The Case for Cultural Fluency

WDET Cultural Fluency

In this excerpt from "The Case for Cultural Fluency," Mikel Ellcessor introduces the concept of Cultural Fluency as it can be applied by arts and culture leaders. You can read and download his full white paper here.  It’s déjà vu all over again. Picture this: you are in a meeting and you have been in this meeting many times. After another detailed mapping of the problem, someone takes a stab at a solution and says it: “We have to move beyond the current audience and into new audiences and communities.” This feels like success, right? … [Read more...]

To Be (a charity) or Not To Be, That is the $40 Billion Question

Lincoln Center offers the country's longest running free outdoor festival, according to the organization's website.

Editor's Note: With "Comments We Can't Ignore," we addressed the need to more effectively demonstrate the value of the arts to the general public in response to Robert Reich's "What 'charity' should really mean." Here, Marc Vogl offers his thoughts on charities and tax policy. Reich makes a surprisingly baseless charge when he says that the tax deductions claimed by people giving their money to charities is a $40 billion hand out  "going largely to wealthy people who use much of it to enhance their lifestyles.” He takes an illogical leap … [Read more...]

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...]

Making the Argument for Leadership Development

Linda Wood, Senior Director of the Haas Leadership Initiative at the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, recently wrote an interesting post on The CEP Blog of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, "The Leadership Development Disconnect." Working both in the field of leadership development and on program evaluation, I was encouraged to see these important issues highlighted. Much of my experience is consistent with the author’s. In the post, Wood states: "…not enough funders are investing in strengthening the leadership of their grantees. And … [Read more...]

Tell me about a time…

WeWantYou

Hearing about how our colleagues in the field address challenges can be extremely motivating and energizing. But sometimes, it’s hard to see how the steps one organization took can be translated to our own work. There’s no carbon copy solution to the issues facing the field but we can certainly benefit from understanding others’ experiences. What’s important is to find the key lessons that emerge from an experience rather than focus on the how-to of a particular example. At NAS, we love digging into stories from the field to find these learning … [Read more...]

What’s your mandate?

What is your mandate?

My fellow cultural leaders, I am here today humbled by the task before me, grateful for the trust bestowed by ArtsJournal and mindful of the sacrifices borne by my predecessors. We live in a time of unprecedented challenge. And, as we navigate the rough seas of uncertainty, we must set our course toward a guiding light:  the will of the people – our mandate. (Applause.) There have been many conversations here in the U.S. in recent weeks about mandates. What is President Obama’s mandate? What is Congress’ mandate? It’s a feature of every … [Read more...]

The Competing Values Framework

Competing Values Framework

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: We’re looking for new ways of doing things. We are a highly collaborative organization. Our work is dictated by process. Our staff is goal-oriented. We’ve all likely made at least one of these statements, each of which are indicative of an implicit value contained within our organizations’ cultures. The issue, however, is that some of these values are in opposition to each other. So, while we may have said these things, hopefully it was not in the same breath. Welcome to the world of the Competing … [Read more...]

Voices from the Field: Young Cultural Leaders

Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders

What does it mean to be a cultural leader in this day and age? What are the global and local contexts within which we work? Why do the arts matter and how can we communicate this within our communities? What challenges are our cultural organizations facing and how can we effectively lead change? These are the questions in the back of every young cultural leader’s mind… and they are at the heart of the most pressing issues faced by leaders in our field. Next week, we will dig into these questions with a fresh perspective at the Salzburg … [Read more...]

Is crisis necessary for change?

Don't panic!

While it can be invigorating to hear stories of how organizations overcome crisis, we started to wonder: why does crisis tend to be such a common motivator for change? What implications might a crisis have on the changes effected, and how might that crisis affect an organization in the short and long term? In this post, Gail Crider and Sunny Widmann share their experiences and ideas about how crisis impacts change, for better or worse.   Sometimes, but it’s risky. By Gail Crider Crisis generally means loss of strategic perspective, … [Read more...]