Irrigate

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oePXcW6axk Springboard for the Arts has been developing buzz in the creative placemaking world of late. I've heard presentations about their work at several conferences this year. At the Americans for the Arts conference in Pittsburgh in June I got to meet Laura Zabel, Springboard's extremely energetic ED. Springboard began life as a resource center for individual artists. It has expanded its work to find … [Read more...]

Heard NY

Some time ago I commented [Engaged Mission: I], in response to a NY Times article, that social practice art–art with an explicit social service intent, while admirable, is not the only way to approach community engagement. It's a good and valuable way to engage, but it is not the sole means to do so. When I discuss community engagement I talk about the "issue" being addressed by a project, but an issue need not be a problem or something in need … [Read more...]

Inside Out in Illinois

Illinois

Inside Out: Arts and Community, was the biennial One State Together in the Arts conference presented by Arts Alliance Illinois and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Held June 24-25 in Moline, I was privileged to have been invited to speak and present a mini-workshop. OK. Imagine me at a statewide conference devoted exclusively to the arts and community engagement. Got the picture? Yep. Hog heaven. But as an indication of how much I've been on … [Read more...]

Rural Communities, Urban Neighborhoods

Rural-Urban

(Note: I'm just back from a fascinating trip to Beijing, speaking to arts management educators from around China at the China Conservatory of Music. I'll have some to say about what I learned in the future. For now, I was struck, once again, by how the concern for community engagement in the arts is by no means limited to the U.S.) -------------------- Last time (Lessons from the Road) I gave an overview of the lessons of my last four months of … [Read more...]

Lessons from the Road

north america - Google Maps

Since mid-January I have been on a whirlwind tour of the U.S. (and Toronto). I have kept thinking I am going to stop and reflect on all I've learned. So far, though, there's not been time. But I thought I'd at least take a few moments to thank all of those with whom I have worked and offer a couple of significant takeaways.   I've commented previously on the cool examples of hip-hop, Hispanic, and Indian (as in subcontinent) dance … [Read more...]

Engagement Vocabulary in Action

Dictionary

In an effort to clarify the points from my last two posts (Engagement Vocabulary and Parsing Vocabulary), I'm going to try to describe the differences among audience development, audience engagement, and community engagement by using a specific work produced by an arts organization as an example. [But first, to re-repeat, here are the operating definitions I'm using: Audience Development is a marketing strategy designed for immediate … [Read more...]

The Trash Project

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6ZBlYdyoeQ One of the joys of all the traveling and speaking I am undertaking is the opportunity to find out about cool examples of engagement work going on around the country. I am going to Austin for the Texas Commission on the Arts & Texans for the Arts conference, Strategies for Success. As part of the preparation, I asked the organizers to send me examples of interesting projects. The subject of this … [Read more...]

Holiday Gift

Engaging Matters   Holiday Gift

Few people are really spending time investigating professional reading at this pre-New Year moment. However, for anyone who stumbles across this, here's a Holiday gift. In November I had the opportunity to hear Nina Simon's keynote address at the NAMP conference in Charlotte. While several others (notably Ian David Moss in Createquity) have already pointed to her presentation about the transformation of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and … [Read more...]

Small Enough to Succeed

Ants

I have, for most of my life, been suspicious of the “growth is good” assumption that we often make in this country or did as I was growing up. (Sometimes when I replay in my mind the famous Gordon Gecko speech from Wall Street, it’s not greed I hear him praise but growth.) At the risk of appearing to trivialize something that is incredibly serious, cancer is a demonstration (an extreme one to be sure) that not all growth is beneficial. Less … [Read more...]

Bright Spots

BrightSpots

I wish I had written that. That's exactly the way I felt when I finished reading Alexis Frasz' and  Holly Sidford's report for The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation: Bright Spots Leadership in the Pacific Northwest. (Ms. Sidford was also the author the report, Fusing Arts, Culture and Social Change for the Committee for Responsive Philanthropy that highlighted the "shocking" news that most arts funding went to wealthy organizations.) But, not … [Read more...]