What IS Your Business Model?

Posted by Maud Lyon On May - 19 - 2011

Maud Lyon

Business structures are one thing; business models are another. For all nonprofit arts and culture organizations, there are six sources of revenue: Gifts from individuals; gifts from corporations; foundation grants; government support; earned revenue (tickets or sales, fees for service, rentals, etc.) and investments (including endowments).

Your business structure establishes a foundation and sets the stage. (For all the charitable support, being a 5o1(c)3 is essential. An LC3 would focus more on earned revenue.) However, your business model is the mix of those six sources. Cultural organizations are not all the same – they have a number of different business models, all within the 501(c)3 structure. Each drives different behavior and requires a different attitude. As a thought-starter, here are five ways to think about it. In our experience, most organizations have a mixed model and are not purely one or another.  Read the rest of this entry »

Incubators – Not Just for Chickens

Posted by Valerie Beaman On May - 18 - 2011

Valerie Beaman

Arts incubators are not a new model, but it seems to me that recently some of them have taken on a new joie de vivre. I attribute this to the fact that they are no longer necessarily focused on developing artists into new 501(c)(3) organizations, but empowering ordinary mortals to try their hand at creating something for their own imagination and amusement.

The success of organizations like Brooklyn’s 3rd Ward is confirming research which finds that the younger generation wants to participate in art, not passively observe it. 3rd Ward is a for-profit membership organization which provides space, back office services, food, galleries, a supportive community, and top-of-the-line creative resources, including photo studios, media lab, jewelry studio, wood & metal shops, along with a huge education program. You don’t have to be a member to enjoy the classes, but membership gets you access to the studios.  Read the rest of this entry »

Improving Lives Through Community Arts Education

Posted by Rob Schultz On May - 17 - 2011

Rob Schultz

As an arts administrator with responsibility for community arts education programs, it’s too easy to get caught up in the routine side of management: revenue, expenses, supervising staff, policies, procedures, publicity, and the rest. While necessary, these are merely tools to reach the more crucial and satisfying aspect of community arts education: improving people’s lives and helping them be happy.

In Mesa, AZ, our community arts education programs are fairly comprehensive, and growing.

In 2005, through a “Quality of Life” half-cent sales tax increase approved in 1998 by our citizens, Mesa completed a $99.8 million arts complex just a few blocks north of the original Arts Center site. Because our arts education classes had grown over the years and demand was high, the new Mesa Arts Center’s design included 14 fully-equipped visual and performing arts studios on two floors in two buildings, including an 8,000 square-foot ceramics studio and kiln courtyard.  Read the rest of this entry »

White House Blogs on Arts Education

Posted by Tim Mikulski On May - 16 - 2011
Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

Late last week Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, took to the White House website to inform the voting public of the recent President’s Council on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) report, Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools.

Although the report recently made a splash in the arts education world and it was picked up for publication in some publications across the country, it was comforting to see that Ms. Barnes felt it important to utilize the stature of whitehouse.gov to spread the word, too.

In addition to highlighting the work of PCAH, Barnes also spotlighted the first family’s series of concerts (and poetry reading) held at their home since moving to Pennsylvania Avenue.  Read the rest of this entry »

Lessons from Harvard’s Arts in Education Program

Posted by Stephanie Riven On May - 10 - 2011

Stephanie Riven

I have just spent three months as a visiting practitioner at the Harvard Graduate School of Education/Arts in Education (AIE) Program. Steve Seidel, director of AIE, extended an invitation to me to study, teach, and serve as a resource for students during the semester.

So what did I discover after three months of talking and meeting with young people, auditing classes, and attending forums, lectures, and workshops on arts education, education reform, and leadership?

