Jim Rivett

The business community has commonly perceived the arts as ancillary to its day-to-day operations and important only to the enrichment of its community’s cultural vitality. Now thanks to positive research and a new understanding of creativity’s potential—including efforts to meld creativity and the arts within and across multiple disciplines such as science and mathematics—business is just beginning to “get it.” Companies and corporations are s-l-o-w-l-y changing their perceptions and discovering the untapped success potential the arts can deliver.

The business community is beginning to understand the value the arts and creativity bring to the workplace. It’s realizing the arts can positively shape corporate culture and enhance the lives of workers both in and out of the workplace. But more importantly, business is gradually getting the message that by supporting and embracing the arts, the true impact of art’s potential to foster creative inquiry, entrepreneurial thinking, pure imagination and inspiration can serve as fuel for authentic corporate competitiveness.

Translated: The arts have bona-fide, bottom-line benefits.

That’s the message businesses throughout Wisconsin have been receiving through our firm’s volunteer work on behalf of the Wisconsin Arts Board. By creating brochures, presentations, and videos, and through our task force involvement, our business has been working to change the perceptions that Wisconsin businesses have about the arts. We want our state’s business community to understand that by juxtaposing and infusing the arts and creativity within the realms of technology, science, engineering, and beyond, unlimited possibilities spring forth. Read the rest of this entry »

Michelle Dean

What are all those letters after your name? is a frequent question I am asked, to which I often jest I have more letters after my name than in it. In a long-overdue, two-part installment of the blog, I will not only explain what all those letters mean, but also convey some significant changes that the granter of the credentials, The Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB), is making. Deborah A. Good, ATCB President and Rita Maloy, Exective Director, were very generous to grant an interview to discuss the vision for the future of art therapy from the ATCB’s perspective. The ATCB is an organization that credentials art therapists.  Credentialed art therapists must prove competency and are accountable to ATCB in terms of maintaining ethical standards of practice. The organization has recently unveiled an update of opportunities for becoming a registered art therapist (ATR), as along with a new certification for supervisors, the Art Therapy Certified Supervisor (ATCS). Additionally, the ATCB plans to apply for accreditation of the ATR-BC through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) later this year. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by Megan VanVoorhis On December - 6 - 20102 COMMENTS

Megan Van Voorhis

Partnership is the future of arts support in this country. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at a few indicators:

  • HUD launched a $100 million Sustainable Communities Planning Grant program earlier this year in an effort to create stronger, more sustainable communities in the U.S. They placed an emphasis on planning processes engaging in non-traditional partnerships (including arts and culture) – a move supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • The Kresge Foundation, long known for its capital challenge grants, is now considering how the different disciplines (e.g. arts and culture, health and human services, education) approach their work differently, but are really working toward the same end – the creation of “exceptional communities.”
  • The BCA Triennial Survey of the Arts suggests that 61% of businesses are motivated to support organizations that “offer programs that tie into social causes such as hunger, violence and homelessness.”

Often I talk with artists and arts organizations who ask me “When are we going to be able to stop talking about the ancillary benefits of arts and culture [economic development, education, neighborhood development] and get back to what we’re really about – art?” This concerns me, because it suggests that our discussion of the arts’ role in these activities is mere messaging alone – a means to help other people understand our work so they will fund us for the stuff that is harder to explain. It suggests the arts community itself doesn’t believe all of those things are core to the arts. They are. To suggest otherwise devalues the arts. It traps us into a paradigm from which we cannot escape, and to a set of diminishing resources. Read the rest of this entry »

Bruce Whitacre

We are tracking some interesting information as 2010 comes to a close.  One of the obstacles to arts giving, according to the Triennial Report, has been corporate earnings.  Yet we just concluded a quarter of record corporate earnings.  What does this mean for the cultural sector as a whole?  I’d like to explore a link we in culture don’t often make, although it is immediately apparent: the companies that support us are usually after someone else: our top individual donors!

Many companies draw upon NCTF to entertain high-end clients in New York and around the country.  Demand for these services is climbing, and our conversations for 2011 are to a surprising degree about increasing engagement with theatre.  Bigger budgets mean more to spend on top clients.  Good times!

But are we positioned to make the most of this slow but now apparent recovery?  I’ve been attending a lot of networking sessions that focus on the behavior of the affluent.  After all, the single largest source of support for not for profit theatre is affluent individuals, and as I said, a great deal of our corporate giving is focused on chasing those same individuals.

