I was inspired to connect the dots by John Cloys’ “Big Thing$ Come in Small Packages” and Mark Brewer’s “Finding Passionate Art Investors.” The challenge for the arts community is that we are currently caught in the “in-between.” Most institutions are trapped between the old fundraising techniques that we’ve practiced for the past thirty years and younger givers used to the new technologies of cyberspace. We are “in-between” the generational gap of traditional donors who want their names on projects and buildings and a younger generation that wants to be totally involved and make community change with cell phones and ipods in hand.
One of our challenges is to position traditional arts institutions not as “entitlements for giving” but as agents for community development, cultural growth and economic expansion. This means a change in operations, marketing and programs. Younger, leaner, and more “hip” organizations may have the upper hand in their appeal to the new generation of givers. Ethnic-centric organizations have the ability to promote cultural diversity and understanding through their art that appeals to a generation that has grown up with a better reality of how our communities have changed.