Two years ago ArtsEngaged created a mechanism for people interested in community engagement in the arts to learn and share. (Facebook group Become Indispensable.) The intent behind it was (and still is) to be a resource for information and to serve as a support group for anyone involved in (or desiring to be involved in) this work. [See Note below about our first event.]
To date, through no one’s fault but my own, it has not been particularly active. There have been periodic posts, surveys, and discussion options. However, given the passion that we hear about this work, it’s clear that there’s a need for this resource to be much more effective.
To that end, we have assembled a great advisory board to guide us in imagining how to make it more useful. Thanks to Selena Anguiano, Penny Brill, Lyz Crane, Anne Cushing-Reid, Ariel Davis, Anika Kwinana, Beth Philemon, Kathleen Riemenschneider, Jainelle Robinson, Amy King Ruggaber, and Kendra Williams for agreeing to serve in this role.
Its first meeting was last month and there were two immediate, unanimous conclusions. One was that the Network should not be exclusively tied to Facebook. The other was that instead of being an asynchronous online resource it should focus on real-time conversations about issues of interest and concern to the members.
We are working on developing topics and figuring out the logistics for these conversations. Here are some of our initial ideas for discussions:
- CE workers support group: challenges, successes, etc.
- Activating Your Organization: strategies for gaining support for CE among board and staff members of arts organizations [NOTE: This will be the first Conversation, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 10 at 11 am Eastern time. Sign up here.]
- Promising Practices: Examples of arts organizations doing excellent CE work
- Benchmarking equity
- The relationship between DEIA/Justice work and Community Engagement
- Covid-19 and community engagement
We will maintain the Facebook presence as a home base (Become Indispensable) but we know that many are burned out on or are otherwise “over” Facebook. [We are currently researching alternative formats for information sharing.] So, if you are interested in participating in discussions or simply want to be informed about the opportunities we will be offering, here is a very simple signup form to fill out: