Laurelin Kruse & Rachel Reynolds Luster: A Conversation

This week we will be featuring conversations with leaders working in communities. Laurelin Kruse and Rachel Reynolds Luster are members of our Creative Community Fellows program. Laurelin is an artist, entrepreneur and founder of the Mobile Museum of American Artifacts.  Rachel is a folklorist, artist and organizer working to promote community renewal and sufficiency in the Missouri Ozarks. The following is a reconstruction of a conversation that took place over a series of phone calls and e-mails. Laurelin: Well, I guess we should start … [Read more...]

Creative Placemaking & Cultural Entrepreneurship

One of the perks of working at NAS is the number of incredible leaders we get to talk with on a regular basis. The last several weeks have been no exception. In fact, we've been talking and listening quite a bit. Part of the recruitment for our Creative Community Fellows program has been a series of conversations with young cultural entrepreneurs about their work and their communities. It's been an eye-opening experience. Next week we will begin to share some of the stories of these amazing leaders. Today we want to share what we learned from … [Read more...]

Building Communities, Building the Field

At NAS, we have seen many examples of what happens when arts and culture works to create positive change in the social, economic and cultural well-being of communities in the US and around the world. This work has been going on for many years, and now is coalescing in the range of approaches and attitudes as creative placemaking – a field of imaginative ideas, committed practice and dedicated practitioners. In many communities, webs of organizations and individuals work in this way, integrated into the heart/soul of their neighborhoods, … [Read more...]

Creative Placemaking: A Conversation

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Let’s talk about creative placemaking. In those five words, I’ve probably lost the attention of 40% of our field. It’s likely about 25% are now busy rolling their eyes. Another 15% might be asking, “What is left to discuss?” Yes, in many ways creative placemaking has become an often-cited cultural sector panacea. And yes, it’s a great phrase for grant proposals (and who doesn’t relish a good grant proposal?). But seriously, let’s talk about creative placemaking. Forget for a moment the capital C, capital P proper noun. Let’s talk about … [Read more...]

Solving Field-wide Problems Together

How do we engage collaborators in shaping our institutional agendas? How do we create 21st century boards? How do we develop transformational employees and systems? How do we maximize the field’s value in the eyes of the public?   Answer: Together.   Last year, NAS brought the participants of The Chief Executive Program together at an ideation conference to collectively work on solutions to the four problems listed above. We shared our framing of those issues here in hopes of starting a conversation about them. Now, we want to … [Read more...]

Becoming Indispensable

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Editor’s note:  As part of our online discussion around The Summit at Sundance, we have invited participants in The Chief Executive Program to frame each of our problems to solve. Here, Basma El Husseiny takes on the problem: Maximize the cultural field's value in the eyes of the public/society. While articulating the value of what arts organizations offer to society in specific quantitative terms is necessary and important, most people will not be able to see the connection between these terms and the change they would like to happen to … [Read more...]

A Framework for Meaningful Engagement

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Editor’s note: As part of our blog event for The Summit at Sundance, we have invited participants in The Chief Executive Program to frame each of our problems to solve. Here, John Wetenhall poses a series of questions for thinking about the problem: Engage users/customers/stakeholders as true collaborators in shaping an institution's agenda. Beyond any fiscal challenges that cultural organizations may face, the core of what we do involves a meaningful, resonant and personal relationship with every human being who engages with our form of … [Read more...]

Relinquishing Control

photo: Keith Winsten

Editor’s note: As part of our blog event for The Summit at Sundance, we have invited participants in The Chief Executive Program to frame each of our problems to solve. Here, Keith Winsten takes on the problem: Engage users/customers/stakeholders as true collaborators in shaping an institution's agenda. Across many types of experiences, from retail to food to leisure, consumers are demanding more and more customization.  And the rise of smart phones and other handheld digital media devices have made this customization available in real time. … [Read more...]

Governance in the 21st Century

photo: Theresa Remick

Editor's note: As part of our blog event for The Summit at Sundance, we have invited participants in The Chief Executive Program to frame each of our problems to solve. Here, Jean McLaughlin takes on the problem: Create the 21st century board. What would an ideal 21st century board look like? And, how might board members best add value? These are the questions I have been pondering for the past few days. In many ways I marvel at the productive, supportive, responsible and enthusiastic nature of the boards I have worked with. I know this … [Read more...]

Building Cultures of Innovation, Embracing Change and Becoming More Foxy

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Editor’s note:  As part of our online discussion around The Summit at Sundance, we have invited participants in The Chief Executive Program to frame each of our problems to solve. Here, Marc Vogl takes on the problem: Develop employees and organizational systems that will transform our organizations and the field. “To expect the unexpected,” said Oscar Wilde, “shows a thoroughly modern intellect.” And yet, it is so much easier said than done. If anticipating plot twists in the third act of a play is the learned skill of the experienced … [Read more...]