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...]

Engaging with Palestrina

ChamberChoir

So, I was sitting there, behaving (as well as I generally can), when a sentence leapt out of my mouth unbidden. The occasion was a grant review panel, the subject was a chamber choir requesting funds to present a concert of music by Palestrina, and the precipitating topic was a discussion of the group’s response to the question about the public benefit of the activity. As is typical (and totally understandable given the state of the arts industry … [Read more...]

How to Engage

I have been spending time of late trying to figure out the best path to engagement on the part of arts organizations. I am a firm believer that systemic engagement (mainstreamed engagement) is at heart the only way that will bear much fruit. Add-on activities won't get done. Seriously, where are the resources to do more? Or they will be marginalized internally and externally. Internal stakeholders will not see it as important; the community will … [Read more...]

Focus Group or Story Circle

In my last post (Reinventing the Wheel), I talked about Roadside Theater's use of story circles in script development and relationship building. It was presented as one example of how arts organizations that have long focused on grassroots relationships have much to teach the rest of the arts community. In response, Roadside's director, Dudley Cocke, contacted me to amplify my point: Very few people have understood that all of Roadside's work is … [Read more...]

The Farmer and the Cowman

Farmer-Cowman

As I grow up (an incredibly slow and painful process, especially at age 60), I find myself, in spite of myself, learning things. One of the most revealing lessons I've more fully grasped in the last year is that arts marketers and community engagement advocates can and should be the best of friends. On first consideration, this is far from obvious. The two have vastly different ultimate goals, vastly divergent frames of reference. Marketers … [Read more...]

The Atlanta Opera

Atlanta

EM's List Member Folk Tales and The Atlanta Opera [This post is by EM's List Editor/Curator, Stephanie Moore] The Atlanta Opera has been a part of the arts and culture scene in Atlanta, Georgia since 1979. This year they commissioned their first opera, Rabbit Tales. A contemporary, one-hour children’s opera, Rabbit Tales, does not just retell the “Br’er Rabbit” stories, it weaves together characters and ideas from Native American, Cajun, and … [Read more...]