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  • Barry's Blog: Paternalism and the Emerging Leaders Movement
    to emerging leaders More integration with the field as a whole should be an essential part of the emerging leader ethos and I think we re in agreement on this as a both and scenario rather than an either or model Too much separation of emerging leaders from what would we call the others leaders cultivates a sense of preciousness about my colleagues I am eager for the moment when people stop expressing surprise or happiness that we are smart talented and valuable At the end of the day whether we are emerging or established we are simply leaders Yet no one lauds our established colleagues as smart talented or valuable The implication is of course that all established leaders are assumed to have these qualities and so they need no special mention While the emerging leader movement has provided an essential opportunity for national and local professional development networking and education for emerging leaders I worry it also also reinforced the chasm that previously existed I would welcome more discussion on how to bridge this gap together Posted Anonymously Perhaps part of your problem in feeling like the Emerging Leaders are siloed is that you don t even seem clear on what the Emerging Leaders Network is You refer to EL s as field a niche a movement and a special interest sub section of the wider field EL s are indeed already a part of the field They work right alongside you and other established leaders Yes we have professional development and networking opportunities that cater to our own interests and needs but usually in a way that helps us advance in the field not as some sub section of the field For instance last year through the Emerging Leaders Network I participated in a wonderful year long mentoring program with a senior leader in the field Next week I will be attending a panel discussion led by top executives in our field about what recruiters are looking for in senior leadership positions Through the Emerging Leader Network I have had the opportunity to network with and learn from my colleagues whether they are senior leaders or emerging ones like myself Or perhaps you are confused about the Emerging Leaders Network because you think that it is occupied by youth I am still confused by the title Youth in the Arts as a report about emerging leaders While I might be youthful compared to some of my most senior colleagues as a 30 something I hardly qualify as a youth I find these types of reports and discussions condescending at best While I agree with you that we have room for improving relationships between generations in our workplace and we definitely need to still figure how to offer livable wages and advancement opportunities for entry to mid career professionals in our field I think that you have grossly misstated that the biggest problem facing the Emerging Leaders Network is their own silo Perhaps you should volunteer as a panelist or mentor at a network in your area to see what s really happening with this silo niche field movement special interest sub section My response to Anonymous You seem angry You of course have every right to your opinion as do I to mine but this would seem to me less of an ad hominem attack were you to bear in mind that your point of view is simply an opinion not fact not the gospel but what you think One would hope you would be open enough to allow other people to offer their opinion too I would have more respect for your opinion were you to have submitted this comment under your name rather than hiding behind the cloak of anonymity and dear readers while I am publishing this comment as I wish to respond in the future as a policy I will not publish anonymous comments If you have something to say even if that something is highly critical of what I might say I will always publish the comment but only if you are willing to own it as your thinking Moreover charging me with having a problem is really quite offensive and doesn t speak very highly as to your people or diplomatic skills Your problem is that you are an intellectual bully you want to shout the opposition down not with facts but with yelling I would respectfully submit to you that if you really want to have a career in this field you ought to consider toning down your rhetoric and at least criticize in a civil manner That you find well reasoned and intentioned studies that essentially report what your peers say they need and want and tell why in their own words as condescending is frankly ridiculous btw have you ever even read the report Get over yourself already and lose the arrogant attitude No one is your enemy here believe it or not we are trying to help you So to reply to your comment First I understand perfectly what the Emerging Leaders Network is all about I have long supported the effort of not only the Americans for the Arts version of that network but countless local state and regional efforts of scores of other groups within the wider nonprofit arts field I have sat on numerous panels and been involved in meetings and conferences on this subject I will defend my credentials as someone well versed in this area and as someone who has been completely supportive of the effort against yours or anyone else s at any time Of course not having any idea who you are makes it difficult to assess your background and qualifications This blog post was in no way intended as an attack on the Emerging Arts Leader Network nor to disparage or marginalize in any way the value and need for that effort or the hard work done by countless people both young and old in moving it forward Whether

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2012/06/paternalism-and-emerging-leaders.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: You Aren't Special, or Are You? and The Kansas Reinstatement is a Victory - But Not Necessarily For Us.