But who are they, and what are they after?  How have they changed in the last few years?

The most important point about the affluent is that they are older, generally above 55 years in age, and they grew up middle class.   In other words, they’re mostly Boomers.  And at this age, they have nearly all the things they want.  So what’s next? Read the rest of this entry »

Valerie Beaman

Business priorities for sponsorships and donations have shifted dramatically during the economic downturn, and you don’t need me to tell you that the arts have taken their share of the cuts. It’s important for arts organizations to look towards creating partnerships with businesses, strengthening and starting relationships that are beneficial to the business organization as well as the arts organization; you have to convince businesses why they should partner with the arts at all.

Next week, Americans for the Arts will be releasing the Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) Triennial Survey on Business Support to the Arts, a survey that explores not only the numbers but the motivations behind and goals of business partnerships with the arts. This survey is unique in that it surveys all business sizes, not just corporations.  We are interested to hear how the survey results may reflect what’s  going on in your communities and what new and innovative partnerships are being developed.

Have you ever questioned why some businesses partner with the arts or how an arts organization got a grant from a corporation?  We will be hosting a week-long blog salon from December 6-10 where bloggers including Akhtar Badshah, Microsoft; Courtney King, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy; poet Amena Brown; Megan van Voorhis, Community Partnership for Arts and Culture; Jim Rivett, Arketype; Katherine Mooring, Arts & Science Council; Bruce Whitacre, National Corporate Theatre Fund, and others will discuss innovative arts and business partnerships, changing corporate giving priorities and what the survey means to their organization, business and community.

On December 8 at 3:00pm EST, learn why an international bank, a Cincinnati based advertising agency and the largest utility company in Portland make the arts a priority in their giving on our webinar, Why and How Businesses Support the Arts: Business Committee for the Arts Triennial Survey of Business Support for the Arts. Read the rest of this entry »

The “graying” of America

Posted by Jennie Smith-Peers On November - 29 - 20101 COMMENT

Jennie Smith-Peers

This year marks the first year that Americans over the age of 65 will outnumber those under the age of 20. The “graying” of America is already conversations that many arts administrators are familiar with, who are busy discussing how to deal with aging administrators and aging audiences.  Yet, what this green paper seeks to address is how do we as service providers include access to our arts programming for everyone? Traditional ways of doling out arts programming are no longer sufficient. Older adults need and desire quality arts programs that give them the opportunity to grow and be creative. What is holding us back from including elders? At the end of the day, I believe that it is ageism.

We are living in the 21st Century and though many strides have been made in the last 30 years to view aging in a more positive light our society continues to marginalize them, make many feel unwelcome, and forces them to be invisible. Read the rest of this entry »

Nina Ozlu Tunceli

It’s hard to believe that the 2010 elections were 20 days ago today.  For those of us who work in politics the day is akin to a holiday but just because the elections our over it doesn’t mean our work is finished – in fact we have a lot ahead of us.  Now is the time when we sit down and figure out what the results from the ballot box mean for the arts and arts education.

Political junkies aren’t the only ones who should care about the election results though.  What happened on November 2, 2010 will have a far reaching impact on arts and arts education organizations throughout the country.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs at Americans for the Arts and Executive Director of the Arts Action Fund, was kind enough to take a few moments to share her greatest insights from the 2010 election with me.  I encourage you to take a few moments to listen – you might find yourself caring about politics more than you think.

For members of Americans for the Arts, check out the Post-Election Impact Webinar from November 18.  You can also check out the 2010 Congressional Arts Report Card to find out how legislators voted for the arts this year.

Recently I converged with 599 other arts marketers in San Jose during the National Arts Marketing Project Conference. We arrived eager to share with one another examples of how we are engaging our audiences, how we are communicating our messages, how we are raising money, and how we are using technology to do it.  With YouTube currently ranking as the #2 search engine in the world, this means many of us are using online video as a tool.

Option A. I complain like a sourpuss that most of the NAMP conference presenters referred to their campaigns that used video but few actually showed the videos.


Option B. I take it upon myself, like the ‘put your shoulder to the wheel’ pioneer I was raised to be and spend some time looking up the participating arts organizations using video online.

