A Sea Change in the Volunteer Landscape

Posted by Amy Webb On October - 24 - 2014

Adapting to a shift in the volunteer landscape is one of the exciting challenges that the Arts & Business Council of New York (ABC/NY) and many arts organizations now face. As a new team running ABC/NY, my colleague Caleb Way and I are putting our heads together to come up with innovative ideas to expand and modernize our local volunteer matching program. To give some context, the Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA) program was founded by ABC/NY in 1975 with the mission of serving to connect nonprofit arts organizations with pro bono volunteers. However, as web-based volunteer matching services such as VolunteerMatch and Taproot have taken off, and businesses expand their volunteer or corporate responsibility (CSR) programs to include more expansive and flexible options for employee engagement, the old model of staff-managed volunteer matchmaking is simply not enough. ABC/NY’s new strategic direction combines the idea of volunteer matching with a much broader menu of employee engagement options. Read the rest of this entry »

Employee Engagement at the Greater Hartford Arts Council

Posted by Ali Fernandez On October - 24 - 2014
Ali Fernandez Headshot

Ali Fernandez

One of the challenges facing employers today is attracting and retaining a talented workforce while concurrently asking employees to do more with less. Employee satisfaction is increasingly linked to the employers’ commitment to providing opportunities for employees to engage with one another and the broader community.

We all know that the arts encourage creativity and innovation, but they are also an amazing vehicle for team building and collaboration. As a United Arts Fund that conducts employee giving campaigns, the Greater Hartford Arts Council is uniquely positioned to facilitate employee engagement, while raising funds and awareness for our arts community. Read the rest of this entry »

Many Hats, Giving Back

Posted by Julia Harman Cain On October - 23 - 2014
Julia Harman Cain headshot

Julia Harman Cain

I remember little about my first time on stage: a ballet recital at age three. We danced to “Winter” from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” and I had no idea what I was doing. Happily, the VHS evidence shows that I did not fall down.

In first grade, I made my theatrical debut. My class produced a short skit about caring for the environment, and I played the crucial role of Super Recycling Kid (who recycled to save the planet). My favorite part was wearing my superhero cape for the rest of the school day.

Ever since, the arts have been a constant in my life. As a kid, I loved the transformation inherent in theater: we created a world together onstage and, for a few hours at a time, it was just as a real as anything else. Read the rest of this entry »

4 Reasons for Volunteering with Emerging Arts Leaders

Posted by Ethan Clark On October - 21 - 2014
Ethan Clark

Ethan Clark

As a fellow emerging professional in the field of arts management, we may often think of ways to emerge or advance our careers.  I believe that we can do this by learning about current issues/trends, practicing/exploring new skill sets, networking with a purpose and gathering insights from experienced professionals. I’ve found all these opportunities for career development in one place, the Emerging Arts Leaders DC (EALDC).

EALDC is a volunteer-led initiative that provides professional development, networking, and information relevant to emerging arts professionals in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. EALDC is part of the national Emerging Leaders Network, a program developed by Americans for the Arts. Read the rest of this entry »

A four step plan to engage younger patrons

Posted by Elaine Maslamani On October - 21 - 2014
Elaine Maslamani

Elaine Maslamani

Every organization needs a plan for their board members and major donors of the future. If engaging young professionals ages 25 to 35 is integral to your organization’s objectives, here are four tips that other young professional groups for arts organizations that I have worked with have found helpful.

  1. Project a inviting welcome

From the outside looking in, arts organizations can sometimes appear to have a “clique-y”-culture that would ignore new members unless they have the proper pedigree. Often, the ideal candidates for young professional art groups are shy to come forward thinking that they won’t “belong” if they can’t name the artist, converse in a detail about the composer’s work, quote Shakespeare, or be able to contribute more than $1,000. Read the rest of this entry »

All The Places You’ll Go (Once You Get Out of the Gate)

Posted by Ann-Laura Parks On October - 10 - 2014
Ann-Laura Parks

Ann-Laura Parks

Ever come back from a conference inspired, energized, and ready to unleash your brilliant ideas on your colleagues? You’re cruising along on a creative high until you hear, “That’s a good idea BUT…” followed by the reasons why it can’t be done.

