When I first started as an Administrator on the Cause that speaks loudest to me, Keep The Arts In Public Schools,  I didn’t know the first thing about organized giving.

I contributed a big chunk of change and then I learned about how to leverage it. Since then, I’ve spoken with people at foundations who have both good and bad things to say about setting unreasonable goals and creating matching grants.

We’re SO fortunate in our Cause because there is no amount of giving or striving that hinders the benefit we provide for our benefactor. Just because we are lucky, doesn’t mean everyone will be, so please apply the following experience I share with a bit of perspective on how it can truly serve you.

Before I was an administrator of my Cause I wanted to organize what I called A Day of Giving. Mostly because I was interested in generating a result with the Cause to make other people take notice. We were brand new into a new administration and I could tell the national thermometer was still taking the temperature. Read the rest of this entry »

The 51st Annual Meeting of the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) is taking place this coming weekend in St. Louis. If you think this might be an unusual place to be rewarding artistic excellence along with business and economic acumen, think again.

Sharing the awards spotlight with venerable economist Dr. Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council, who will receive the Adam Smith Award. Dr. Summers will be justifiably honored for his “leadership in the profession and the use of ideas and knowledge in the workplace and policy arena.” As a main member of the Obama team whose mandate is to help guide the country out from under the crippling effects of a deep recession, we are counting on his innovativeness and leadership skills.

While Dr. Summers will be honored as the distinguished leader that he is, Allison Elder and Kyle Clifford O’Brien will be recognized as the leaders they promise to be. Read the rest of this entry »

The Philadelphia Inquirer just featured a great article about how five starting football players from a Pennsylvania high school are all heavily involved in the school’s upper-level art classes. Of these five students at Downingtown West High School, two are level-1 art majors, two are art advanced-placement studio majors, and another is preparing for the commercial art field.

While student interest in football and the arts certainly aren’t mutually exclusive, football coach Mike Milano was initially “surprised to find he had so many budding artists on the team.”

“I’m from the old school. I like competition [on the field], but I go to the art shows to support the kids,” he said. “My mother was an artist, but I didn’t inherit any of her talent.”

Read more about the students and their art teacher Becky Desmond here.

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Each September, thousands of parents, teachers, artists, and arts education advocates visit the Americans for the Arts site and PSA site, taking the start of the school year as an opportunity to ask questions about their children’s arts education. To address the questions and concerns of these arts education stakeholders, Americans for the Arts hosted an Arts Education Salon on ARTSblog from September 21 – 25, 2009. Twenty-four guest bloggers posted more than 70 blog entries during that week on one specific topic: what steps can people or organizations take to ensure the children of their community have access to a great arts education?

The Salon not only provided crucial information to our readers and ARTSblog visitors, but also offered a forum for discussion on the hot topics the bloggers addressed in their posts. The Arts Education topics which were touched upon were diverse, from arts activities at home and ways for parents to become arts smart to the value of arts education and the need for advocacy. Be sure to continue reading the posts at your leisure and comment as you like. They can all be found using the Salon Sept 09 blog tag.

What information from the Arts Education Salon on ARTSblog helped you?

Last entry we covered Personal Pledges. Those are great as an individual and encouraging people to do that is really powerful. It helps people see that the circumstances of their lives can align to support their goals, even when it seems impossible at first.

Its amazing what $10 can prove to people. Also, the feeling that people get when they give to something important to them is huge.

When I got started with Keep the Arts In Public Schools our average giving was around $400 per week. We now average around $1000 per week and its going up.

Another place to encourage people to go is to set-up a monthly contribution. This can make a huge difference for a Cause that genuinely wants to have an impact. With a membership that regularly contributes $10 a month, instead of twice or three times a year, the possible leverage can quadruple.

Our membership (they probably don’t even know this) have been recognized in national newspapers for their level of contribution, and most of them only give once or twice a year. Imagine if our Million plus membership gave $10 each a month. Read the rest of this entry »

Here are just few highlights of National Arts and Humanities Month events happening this weekend.

