“SUPERB! If you work in the arts, you have to read this before it’s too late. Funny, optimistic, and uncompromising — Alan Harrison is speaking truth to power in our field, with charm and affection.”
—Russell Willis Taylor,
Senior Arts Advisor and Board Member
Nonprofit arts organizations have to place “nonprofit” ahead of “arts” in order to thrive in these Pre-Post-Pandemic days. Most don’t.
Charitable purpose — to help those who need the help — cannot exist in the current arts environment of privilege, exclusivity, and the subjective and useless concept of “excellence.” Excellence does not put food on a hungry person’s table, if they even have a table.
In his brilliantly unpretentious, hilarious style, Alan Harrison pulls no punches. He identifies and addresses elitism, defines and diffuses toxicity, and provides outlines for success, including a hopeful prediction for the future. This book also provides context for the pinball journeys of a 30-year adventure leading nonprofit arts organizations in America — warts and all.
“Alan Harrison’s Scene Change is not only a must-read for arts administrators and fundraisers—it’s also a must-read for donors, board members, and anyone interested in the performing arts. The book is serious and funny at the same time, and Alan’s revelations about his career in theater, starting with his gig as a “flyerer” on Broadway, show his tenacity as well as his ability to see the business side of arts organizations. As a donor to the arts myself, I hope that anyone who supports the performing arts will read this and take note. It’s time for a change!”
—Lisa Z. Greer, Author, Philanthropy Revolution
“With passion and humor, Alan Harrison challenges virtually every assumption under which nonprofit arts organizations have operated for the last 50 years. But while he challenges sacred cows left and right, don’t be fooled into thinking he is a cynic because, underneath it all, this fervent manifesto reveals that he is a cockeyed optimist with a breathtaking vision of how arts organizations should operate over the next 50 years.”
—Robert Wildman, Associate Professor and Director, Arts Administration Programs, Winthrop University
“EXCEPTIONAL! PERSUASIVE! With over three decades of experience in the nonprofit sector, Alan’s commitment to driving charitable impact within the arts community is truly commendable. His insightful and thought-provoking writings underscore his dedication to uplifting the underserved and marginalized, with an unwavering focus on equity and meaningful action. Alan’s ability to engage and captivate through his writing is a testament to his engrossing style and deep expertise. Having had the privilege to work alongside him, I’ve witnessed his remarkable talent in poking bears, challenging the status quo, and inciting positive change. His leadership acumen shines through as he navigates both large and small organizations, consistently demonstrating his capacity to galvanize teams towards mission-driven success. In a world where impactful communication is paramount, Alan’s unique approach to advocacy and his passion for transformation make him an invaluable asset to any mission-focused initiative. His transformative prowess and commitment to making a difference are truly remarkable.”
—Mark Walmsley, FRSA FCIM, Arts & Culture Network
“Alan Harrison doesn’t speak softly. He’s not exactly subtle. And he seems to revel in taking victory laps when he points out business-as-usual behavior that is seriously broken. But his shoot-from-the-hip observations about what’s ailing the nonprofit arts world and what to do about it are incisive, insightful, and grounded in keen observation of human behavior. Most of all, he wants to reset the paradigm in which arts institutions ply their craft. In a world awash with shiny objects vying for our attention, he suggests that simply making good art isn’t enough; we also have to make impact by meaning something to the communities we serve. And he is full of ideas about how to do it. Harrison wants to cut away the clutter, the busy work that masquerades for accomplishment, and get arts leaders laser-focused on accomplishing things that matter. It’s time, Harrison believes, for a little straight talk on culture after the pandemic, on racial equity, on how to identify and get your community motivated to support you. He’s loud. He’s blunt. And he doesn’t seem to care if he offends. You may disagree with him as he makes you mad. That’s okay; he’s quite happy to be the provocateur. Love him or hate him, he speaks a whole lot of common sense.”
—Douglas McLennan, Editor, ArtsJournal
Changemakers Books (a division of John Hunt Publishing/Collective Ink) has unleashed Alan Harrison’s provocative new book. Pre-orders (on the usual websites) are available right now. If it is not there yet, ask for it by letting your local bookseller (US, UK, and Australia) know the ISBN: 978-1-80341-446-1.