A Beautiful Ritual

mcdonalds-world-cup-2

A simple observation from the proceedings of the FIFA World Cup:  Upon entering the stadium, each team is accompanied by a phalanx of children - each holding hands with a player. It's a beautiful ritual. To the child, it's a beautiful opportunity to stand upon one of the greatest of world stages and feel the energy as some of the world's most elite athletes prepare to perform at the highest of levels.  I don't know how they're selected, or … [Read more...]

Speaking, Writing and a little Arts Marketing Haiku

Southwest

I can rub my tummy and pat my head. I always thought that the list of things I can do simultaneously was vast. Chew gum and walk?  Yes. Watch Netflix on my iPhone while jogging on the treadmill at the gym?  Sure did - for the entire administration of Jed Bartlet, no less!  Play a round of Facebook Scrabble while doing just about anything else (except DRIVING, of course) - Absolutely! So, I was shocked and dismayed to discover that I do not … [Read more...]

In Favor of Genetically Modified Organizations

gmo

I prefer my vegetables in their 100% organic state. I don't feel the same way about non-profit arts & cultural organizations. There is nothing sacred about the business model and (dare I say it?) the artistic mission of any arts and cultural organization. That doesn't mean that an organization shouldn't stand for anything. Nor would I argue that it's healthy for an organization's business model or artistic mission to fluctuate all … [Read more...]

How You View the Pie

pie

Do you proceed from the premise that the “pie” is of a set size and we are all competing for a slice – or that the pie is expandable and we all stand to win by creating the means for it to grow. For arts & cultural organization leaders responsible for building audiences, here's a quick test to see if what you BELIEVE is consistent with how you BEHAVE: In the past 7 days, what % of your resources (i.e. budget, time & attention) have … [Read more...]

Not Just Bad for Business

Dear Arizona

Though I love my home state, these are not proud days to be an Arizona resident. I'm talking, of course, about Senate Bill 1062, the so-called "right-to-refuse-service" legislation that has recently passed our State Senate and House of Representatives - and is currently awaiting the sign/veto decision of Governor Jan Brewer. Over the past few days, there's been an impressive roll call of leaders of business, tourism, economic development, … [Read more...]

The Great Hibernation is Over

Hibernation

Economists appear to have concluded that the "Great Recession" that began in December, 2007 officially ended in June, 2009. So, what shall we in the arts & cultural sector call the pro-longed period of hunkered-down existence that we've endured ever since? For more than six years, we've persevered in the face of withered philanthropy, slashed public funding, preempted corporate sponsorship and the contraction of consumer spending. We - our … [Read more...]

A Budget for “NOT MORE OF THE SAME”

more_of_the_same

In springtime, a nonprofit's thoughts turn to thoughts of...  BUDGET. In many organizations, the annual budget is an exercise of simply replacing the names of THIS year's performances, events or exhibitions with those of NEXT year.  Sure, we'll lower revenue expectations for similar events that under-performed this season - and we'll raise projections for events that we hope will perform better next year.  And everybody agrees to hold the … [Read more...]

“Erosion of Arts Participation” is the WRONG Headline

sppa chart

As a child, one of my favorite picture books* told the story of six field mice that visit a barn.  At the end of the day, they are completely unable to reconcile what they have observed (a cow) because each has seen it from a different perspective - left side, front, bottom, right side, back & top. The story comes to mind as I've downloaded the just-published National Endowment for the Arts' 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the … [Read more...]

“Lab Tests” Assess Health of Arts & Cultural Organizations

Analysis

In one of my favorite Star Trek (original series) moments, Dr. McCoy eschews his abundant technology and tells a reluctant patient to open his mouth, "The machine is capable of almost anything but I'll still put my trust in a healthy set of tonsils." Today's arts & cultural organizations would be wise to do the same. While the analytic capabilities of so many websites and ticketing systems are immense, it's not unusual for arts & … [Read more...]

On Reporters and PR People

Kyle Lawson

One of the most beloved and respected people in the arts & cultural community of Phoenix, Arizona is Kyle Lawson. Beginning in 1977, and for more than 30 years, Kyle wrote about arts and entertainment in Arizona, first at the Scottsdale Progress, then The Phoenix Gazette, and finally The Arizona Republic. He was awarded the very first Lifetime Achievement Award by the Arizona Governor's Commission on the Arts and a similar award from the … [Read more...]