Comments We Can’t Ignore

A seed library for community use is housed at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.

This week, a guest column by Robert Reich entitled “What ‘charity’ should really mean” appeared on the Christian Science Monitor's website. In his column, Reich challenges the idea of tax-deductible donations to arts organizations, arguing that these deductions primarily support the lifestyles of the wealthy. Reich’s article highlights that we have serious a public perception problem. Either we are not doing enough work to share the arguments we use to demonstrate our value to those outside the bubble of our field, or we need to develop a … [Read more...]

Saying What We Mean

Language

Last January, at NAS’ Chief Executive Program convening The New Nature of Relevance, I listened as participants discussed the language we use to communicate about the nonprofit cultural field. Some felt that our current language can intimidate and confuse those who are not familiar with the sector. “Charity” can make us sound needy and helpless, and “nonprofit” makes us sound frivolous and trivial. When I tell people I work in the nonprofit sector, I have often been asked if I earn a salary. These experiences have me thinking about whether we … [Read more...]

How do we communicate the instrumental and intrinsic values of the arts?

Gary Vikan

Watch the following video featuring Gary Vikan, Director of the Walters Museum of Art and a faculty member of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders, talking about the dangers of using economic impact as argument for the arts, the importance of articulating the intrinsic nature of the art experience and how neuroscience might unlock the mystery of that experience.     Add your voice to the discussion. Use the comments below to weigh in with your thoughts on how we in the arts create and articulate … [Read more...]

Public Service, Advocacy and Institutional Transformation

A provocative post by Nina Simon on Musuem 2.0 discussing the role of museums (or any nonprofits, cultural or otherwise) in their community. True public service, she suggests, requires more than mere expansion of outreach services. I want our museum to be the host for dialogue--not just through panel discussions, but through exhibitions and events and commissions and community experiences that both invite and challenge people to engage with each other around the issues that matter most. And I think that requires us to be an advocacy … [Read more...]