I went for Option B. As you would guess, there is a wide variety of approaches to online video, from high production HD footage to flipcam footage and irreverent/provocative to sincere/humanizing.  My NAMPC ’10 video playlist is accessible via vodpod collection online.  Please share.

#1. BERKELEY REP: WHAT WILL YOU SEE? – Keynote speaker Susan Medak of Berkeley Repertory Theatre in CA, was a fantastic follow up to what our opening speaker Chip Heath had primed our creative marketing minds to be thinking about. Berkeley Rep’s promo video “What Will You See?” shows they really get how to communicate identity and mission using video. Read the rest of this entry »

Tagged with: |

Gathering Explores Creativity

Posted by Mara Walker On November - 19 - 20101 COMMENT

Mara Walker

Just back from the Creativity World Forum (#cwf2010) in Oklahoma City thanks to Creative Oklahoma. This means the U.S. is now one of 12 districts throughout the world celebrating creativity as a means for progressive advancement. Over 2,000 people from all over the world gathered to exchange ideas on how to inspire our workforce, students and leaders.

Best part: seeing the arts on equal footing with other industries like science, technology and education as a strategy to strengthen creativity in America. Worst parts: lack of diversity in presenters (are only white guys creative?) and an ironic lack of creative engagement of participants.

Next step is for us to distinguish the arts as a major contributor to building creativity in individuals and the nation. Oh yeah, and a complete revamping of our education system.

Stephanie Evans

The other day I was standing in the check-out line at my local grocery store, when I glanced at the bright yellow cover of GOOD Magazine.  Coincidentally, the fall issue is subtitled The Work Issue, which you can read online as well.  Since Americans for the Arts and the Emerging Leaders Council just released our 2009 Emerging Leader Survey Results & Analysis report last week, I thought the magazine would be a good read, so I picked it up.

In the Emerging Leader Survey Analysis, our most surprising finding demonstrated that while the majority of survey participants expressed a strong desire to make arts administration their long term career, a much smaller percentage of them feels they have the opportunities for advancement within their current jobs.  This means the following needs to happen:  arts organizations need to make professional development for their employees a priority. (Some are already doing this really well)  Simultaneously, individual arts administrators need to begin creating their own opportunities to learn the skills they need to either move up in their current organization or move on to a higher position in another arts organization.  If neither of these happens, the arts sector stands to lose skilled leaders to take the field into the next generation. Read the rest of this entry »

On November 4, arts and business leaders from all over the US commended twelve exceptional businesses for their commitment to the arts at the BCA 10 awards in New York City. Now that the awards are over, the black ties have come off and the awardees have returned to their respective home bases. But from Iowa to Oregon, the celebration of these exceptional businesses shows no signs of stopping.

In Cincinnati, Strata-G continues to celebrate by renewing their commitment to supporting the arts. The company is launching a campaign to offer two Cincinnati area arts organizations their marketing services, pro-bono, for a full year. “Being nominated for and winning the BCA 10 award further reinforced in us the role that business can play in supporting area non-profits,” Strata-G managing partner Jeff Eberlein said. “We wanted to step up once again and show our gratitude to and support worthy arts organizations.” Strata-G earned a BCA 10 award for providing over $75,000 in pro-bono services to arts organizations in 2009 alone. And in Oregon, Portland General Electric is being honored at Business and Culture for the Arts’ Breakfast of Champions, where Portland Mayor Sam Adams will re-present the BCA 10 award to PGE CEO Jim Piro. “PGE believes the arts have the power to educate, heal and create a vibrant economy and has long demonstrated a dedication to incorporating the arts in its corporate culture while also encouraging other businesses to follow suit,” said Virginia Willard, Business for Culture & the Art’s executive director. Read the rest of this entry »

After attending my first NAMP conference, I realize the landscape of arts marketing has changed immeasurably over the last five years, primarily due to the economy and technological advances.  It’s been rough for many of us.  However, over the course of the conference, I’ve learned about the many ways arts organizations have cleverly responded, while becoming more nimble, thoughtful, and artistically richer as a result.  These strategies revolve around: new technology, collaboration, and more hard work.

New Technology

Although this fact is quite obvious to anyone in the arts marketing world, it’s still worth noting that new technology has changed the way we engage, learn, and reach out to our audiences.  Customer relationship management technology, social media and other web based forms of communication are examples of this.   As arts marketers, if we did not initially embrace these advances, we have since been nudged to adopt them for our own survival.


