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


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


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


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...]

Passage Theatre Company


EM's List Member Shakespeare in the Streets of St. Louis [This post is by EM's List Editor/Curator, Stephanie Moore] Passage Theatre Company: Showcasing the People of Trenton, NJ Passage Theatre Company has been a part of the Trenton, NJ cultural scene for over 25 years. Throughout this tenure Passage Theatre has focused on developing and producing plays that challenge and engage diverse audiences. They are fully committed to the diverse … [Read more...]

Reinventing the Wheel


Community engagement. What is it? How do you do it? What will you get if you try? These are questions (or variations of questions) I get when I bring this topic to the table in most corners of the arts establishment. Some (but by no means all) elements of the big box arts infrastructure are under the impression that community engagement (developing substantive relationships with "unusual suspects" outside of any specific effort to sell tickets) … [Read more...]

Bonus Post

I said I was going to only do one post a week through August, but here are two things that might be of interest. First, Julia Levy of CultureCraver (kind of an interesting concept: GoodReads for culture is the way I think of it) contacted me when she heard about Building Communities, Not Audiences and wanted to do an interview. Here is the result: www.culturecraver.com/craveable/entry/443233. And I just heard from Dorothy Gunther Pugh at … [Read more...]

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

EM's List Member Shakespeare in the Streets of St. Louis [This post is by EM's List Editor/Curator, Stephanie Moore] Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, founded in 2001, can be spotted in the schools, in the streets, and in the parks of St. Louis, Missouri. Through a variety of educational workshops and tours, community involvement, and the production of a full-scale Shakespearean play, the Festival connects with over 85,000 community members … [Read more...]