Academic Rigor through the Arts

Posted by Deborah Vaughn On May - 20 - 2015
Deb Vaughn

Deb Vaughn

Arts integration has ebbed and flowed in American schools since the 1940’s, in various forms. I read a recent grant proposal that pointed out the challenges of the arts in service of other subjects versus the arts as equal too all subjects. The tension between STEM and STEAM demonstrates ongoing discomfort with integrating subject areas. But intellectual rigor and intense creativity are not mutually exclusive. Read the rest of this entry »

A Digital Spring-Clean and Favorite #ArtsEdTech Things

Posted by Jessica Wilt On April - 22 - 2015
Jessica Wilt

Jessica Wilt

It’s my favorite time of year – spring is here! The season of rebirth and awakening is finally upon us. We shed our layers, watch everything and everyone come back to life, spring-clean our nests, update our calendar with upcoming culminating events and pay our taxes too.

As part of my annual tax prep, a digital spring-clean ensues. Every year I set aside some time (less than an hour every few days for about a week) to comb through the previous year’s email. I move important messages and archive them in labeled folders; Google Drive is awesome for this task. Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s Revolt! Changing How the Arts View Value and Engagement

Posted by Angela Venuti On April - 19 - 2015
Angela Venuti

Angela Venuti

Let’s talk about starting a revolution. For rising arts leaders, we have a unique time period when our voices are not only valuable and needed as employees, but also make up a desired audience. Many of our institutions want to engage the young professionals and, hey, that’s us! The world is changing and our organizations are trying, desperately, to catch up. The idea of “audience engagement” seems to be subjective but constantly discussed in our industry as a must-have. But what would be the best way to bridge our work with our peers? Read the rest of this entry »

The Arts in Memphis: Transforming Communities, Defining Brands

Posted by Chris McLeod On April - 17 - 2015
SteelePhoto

Linda Steele

Chris McLeod

Chris McLeod

When we think of sectors of society that help to solve the challenges of underserved communities, some of the first that come to mind are education, healthcare, and job training. The Arts? Not so much. But the Arts can improve quality of life, transform the human condition, and amplify a voice for a community or neighborhood. When asked about the word “brand,” arts groups think of design, color, websites, and logos. Rarely do we think of social change and brand in the Arts. Something is happening in Memphis that is about to change the way we think about the brand of the Arts in our communities.

Below is a conversation between Linda Steele, Chief Engagement and Outreach Officer at ArtsMemphis, and Chris McLeod, an Arts Marketing and Branding expert and member of the ArtsMemphis National Community Engagement Advisory Council, about the arts re-branding revolution that is occurring in Memphis. Read the rest of this entry »

Artist Advocacy – An essential part of Arts Administration

Posted by JR Russ On April - 15 - 2015
JR "Nexus" Russ

JR “Nexus” Russ

In December of 2013, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies released a fact sheet about support for individual artists. They began the report with the following:

“Artists form the foundation of a state’s creative environment. They act as creators and individual entrepreneurs who provide many of the products and designs that drive innovation and shape a state’s cultural character. Many artists also work as educators, providing training in creative skills and passing on cultural traditions from one generation to the next.”

This is a descriptive, not a prescriptive statement. This is something that many, if not most, if not ALL of us, can probably agree with to some degree. And it is important to keep this in mind, as arts administrators, when it comes to artist advocacy. Because artist advocacy is a matter of culture and values. Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Kadzielski

Paul Kadzielski

The Georgia Aquarium had 3.5 million visitors in its inaugural year. This massive launch earned the cultural institution notoriety, donations, and public affection. But, as the novelty of its exhibits dulled, attendance at the state-of-the art facility dropped by 40% in the ensuing years. This steep slide raised flags amongst the staff, who began to ask questions: Why is this happening? Is this normal? What can we do about it? Read the rest of this entry »

Abe Flores

Abe Flores

Arts administration needs a bit of revolutionary thinking for the continued health of the sector. The future of the arts is already here, being ushered in by arts leaders who test norms, continuously evolve, and keenly anticipate tomorrow.

New audiences, technologies, and competition require successful arts leaders to implement new models, develop cross-sector partnerships and allies, and stay focused on their vision. The revolutions in our field do not appear to be complete departures from what we are doing. That is to say most of the fundamental work functions of arts administration remain (e.g. production, marketing, and fundraising). What is in flux are how these functions are carried-out. These new methods and considerations require some revolutionary minds. Read the rest of this entry »

Kellyn Lopes

Kellyn Lopes

There have been a slew of discussions lately centered around the potential in combining art and technology, two sectors that operate differently but ultimately share many similarities. A recent article in the New York Times by Alice Gregory questioned if in the physical world, the arts and tech are clashing cultures, or “parallel universes that rarely intersect.” Stephen Tanenbaum, on the other hand, noted that “arts and tech are not in competition with each other,” but are at a juncture that offers exciting opportunities for collaboration and growth, pointing to San Francisco in particular.

