This month I reach what the Social Security system thinks is my “full retirement” age. Knowing this was coming, I have been reflecting on the future of both Engaging Matters and of my business, ArtsEngaged.
In August of this year Engaging Matters will be seven years old. For the first two years I posted twice a week. When that nearly killed me, I cut back to once a week, give or take time off for holidays. I continue to enjoy thinking and writing about community engagement in the arts and I have a long “to be written” list of topics I’d like to address. Yet the self-imposed pressure to churn out a post a week is starting to get in the way of the fun of it all. So, like a number of my blogging colleagues, I’m going to cut myself some slack and not get exercised if I don’t have something new to share every week. I’m aware that the down side of this is the “out of sight out of mind” problem, but it’s time for me to loosen up a bit. So, starting this summer, a down time for all bloggers, I’m going to relax and see what gets written.
That said, I’m totally open to entertaining the idea of guest bloggers. If you’re committed to and experienced in community engagement in the arts and believe you have something or some things to say, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My only request is that the writing does not need too much editing. 🙂
As for ArtsEngaged, my direct work in promoting and supporting community engagement, I’ll continue but, again, with a little more distance from the nitty gritty than has been the case to date. I’ve been working with a talented young woman, Achia Floyd out of Florida State University’s arts management program (thank you Antonio Cuyler for the recommendation). She has been helping with many behind the scenes needs. In particular, she’s upgrading the website which will soon, we hope, no longer be behind the scenes. I plan in the very near future to have her introduce herself and the new programming we are working on–expanded training offerings, a network for community engagement workers and supporters, etc.
If you’ve actually read this far, I thank you deeply. Clearly, you care about this work. The need to get more arts organizations more deeply connected with many, many more people is pressing. Change is coming. It’s been coming for a long time. And organizations not well prepared to do work that causes them to be seen as meaningful by significant percentages of the people in their communities will be in dire straits.