    for the createquity blog about my own doubts regarding the efficacy of large and vocal campaigns for state funding of the arts even referencing the failure in Kansas despite a very high profile effort in 2011 There s no question that engaging in an effort to overturn that decision was important And it s much better to have had success in 2012 than another failure Still that win required a very heavy lift well executed by Kansas Citizens for the Arts to organize arts supporters and citizens As Sarah Fizell with the advocacy group Kansas Citizens for the Arts told NPR I mean this was thousands of advocates who worked really hard over the last year and a half to explain why the arts were important in their communities to explain what this meant in their lives And I really believe that that voice was heard by the governor and by legislators It s certainly sometimes possible to overcome the efforts of our opponents who target arts funding as part of their larger effort to undermine the role of government As you point out Barry this is exactly what Romney is doing now But it s seriously labor intensive and asks a lot of our supporters not an ideal way to ensure success year after year One solution to this dilemma is to change the landscape of public understanding our initiative is based on a deeper understanding of what citizens value about the arts Instead of reviving old debates about economic impact and arts ed we sought a new way to start the conversation based on something we can all be for instead of something we re defending against an attack And importantly we aren t trying to change people s minds but present the arts in a way that changes perspective Therefore we held our new message accountable to factors such as whether it prompts people to focus on certain aspects of the topic such as broad benefits rather than others such as personal tastes After a year of investigation and interviews with hundreds of people our research found that public responsibility for the arts is undermined by deeply entrenched perceptions Members of the public typically have positive feelings toward the arts some quite strong But how they think about the arts is shaped by a number of common default patterns that ultimately obscure a sense of shared responsibility in this area For example it is natural and common for people who are not insiders to think of the arts in terms of entertainment In fact it s how we want people to think when we are selling tickets or memberships But in this view entertainment is a luxury and the market will determine which arts offerings survive Consequently public support for the arts makes little sense particularly when public funds are scarce Perceptions like these lead to conclusions that government funding is frivolous or inappropriate People who target arts funding as they did in Kansas and as Romney is now know that this dominant way of thinking about the arts will work in their favor Our investigation identified a different approach one that moves people to a new more resonant way of thinking about the arts What is it The arts create ripple effects of benefits such as vibrant thriving neighborhoods where we all want to live and work This is not only compelling but it also sets an expectation of public responsibility for the arts Recently public arts funders in Connecticut Georgia and other places have used this approach to building support for public funding Still we know that it will take time repetition and many partners across the nation to bring this way of thinking about the arts to the forefront of people s minds This is the effort we should engage in to build the kind of broad public support we need in the long run Reply Delete Barry June 11 2012 at 12 20 PM I agree with both Ian and Margy but return to my conclusion that in the short term anyway while we engage the public over the longer term it would cost us less money and time to make meaningful contributions to elected officials to protect our interests Those contributions would very likely make it unnecessary to constantly defend ourselves and as an investment would yield many times the money it would cost That s how the system works Reply Delete Anonymous June 12 2012 at 6 54 AM I disagree with Barry When dealing with normal politicians a donation may have had effect When dealing with idealogues like Brownback it has no effect It was immediately pointed out to him that his decision to eliminate the the Arts Commission was not based on rational thought as it proved a significant net loss financially and political loss as he was immediately pilloried in every newspaper across the state with opinion surveys running against him 3 1 He could have easily pivoted on the position and sustained far less political damage Instead he stuck to his guns even when his own party s legislature turned against him Brownback and idealogues like him have religious zeal about their positions and feel they are waging a holy war So there is virtually no compromising with him It is one of the reasons he is deeply unpopular within the legislature among his own party He is viewed as a bully because he is so unwavering In fact legislators off the record refer to being called into the principal s office when they don t agree with him on a bill Brownback isn t going to listen to anyone with 50 000 Though if the Koch Brothers asked him to change his mind he might But they decided long ago that while they love the arts in NYC they won t invest in them in their home state of Kansas Reply Delete Replies Barry June 12 2012 at 2 07 PM You may be right as

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2012/06/you-arent-special-or-are-you-and-kansas.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Sloppy Budgets and Unrealistic Expectations