When yours truly was a young worker bee, I heard some reasons that made head/desk contact a regular occurrence:

“We don’t need a blog. Nobody reads those. They are just vanity projects for people with big egos.” – executive director of a large nonprofit

“Why on earth would we ever want to post anything on YouTube?” - marketing director at a federal agency

More likely, though, you’ll hear something like, “I’d love to but we just can’t spare the money/time/staff for that.”

If you want to avoid the quick, early death of your idea, getting the go ahead from the authorizers in your organization will be your first challenge. Read the rest of this entry »

Inverting the Pyramid

Posted by Gerald Yoshitomi On October - 10 - 2014
Gerald Yoshitomi

Gerald Yoshitomi

Who in the organization already knows how to increase audiences and revenues? It’s the Marketing Director and the Marketing Team. They’ve been attending Marketing Conferences, participating in online webinars, reading and commenting on blogs, etc. They are hired and paid because they are expected to know more about marketing than anyone else in the organization. They have the responsibility to hit the numbers, but lack the authority to implement the practices that would assure success. Read the rest of this entry »

7 Steps to Upgrade Your Organization’s Analytics

Posted by Jordan Silton On October - 9 - 2014
Jordan Silton

Jordan Silton

There are lots of buzzwords in web analytics. Attribution and big data get a ton of attention, but there are several things you can do right away to upgrade your organization’s analytics abilities. The following seven steps can help your arts organization get the data you need to make better decisions about your digital marketing campaigns.

(1) Audit Your Implementation

The first step to upgrading your analytics is to ensure you are confident in the quality of your data. Arts organizations have more data than ever to inform decisions about their digital presence. It’s nearly impossible to get “perfect” data, but with a tag audit, you can ensure tracking code is properly placed throughout your website and your analytics platform is configured to deliver results you can count on. Read the rest of this entry »

Public Art – An Unexpected Approach to Improving Health

Posted by Sara Ansell On September - 3 - 2014
Sara Ansell

Sara Ansell

My path to becoming an arts administrator is a tad unorthodox. My advanced degree is in social policy analysis and my previous professional experience is that of a public health researcher. In fact, I’m not sure I identify solely as an arts administrator. Or a policy analyst. Or a public health researcher. Instead, the world I inhabit is that of someone passionate about connecting with individuals and communities, in a tangible and meaningful way, to help address the deeply entrenched health-related challenges they face every day. Threaded throughout my winding journey to the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is a core belief that we all live within a layered reality – one defined by our individual traits and behavior, our social relationships to friends, family, and neighbors, our living and working conditions including the physical environment around us, and the economic, political, and social policies and systems that impact us locally, nationally, and globally. The ecosystem in which we all interact and navigate is complex and impacts our health in very real ways. The extent to which each layer of our reality hinders and supports us as we strive for well-being varies for each of us. Read the rest of this entry »

Public Art: A Personal Journey of Discovery

Posted by Todd Eric Hawkins On September - 2 - 2014
Todd Eric Hawkins

Todd Eric Hawkins

My path to a career in public art was not by personal design. I moved to New York City to get discovered as a performer and live the dream I had cultivated since birth (or at least since seeing Jennifer Holliday sing on the Tony Awards.) There were a few steps in that strategic plan that I had not taken into account, like surviving in New York City. I needed a survival job.

As an actor, I found a home with a children’s theater company, and paid my bills as an Executive Assistant. During the week I worked for the Dean of Columbia Business School, where I studied how he dealt with a Board and a staff, while on the weekends I was a beast, a mermaid king, a rocking horse, or a giant.

