This week marks the tenth anniversary of Engaging Matters. That’s hard for me to believe. In that time this blog has had a little over 500 posts, mostly written by yours truly but also spiced up with work from some brilliant guests. When we began there was a frantic (for me) pace of two posts per week. After a few years writing that much “ate my lunch” so I cut back to one per week. Over the last two years the writing has become gradually more . . . occasional. The slowing has been largely a factor of my aging; but it is also the result of a recognition that I had presented much of the basics of my thinking about community engagement and that community engagement has gained some bit of recognition as an important element of managing arts organizations.
Over the next year it is my plan to republish some of the most widely read and/or important (from my perspective) posts. I’ll throw them in periodically rather than as a continuous onslaught of greatest hits. I will, of course, weigh in on new subjects (or new perspectives on topics) as seem important, but one of the benefits of “growing up” is the realization that there is no need to post simply for the sake of posting.
I do feel that over the last decade there is a somewhat better understanding in our field of what community engagement is and of its incredible value for arts organizations. At the same time I’m also aware that much misunderstanding and inertia exist that impedes progress in making our arts organizations more community-aware and community oriented. And, as regular readers know, I view that as being essential for the long-term viability of the industry. So the work is far from finished but I have enough self-awareness to know that I won’t be the one to finish it. I’ll simply continue trying to do my part.
For anyone who is still reading by the time you get to this paragraph, thanks for your interest and for your work in support of community engagement. We need both from many, many people to ensure a future for our organizations and to nurture ever healthier communities. It’s a critical win-win scenario if we can only realize it.