well as opportunities to be represented in the development of arts policy and the distribution of arts resources all the cultures and subcultures of the city are represented in thriving visible arts organizations of all sizes mid and large budget arts institutions whose programming reflects the experiences of historically underserved communities flourish Note I believe the 75 million arts funding budget referred to in the above email is the combined total of the SF Arts Commission Grants for the Arts AND the money expended by the City of SF to maintain the large budget cultural organization buildings which the City owns funding which inures indirectly to the organizations housed in those buildings Claims on both sides will need to be verified And so it would seem there is a potential fight brewing one that may already have the seeds of acrimony planted In any fight there are always two sides to the story Dismissing the claims of either seems ill advised but lines are being drawn and positions staked out Posturing is likely to follow Then on Thursday another email escalating the divide from the Urban Idea group went out Here is that email with the subject line Arts Lobbyist Views People of Color as Fringe Elements The Paid Lobbyist of the Opera Symphony and Ballet Yesterday Joined with Arts Town Hall to Call Artists and Arts Organizations that Represent People of Color Fringe Elements An extraordinary e mail written by BMWL Partners the official lobbyists for the City s largest and most powerful arts organizations including the SF Opera Symphony and Ballet and distributed through the San Francisco Arts Town Hallwebsite e mail server yesterday attacked the City s arts organizations of color and LGBT artists as fringe elements of the arts community for daring to protest the inequitable funding distribution at GFTA The accusation that anyone who supports cultural equity is a fringe element lets us know exactly what these organizations think about most of the City s artists Artists and arts organizations representing people of color have for many years bemoaned the lack of equity at GFTA but became particularly incensed when the City Budget Analyst published a report on GFTA funding practices in March that proved their point that while people of color are 58 of the City s population they receive only 23 of GFTA money Members of the Board of Supervisors sitting on the budget and finance committee were equally outraged by the report and even more so by the fact that the director of GFTA did not seem to think that her agency s clearly discriminatory policy was a problem and had no plans to change it despite making assurances to the contrary when she appeared before the Committee last year As they discussed the budget it became clear to the Supervisors that there should be some kind of measure that registered their strong priority for GFTA to change its policies and equitably fund organizations that represent people of color Clearly if an indication of GFTA s comparative funding levels is anything to go by then People of Color are indeed fringe elements when it comes to determining the City of San Francisco s arts funding policy Note Included in the email was a graph that would not reproduce well for this post that indicated the percentage of GFTA funding that went to the white arts community was approximately 78 of the total Also I could not locate the purported email from the lobbying firm and the only other email I received from the San Francisco Arts Town Hall was a call for the arts community to lobby the Board of Supes for more money for the SF Arts Commission s Equity Program but not to take money from GFTA a solution that may be problematic if there isn t any more money and which somewhat begs the question of equity in allocation long term The email from Urban Idea went on Ask the Supervisors to Not allow any increase in funding to GFTA Any new monies should go to the Cultural Equity Grants program Increase the annual funding allocation to the Cultural Equity Grants program at the San Francisco Arts Commission Make any future fundraising increase to GFTA be contingent on the department s efforts to achieve cultural equity Start to work on a plan to merge GFTA to become part of the San Francisco Arts Commission as recommended by the Arts Task Force in 2006 I have no idea how this will play out in the short run or what action the Board of Supervisors might take As of this writing the results aren t yet in The current Board has substantial multicultural representation on its membership I do not know when a final vote or decision will be made but as this is a budget issue the budget calendar theoretically has time constraints The issue is money and how it is allocated compounded by a history On one side you have at least some members of the multicultural arts community and on the other the more established and white organizations And the strong local foundation community will have a stake in this outcome too It is a situation that has been brewing for a long time How San Francisco deals with this conflict whether or not it can manage it and maintain a civility and unity within the arts community and whether or not it can find a way to broker an acceptable compromise that will satisfy some of what each sides wants and my advice to them is to remember that a successful negotiation has little to do with what your side wants but rather what to do with what both sides need to reach a consensus remains to be seen and very well may frame the issue for other communities One way or the other I don t think the issue is going away And I think it may yet play out all across the country as the times change Unfortunately the local government funding pie is simply too small to meet the legitimate needs and demands of the entire community And realistically there is no alternative to government funding federal state and local to make up the shortfall that we are experiencing And our efforts to increase government funding to meet the demand have not succeeded Somewhere compromise will need to be made at least if we are to avoid the trap of thinking we are our own enemies We have more than enough enemies outside ourselves Exacerbating animosity between factions within our community will have negative consequences for all of us in the long run As we in my generation were advised in kindergarten It is important to learn to play nicely with everyone I think in the near future the established cultural sector will no longer be able to claim a disproportionate allocation to itself irrespective of whatever theory it puts forth to justify its claims The shift in political power will eventually change the dynamic and as that power shifts so will the funding More minority voters will inevitably mean more minority office holders as the minorities become in many cases the majority though I note the unique situation in the relatively small City of San Francisco where housing prices purchase and rental are escalating in response to demand to the point where all but the wealthy are being driven out of that market to some degree and that may impact the growth of minority power accumulation As the composition of local governing bodies changes to reflect changing demographics the Large Budget Organizations will likely not be as successful in