    the shoulder of organizational finances And too often because of time and financial constraints funders and donors accept what is presented to them without serious questioning as to the accuracy reliability and realism of the numbers We need some standards and protocols for the whole budgetary process Some model that organizations can access and which will help to insure accuracy and accountability a systemic process that has some degree of verifiable benchmarks that will provide reliability I liked Diane s suggestion of some kind of independent community assessment of feasibility studies financed she suggests by local government so as to provide a more accurate and realistic calculation of costs future community support probability and community impact I wonder if there might be a similar option designed to bring some scrutiny to the annual arts organization budget and whether or not such scrutiny might help to establish baseline standards in that budgetary process that would require reasonable justification of projected income That result would I believe be good for both the organization and its funders Have a great week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 6 07 PM 2 comments AliceWren June 4 2012 at 9 51 AM I m sure Diane Ragsdale is correct in her assessment far more often than many of us want to acknowledge However to be fair to the arts groups no funder public or private will consider a capital campaign without these feasibility studies Nor without optimism would any of us stay in this business Having said that the blue sky budgets whether capital or operating are an issue we need to face In NYC we briefly had conversations about how to go about establishing our own best practices in several areas Many of us do not feel the commercial standards are fully applicable and are very uneasy with the measure everything approach more and more in evidence but have not found a way to offer alternatives And frankly I don t think funders are likely to offer appropriate alternatives Their responsibilities are legitimately different from ours as managers of non profits I would like to see the internal conversations about best practices continued Where are our think tanks Affordable and local Reply Delete Tony Reynolds June 13 2012 at 10 26 PM As someone who daily works the books for a local non profit I have found that both the passionate managers and the volunteer boards are woefully lacking in basic financial understanding I also note that the profession that oversees public reporting is narrowly focused on rubric regulation and form Eyes glaze over during conversations about FASB and tax returns Managers don t get paid if at all for Gray sky budgets and don t have enough street cred in finance to challenge boards The reverse is true as well I agree with Alice that we need best practices forums at local level where the boots are on the ground Reply Delete Add comment Load more Newer Post Older Post Home

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2012/06/sloppy-budgets-and-unrealistic.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Ideas. We need some good ones.
    benefits for us Yet there is still tremendous value to us in being part of these efforts and for our best thinkers to be represented at these tables because these kinds of events help to shape policy and influence those in academia government business education and elsewhere who make policy decisions and so this is good news I would love to go and cover this kind of event but it is obviously slanted towards a crowd with deeper pockets than yours truly a one week registration fee is something like 2700 yikes But what caught my attention about this event in the first place and what I would really like to see is for us the nonprofit arts sector to convene our own Ideas Festival with the best and the brightest of our own thinkers and perhaps those from outside our field to consider new big ideas ones we haven t yet developed or refined that would address the major issues we face We need to concentrate more on idea generation A two or three day event that would call forth bold risky new thinking as to how we could develop policies about our future funding arts education audiences creativity technology equity of access and so on Not just panels and talk but people who would come up with specific recommendations for concrete action An event where people rolled up their sleeves and did some work Where is our TED our Aspen Institute our think tank Where is our focus on new ideas Have a good short week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 6 18 PM 2 comments Lori May 29 2012 at 6 28 AM The creative community leadership is a part of this conversation http www intermediaarts org leadership institute program overview1 I agree we really need more ideas Reply Delete AliceWren May 29 2012 at 7 57 AM Could not agree more that we need to share good ideas more widely and think out of the box Not sure conferences do that but would certainly be willing to try But the arts alone in a conference might be less effective than springing a few non arts into the mix I find some of the best thinking coming from tech and science sector and much of it provides insights into how we might look at ourselves or translate our thinking to others Count me in Reply Delete Add comment Load more Newer Post Older Post Home Subscribe to Post Comments Atom Creative Vitality Suite Defined by the 59 SOC codes used in CVSuite Subscribe via email Enter your email address 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

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2012/05/ideas-we-need-some-good-ones.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: A Cautionary Observation