Three takeaways, among many, include:

1) With changes in the economy, the influence of technology and the expansion of entertainment and leisure options, there is a need for bold ideas and creative leadership in shaping a new vision to move the arts and arts education forward. It is our young leaders who possess many of these ideas. Edward Clapp’s collection of essays from emerging leaders in the field entitled 20UNDER40 is quite simply one of the most exciting and hopeful set of ideas for our field that I encountered. I encourage everyone to get your hands on a copy of this book and pass it around to your staff and board members to create an intergenerational dialogue about how to conceive of, program, and sustain the arts and arts education in the future.  Read the rest of this entry »

Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

As previewed by Marete Wester last week on ARTSblog, this week has been chock full of data and recommendations from our own organization’s National Arts Policy Roundtable (NAPR); the U.S. Department of Education’s first look at national arts education from 2009-2010; and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) recommendations for the field.

The PCAH report, released today, seeks to put into practice President Obama’s campaign commitment to arts education as the committee has spent the past 18 months assessing the status of the subject, conducting research, and identifying ways to improve and advance arts education.

Their report offers five recommendations to “clarify the position of the arts in a comprehensive, well-rounded K-12 education that is appropriate for all students; unify and focus efforts to expand arts education offerings to underserved students and communities; and, strengthen the evidence base for high-quality arts education.”

PCAH recommends the following:

1. Build collaborations among different approaches – “move beyond internal debates in the arts education field about modes of delivery of arts instruction in order to address more pressing issues of equitable access and infusing more schools with a creativity-rich environment.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Unpicking the Equity Knot in Arts Education

Posted by Lynne Kingsley On May - 5 - 2011
Lynne Kingsley

Lynne Kingsley

If you were to untangle the unified, multi-layered rope that is arts education in public schools in this country, would you find equal amounts of art, music, theater, and dance strands?

Without thinking, most of us would say mildly, “well, not exactly.”

As a theater person, I realize this too, but it can’t be THAT unequal, right?

The Snapshot of Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 2009-10 (a first look at top level national data from the upcoming FRSS study), published on Monday reveals a huge gap between the number of schools that offer art (83 percent) and music (94 percent) instruction and those that offer drama/theater (4 percent) and dance (3 percent) instruction at the elementary school level.  Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week

Posted by Tim Mikulski On May - 4 - 2011
Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

Just before writing this post, I started to think of one teacher who made a significant impact on my life.

As I took a minute to think about it, I realized that there have been many more than one who still resonate with me as I veer closer to my 40′s than to my elementary school days. Although not all of them are arts-related, many of them are.

Going back to elementary school chorus, I can remember the excitement and pride I felt being selected for our fourth/fifth-grade mini-chorus. The eight of us practiced and practiced with Mrs. Hitchens during lunch for three weeks before singing a Russian folk song for our winter show.

I later joined our newspaper club, and Mrs. Carlin sparked my journalistic instincts as I conducted a few hard-hitting interviews with my classmates about leaving our school and going to the middle school.

In middle school, I can still remember playing 60′s folk music on guitar with music teacher Mrs. Meiss (I wish I had a video of us playing “Bad Bad Leroy Brown.”).  Read the rest of this entry »

Tagged with: | | |

The Role of the Arts in Educating America

Posted by Marete Wester On April - 29 - 2011

Last fall, 30 top-level decision makers and thought leaders from government, business, education, and the arts gathered at the Sundance Resort and Preserve for the Fifth Annual Americans for the Arts National Arts Policy Roundtable, to discuss this year’s theme – The Role of the Arts in Educating America for Great Leadership and Economic Strength.

Their conclusions are profiled in a new report issued this week by Americans for the Arts that calls for individuals across the public and private sector to recognize the arts as the transformational tools they are for making schools stronger and students more successful.

The recommendations offer insights from this cross-sector group on how we can better work together to ensure policies and practices are in place to increase arts in our schools.

The business and public policy communities are building consensus that if the nation is to succeed, an education steeped in the 4 “C’s” (Creativity, Collaboration, Communication and Critical Thinking) is not a luxury, but a necessity.   Read the rest of this entry »

An Arts Education Administrator Changes Careers

Posted by Kirsten Kilchenstein On April - 29 - 2011

Kirsten Kichenstein

After working in arts education for the past eleven years, I’ve transitioned to a new job where my day-to-day work is not administering an arts program.