As the years and survival jobs passed, I began to realize that the arts field was much broader than I had realized. It offered many meaningful opportunities to engage with all types of audiences beyond the stage. Read the rest of this entry »

LAAs, FAQs, and Other Acronyms: Reflections from a Summer Intern

Posted by Kelly Olshan On August - 15 - 2014
Kelly Olshan

Kelly Olshan

Ask a fine arts professional about arts management and most will respond with something along the lines of, “What is that?” At least that was my experience when I inquired about the field at my small liberal arts school in Asheville, North Carolina. Such reactions lead me to believe I was entering the uncharted territory of a highly specialized, obscure field. This is not the case. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Administration and Passion-Driven Learning

Posted by Talia Gibas On August - 15 - 2014
Talia Gibas

Talia Gibas

Last week I had the privilege of attending “The Arts and Passion-Driven Learning,” a three-day institute with Harvard Project Zero. Brilliantly, the institute was presented in collaboration with The Silkroad Ensemble; after treating us to an inspired performance, Silkroad musicians joined us as facilitators and learners for the full three days. Thanks to them, the sessions prompted frank and moving conversations about rehearsal as a learning environment, how artistic risk-taking can feel like liberation and/or transgression, and how cultural differences manifest in unexpected and uncomfortable ways.

On the morning of our second day, I had an uncomfortable thought. I was attending the institute as neither a classroom teacher nor an artist, but as an arts education administrator. Understanding how to keep teachers and students engaged obviously informed my work. But I wondered – can arts administration be as “passion-driven” as teaching and learning? If I believe teachers should be given license to examine how and why they stay invested in their teaching practice, shouldn’t I do the same for my own work as an administrator? Read the rest of this entry »

Back to School Arts Education Checklist

Posted by Stephanie Milling On July - 30 - 2014
Stephanie Milling

Stephanie Milling

With the end of the summer rapidly approaching, it is time to start thinking about the new school year. Even though I have been living on an academic calendar most of my life, I never get tired of the excitement and exhilaration that accompanies new beginnings. As a college professor, the new year provides a time to develop an artistic and educational vision for the future and determine how I will guide students in their learning. As we wrap up summer looking forward into the fall, it is time to consider what should be on our back-to-school checklist. In addition to planning curriculum, it is necessary to consider the arts education advocacy agenda for the year ahead and our role in supporting its continued benefits to students around the country. Read the rest of this entry »

The Genius Awards: Using Art as a Community Innovation Strategy

Posted by Robb Hankins On July - 16 - 2014
Robb Hankins

Robb Hankins

As part of ArtsinStark’s 20/20 Vision planning process, an Innovation Committee made up of ten community leaders created a strategy for positioning Canton and Stark County, Ohio as one of the 10 most innovative communities our size in America. One of the first initiatives we called the “Genius Awards.” In 2013 we began inviting companies to form 8-person teams to solve a challenge and come to the first Genius Awards, which were held on March 18 of 2014.

Here were our goals:

1) To have all kinds of companies to participate: high tech, manufacturing, law firms, banks, and newspapers.

2) To find a $5,000 sponsor, charge companies a $500 entry fee, and sell $25 tickets to the event.

3) To establish a “county innovation index” for improving the level of innovation in our county over time.

The Invite: We host one of the 60 united arts fund drives in America, so during our annual visit with company CEOs we planted the seeds for the “Genius Awards.” As soon as we got one of the biggest companies in the county to sign up and then banks and law firms, it got easier to sign up the rest. In the end, 13 companies agreed to send a team for year one. Here’s a link to the contract each company signed. Read the rest of this entry »

Amy Webb

Amy Webb

“When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.” -Betty Bender

My name is Amy Webb, the newest member of the Americans for the Arts staff and the Director of Arts & Business Council of New York, and I’m so excited to kick off this week’s Unique Business Partnerships blog salon!

My goal in my new position is to increase our New York City presence and enhance connections between the arts and the business communities using a variety of current and developing programs. One of these is the implementation of an employee engagement program for businesses to connect employees with the arts and to help businesses increase recruitment and retention as well as overall employee satisfaction in the workplace. In my last job at Neuberger Berman–an asset management firm–I witnessed a transformation in the workplace once a well-rounded employee engagement program was put in place. There was a buzz around the office and it seemed like, for the first time, everyone was involved in something artistic. There are numerous ways–both big and small–to bring art to your employees, and from my experience they will thank you. Read the rest of this entry »