    would argue that more movement whether or a macro or micro level in the direction we want to move things might result if we more frequently simply said I have no idea Let s go from there Of course this is just opinion a theory and it may be worthless Have a great week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 10 12 PM 2 comments carter gillies May 21 2012 at 9 46 AM Hey Barry I think this is one of my favorite blog posts EVER Thank you for writing it And it seems that a number of folks are discussing similar views lately Arlene Goldbard just wrote a great post on the related tangent of people not automatically settling for the status quo http arlenegoldbard com 2012 05 20 well maladjusted annals of the culture of politics And this quotation just popped up in another person s blog The trouble with the world is that the stupid are so confident while the intelligent are full of doubt Bertrand Russell I think the more we can be honest about our limitations the less we end up always being their victim And to me this means keeping an open and flexible mind It seems that the less we are curious about the world and the less we actively explore it the more we are chained by what we pretend to know by our superstitions and biases And as much as I adore so many art forms as an audience member it seems that absorbing other people s art gets our curiosity and imagination only so far off the ground It seems that the best way for us to keep our minds open is to actively engage in creative projects where it IS an exploration where the answers are not known and when discovered are only provisional It seems that the less that people are creative in their own lives the more they get stuck with the limitations of believing only what they are told and stubbornly clinging to the comforts of certitude rather than being open to the discomfort of uncertainty For me it seems that not only will the arts benefit from an audience keeping their own curiosity alive but society as a whole will keep more open minded and take on more of the responsibility for creative decision making Being creative means having first hand experience of how to make a difference in the world Exploring means not knowing Curiosity means being open minded It is only because imagination finds expression that new art brings something new to the world discovering what the world can be rather than simply reasserting dogma To me it will always seem vital that support for the arts be a support for people s native creativity We ALL lose when our audiences become mere passive consumers of other people s ideas or close minded proponents of only one way of looking at things Art matters to society not by just being

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2012/05/cautionary-observation.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Demand for More Arts Organizations is Internally - not Externally - Driven
    shop as it were Arts people are entrepreneurial and many want to do it their way But I think that factors behind that yearning may be broken into several broad categories 1 Decision making I suspect that many of those that decide they want to start their own organization do so because they have come to the conclusion that existing options simply don t allow them enough or any role in the decision making process either because of the legacy of the structural system in which they find themselves wherein things are done a certain way because they have always been done that way or because they feel marginalized or ignored This situation may be particularly acute in artist founder driven organizations and those where the board is insular and protective of the legacy of the organization within the community Some of those that want to start a new organization may rebel against the hierarchy of leadership others may feel that the philosophical differences between them and the senior leadership and or board are too great still others see limited career advancement opportunities resulting from their being excluded from the decision making process and so they opt to strike out on their own 2 Artistic Differences Certainly many new organizations are born out of the frustration of artistic differences wherein there is no room for any shared vision for the future 3 Geographic Logically a portion of the newly formed organizations are created to fill a void in certain geographical venues or because the entrepreneur relocates 4 Generational As alluded to above a percentage of new organizations are created because there seems little to no room for upcoming generations to transfer into senior leadership positions The problems for the sector is that this growth in the number of organizations is not on any parallel track with a rise in funding available over the sector Smaller pie more people who want a piece And each new organization for the most part duplicates certain overhead costs ranging from personnel to accounting to marketing to rent to advertising More jobs perhaps but not necessarily better pay or more career advancement routes More competition and perhaps more confusion in the public mindset I suspect this works in a backhanded way to the benefit of the more established cultural organizations with a more recognizable brand in the marketplace Yet many of the major cultural institutions have felt the pain of a diluted support base in the past five years So what if anything might we do to provide mechanisms within the existing infrastructure that would address the needs that feed the demand for the creation of so many new organizations Might we create umbrella organizations that might house a wide swatch of these new enterprises providing the structure allowing for the independence and freedom to create and provide art yet which might cut down on the duplication of many of the overhead costs Is the Fractured Atlas model of fiscal sponsorship already doing this Is

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2012/05/demand-for-more-arts-organizations-is.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: A Little Humor to Start Your Week