Charlestown’s Community Concert Series in Catonsville, MD, presents the Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition today, October 2. The concert begins at 7 pm and admission is $4.00. For more information visit http://www.charlestownperformingarts.com.

Art Detroit Now is this weekend in Detroit, MI. From October 2-3, 25,000 people are expected to attend contemporary art openings, exhibitions and demonstrations at 75 galleries, museums and nonprofit organizations that will showcase metro Detroit’s great contemporary art and artists. For more information visit http://www.artdetroitnow.com/index.html.

The City of Edmonds Arts Commission presents is annual Write on the Sound writing conference, October 2-4. This well-established conference, focused on the craft of writing, offers an affordable experience for writers of all levels, with a variety of intimate high quality workshops at the Frances Anderson Center in Edmonds, WA. For more information visit http://www.ci.edmonds.wa.us/ArtsCommission/wots.stm.

Take a stroll through the Arts & Entertainment district of Frostburg, MD, at its last Arts Walk of the season on October 3 from 5-8 pm. The Arts Walks are self-guided walking tours that feature opening receptions and exhibitions at downtown art galleries, theater performances, live music at several downtown locations, hands-on art projects on the Arts Bus, shopping at a variety of retail destinations, and dining at some of the area’s finest restaurants. Click here for more information.

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As an arts marketing blogger I have covered a lot of stuff. But one thing I haven’t covered enough is how to bring in groups to see your work.

Having a group sales strategy is key for arts organizations, particularly ones that perform in smaller venues. Not only do groups feel up those seats, they also bring in a very nice energy to the event. So let’s talk about how to get them in:

1. Start early. Most organizations that bring groups to events starting planning those group outings months in advance. For example, the show my day job is running now starting contacting groups in late May.So if you want to start bringing in groups for your late winter, early spring events, the time to get moving on that is now. Read the rest of this entry »

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Girl Scout and VolunteerAt each level of Girl Scouts, the girls can earn their Music Badge, which includes requirements of learning how music is composed and created, and creating vocal and instrumental music of their own. The Florida State University chapters of Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI), a professional women’s music fraternity, and Tau Beta Sigma (TBS), a band service sorority, joined together to put on a free workshop to help over 100 Tallahassee Girl Scouts earn their music badge in a day-long event.

“We had 57 Brownies, 38 Juniors and 23 Cadets signed up to attend, as well as over 40 parent chaperones,” said SAI service chair Candice Netti, who worked alongside the TBS service chair to coordinate the event.  Some of the girls had participated in music lessons or music classes at school, but for others, this was their first experience with music.

Read this entire story here.

Just like I set a ridiculous goal for myself, it is possible to set individual goals inside a Cause on Facebook.

So, my initial gift of $500 to the Cause I joined – Keep the Arts In Public Schools – did not achieve nearly as much as it could. Had I looked closely at the structure of giving in Causes I would have created far more impact.

In Causes you can set up a Personal Pledge, a Fundraising Goal, and a Donor Match.

The first, a Personal Pledge is a declaration to the community that by a certain date you’ll achieve a level of contribution. It opens a space for people to encourage you, and it creates an aim for you to shoot for. I’ve found that by pledging a certain amount by a certain time, the circumstances of life organize themselves in surprising ways to support the word we give.

Somehow, the circumstances in our life respond to what is important to us. And Pledging is important on many levels. Read the rest of this entry »

October is National Arts and Humanities Month, and in celebration of NAHM, we’ll be taking a look at some of this year’s highlights here on ARTSblog. With more than 400 events happening across the U.S., we won’t have time to check them all out but encourage you to see what’s going on in your town by visiting http://maps.artsusa.org/nahm.

Today, The Rockford Area Arts Council presents the State of the Arts and the presentation of the 2009 RAAC Mayor’s Arts Awards. The luncheon takes place at Cliffbreakers in Rockford, IL. Click here for more information.

The Arts Council of York County in Rock Hill, SC, is hosting the 5th annual Downtown Blues Festival, October 1-3. It features three days of smokin’ blues entertainment in Old Town Rock Hill. One-day passes are $12 each, two-day passes are $20 each, and a three-day pass is $30. Click here for more information.

