There were times when I would mention that I was starting a new job with the City of Philadelphia and the most frequent response was a remark about the “Good Government Job”—somewhere I could stay for a long time with the implication that I could never be fired. Sure, this comment might have been a joke but even so, I hadn’t really thought of it that way. Sure, having health benefits for the first time would be a major plus for me, an arts manager early in my career, but what motivated me most was the opportunity to learn about and directly impact the arts and culture community of a major city. Citywide programs, grant making, creative development opportunities, policy changes—I pictured myself having a hand in making Philadelphia a city where artists could thrive and residents could enjoy a diverse range of arts and culture experiences. I now believe this difference in perspective is generational: my peers in City Hall share my ambition and passion to affect change and make an impact with our work. Read the rest of this entry »
Professional development takes many forms, from hands-on workshops to panel discussions. Important opportunities for leadership and building relationships with mentors provide a robust calendar of growth options. An Emerging Leader’s plan for success needs to explore how to best combine education tracks to improve at their current job while simultaneously growing into their dream career.
As a Steering Committee member of the Rising Arts Leaders of San Diego (RALSD), I work with my committee to develop programs that fit the needs of emerging leaders in arts and culture. We build workshops, facility tours, and discussions around issues that affect our arts community, meanwhile crossing departmental bridges with networking events and social gatherings. But personally, I have found that the best professional development happens when you get your hands dirty. Read the rest of this entry »
Museums go with schools like peanut butter goes with jelly. It is a beautiful symbiotic relationship built on a variety of interactions including field trips, distance learning, traveling artifact programs, and teacher professional development. While I have worked with all of these programs in the past, I have been living in the teacher professional development neighborhood of the museum world since 2009. I work with K-16 teachers and other museum educators on projects meant to support and enhance teaching in the humanities through my job with the Creative Learning Factory at the Ohio Historical Society (the Factory).
Lately in conversations with teachers and museum colleagues, we have been talking less about content and more about learning. We have been asking the question, “How do we make learning an inextricable part of life?” Educators in formal and informal learning environments are bombarded with resources, regulations, and tremendous responsibilities. We struggle to find balance and time for exploration and reflection amid testing, lesson planning, and classroom management. Peter D. John articulates this frustration well in his 2006 article about non-traditional lesson planning, “The model of planning and teaching represented in this minimalist conception develops as follows: aim > input > task > feedback > evaluation. It reflects an approach to teaching and learning wherein reflection and exploration are at worst luxuries, not to be afforded, and at best minor spin-offs, to be accommodated.” As cultural organizations, we are in that unique “third space,” which allows us to facilitate those crucial habits-of-mind that lead to life-long learning. I think of this as looking at the “whole educator” in the same way the education field has championed the “whole child.” Read the rest of this entry »
When University of Utah College of Fine Arts students asked for tools and resources to prepare them for the transition into the workforce, Dr. Liz Leckie, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Affairs, listened.
The students’ request resonated with Dr. Leckie given that it reflected what the collective voice of more than 100,000 arts graduates from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) was saying, which is that in addition to mastering their craft, art students want more time spent on career and post-graduate advising.
And, earlier this month, the students got exactly that. By hiring and empowering student staffers, Dr. Leckie created a team that envisioned and executed the highly-anticipated first annual ArtsForce conference, a two-day, student-driven event including an array of workshops, panels, networking opportunities and a keynote presentation by the esteemed associate director of Vanderbilt University’s The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy, Steven J. Tepper, PhD. Read the rest of this entry »
Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium (EALS) is an annual meeting for young professionals who work in the arts—organized, executed, and run by American University (Washington, DC) Arts Management students. It is an opportunity to discuss the issues, unique or universal, that affect all arts organizations.
One of the goals of the 6th Annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium is to address what is on the horizon for arts organizations and arts professionals.
With that in mind, we at EALS are very proud to announce that the opening plenary speaker for the event this year is Karen Brooks Hopkins!
Karen Brooks Hopkins is the president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), where she has worked since 1979. As President, Hopkins oversees the institution’s 179 full-time employees and facilities, including the 2100-seat BAM Howard Gilman Opera House and 874-seat BAM Harvey Theater, the four-theater BAM Rose Cinemas, the BAMcafé, and the BAM Fisher–opening in fall 2012.
