The Board as Engagers

Introductions

Today we consider nonprofit governance from a community engagement perspective, specifically the make-up and function of the nonprofit board of directors. Most arts administrators understand boards as resource engines. We have a history (understandably) of populating our boards with moneyed people or people who know moneyed people. They clearly represent financial resources. In Governance as Leadership authors Richard P. Chait, William P. Ryan … [Read more...]

Engaging the Third Rail: II

Last time your intrepid blogger embarked upon a consideration of the untouchable heart of the arts enterprise: programming. Herein we continue the journey. ---------- From the previous post: (NB: In these posts on mainstreaming engagement, I am addressing only those individuals or organizations that want broader and deeper relationships with their communities but are uncertain how to begin or even whether it is possible to do so without … [Read more...]

Engaging the Third Rail

ThirdRail

The art. Programming. The reason artists create and arts organizations exist.  The untouchable heart of the enterprise. (NB: In these posts on mainstreaming engagement, I am addressing only those individuals or organizations that want broader and deeper relationships with their communities but are uncertain how to begin or even whether it is possible to do so without completely reinventing the organization.) When I began an outline of how … [Read more...]

From Here to There

YouAreHere

Last month I promised (some might say threatened) to begin a series on the potential for mainstreaming community engagement. That is, understanding that we don't have resources to do more than we are already doing, how might we reorient the things we already do in ways that serve engagement? But before I begin, it would be incredibly myopic not to acknowledge that there is much relevant discussion going on about transformation in the field. … [Read more...]

R E S P E C T

RESPECT

Warning: Rant Alert! Adam Huttler of Fractured Atlas fame recently blogged about data mining and preference discovery a la Amazon and Netflix as having important (although as yet unrealized and little examined potential for the arts). [Is House of Cards the Future of Cultural Programming?] This is vitally important territory, but as a self-acknowledged underachiever when it comes to research, I'll let others dig into this vital work. What … [Read more...]

Farewell Rocco

RoccoLandesman

Rocco Landesman's departure from the NEA and Barry Hessenius's interviews of Rocco and his Chief of Staff, Jamie Bennett, provide an occasion to reflect a bit on Mr. Landesman's legacy in federal arts policy and advocacy. (Disclosure: Jamie has been very good to me in providing support, advice, access to NEA staff, a brief "meet and greet" with his boss, and the Foreword that Rocco wrote for my book.) I suspect (hope) that the lasting impact … [Read more...]

Matter by Mattering

Important

In Communities Take Care of Things I raised the issue of mattering. It is our marginalization from the broad public that is a principal hindrance to sustainability. If we matter to our communities, we will be supported by them in all ways that are important, including financially. How do we reach this nirvana-like state of support? (Or more realistically, how do we simply get on the community's radar screen in a positive way?) Communities must … [Read more...]

Mainstreaming on My Mind

OnMyMind

My basic beliefs about the arts and community engagement are fairly well-known to anyone who reads this blog or who has read my book. 1) Community engagement is vital to a healthy future for the arts; 2) substantive community engagement is relatively rare in the established arts world; and 3) since there are no extra resources to add "new" stuff to the list of what we do, mainstreaming engagement–making engagement the core perspective in all … [Read more...]

Playin’ in Peoria

Peoria

In mid-November I had the pleasure of presenting two workshops for Illinois' Local Arts Network, an organization of local arts agencies supported by the Illinois Arts Council and Arts Alliance Illinois. These two gigs, in Oak Park and Peoria, were the shakedown cruise on a new workshop, "Mainstreaming Engagement," designed to provide artists and arts organization a chance to think through how a systemic approach to community engagement would … [Read more...]

Brilliant Advice

I recently returned from the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in Charlotte where I led a roundtable on mainstreaming engagement (pursuing all organizational systems from a community engagement perspective) and had a book signing. I had been concerned that I might feel like a fish out of water. (A pre-conference session was entitled "Monetizing Engagement" for heaven's sake!) On the whole I felt it was a worthwhile trip for me and I … [Read more...]