Does any of the stuff we do all day actually work? Surely much of it does. And some of it surely doesn’t. So, how do we figure out which is which, and do more of what works?

As Director of Marketing and Communications for a small-but-growing Chicago theater company, these were the questions at the top of my mind nearly two years ago when an opportunity arose to attend an education series on the subject of return-on-investment, co-sponsored by Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and the Wallace Foundation. What I learned in that workshop put me on a path to revolutionize several aspects of TimeLine Theatre’s marketing with the goal of measurement. Now I understand in much greater detail what works (and what doesn’t so much). And I am thrilled that I’ll get the chance to share some results and tools as a first-time presenter at this year’s National Arts Marketing Project Conference.

TimeLine Theatre is an Equity theater located on the north side of Chicago (just a few blocks from Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs), dedicated to presenting stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues. With a budget of about $750,000 and just four full-time staff members, we are — like I’m sure all of you — required to make the most of limited resources. The more I learn about ROI, the more I understand that implementing techniques to measure the actual results of marketing tactics is not a “should do” toward this goal. It is a “must do.” Read the rest of this entry »

The coming months do not just bring cooler temperatures, scarves, and cocoa, they’ll also bring us a boost in stirring arts events. Here at Americans for the Arts, we’ve been working hard to create proper arts celebrations for National Arts and Humanities Month which starts in a few short days, rounding out in the end of October.

But don’t worry, the celebration will carry through November as the Business Committee for the Arts celebrates the work of ten remarkable companies at The BCA TEN: Best Companies Supporting the Arts in America. Spotlights will shine on Thomas A. James, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Raymond James, the recipient of the BCA Leadership Award, and Movado, Inc., which being inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame. Art and business partnerships will be celebrated in proper fashion on November 19 at one of my favorite museums—The Museum of Natural History in New York City. Read the rest of this entry »

My previous entries were intended to broaden the discussion of the arts education constituency beyond the K-12 age group and learning environment.  Arts learning and pre-professional development extend to university students many of whom are not traditional arts majors but who may find themselves pursuing careers in arts management, and for some arts education management.   With this entry, I reiterate that learning and education in and through the arts doesn’t begin in Kindergarten.  Young children often have very limited access to quality arts education because of the lack of arts specialists in early childhood classes, schools and centers.  Furthermore, meaningful developmentally appropriate arts learning experiences with teaching artists and within cultural institutions may be restricted by lack of funding, resources and suitable content.

Are we leaving a substantial part of our population out of arts education?  Each infant, toddler, preschooler comes with an adult attached—a parent, caregiver or teacher.  Therefore, each young child genuinely touched by the arts means an adult sees and understands the impact of the arts on a very personal level.  Not only is this the beginning of arts education, this may be the beginning of advocacy for a parent or other significant adult—the zealotry that Eric Booth speaks of. Read the rest of this entry »


This past Friday, hundreds of people turned out in Philadelphia to protest Pennsylvania’s new tax on arts institutions.  This imposes a 6 percent tax in Pennsylvania, with an even higher percentage in the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, on admission prices to performing arts, museums, historical sites, zoos and parks.  Read more about the tax here and watch coverage of the protest above from the Philadelphia Weekly.

Send us your comments about the tax and tell us what’s happening in your community.

Each year, Wolf Trap hosts over 40 grad and undergrad students as Interns working side-by-side with programming, administrative and artistic staff.  The program has consistently been included in “America’s 100 Best Internships—The Princeton Review”; in 2009, we received over 800 applications for 31 summer positions.   These applicants represent  a myriad of academic programs business, communications, theatre, government, design, IT, education majors and all are looking for a career; it is our job to encourage them to find themselves and their skills in the business of the arts.

Recruitment efforts include outreach to African American and Latino/Hispanic students for participation in our diversity programs.  Wolf Trap’s Internship Program is directed by the Education Department—and all know that it is different from a management or HR program.  Interns even see the difference: “The greatest strength of the Internship Program is that it is housed in the Education department and is thus structured to be a learning experience.  The program is nestled within a very positive and nurturing environment.”  Read the rest of this entry »