Finally getting back to my summary last week of Alan Brown’s ‘Architecture of Value,’ rethinking the RAND efforts on the values and benefits of arts experiences. Alan’s model suggests five clusters of benefits, radiating out from the individual and ‘in the moment’ to the community and cumulative.
In a nutshell, the five benefits clusters are:
- Imprint of the Arts Experience
- Human Interaction
- Communal Meaning
- Personal Development, and
- Economic & Social Benefits
You can explore all the elements within each cluster through this three-page overview (pdf format).
So, what’s an arts organization supposed to do with these benefit clusters? According to Brown, they’re supposed to explore and define, as an organization, what benefits they believe they foster for their communities — or, what benefits they strive to enable. As institutions serving the public trust — and drawing on public funding and fiscal privelege to do so — arts organizations should stive to understand, explain, and enhance their specific public, interpersonal, or individual goals. Then they should align their organization to deliver on those goals in more rich and meaningful ways.
Does that mean board members and administrative leadership should make artistic decisions? Not necessarily. But Alan suggests that all leaders of the organization should be part of the conversation. Says he in this Grantmakers in the Arts Reader article:
I hope for a time when board members of arts organizations sit down on a regular basis with both administrative and artistic staff and talk about the benefits they seek to create for their communities. Then, perhaps, board and staff will have something more to talk about than fundraising. Most board members are unprepared to participate in artistic decision-making — thats not their job — but they are eminently qualified to set overarching guidelines for how their organization can respond to community needs and create value. That is their job.
Speaking of Grantmakers in the Arts, I’m just now attending their Boston conference. Responses and insights from this convening to come…