Educating for Entrepreneurial Arts Education Leadership

Posted by Stephanie Riven On May - 2 - 2012

Stephanie Riven

I recently spent a semester at Harvard as a visiting practitioner in the Arts in Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

While working directly with the Arts in Education Program, I was also able to audit classes at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and attend special lectures and programs sponsored by the Harvard Business School. Needless to say, the entire experience was fascinating on many levels.

As one might expect, the differences between the course offerings and student culture in the above mentioned schools were striking—yet many of the future challenges students in these different institutions will face are the same.

Based on my experience, the talented students in the Arts in Education Program tended to orient themselves towards issues related to process—the process of learning and the integration of concepts in advocacy, education, research, and policy. Though each of these students expressed a deep commitment to their work, many also expressed trepidation about entering an uncertain job market that is famously under-resourced and socially marginalized.

By comparison, the students I encountered at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School were excited about their potential to begin something new. They were learning how to become entrepreneurs by developing skills related to organizing, team-building, and risk-taking while they were also growing in their understanding of how to garner financial, cultural, and social capital for their future ventures. Read the rest of this entry »

10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2012 (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Randy Cohen On April - 11 - 2012

Randy Cohen

Almost one year ago, I posted The Top Ten Reasons to Support the Arts in response to a business leader who wanted to make a compelling case for government and corporate contributions to the arts.

Being a busy guy, he didn’t want a lot to read: “Keep it to one page, please.”

With the arts advocacy season once again upon us…(who am I kidding, it’s always upon us!)…here is my updated list for 2012 which now includes new stats from our Arts & Economic Prosperity IV Study.

10 Reasons to Support the Arts

1. True prosperity. The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. They help us express our values, build bridges between cultures, and bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, or age. When times are tough, the arts are salve for the ache.

2. Improved academic performance. Students with an education rich in the arts have higher GPAs and standardized test scores, lower drop-out rates, and even better attitudes about community service—benefits reaped by students regardless of socioeconomic status. Students with four years of arts or music in high school average 100 points better on their SAT scores than students with one-half year or less.

3. Arts are an industry. Arts organizations are responsible businesses, employers, and consumers. Nonprofit arts organizations generate $135 billion in economic activity annually, supporting 4.1 million jobs and generating nearly $22.3 billion in government revenue. Investment in the arts supports jobs, generates tax revenues, and advances our creativity-based economy.

4. Arts are good for local merchants. The typical arts attendee spends $24.60 per person, per event, not including the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and babysitters. Non-local arts audiences (who live outside the county) spend nearly twice as much as local arts attendees ($39.96 vs. $17.42)—valuable revenue for local businesses and the community. Read the rest of this entry »

The Subversive Tack: Arts + Economy

Posted by Tara Aesquivel On April - 6 - 2012

Tara Aesquivel

Thinking about the economy can be rather depressing. For many people, it can seem like a volatile god: a mysterious force that affects everything and we mere mortals have no control over its whims.

Let’s start with a basic idea of what I mean when I write about “the economy.”

Economic analysis is often an attempt to make the complex world of interconnectedness more comprehensible by quantifying everything, usually through monetization. In other words, the world is complicated so we make charts.

The “economy” is everything that happens. Economics is a (left-brained) method of analyzing everything that happens, and it’s mostly focused on measuring everything in dollars and euros.

This focus on monetization is problematic for the arts because the value of artistic products is not always calculable by how much it cost to make them or by how much people are willing to pay for them. In fact, we often strive for the opposite—to give away the arts for free and know that they are priceless.

The subversive tack accepts economics for the way it is and uses the system to our advantage. In order to do that, we need to know the basic principles and be able to speak the lingo: quantification.

The arts sector is getting much better at quantifying the value and impact of the arts. Here are three great examples:

I took my first economics class in graduate school. I had no idea what to expect. As it turns out, the heart of economics can be summed up in a phrase: “supply and demand.” This is something we already understand in the arts. Read the rest of this entry »

The Arts as a Management Tool (from The pARTnership Movement)

Posted by Giovanni Schiuma On April - 5 - 2012

Giovanni Schiuma

When we think about creativity, we need to think of it as something we do every day—like thinking. We cannot avoid thinking and creativity is the same. We cannot avoid being creative. So when we ask the question: How does the corporate world value creativity? (and vice versa), our focus should not be creativity but something else. Culture.

