GETTY: The perils of partnership

I've got one more post in me about the leadership meeting hosted back in June by the Getty Leadership Institute and National Arts Strategies in Los Angeles. The meeting, as you might recall, focused on the connects and disconnects between the for-profit and nonprofit cultural sectors. The goal was to define the difference, explore the common ground, and discuss where the twain could meet more effectively. Of course, anytime you talk about any 'twain' meeting, you're talking about partnership and collaboration...the formalized interconnection … [Read more...]

GETTY: Crafting the audience

In past posts about the June leadership roundtable at the Getty (see bottom of this entry for links in the series) on the nonprofit and forprofit cultural industries, I've focused almost entirely on the production side of the discussion (cash and capital and capacity, oh my). Equally compelling is the consumption side, where nonprofit and commercial find and engage their audiences. The general sense of the difference between nonprofit and commercial was one of scale and scope. Commercial cultural enterprise (aka, entertainment) was seen as a … [Read more...]

GETTY: More capital ideas

NOTE: This entry is part of a continuing series sprouting from a leadership roundtable hosted by the Getty Leadership Institute and National Arts Strategies in June 2004. For links to all posts in the series, see below. In the exploration of the differences between nonprofit and commercial cultural enterprise, we've already touched on the challenge of fungibility, on the myths that dog the comparison, and on the specific differences in how capital is built and used. In almost every case, the challenge and complexity of the nonprofit form seem … [Read more...]

GETTY: Some capital ideas

Any extended conversation of nonprofit cultural enterprise will eventually wind its way to a certain business term: undercapitalization. The term and the challenge certainly came up often at the Getty Leadership Institute/National Arts Strategies roundtable I attended back in June. The general gist of the conversation is that the nonprofit arts lack sufficient capital to really do what they need to do, leading them down all sorts of dysfunctional paths as businesses that only get worse over time. Capital is most simply described as 'wealth used … [Read more...]

GETTY: In search of elbow room

NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of entries on a roundtable discussion I attended in June...more details in the first post. When discussing the challenges of for-profit and nonprofit enterprise in the creative industries back in June, there was much talk of 'elbow room,' that small amount of extra space (financial space, physical space, time, and other dimensions) that allows for innovation, creativity, risk-taking, and stretching ideas. Whatever it was that 'elbow room' represented, leaders on both the for-profit and nonprofit side of the … [Read more...]

GETTY: Fun with Fungibility

One of the clear differences between nonprofit and for-profit creative enterprise is how each can use cash and financial resources to advance its work. This distinction seemed to stick during the GLI/NAS roundtable in June (see my original post for background, also note that the Getty Leadership Institute has now posted a summary of the event and downloadable versions of the briefing and summary reports). The flexible and malleable use of cash and monetary assets is a hallmark of for-profit enterprise. If a dollar isn't serving its best purpose … [Read more...]

GETTY: Nonprofit and for-profit

Much of the discussion at the June Getty Leadership Institute/National Arts Strategies convening (introduced in my last post) was focused on the 'gulf' between nonprofit and commercial/for-profit creative endeavor. Thankfully, we (mostly) moved beyond the usual assumptions that sandbag most such conversations: Nonprofits make art / For-profits make entertainment Nonprofits serve vision and mission / For-profits serve the mass taste Nonprofits are noble / For-profits are venal Nonprofits are poorly managed / For-profits are wonderfully … [Read more...]

GETTY: Extending a conversation

This June, I was one of twenty-three participants in a leadership roundtable on a particularly compelling and complex topic. Co-sponsored by the Getty Leadership Institute and National Arts Strategies, and held at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the convening brought together fascinating folks from the nonprofit and for-profit side of cultural enterprise to search for key differences and common ground. According to the briefing report: The purpose of the meeting is to explore the extent to which non-profit and for-profit cultural … [Read more...]