Collaborations are not uncommon among artists.  For arts organizations, they have become more important than ever.  One of the lessons I heard repeatedly over the course of the last few days is that companies must involve all departments within their organization to adeptly incorporate and benefit from new technologies.  During lean times, when everyone is doing more, it’s especially crucial to involve all parties.  In the end, working outside one’s comfort zone and boundaries together makes the organization stronger as a team.  Collaboration has always been a part of our culture, but new technology and leaner budgets encourage us to seek new joint ventures and ways to work with each other.

Hard Work

We all know that working in the arts has never been a cakewalk.  We are accustomed to struggle.  We know that this will never change.  It takes time to learn new technology, and can get frustrating just when you had the last thing figured out.  It’s not easy to work with new people.  Not to mention all the day-to-day fundraising it takes to keep our organizations afloat.  Who better to adapt to these rapid changes than us?

I believe that the art we promote and the value it brings to our communities is entirely worth it.

Bring it on!

Screaming kidWhenever my mother or some other evolved being tells me “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” I have to stop myself from shaking them by the shoulders and saying,

“OK fine! You sit next to a screaming child on a plane.  And you’re right, my journey is going to begin with one big fat single step – noise canceling headphones!”

Goodbye San Jose

For all of you who will be leaving the National Arts Marketing Project  Conference in San Joseand flying home and might find yourself in the unfortunate position of being seated next to a very loud little person, spend the two bucks for a headset and pump up the volume.

Here are some other travel tips: Read the rest of this entry »

Like many before me and many to come, I came to Silicon Valley for the Chips — specifically, Chip Heath, co-author of Made to Stick and Switch, and one of my heroes Chip Conley, owner of Joie de Vivre hotels (who I actually admitted to having a brain crush on via Twitter). Both Chips were keynotes at the 2010 National Arts Marketing Project Conference held in San Jose this weekend.

The first time I listened to Chip Conley (who tweeters at the conference have immortalized with the hash tag hotchip) and as I read Peak, I thought a lot about how Arts Alliance Illinois, primarily an arts advocacy organization, could “refresh the identity” of Illinois arts practitioners and leaders through advocacy.

But this time, maybe because I’m still thinking about Election Day, I was thinking about a Hierarchy of Needs for elected officials. Specifically, what is transformation for elected officials. If you were an elected official, what would it mean to be all you can be?

Before you begin the snarky comments, let me take a step back – for all of you wondering what the Hierarchy of Needs is, how this is connected to Chip Conley, and what it means to refresh an identity.

You may have heard the term “Hierarchy of Needs” in a psychology class or on your Lincoln-Douglas debate team if you’re a dork like me. Abraham Maslow, a professor of psychology, invented the term when he decided to shift the gaze of psychologists from the “worst case scenarios” in humanity to those living the happiest and most satisfying lives. He discovered a hierarchy of needs – from basic survival to transformation – that defines human existence. Here’s my rendition:

My Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Photo credit: Flickr user Khalid Almasoud.

The bottom layer is all about physiological needs: food, drink, air, and sleep. Next up are your safety needs. Then there are needs related to love and belonging, followed by esteem needs. On top of the pyramid is self-actualizing, being all you can be. Read the rest of this entry »

We Have an Obligation

Posted by Laura Kakolewski On November - 15 - 20103 COMMENTS

On Sunday afternoon, Managing Director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre Susan Medak joined the National Arts Marketing Project  Conference to share with us the responsibilities of non-profit arts organizations. For those of us in San Jose, Susan’s words will undoubtedly have a lasting impact. Here are some of the things that are sure to stick with us as we return home.

We have an obligation, under the tax code and under each of our own moral codes, to fulfill our missions, our long term goals, our service goals and our artistic goals.

We have an obligation to seek out income and audiences wherever we can find them.

We also have an obligation to be as adaptive and flexible as we can possibly be in a world in which things are constantly changing and in which the opportunities of tomorrow can not even be imagined today.

We have to step outside our comfort zones…. to resist the temptation NOT to take risks.

We have to be bold, be willing to try new things and new relationships.

We have to value discomfort rather than stability.

We have embrace ambiguity and flexibility.

Go forth and be strong.