Since taking over as president of BAM in 1999, Hopkins has led the organization with stunning competency, riding the waves of financial and philanthropic ups and downs. The annual attendance has exploded, the budget has over doubled, and the organization’s endowment has almost tripled to over $80 million. Read the rest of this entry »
One of five regional networks of public art administrators, NowPAC (Northwest Public Art Council) had their annual meeting in Portland, OR, on November 2. Nearly 70 people from four states and two countries attended the one-day session.
We met in an old, renovated building that now serves as headquarters for the hip landscape architecture firm Place Studio. Architectural models, flying brooms (Halloween had just past), and material samples surrounded us as we settled in to look at images, hear from our peers, and re-connect with the tribe.
Kudos to the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) for organizing a great line-up of speakers and for hosting a great after-party at RACC Executive Director Eloise Damrosch’s “tree-house” home.
Presenters shared with us final designs for public art projects, stories of de-accessioning challenges, and new ideas on commissioning best practices.
In roundtable discussions, we covered:
- the fine lines between being an administrator and a curator
- changing demographics and how that affects what we commission
- how to recover from a public art project gone bad Read the rest of this entry »
As I work with talented administrators across the country, I hear one familiar refrain over and over:
“I don’t have TIME to add one more thing to my calendar—whether that is advocacy work on behalf of arts education or fundraising or a myriad of other essential tasks that I know would make a difference to my organization or to the arts generally”.
In fact, you may not have time to read this blog post! Yes, there is always the option of committing a few more hours to our day, making that a 16-hour day instead of a 14-hour day, but in the name of sanity, that is not an option for this discussion.
In an effort to discover some realistic options, I have reviewed the literature on standard time management and discovered some of the suggestions that we have probably all heard before.
- Start each day by listing the tasks and activities you want to accomplish.
- Rank these tasks and activities in order of priority. List the three to five most difficult tasks and try to get those out of the way first.
- Block out time on your calendar for the highest priority task on the list.
Yes, all good but what else? I am impressed with two ideas that my partner, David Bury, suggests:
The first is called Reallocating the Easy Twenty Percent: Ask yourself, what things I currently do that someone else (a staff member, a board member, a volunteer) could do nearly as well as I? Create a list of those things. Identify what person(s) are best qualified to handle the tasks, recruit them, and then ask them if they would take these on for you. You will be surprised. They will say yes. Read the rest of this entry »
While sitting in the second row of seats looking at heat and confetti maps of sample websites, I was reminded of the number one reason I love attending the National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC): all these smart people are sharing information that I get to go home and use, and everyone else will think I’m a genius.
OK, maybe not that last part, but how lucky can we get with colleagues who are willing to help us out like this? I’m as much of an internet nerd as the next new media manager, but it seems that there’s a new resource or tool every week that promises to track, update, monitor, and help you do something with your website, and I can’t be the only one who doesn’t have oodles of extra time to be cruising the internet testing new tools.
In the measuring and improving your ROI session, Caleb Custer and Dan Leatherman presented a metrics-driven and scientific method-inspired “try, learn, think” cycle for testing and implementing changes to an organization’s website.
By using tools they introduced as well as now old standards like Google Analytics, they urged us to “prove the user’s expectations right and they will feel more in control” (paraphrased from Jakob Nielson) and therefore happier with their experience with your site.
Plunk, Clue, Crazy Egg, and others were offered as options for testing user interface, and there were resources for tracking links, segmenting visitors, optimizing landing pages, and then even more about email layout and design, A/B testing…and so on, and so on…and more. Read the rest of this entry »
I made a friend at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference who told me that she had come to the conference to “recharge.”
This was Monday morning, after two full days of breakout sessions and two late nights of conference festivities, and I may have looked at her like she was crazy. “Recharge?” I asked her. “But I’m exhausted!”
She clarified: “I needed to fall in love again with what I do.” Ahh, now I understood.
I knew what she meant and I think the sentiment may be shared by many of my fellow conference attendees. Like them, I work hard…and a lot.
I also work freelance, which means that I’m juggling the competing demands of six or seven clients at any given time. Add to this keeping up with laundry and trying to go on dates with my girlfriend, and it’s rare that I have a spare moment to reflect on why I do what I do.
