Arguing for the Arts in Contemporary Society

The Arts are Calling

Think about the folks in your community. Think about what they will do tonight. There are countless options for how they can spend their time, their money, their loyalty. Arts may be in that mix. It might not be. This is the context in which our community makes decisions and we need to be aware of that. In this video, Patrick McIntyre, Executive Director of the Sydney Theatre Company conveys the need to discuss the benefits of the experience we provide. Patrick highlights that this task is tricky when arguing the value to allies such as … [Read more...]

Everyone’s a Potential Partner: Building Value Together

The Arts are Calling

Welcome back. We’re continuing our look at arts advocacy, particularly how do we broaden our base of support if we rarely hear from anyone who isn't already a fan. What if we shifted our mindset to see everyone as a potential partner or participant? The world and our communities would be teaming with opportunity. That's Springboard for the Arts' Executive Director, Laura Zabel's, view and it's working quite well. In this video Laura shares how she is energized by what's possible and how looking at opportunities through this frame has opened up … [Read more...]

Research, Reports & Real People Talking About the Arts (Oh My!)

The Arts are Calling

There've been many great responses to today's posts and there are so many smart people already looking and thinking about how we might rethink advocacy. I wanted to list a few of the resources/examples that folks have shared with me over the course of the day. Please continue to share with me... and with others outside the arts.   Createquity Earlier this month, Createquity featured a post "A New Way to Think About Intrinsic vs. Instrumental Benefits of the Arts" in which they talk about a new report “Cultural Ecology, Neighborhood … [Read more...]

Extreme Users: Look Outside the Everyday Audience Member

The Arts are Calling

We’re talking about advocacy for the arts over the next few days. Specifically, what's our value... not only to our loyal patrons but also to those with whom we may not have engaged yet. In the human centered design world, that's called sampling extreme users. It's an incredibly valuable practice that helps us better understand our community and our customers. Professor of Management at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks discusses how looking at both extremes – those who participate every day and … [Read more...]

If Our Value Were Self-Evident Would We Need Advocates?

The Arts are Calling

You cannot talk about arts advocacy without bringing up the instrumental value of the arts. Rule #1 of advocacy or any kind of relationship building is: know your audience. And when you're talking to politicians and policy-makers, the instrumental value carries the day. But, what about the intrinsic value of the arts? In our field we often shy away from talking about this. It is somehow seen as less serious, but if you are truly looking to connect with someone on the value of the arts there is no better way. In this video former Director … [Read more...]

What’s the Matter with “Why the Arts Matter?” 

The Arts are Calling

Next week we celebrate Arts Advocacy Day. We come together as a field to lobby congress and talk about why what we do matters. Last year many of our staff even shared our thoughts on the value of the arts. Arts Advocacy Day is an important event, to be sure. The arts do matter. But, chances are if you're reading this you're likely already a believer. Therein lies the problem... or at the very least an opportunity.    What if we tried something different? (I'm not advocating that we stop lobbying congress, but...) What if we saw this … [Read more...]

Your Museum as an Essential Community Space

Staff Picks

NAS produces publications, videos and other management tools to inspire those working in the field to take a fresh look at their work and the challenges they face. Over the last few years we have amassed quite a large catalog of content. We’ve sent NAS staff members into the archives to pick their favorites and share them here. This week NAS’ Program and Accounting Coordinator, Pearl Bickersteth, shares one of her favorite NAS videos. Museums are often thought of as places for quiet, introspective, cultural learning experiences. Nina Simon, … [Read more...]

The Earthquake is Coming. How Do We Withstand it?

A soldier watches as a fiddler plays a tune in the ruins of Baalbek, Lebanon. A somewhat perfect juxtaposition and incredibly beautiful reminder. (C) Taylor Craig

Crisis is everywhere. We are surrounded by it. It’s in the news headlines, in the text we just got from a family member and even in the daily operations of our organizations. Crisis can be both internal and external, personal and public. Personally, it feels as if we are surrounded yet distant from this word and its meaning. When it is not taking place in our backyard, we often don’t think or feel the effects of a crisis so intensely. The ways in which we react to crisis situations are shaped by our identity. I believe organizations have … [Read more...]

Failure or Success: What are we more afraid of? A Leading Innovation in Arts & Culture Conversation

Photo by Martin Fisch via Flickr

We’ve just wrapped our first Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) Leading Innovation in Arts and Culture. This unique course was created by Dave Owens at Vanderbilt University and customized for the arts and culture sector by National Arts Strategies. This eight-week course, offered on the Coursera platform, brought more than 9,000 artists, arts administrators and cultural entrepreneurs from around the world together to discuss the specific constraints to creating good ideas in our field and to build strategies for successful innovation. This … [Read more...]