Perhaps instead of asking: “Are the arts and tech in competition?” we ask: “How can the arts and tech partner to foster the next wave of culture and technology?” Read the rest of this entry »

Branding and Marketing a Cultural District

Posted by Jessica Ferey On February - 3 - 2015
Jessica Ferey

Jessica Ferey

My fascination with cultural districts first started while living in Richmond, Virginia when the city announced the creation of an Arts District within the Broad Street Corridor. As an avid “culture vulture,” I had strolled through many First Fridays Arts Walks and attended a variety of performances at the newly built CenterStage performing arts center. I was thrilled to know the city recognized the potential impact culture could have on this area. Even after leaving Richmond for Washington, D.C. to attend graduate school, I continued to stay updated on the project and would bring it up in conversation whenever I returned to visit. Read the rest of this entry »

Elias

Elias Gross

Submitted before Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC) on Nov. 6, 2014:

As an Atlanta (well, just north of Atlanta) native, I’m beyond thrilled that the National Arts Marketing Conference let out a hearty “it’s fall, y’all!” and headed south for its 2014 conference.

From receiving the first conference materials to downloading the Guidebook app, I’ve been looking forward to absorbing the marketing expertise gathered together for NAMPC. My position with the Lexington Philharmonic requires me to manage all of our marketing, PR, design, and the infamous field of “other duties as assigned.” Now in my third season with LexPhil, I am wearing and delegating the wear of all these hats better than ever, but I have gaps in my knowledge that need to be filled. Read the rest of this entry »

Using Data to Connect Audiences to the Performing Arts: NAMPC 2014

Posted by Ariel Fielding On November - 24 - 2014
Ariel Fielding

Ariel Fielding

How does a marketing director with an audience-centered approach reconcile the growing primacy of data and digital marketing? Would it be possible for such a person — me — to collect, analyze, and mobilize data without reducing patrons to strings of zeros and ones? Would the things I love about my work — using images, language, and design to entice people to join the audience, and to give them a larger context for understanding the performing arts — would these things become less important in the headlong rush towards data? These are a few of the questions I brought to NAMPC2014, and the answers I found were more compelling, nuanced, and heartening than I expected. Read the rest of this entry »

Re-Imagining Beauty, Embracing Complexity

Posted by Andrew Horwitz On November - 20 - 2014
Andy Horwitz

Andy Horwitz

The question of aesthetics in socially engaged art is as fraught and enduring as our varied understandings of what constitutes critical discourse.

In a society so fully enveloped by the market-driven logic of Late Capitalism it is nearly impossible to relate to any work of art in a non-transactional context. We are told we are consumers purchasing experiences at a premium. “Cultural Authorities” tell us we are incapable of assessing the value of “art product” ourselves and so are provided with “reviews” that are little more than consumer advocacy, in newspapers such as the New York Times that are little more than lifestyle guides for the privileged. Read the rest of this entry »

Not Just Pretty: Aesthetics in Social Impact Design

Posted by Annie Wu On November - 18 - 2014
Annie Wu (2)

Annie Wu

Though the practice of design encompasses both form and function, conversation about it often circles around aesthetics—the graphics of the next iOS operating system, for instance, or the sleek lines of the newest Tesla model. In these instances, we assume that the objects are going to work; no one doubts whether or not the iPhone can accommodate newer iOS versions or whether the vehicle can actually carry people. When we discuss design in the social sector, however, this premise is problematic since whether or not a design solution meets a user’s needs can’t be taken for granted.

What role, then, do aesthetics play in social impact design? Read the rest of this entry »

A Conversation Starter: Arts Marketing and Education at NAMPC

Posted by Janet Starke On November - 14 - 2014
Janet Starke

Janet Starke

An Arts Educator’s Report from NAMPC 2014

I had the privilege and honor to attend this past weekend’s NAMP (National Arts Marketing Project) Conference in Atlanta. I co-presented a session with AFTA’s Arts Education Program Coordinator, Jeff Poulin. This stemmed from a conversation we first began last winter, when we discussed the concept of the “shared space between arts marketing and education.” Mind you, even as we might picture the “center” of the highly-valued Venn Diagram, there are varied tracks within that center:

1) Marketing arts education for the advancement of the programs

2) Using education as a tool for marketing the organization

3) Using education as a vehicle for increased audience development and ticketing sales Read the rest of this entry »

What Arts Rapid City learned at NAMP-Camp

Posted by Sara Olivier On November - 14 - 2014
Sara Olivier

Sara Olivier

We’re sitting in a local diner in Atlanta, trying to summarize what we gleaned from the National Arts Marketing Conference in a short blog post. Like it’s possible. Actually, we can’t seem to get away from #nampc this year in Atlanta. Seriously. We cannot leave. During Sha Hwang’s brilliant keynote, in which he rhapsodized about the brave pilots who were the first to “fly west with the night,” United airlines texted that our westbound, evening flight home was canceled. Oh the irony.

Our twitter feed is full of Rapid City, South Dakotans documenting the ensuing polar vortex. The public library’s handyman, Wade, is plowing the streets around the building. Eager librarians invite you to come in and warm up (this is the truth…no slant. Wade is a real person, and librarians in South Dakota tweet AND have 3D printers. Deal with it). Read the rest of this entry »