This professional self-reflection is crucial, however, as the conference weekend reminded me.
The sessions were, for the most part, excellent. The keynotes were fantastic. The networking was valuable. I feel like I’ve come away concrete tools, supportive connections, and useful insights.
But what I’m most happy to take away is a renewed love of what I do. Read the rest of this entry »
This was my first time attending not only the National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC), but also any conference. I am very happy to conclude that my experience was amazing and I would recommend this to anyone that is in any marketing field (and also if you are a student)!
I was asked to write this post-NAMPC piece to deliver a student perspective on the conference…here it goes!
Engagement, Mission, Alive, Active, Participatory, Stickiness, Contextualization, Spry, and Pray…all the words that come to my mind when I think of this past weekend (the list is endless!).
As a student, I came to NAMPC to primarily explore and listen to some of the TOP professionals in the marketing industry. What I received was something I wasn’t ready for.
Presenters sprawled from all areas of business (banks, agencies, venues, organizations, institutions)—both in and out of the confides of the performing arts, which I felt was an awesome exposure and a true springboard for discussions within the sessions.
Like I said earlier one of the reasons why I decided to attend was to listen and expand my critical thinking in an industry that I’m still learning about, that quickly changed to networking and participating within the sessions—I thought ‘when would be the next time I would be able to ask an audience engaging question directly to Alan Brown?’ So I did. Read the rest of this entry »
I wanted to start out by giving you the link to my Storify—My #NAMPC experience via Twitter. I ended up winning the Most Tweets Award [at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC)] and I received a fun t-shirt!
I also won by connecting with more people on Twitter and getting to meet some of these people during the conference. It has been a fun and educational experience for me. If you had to miss the conference they promised to archive the keynote presentations soon.
NAMPC had its ups and downs, but mostly ups. However, through the entire conference, this year, like last year, there were some common themes running through most of the presentations.
Instead of a complete play-by-play like I did last year, I would like to leave you with the my most impressionable takeaways and some of my own thoughts (in no particular order):
- You gotta have passion—if you don’t, people will not be attracted to your mission, cause, project, program…Without passion, what is the point?
- Be weird and silly—or in other terms, be true to your own particular self. It’s not about being similar—it’s about standing out.
- Adding your own personality will increase your likeability.
- Have fun! What makes people want to join? Fun! If it is not enjoyable to you, it probably won’t be to your audiences.
- Everyone is diverse in one way or another. These are my personal thoughts: We can learn to reach out to others after we discover our own sense of diversity and understand personally what it feels like to be stereotyped and discounted.
- Keep ego out of the organization.
- Visual impact is necessary! There is so much blah, blah, blah, and not enough “language” of our arts. If you are a music organization, it would be good to have clips and videos of performances and music. If you are an artist, make viewing your art an experience. If you are theater and dance, videos are a must. How can people figure out if your art is for them if they can’t “see” it and feel it? Read the rest of this entry »
I enrolled in an arts management graduate program with plans of pursuing a leadership position within a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to enhancing community engagement in contemporary art and craft.
Community-based art centers had made a powerful impact on my own artistic and personal development, and I wanted to contribute to that field in a way that would impact others.
In just a few short months, my graduate coursework opened my eyes to the national arena of arts policy and advocacy. I realized that supporting community arts engagement was layered and complex. My professional interests began to shift towards the major challenges and strategies influencing the advancement of local arts development across the United States.
It was around this time that I heard about the Local Arts Classroom, a web-based leadership development series offered by Americans for the Arts through a combination of interactive webinars and conference calls.
The opportunity was open to professionals with less than 10 years of experience in the arts sector and graduate students. The curriculum was focused around key topics, including:
- Community Arts Development
- Creative Placemaking
- Stewardship & Resource Development
- Cultural Planning
- Arts Advocacy
- Board & Staff Development
Some of these topics were new to me, but many resonated with my current graduate coursework and research interests. I remember thinking—I wonder what I could learn from discussing these issues with a whole new group of people? What new connections would I draw between my academic studies and professional practice? Who would I meet? What new material would I be exposed to in a setting outside the university environment? Read the rest of this entry »
When the call for applicants went out for the first ever Local Arts Classroom (LAC) program with Americans for the Arts I didn’t hesitate to apply.