    you say there are four billion stars but check when you say the paint is wet And this mother in law joke A patient says Doctor last night I made a Freudian slip I was having dinner with my mother in law and wanted to say Could you please pass the butter But instead I said You silly cow you have completely ruined my life Ok Ok I know But it is kind of funny And if you missed Jimmy Kimmel at last night s White House Press Correspondent s dinner here are a couple of his one liners If you told me when I was a kid I would be standing on a dais with President Barack Obama I would have said The president s name is Barack Obama They say diplomacy is a matter of carrot and sticks and since Michelle Obama got to the White House so is dinner To Obama I know you won t be able to laugh at my jokes about the Secret Service Please cover your ears if that s physically possible Got this photo in the email Supposedly a sign in an Atlanta WalMart Not true according to Snopes Actually a finalist in some design humor contest But don t you just wish you could point to it when some moron unloads a full cart in front of you and the checker says nothing My own experience is that this would actually be of value to about 10 of the population Or maybe not as they would probably be confused by that third hand If they want to count to fifteen they usually have to take off one shoe and sock first Have a good week Smile and laugh if you get the chance And Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 7 58 PM No comments Post a Comment Newer Post Older Post Home Subscribe to Post Comments Atom Creative Vitality Suite Defined by the 59 SOC codes used in CVSuite Subscribe via email Enter your email address Delivered by FeedBurner Subscribe via Reader Subscribe in a reader Barry s Blog is a service of the Western States Arts Federation WESTAF The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of WESTAF Followers Buy Barry s Book HARDBALL LOBBYING FOR NONPROFITS Barry learned political advocacy the hard way convincing the California legislature to multiply many fold its investment in arts funding In his new book Barry extracts the lessons of his long experience into a readable and impassioned tutorial that has broad application throughout the nonprofit sector John Kriedler former President Community Initiative Fund This is a powerful provocative and daring look at the ups and downs of fighting for beliefs The book straightforwardly mixes together simple clear definitions strong opinions new ideas and in your face strategies all designed to help the good guys win Robert L Lynch President CEO Americans for the Arts Hardball Lobbying is an essential tool for every nonprofit leader who wants to see

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2012/04/little-humor-to-start-your-week.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Interview with APAP's Mario Garcia Durham
    s a tricky balance because a journalist s independence is always sacred And yet we have to change with technology and with the crisis of the media industry Both fields arts and media share an important experience We both know what it s like to be pushed out So we adapt I applaud journalists and arts centers developing a new model to keep these important voices at the fore Barry What are APAP s short and long term advocacy strategies and priorities and what are the major obstacles to success How is the cooperative effort of APAP with Dance USA Opera America and the Theatre Communications Group working and do you envision any new kinds of advocacy training or other initiatives Mario We believe very strongly in the strength of combined voices We are committed to working with the Performing Arts Alliance Americans for the Arts National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and other arts and service organizations As to the training of our members in advocacy we see this as very important We feel it s important that organizations and artists are vigilant in maintaining a voice in their local and national communities We will keep this issue at the forefront and assist our members in the most effective methods of advocating for support of the arts Barry What aspects of audience development research needs improvement and what current studies do you think will have substantial impact in the future What is your take on the spate of engagement studies now dominating the audience development dialogue Mario We know we have often fallen short in making sure that many in our audiences are as engaged with the performing arts as they are in other areas of their lives such as religion sports or hobbies The focus on it right now is I believe a direct result of a longing to get closer to the artistic experience So when Diane Paulus who was a speaker at APAP NYC 2012 which not coincidentally was devoted to audience engagement produced SLEEP NO MORE as part of American Repertory Theater s season she invited audience members to curate their own theatrical experience walking through a installation theater stage The theater outsold every other show in its history Audience members saw the show 5 8 10 times because they relished standing next to actors playing Macbeth or walking on the set for a Hitchcock film all while theater was going on around them Audiences are hungry for this type of contact for a sense of belonging in theaters and concert halls rather than being alienated by red carpets and tuxedos So for the future those studies that look at the behavior of audiences in the moment of artistic experience will be the ones that make an impact on how we present how we welcome and nurture audiences and how we adapt to a world in which the audience member is co author of the artistic experience Barry How do you see presenting and tourism

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2012/04/interview-with-apaps-mario-garcia.html (2016-05-01)
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