their formal and informal lobbying efforts to protect their status quo Demand for equity by the multicultural communities will inevitably grow and put pressure on all funders and a more equitable distribution of funds will likely mean less funding for the current recipients it will have to come from somewhere I think the days when multicultural arts support is its own special category are numbered and the former majority cultural community at least in certain urban areas if not everywhere will find its preferred status over And as costs of doing business for arts organizations escalate income decreases and shifts funding foundations other philanthropic support and audiences we are likely to see more closures and failures by organizations who will become economically nonviable And all the improvement in our business skills won t likely be enough to market our way out of this reality without substantial government support and that seem problematic at best This is the tip of the iceberg As Bob Dylan sang to my generation The times they are a changing I will try to report back on what happens and any positions put forth by either side in this conflict or by other interested parties The challenge of nurturing and supporting multicultural arts provision in an equitable manner and protecting the integrity and viability of our established cultural organizations and that ecosystem but no longer at the expense of multicultural or other communities is likely the challenge for the arts in the next decade It won t be easy Stay tuned Have a great week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 12 31 AM 3 comments Ann Markusen June 25 2014 at 2 25 PM Barry great that you are writing about this Here are some excellent resources on evidence about the gap and ways forward and my effort at an abstract for each based heavily on work in California but also nationwide Kitchener Amy and Markusen Ann 2012 Working with Small Arts Organizations How and Why it Matters Grantmakers in the Arts Reader 23 2 5 12 http www giarts org article working small arts organizations Explores how small arts organizations pop up flourish and sometimes flounder mostly under the philanthropic radar Shows how they enrich our culture and engaging diverse and underserved communities often fostering artistic expressions not adequately served by larger organizations Uses Alliance for California Traditional Arts ACTA intermediary work in the Community Leadership Project and Markusen and Kitchener s joint field research on small organizations to show how small arts organizations are undercounted how they differ from larger organizations and how broad ranging sustainable and valuable they are Shares ways that funders can better work with smaller arts nonprofits to further their missions Isserman Noah and Ann Markusen 2013 Shaping the Future through Narrative the Third Sector Arts and Culture International Regional Science Review Vol 36 No 1 115 36 Published on line on June 13 2012 as doi 10 1177 0160017612447195 http www annmarkusen com Examines the narrative that bigger nonprofit organizations are better due to economies of scale professional staffing sustainable operations and better measurement with one contending that smaller organizations generate superior social returns due to flexibility innovativeness and community embeddedness Uses evidence on California s arts and cultural nonprofit economy including ethnic immigrant and traditional arts organizations to challenge the former narrative and explore whose interests it serves Bedoya Roberto 2013 Placemaking and the politics of belonging and dis belonging Grantmakers in the Arts Reader 24 20 21 32 http www giarts org article placemaking and politics belonging and dis belonging Challenges creative placemaking rhetoric and practices especially those welcoming gentrification by underscoring the significance of belonging to place and culture as central to what creative placemaking should be Markusen Ann 2014 Creative Cities A Ten Year Research Agenda Special Issue on the Futures of Urban Studies Research Journal of Urban Affairs August forthcoming http www annmarkusen com Summarizes the long in coming articulation of the need for greater equity and diversity from within the arts community Cites forceful critiques of the class bound fine art and Euro American centric character of nonprofit and publicly supported arts in the US Lays out the challenges for a research agenda that will enable us to understand

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/06/a-potential-deep-divide-in-arts-sector.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Millennials to Overtake Boomers in 2015
    at least short term replace the boomers in the audiences Of course we need to expand and somehow get Millennials into our audiences as quickly as possible and diversify as widely as we can but short term the Xers will be if not our salvation then our survival And it is the Xers who will be in a financial position and likely more approachable to be our donors and supporters than the younger Millennials again at least in the short term And finally it is the Xers who will soon move into the positions of power and leadership at the helms of our organizations as the Boomers exit the field It is the Xers with the requisite skills networks experience training ideas and vision to move us forward How the Xers relate to the exiting Boomers and the rising Millennials is very likely a far more important question than how the Millennials relate to the Boomers Remember the Boomers are the Millennials parents and that is a key factor in understanding that relationship The Xer Millennial relationship is much more arms length for better or worse And its the Xers who will be managing that relationship for the benefit or to the detriment of the arts future We need to spend some time on that relationship so as to understand the dynamics better and so as to better meet the challenges that will invariably come up and impact everything we do in ten years With all the talk about Millennials we would be wise not to forget that in the generational maze we need to work all three boomers as they leave and short of passing on boomers are not arbitrarily going to be leaving irrespective of their age Xers as they assume dominance even if comparatively short lived and Millennials as the longer term future We have to address the needs and wants of each if we are to successfully navigate that maze As the onslaught of demographic changes keep coming at us sometimes it seems almost impossible to confront all the challenges facing us But we re not alone in the pursuit and we benefit from the efforts and experiences across interests in meeting those challenges We need to continue to focus on the tasks one by one in what we might be able to do learn from each other and from those outside our universe and innovate and take risks Have a great week And to all of you in the path of the blizzard I hope you can hunker down stay safe and be comfortable until it passes Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 12 37 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

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2015/01/millennials-to-overtake-boomers-in-2015.html (2016-05-01)
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