AftA Thoughts 2015: Self-Perpetuating Boards

DWEM_Board

This is the third in a series of posts reflecting on last June's Americans for the Arts convention in Chicago. In the context of serious discussions of equity and diversity, it was inevitable that my thoughts would turn to boards of directors and trustees. I’ve written several times recently about the conundrum that “fundraising boards” represent in the nonprofit arts world. (Give or Get, Can’t Buy Me Love) Specifically in discussions of … [Read more...]

AftA Thoughts 2015: Bait and Switch

CarrotOnString

As I said in my last post, in June I attended Americans for the Arts convention in Chicago. As part of my annual reflections on that experience, I wanted to comment on something that's been on my mind for years. In plenary sessions videos and performers were featured that demonstrated the power of the arts to transform lives and make communities better places to live. Stories like those are what originally brought me to this work and continue to … [Read more...]

AftA Thoughts 2015: Equity Watershed?

Equity

Last month I attended Americans for the Arts' convention in Chicago. It was a great event in a great city. As usual, it sparked a number of thoughts about the present and future of the arts and, as has become my habit, I intend to reflect on the experience in a series of posts here. This post considers the conference's remarkable focus on diversity and equity. The number of sessions and the amount of conversation addressing these issues appeared … [Read more...]

“Of” the Community

Carolina Blues Festival 2015

In May I had occasion to attend two music festivals of very different kinds. One was a country music event titled HoustonFest held in Galax, VA. The other was Greensboro, NC's 29th Annual Carolina Blues Festival. I went to the former largely for family reasons. The blues festival was one I've been wanting to take in for a long time. The back-to-back juxtaposition of two such focused celebrations inevitably led to a number of comparisons and an … [Read more...]

They Just Don’t Wanna?

SpoonOutOfPlace

Createquity's May 6 post Why Don't They Come? was a thoroughly researched piece on barriers to arts participation. It addressed the question of why: People with lower incomes and less education (low-SES) participate at lower rates [than others] in a huge range of activities, including not just classical music concerts and plays, but also less “elitist” forms of engagement like going to the movies, dancing socially, and even attending sporting … [Read more...]

“Community”

BirdsInCommunity

In April, Nina Simon furthered the conversation about the nature of community and the means of engagement. Her posts, How Do You Define "Community"? and Building Community: Who/How/Why? were invaluable additions to the field. As is often the case, I could be perfectly happy with providing those links and ending this post. However, I don't want to feel like a total slacker, so let me add a word or two regardless of whether or not there is a need … [Read more...]

Window Dressing?

WindowDisplay

I recently had a conversation with a colleague about how arts organizations can develop relationships with new communities. I went in to my pitch for first identifying potential "ambassadors" and then establishing advisory groups to carry some or, ideally, the bulk of the load. His response made my head spin. His initial comments, especially to the advisory board concept, were extremely negative. When I pressed him about that it became apparent … [Read more...]

Speak, Be Heard, Have Impact

I know I’ve already posted a couple of times on TCG’s Arts (R)Evolution Convening, but I’ve got to circle back and mention one more takeaway for me from the event. The speaker at the closing plenary was Ethan Zuckerman, author of the book Rewired and an expert in all things technological (at least from my perspective), particularly as they relate to the basics of citizen participation in a democracy. He provided a fascinating analysis of how … [Read more...]

Creative

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 12.49.36 PM

I recently returned from participating in a Colorado Creative Industries gathering in Ft. Collins. There were three separate events presented (a fact which dawned on me only shortly before I got on the plane to attend)–a Change Leaders Conference, a Colorado Creative Districts convening, and CCI’s annual Summit–and I was part of all three. A significant insight for me was the use of the word “creative” in much of the work in Colorado. CCI is one … [Read more...]