We’re Better Together


HowlRound is a commons by and for theatremakers. No one owns a commons, it exists for the benefit of all, and the role HowlRound plays is not one of curator, but rather of steward, of enabler. We believe in operating from a place of abundance, rather than scarcity. We believe that there is enough for everyone, and promote collaboration over competition. All HowlRound platforms and programs (an online journal, livestreaming television channel, interactive data map, in person convenings, etc.) are designed to create openness, … [Read more...]

The Commons

CC Terry Kearney via Flickr

Growing up, the public library was a place that allowed Polly Carl, Director & Editor of HowlRound: A Center for the Theater Commons, to find belonging and access imagination. This introduction to a commons model is something that she's carried with her and influences all that she brings as a leader to the organization. The commons model is all about inclusivity. Carl honors and encourages this through her work at HowlRound. Inclusivity is so engrained in the organization, Carl says that the staff must have buy-in to this value or it's … [Read more...]

Taking Down the Hedges

CC Erin Murphy via Flickr

Respect. Access. Inclusion. Transparency. Authenticity. These are the values held deeply by Hope McMath, Executive Director of the Cummer Museum of Art + Gardens. McMath shares how these values are part of the decisions she makes both internally at the museum, through hiring and organizational culture, as well as externally in the community. She tells the story of literally taking down the hedges that surround the museum and what physical and symbolic meaning a row of bushes can have.       … [Read more...]

The Definition Game

CC Bindaas Madhavi via Flickr

As leaders of organizations, it is essential that we not only uphold the values of our organizations, but also believe in them. Sandra Cha, an assistant professor at McGill University, and Amy Edmondson, of Harvard Business School conducted and in-depth survey of organizational values at an up and coming advertising agency. The result: employees felt the CEO was acting hypocritically through his actions even though he talked the talk of organizational core values. This view essentially resulted in the employee’s variance of interpretation on … [Read more...]

Organization Spotlight: Springboard for the Arts


One of the reasons Springboard for the Arts is able to take on and implement large scale projects with their small team is through leveraging their staff. The staff lives and breathes seven principles: We view artists as vital contributors to their communities. Our programs are delivered by artists to artists. Our capacity to build relationships is the basis of our effectiveness. We emphasize building systems of investment and support. We develop cross-sector collaborations. We operate with a sense of transformational … [Read more...]

Values and What We Do

CC Roger Karlsson via Flickr

It’s pretty easy to identify the values of a cultural organization or initiative. Most mention them somewhere on their website, if not have an entire web section dedicated to this. We talk about values often, too. Inclusivity, equity, excellence are all frequently discussed at our conferences. Values are important to identify and certainly important to name, discuss and debate. It’s helpful for potential stakeholders to know what you stand for and for the world to know what we stand for, as a field. But I’m less interested in talking … [Read more...]

An Arts Advocacy Day Conversation in Decatur, GA

The Arts are Calling

Today is Arts Advocacy Day, but for working artists it can feel like every day is arts advocacy day as we continually make the case in each of our communities to support the arts. I consider myself fortunate that I inhabit two worlds - local government as a Planning Director and the performing arts as a choreographer. It surprises me that I spend a large amount of time in both worlds simply trying to engage the community to participate. Whether a transportation planning project or a dance concert I’m often jumping up and down saying, “Hey! Stop … [Read more...]

An Arts Advocacy Conversation in Salt Lake City, UT

The Arts are Calling

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts represents an arts institution that sits within and reports to an institution run by folks outside the field - The University of Utah. A staff member of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts speaks with University President, David Pershing on he views and values the arts. When I say “the arts,” what does that mean to you? The term, “the arts,” symbolizes to me all that is stimulating to the sense in a profound way in the performing arts – from beautiful music (a single voice or a choir, or a single instrument or an … [Read more...]

An Arts Advocacy Day Conversation in Hartford, CT

The Arts are Calling

Kristina Newman-Scott, Director of Marketing, Events and Cultural Affairs for the City of Hartford, Connecticut asks her colleagues Brian Matthews, Director of Housing for the City of Hartford and Khara Dodds, Director of Planning for the City of Hartford how they see, value and advocate for the arts. Listen to their conversations below and share what you heard from colleagues outside of the arts.        Advocate for the Arts! Click on the Twitter logo to share this with someone outside the arts. Start a … [Read more...]

An Arts Advocacy Conversation in Thayer, MO

The Arts are Calling

Founder of the Oregon County Food Producers and Artisans Co-Op, Rachel Reynolds Luster poses the three simple questions to a member of her Thayer, MO community. Elizabeth, 16 years old: When I say “the arts,” what does that mean to you? "music, dancing, acting" Where do you see arts in your community? "I don't." Tell me about a moment you connected with arts personally. “Learning to clog dance at Marilynn's Clogging Studio and play guitar.”     Advocate for the Arts! Click on the Twitter logo to … [Read more...]