Organizations need the arts. They need culture in their business. We are living in a transition time and this time calls for new models, a new management mindset, and new management tools. 21st century organizations are managed and organized for the 20th century business landscape.

But we are in a completely new landscape.

Today’s organizations need new competencies because they are dealing with new challenges, and these challenges I summarize in what I call the five e’s:

1) Experience. More and more, we are living in an experience-based economy. When we buy a suit, when we buy a product, when we buy a service, what we are basically buying are experiences. And so an organization needs to know how to build and how to shape those experiences. Read the rest of this entry »

A Swiss pARTnership (from The pARTnership Movement)

Posted by Scott Provancher On March - 22 - 2012

Scott Provancher

As I drove up to a series of nondescript warehouse buildings, I double checked the directions to make sure I was in the right place.

Inching slowly forward, I eventually spotted the sign I was looking for: Forbo Siegling, Inc. As I got out of my car, I wondered for a second if this donor relationship visit was a good use of my time.

We often say that relationships are the key to fundraising success. But more often than not, we catch ourselves spending most of our time only nurturing the relationships that we know will lead to significant donations. We forget that most people are not born as arts philanthropists and need to be inspired by an experience or a relationship that will turn them into arts lovers.

Well “corporations are people too,” to quote Mitt Romney.

Just like people, businesses need their own breakthrough moments that inspire them to become meaningful supporters of the arts. As stewards of our institutions and the arts community, we always need to be searching for partnerships with the business community that make these special experiences happen.

Forbo Siegling, Inc. is a modest donor to the Arts & Science Council and the reason for my visit that day was to meet with the North American CEO, Wayne Hoffman. After a tour of their facility, I learned that in addition to being one of the world’s largest manufacturers of conveyer belts (think U.S. Postal Service and airport baggage systems), they were owned by Forbo which is headquartered in Switzerland. Read the rest of this entry »

Greater Lansing’s Art in the Sky

Posted by Leslie Donaldson On March - 21 - 2012

Leslie Donaldson

Driving around Greater Lansing, MI, commuters may be surprised to discover 672-square-foot works of art on area billboards that normally carry advertising.

These artful billboards can be found in the sky along the highways leading into Michigan’s capitol city, near highly trafficked shopping centers, and outside local neighborhoods, all transforming traditional advertising spaces into an artful visual display.

These billboards, which were all launched as an initiative to bring art to the masses via the medium of outdoor advertising, is made possible through a program called Art In The Sky, a unique partnership between the Arts Council of Greater Lansing and local advertising company, Adams Outdoor Advertising, highlighting the local arts community.

Debuting in March 2011, Art In The Sky billboards have been installed in various locations around the Greater Lansing region. To date, Adams Outdoor has donated space to local artists, each of whom have received an Individual Artist Grant from the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. A panel of peer reviewers selected the artists’ respective applications to receive funding for a specific arts project with a local public component. Grantees were selected on artistic merit and the potential impact of their public project upon the community. Read the rest of this entry »

Joanne Riley

The new pARTnership Movement has really resonated with the Cultural Alliance of York County (PA). Though we solicit individuals now, we started, and mostly still are, a corporate campaign for the arts.

Annually we raise $1.2 million dollars. More than 300 companies make that happen by contributing to a campaign for arts, history, and culture. That’s an incredible number considering we are a town of 44,000 and a county of about 400,000.

The founders of the Cultural Alliance were the heads of large corporations here. They supported the concept of a United Arts Fund and invested in it. We had success our first year (2000) and have continued to meet or exceed goal.

The message that we clearly stated, from the beginning, is that the arts are good for business. Though our message was not so clearly articulated as the pARTnership Movement has been, the fact is we use those eight reasons to establish the arts’ genuine ability to change our community.  Read the rest of this entry »

Stop Stealing Dreams (Part One)

Posted by Seth Godin On March - 12 - 2012

Seth Godin

All week, we will be sharing (numbered) points from Seth Godin’s new education manifesto, Stop Stealing Dreams (what is school for?). You can download a free copy of the full 100-page manifesto at Squidoo.com

3. Back to (the wrong) school

A hundred and fifty years ago, adults were incensed about child labor. Low-wage kids were taking jobs away from hard-working adults.

