Once again, Greg Sandow has given us a valuable framework for thinking about engagement. His recent post, Four keys to the future, has been cited by many already and deserves to be read and studied. I cannot see any need to add to what he said. I’ll only observe that the principles he gives for a viable future for classical music are perfectly applicable across the arts. His four points are:
Understand and respect the culture outside classical music.
Work actively to find your audience.
Make music [art] vividly.
The rough translation of the first, is “Know what’s going on outside the walls of your office or performance/exhibition space.” You can’t engage with a community that you don’t know. The second seems fairly obvious, but it’s rooted in the fact that by and large our opportunities lie in engaging with those who are not seeking us. We are the ones who must reach out. The third is particularly apt and an antidote to those who think that to engage means they must become something they are not. Authenticity works. And it is only authenticity that works in relationship building. And the most important is remembering that great art is what this is all about. Not art for its own sake, but art that enriches the lives of the people with whom we share our communities.
For those of you in my neck of the woods, we are having a book signing/panel discussion in Winston-Salem next Thursday evening, 9/27, at 6:45. In addition to me, John L. (“Moe”) Moore, III Principal, JOMA Arts&Consulting, LLC, management consulting and project development; Karen Wells, Executive Director ARTS North Carolina; and Scott Walters, Director, Center for Rural Arts Development and Leadership Education and blogger (Theatre Ideas and Huffington Post) will be speaking. If you are in the neighborhood, we’d love to see you. It’s free!