While my new position still allows me to advocate for statewide arts education, I’m no longer an Education Director where every day I’m working alongside young people and teaching artists witnessing the transformation as teenagers discover their own creative voices and morph into someone new.

In this career shift, I can’t help but wonder, “Who am I now?”

Who am I without the daily struggle of encouraging a young person to take a creative risk?

Without the ability to directly experience the immeasurable rewards when that risk is taken, success is experienced and that young person will never again be the same?  Read the rest of this entry »

A Conversation with Kerry Washington

Posted by Tim Mikulski On April - 28 - 2011

Taking a break from her duties as co-chair of our 2011 National Arts Advocacy Day, Kerry Washington sat down with Americans for the Arts’ Graham Dunstan to discuss her personal arts experiences growing up in New York City, playing Ophelia, approaching acting as a social scientist, cultural diplomacy, and the importance of public funding for the arts.

An Eventful National Arts Advocacy Day (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Natalie Shoop On April - 27 - 2011

Kevin Spacey

Just a few short weeks ago, actors Alec Baldwin, Kerry Washington, Kevin Spacey, and Hill Harper joined more than 550 arts advocates representing 40 states from across the country on Capitol Hill for National Arts Advocacy Day 2011.

This year’s event took place at a critical time when legislators were battling over program cuts to reduce the deficit.

The day began with the Congressional Arts Kickoff where several members of Congress spoke to advocates about the importance of arts funding.

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), who chairs the subcommittee that oversees funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Smithsonian, said that while some in Congress believe that government should not support the arts, “I respectfully disagree.”   Read the rest of this entry »

From CA to Tribeca: Kevin Spacey on Arts Education, New Documentary

Posted by Tim Mikulski On April - 25 - 2011

After delivering the 24th Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Public Policy as part of Arts Advocacy Day 2011, Kevin Spacey spoke with Americans for the Arts’ Ben Burdick about his involvement in Shakespeare High, a documentary debuting at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival this week. Spacey also talks about the most important reason to fund arts education.

Joining Spacey in D.C. was 2006 California Charter School Teacher of the Year Brad Koepenick who is also a producer of Shakespeare High. Koepenick tells Ben about his experience as a student and arts educator, and the impact that certain mentors have had on his life and career.

Art of the iPad

Posted by Jonathan Gay On April - 22 - 2011

Jonathan Gay

When the iPad was introduced in 2010, the evolution of computer made five giant steps forward.

We were presented with a variety of uses including board games, books, and media.

This technology had its hand in the growth of business and pleasure, but what could this device mean for education, or even more specifically, in early childhood education?

As an art project manager for a preschool in Newtown, PA, I took that question one step further in a project I titled, “Art of the iPad.”

I believe that instead of fearing technology, now is the time to embrace it. I believe we must take steps to harness and adapt technology for children.

Something as simple as a touch screen device can have an impact on a child. The question that remained was how could I use this device in a way that would take a snapshot of the artistic mind of a child?   Read the rest of this entry »

Going with the Flocabulary

Posted by Alyx Kellington On April - 21 - 2011

Many of us know that “Three is a Magic Number” and can answer the query, “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?”

Schoolhouse Rock!, the animated musical educational films that aired before and after Saturday morning cartoons from 1973 to 1985 (for me, it must have been the debut season…) taught me how to count, remember my grammar, and introduced me to politics:

I’m just a bill.
Yes, I’m only a bill.
And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.

Many of those songs are deeply ingrained in my memory bank and come flying out at the darnedest times.

They are instant, whimsical visits to my past that serve a purpose: I had fun learning something I needed to know. And almost 40 years later, I can still remember it.   Read the rest of this entry »