Sure, there was some moral outrage about seven-year-olds losing fingers and being abused at work, but the economic rationale was paramount. Factory owners insisted that losing child workers would be catastrophic to their industries and fought hard to keep the kids at work—they said they couldn’t afford to hire adults. It wasn’t until 1918 that nationwide compulsory education was in place.

Part of the rationale used to sell this major transformation to industrialists was the idea that educated kids would actually become more compliant and productive workers. Our current system of teaching kids to sit in straight rows and obey instructions isn’t a coincidence—it was an investment in our economic future. The plan: trade short-term child-labor wages for longer term productivity by giving kids a head start in doing what they’re told.

Large-scale education was not developed to motivate kids or to create scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system. Scale was more important than quality, just as it was for most industrialists. Read the rest of this entry »

Margot H. Knight

Those of us in the mission-driven arts resource business (this means YOU), all have stories about the moment you connected to a donor from the business community—an authentic, real MOMENT when you and your organization connect either professionally or personally with the businessman/woman on the other side of the desk, cocktail, or dinner table.

Sometimes it happens right away. Sometimes a relationship takes months, even years, to develop.

And sometimes, that moment of truth reveals a dead-end future, or more painfully, spells the end to an existing relationship. Here is some of my best advice based on my own experiences—I hope it’s helpful:

1. Always bear in mind that money is the means to an end, not an end to itself. This premise has ripples—it means you won’t compromise your mission for money. It means you won’t get ahead of yourself in a conversation and talk about money before you talk about mission. And it means you MUST understand what your potential business partner values. For him or her, money is the means to an end as well.

2. You have to do your homework. Just like you, the person sitting across from you woke up with a notion of what a successful day looks like. Before you walk into any business, large or small, do a little research. What does the business do? How and where do they do it? How are they doing? What are the external pressures bearing on THEM? Most businesses have vision and mission statements of their own. Look them up. The old adage of “seek to understand before being understood,” comes to mind. Read the rest of this entry »

John Bryan

John Bryan

#1 Richmond has an enviable business community as evidenced by its being one of only 11 cities to be headquarters to more than five Fortune 500 companies and one of only 12 cities to have a Federal Reserve Bank.

#2 Richmond’s arts/culture community is likewise enviable as evidenced by its emergence from the recession with all of its major arts and culture organizations thriving: symphony, opera, ballet, theatre, art museum, science museum, history museum, children’s museum, botanical garden, and many dozens more.

#3 Richmond has a slew of enviable national creative superlatives such as being home to the #1 marketing company (Martin Agency – think Geico gekko), #1 public art university (VCU), #1 university advertising program (VCU Adcenter), and forthcoming building designed by the #1 architect (Steven Holl).

Those three sentences have resulted in a three-year Greater Richmond Chamber-led initiative entitled i.e.* – a grand partnership that spotlights and energizes creativity and innovation for three purposes: enable the business community to leverage the creative community in accomplishing real business objectives; provide expanded audiences for the creative community; and foster new relationships and partnerships.

Richmond’s local arts agency—CultureWorks—is one of the active partners with the Chamber’s i.e.* initiative and three current projects demonstrate the partnership’s value. Read the rest of this entry »

Making the Case for Arts and Business Partnerships

Posted by Valerie Beaman On February - 29 - 2012
Valerie Beaman

Valerie Beaman

There are many reasons that partnering with the arts advances business goals from recruiting and retaining a workforce, to rewarding employees, to building communities, and more.

The pARTnership Movement has identified eight strong reasons for businesses to partner with the arts. While some of these reasons will resonate better than others, depending on the industry, size and needs of the business, one reason that continues to gain traction is the role of the arts in fostering critical thinking.

Building and inspiring a creative and innovative workforce remains incredibly important as the country works to increase creativity and innovation.

Did you know that creativity is among the top applied skills sought by employers? More often than not business leaders say creativity is of high importance when hiring. The arts are about critical thinking, solving and reframing problems and facts in ways that reveal insights and opportunities.

Music, creative writing, drawing, and dance provide skills sought by employers of the third millennium. In fact, 72% of companies that give to the arts recognize that it stimulates creative thinking, problem solving, and team building.

Through our work, we know that the arts play an important role in fostering critical thinking. Read the rest of this entry »

Oscar Winners Thank the Born, Unborn, and Reborn

Posted by Kristy Callaway On February - 28 - 2012

Kristy Callaway

The 84th year of the Academy Awards has been an awesome year for the Oscars! There were representatives and entries from almost every continent and profession.