I had attended the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in 2011 and returned to work thinking, “I need more.”
I felt the need to stay connected to what’s happening on a national level, but had a desire to learn more about what I should be doing as a Program Director of a local arts agency. I read blogs, followed @Americans4Arts on Twitter, and was connected on a surface level, but missed the sense of camaraderie the convention facilitated.
Enter the LAC and a chance to learn about cultural planning, making space for art, advocacy, board and staff development, fundraising, and making the case for the arts; a chance to learn with arts administrators from all over the country; a chance to absorb different perspectives and experiences of those who know what it’s like to be an arts administrator.
I say “absorb” because that was how I approached the class: to be a sponge, and absorb every concept, idea, and piece of advice I could possibly take in.
One concept that I’ve applied frequently since I graduated from LAC is one about fundraising, planning, and community:
When planning for an event or fundraiser, organizations typically take this approach:
- Name the activity/goal/event
- Ask: What is a success for the organization?
- Ask: Was it a success for the community? Read the rest of this entry »
Join us June 14–16, 2013 in Pittsburgh, PA to continue the national conversation on the “new normal” as the 2013 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention draws attention to how the arts are meeting the needs of communities as demographic shifts continue to take place
The Annual Convention program will explore community strategies to adapt, transform, and revitalize in a changing landscape to build the 21st century American community.
We are seeking proposals for two types of presentations:
- Convention Sessions: sessions are 90 minutes and should be complete learning experiences with specific outcomes and learning objectives. Sessions can include multiple speakers, but are limited to no more than four speakers per session.
- Roundtable Discussions for Career, Organization, and Community 360. Roundtable Discussions are a great networking and issue-based discussion opportunity. Roundtables offer a variety of topics related to promoting sustainable careers in the arts and tackling difficult capacity-building issues in arts organizations and your greater community. Roundtables should only include one discussion leader per table.
Proposals should focus on innovative strategies, tested tools, and best practices that relate to the frames of the Annual Convention, including diversity, equity, and access; placemaking; education; social impact; technology; demographic shifts; and building business partnerships and new business models.
Beyond these frames, we welcome sessions addressing fundamental concepts in fundraising, advocacy, marketing, and board development and engagement.
Americans for the Arts is also accepting sessions for the Emerging Leaders Preconference and the Public Art Network Preconference. Both will take place June 13–14 and end by the start of the Annual Convention. The opportunity to designate your session proposal for one of these two preconferences can be found on the Convention Session proposal form.
Submissions are only accepted online at convention.artsusa.org/proposals, but hurry and submit as our deadline is September 19!
We look forward to hearing from you!
Like in many other states, arts and education leaders in Utah are concerned that children in elementary schools are not receiving high-quality, regular instruction in the arts. As a result of these concerns, a unique and comprehensive set of arts education collaborations is taking shape in the state.
Due in large part to the visionary leadership and financial support of philanthropist Beverley Taylor Sorenson, partnerships between colleges of fine arts and colleges of education, as well as with the state office of education, school districts, and various arts organizations are thriving and growing at an amazing pace.
As a result of these collaborations, people whose paths may otherwise never have crossed are instead working closely together to ensure that Utah children receive an education that includes high-quality arts learning and art-making experiences.
Faculty and administrators within and across universities throughout Utah are working together as never before, collaborating in planning, teaching, researching, community engagement, and advocacy. In March, deans of Utah’s colleges of fine arts and university arts educators met for a statewide “Arts Education Summit” to share successes at their respective institutions and to develop strategic goals for expanding and improving elementary arts education.
Out of that meeting came action items that included the development of a “wiki” for comparing arts education curricular requirements across universities, as well as a plan to expand the reach of the summit to include stakeholders in colleges of education. Then, in July, deans of colleges of fine arts and education met to discuss topics based the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities’ Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools report.
Topics of discussion included how university arts and education programs can: build collaborations, expand teaching opportunities for the arts in K-12 schools, influence policymakers to reinforce the place of the arts in schools, widen our research focus to include evidence gathering on K-12 arts education, and prepare pre-service teachers to provide high-quality arts instruction in their future classrooms. Read the rest of this entry »