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 »

Closing the “20 Arts Administration Revolutions” Blog Salon

Posted by Abe Flores On April - 20 - 2015
Abe Flores

Abe Flores

Last week, we heard several leaders call for and outline new directions for the arts field – the directions may be viewed as revolutions or simply a guided evolution from the current status quo. Nevertheless the ideas presented offer a vision for the field where diversity, authentic engagement, funding parity, branding, audience data, play, blurred divisions, and catalytic professional networks, among other things, give arts administrators a greater understanding of a communities’ needs, wants, and aspirations in order to ensure we are serving as well as leading all segments of our community with and through the arts. 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 »

Mission Creep

Posted by Bridget Woodbury On April - 19 - 2015
Bridget Woodbury

Bridget Woodbury

In Boston, a nonprofit organization called the Theatre Offensive came to the conclusion that the work they were doing – the work that their mission mandated – was stale. When the company was founded, it was a challenge to find live performances that addressed LGBT issues and contained LGBT characters. TTO strove to make that comment widely available in Boston. Now that theatre addressing sexual orientation and gender identity has become common in Boston proper, TTO’s adherence to its mission – to make queer-themed plays accessible – suddenly feels out of touch with the energy behind its founding. Read the rest of this entry »

Nicholas Dragga

Nicholas Dragga

Lubbock, Texas has a metropolitan area of about 300,000. Lubbock is also about a six-hour drive in any direction from the next major city. The isolation of Lubbock could be considered a disadvantage – limiting collaboration, diversity, and ideas. Graduates from the local university often leave the city seeking jobs and more money in bigger markets.

However, the isolation may also be one of Lubbock’s greatest assets. Lubbock has a mentality of – “if we want it, we are going to have to build it – ourselves.”

The Charles Adams Studio Project (CASP) embodies that sentiment. CASP wants some things, and they are building them.

The following is an interview with CASP project manager, Chad Plunket. 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 »

Cards Against Humanity: Arts Management Expansion Pack

Posted by Brea Heidelberg On April - 15 - 2015
Brea Heidelberg

Brea Heidelberg

Cards Against Humanity is marketed as a party game for horrible people. It is essentially a politically incorrect, dark humored game of mad libs. Gameplay with Cards Against Humanity is very simple. Each round someone asks a question from a black card and each player responds with his or her funniest white card. There are holiday, 90’s nostalgia, and science expansion packs available. While there is currently no official arts management expansion pack, arts management education is preparing an increasingly diverse student population to handle the smorgasbord of circumstances, from hilarious to heartbreaking, that arts administrators tackle every day.

Arts management education is in the midst of a few revolutions that speak to various elements of one main question: how do we become better as a field? There are a variety of opinions about what better actually means and how we will know it when we see it. Does it mean that we become more specialized? Read the rest of this entry »

Candace Kita

Candace Kita

When was the last time that you were told to “play harder”? Unless you happen to work at an extremely progressive workplace such as this one—where employees can mentally recharge in a gallery-turned-ball pit—the possibilities for play tend to disappear as we grow older. While arts nonprofits tend to acknowledge that creative thinking and experimentation propel innovation, resources are rarely allocated towards opportunities for staff to regularly weave play with work. 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 »

A Tulsa Take on Fellowship – Listen Up Artists!

Posted by Ken Busby On March - 6 - 2015
Ken Busby

Ken Busby

Those of you who read my periodic blogs know that I have a real passion for Tulsa.  As I’ve described the Brady Arts District where the Hardesty Arts Center, Guthrie Green, Philbrook Downtown, and Woody Guthrie Center reside along with a growing number of arts-related venues, restaurants, and boutiques, I’ve received comments from a number of readers that they had no idea Tulsa had so much going on in the arts.

Today, I’m sharing with you a tremendous opportunity for early and mid-career artists – the Tulsa Artist Fellowship.  This new fellowship will cultivate Tulsa’s art scene by both supporting local artists and attracting national artists. The Tulsa Artist Fellowship provides an unrestricted stipend of between $15,000 and $40,000, free housing, and workspace. Artists will live and work in Tulsa’s Brady Arts District, participating in the local arts community. Fellowships are merit-based with a one-year term with the option to renew for a second year. In this inaugural class of fellows, the fellowship will focus on Public and/or Gallery-Oriented Visual Arts. Read the rest of this entry »

Inspiration Needs to be the Starting Line for Professional Development

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen On February - 20 - 2015
Kristen Engebretsen

Kristen Engebretsen

Dear Educators,

How many times have you been in this situation?

A classroom full of students sits arms crossed, slouched, or fiddling with their phones. Their thoughts are elsewhere. You can tell because of their daydreaming absent gazes.

Is this a typical High School classroom? Perhaps, but today I’m talking about one of the many professional development courses I’ve attended over the years. You see, these students are also educators. And ideally they are being taught new ways to teach.

Most of them have seen this kind of thing before. Fads and trends in education policy are nothing new to them. So it makes sense that they’re not connected to the material in front of them. Read the rest of this entry »

Barbara Whitney

Barbara Whitney

I will be forever grateful to Americans for the Arts (AFTA) for the timely research and training they provided for our region’s arts education advocacy efforts in the spring of 2013. Americans for the Arts’ Narric Rome reached out to the Arts Council of Greater Lansing after hearing headlines regarding the Lansing School District’s decision to disproportionately eliminate arts, music, physical education, and media teachers. As we were later to discover, news had quickly traveled to multiple national conferences, delivering fear of similar situations to follow in communities across the country. Read the rest of this entry »

Remaining True to the Deep Inner Conviction in Your Art

Posted by Andrew Moses On February - 18 - 2015
Andrew Moses

Andrew Moses

Andrew Moses (age 14) is a home-schooled, Tae Kwon Do black belt, with a composer fellowship at the LA Philharmonic. In the 90 second video below, Andrew and other students describe their experience with the arts in a colorful, rich, and beautiful description of the impact of arts education. Below, the director of the film interviews Andrew about his experience shooting this video.

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a miniseries about Americans for the Arts new suite of tools for Arts Education Advocates, Encourage Creativity videos. Read the rest of this entry »

Making Major Asks to Private Donors

Posted by John Bryan On February - 18 - 2015
John Bryan

John Bryan

There is a gigantic, come-and-have-some, boatload of private sector money available to all arts organizations. New research from Richmond, Virginia confirms that most don’t ask for it.

What’s the pot of money? It is the money in personal pocketbooks of the arts organizations’ most loyal constituents: pocketbooks that already make ongoing donations in response to grassroots solicitations such as direct mail, special events, and crowd-source platforms. But new research shows that most arts organizations rarely have personal, look-you-in-the-eye meetings with their best donors to ask for major amounts of money. The donor who loyally and happily writes an annual $1,000 check never experiences a personal meeting to ask for $25,000. Read the rest of this entry »

Cultural Districts and Communities: Catalysts for Change

Posted by Theresa Cameron On February - 6 - 2015
Theresa Cameron

Theresa Cameron

This week’s blog salon on Cultural Districts and Communities:  Catalysts for Change explored how cultural districts are improving, engaging, and sometimes changing their communities. Kicking off the salon, I introduced our new tool – the National Cultural Districts Exchange, which is a suite of online tools and resources to provide research and information about cultural districts. This new resource is meant to be an exchange of ideas, information, and resources – and this blog salon supplemented this new tool with great viewpoints and unique perspectives on cultural districts. Read the rest of this entry »