In the many acceptance speeches, appreciation and awe poured from the mouths of the Oscar recipients in English, French—and occasional profanity. Although they were gracefully cut off by fade away music, recipients (aka winners) were given the opportunity to extend their “thank you’s” off-stage while other nominees were recognized.

And who did they thank?

They thanked critical thinkers and problem solvers, communicators, collaborators, creators, and innovators…Actually, who did they not thank?

French connection: The Artist took Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Costume Design, Directing, and Music Original Score. The recipients stumbled through English and soon slipped into hyper-fluent French to thank producers, art directors, and crews for lighting, animation, sound, casting, etc.

Where are these expert talents cultivated? And how do they reach a level of super proficiency, as Malcolm Gladwell describes in Blink?

One of the goals of arts education is to produce the next generation of articulate, scholarly entrepreneurs who dare to have a vision and see it through. And only through practice, internship, shadowing, and real-world experience does one reach proficiency. Read the rest of this entry »

Are You the Monet of Marketing? (from The pARTnership Movement)

Posted by Reina Chadwick On February - 23 - 2012
Reina Chadwick

Reina Chadwick

Business leaders are faced with many decisions. They are responsible for a staff, various departments, as well as decisions that affect the company and ultimately their own livelihoods.

Within these decisions lies a leader’s ability to think outside of the box. Business leaders around the country are being forced to think differently as a way to cope with the ever-changing economic landscape. While this is not a brand new phenomenon, we are seeing an increase in those business leaders who are looking to the arts to build their competitive advantage.

Don’t believe me? Look right in our [Miami] backyard for a few examples of businesses that have partnered with arts organizations: Kaufman Rossin & Co., TD Bank, American Express, and Northern Trust Bank. These companies recognize that the arts play a major role in the community and that people in the community see their name, thus creating brand awareness.

But businesses are in it for more than just brand recognition. Companies that place high value on the arts in their company culture tend to have less turnaround and have more productive employees. These are just some of the incentives to working with the arts.

The InterContinental Miami is a prime example of a successful business-arts partnership as they recently initiated an arts program right in their hotel lobby.  Read the rest of this entry »

Wayne Andrews

Where we live is important to each of us. It is a key part of our identity. It’s a source of pride, even if our hometown is the punch line to a joke.

Is it really the good schools, parks, and access to shopping centers that make us live where we live? Many people find a fulfilling sense of community in smaller towns and rural regions that do not have all the advantages of larger communities.

Maybe it is not the measurable elements that give a place a sense of community but rather those intangible qualities that create the feeling. Could it be that working with your neighbors to build a park is more important to the sense of community than the actual park? The arts have always been one of the focal points around that help to build a sense of community.

Town festivals, cultural events, and celebrations are often the most visible signs of a community working together. Each pumpkin festival, summer concert series on the town square, or art sale pulls together diverse elements of the community.

An example of this can be seen in Oxford, MS, which has worked to define itself as an arts community. Numerous programs have been launched in partnership between various segments of the community.

Last year working with local business owners, artists, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, a monthly art crawl was launched to highlight the visual artists in the region. Read the rest of this entry »

Social Media Trends for 2012

Posted by Tim Mikulski On December - 20 - 2011

David Armano of the Harvard Business Review recently published six 2012 predictions for social media.

Although he made some inaccurate predictions about 2011, here is what he is suggesting for 2012 (with links added by me):

Convergence Emergence. For a glimpse into how social will further integrate with “real life,” we can look at what Coca Cola experimented with all the way back in 2010. Coke created an amusement park where participants could “swipe” their RFID-equipped wristbands at kiosks, which posted to their Facebook account what they were doing and where. Also, as part of a marketing campaign, Domino’s Pizza posted feedback — unfiltered feedback — on a large billboard in Times Square, bringing together real opinions from real people pulled from a digital source and displayed in the real world. These types of “trans-media” experiences are likely to define “social” in the year to come.

The Cult of Influence. In much the same way that Google has defined a system that rewards those who produce findable content, there is a race on to develop a system that will reward those who wield the most social influence. One particular player has emerged, Klout, determined to establish their platform as the authority of digital influence. Klout’s attempt to convert digital influence into business value underscores a much bigger movement which we’ll continue to see play out in the next year.  Read the rest of this entry »

Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.