Blog Posts for ABCNY

What’s volunteerism anyway? A recap of ABCNY’s Arts Volunteer Fair

Posted by Kellyn Lopes, Dec 04, 2014 1 comment

Kellyn Lopes Kellyn Lopes

The Wix Lounge, an impressive space for communal offices in Chelsea, Manhattan, is usually bustling with young tech entrepreneurs, artists, and freelance professionals. On Tuesday, November 18th, the Arts & Business Council of New York transformed the space into a new community: a networking event for arts organizations and business professionals interested in volunteerism. Almost twenty arts organizations, ranging from Carnegie Hall and the Bronx Museum, to TaDa! Youth Theater and ProjectArt, shared volunteer opportunities for professionals looking to get involved.

At the event, I was able to get the scoop about trends in arts volunteerism and the types of volunteer opportunities available. Here’s what I found:

The arts are a catalyst for volunteer work

Diane Conroy, Manager of Corporate Programming at Free Arts NYC, told me a fantastic story. Free Arts NYC provides arts educational and mentorship programs free of charge to underserved youth and families in New York City.

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The Art of Balance: Recapping the Crain’s New York Arts & Culture Breakfast

Posted by Caleb Way, Sep 25, 2014 0 comments

Caleb Way Caleb Way

Last Wednesday morning, New York City’s newly instated cultural commissioner, Tom Finkelpearl, greeted representatives from numerous local institutions for the Crain’s Arts & Culture Breakfast: A New Future for New York’s Culture Industry. Finkelpearl, formerly the executive director of the Queens Museum, opened the event with comments on the current landscape of the arts in New York City, a few of the challenges it is facing, and some of the “cultural perks” his office plans to introduce to address them. The commissioner touched on the roll-out of new Municipal ID Cards, saving the finer details for the Mayors announcement on Thursday, and commented on the newly allocated $23M to arts and cultural education throughout the city.

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Mentorship and Funding: Partnering through the Arts (from The pARTnership Movement)

Posted by Stephanie Dockery, Sep 13, 2012 2 comments

Stephanie Dockery

At her 1985 retirement, after 20 years as founding director of the Arts & Business Council (ABC), Sybil Simon chose as her legacy a program which helped diversify the nonprofit arts sector. This program took the form of The Multicultural Arts Management Internship Program. It became an overwhelming annual success, attracting hundreds of applicants from across the United States, thanks to ABC’s partnership with Con Edison.

This summer, 11 interns were selected to work in areas such as fundraising, marketing, programming, audience development, and finance for ten weeks. Based upon their personal interests, the interns are paired with theater and dance companies, arts service organizations, music festivals, museums, etc. Organizations chosen to participate entrust the Arts & Business Council of New York (ABC/NY) to interview all intern candidates and conduct the placement.

Supervisors at the arts organizations provide support in terms of creating an interns project (examples: assigning them to spearhead a marketing initiative for a festival or research prospective donors for a new capital campaign) and providing professional guidance for the eager students. Con Edison’s generous support lavishes interns with a $2,500 stipend (a rarity in the arts sector!).

The internship is not only unique because it promotes cultural diversity while empowering interns to take a significant role in their organizations, but also because business mentors are granted to the interns. Con Edison doesn’t just bestow financial support to our organization—they are personally involved by assigning staff as mentors. The mentors collectively represent alternative involvement in the arts, should the interns choose to work in business—they are patrons, donors, and board members—all excellent examples of our sector’s desired audience.

The business mentors attend events, take interns to coffee, visit their organizations, invite interns to their office, and attend site visits (where students lead a tour of their organization and present the results of their summer project). Con Edison also hosts the entire program for an opening breakfast and closing dinner ceremony, where the host supervisors, business mentors, interns, and Arts & Business Council staff come together to celebrate the program and reflect upon the summer.

Here's a video of some of the interns and mentors in action:

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E Pluribus Unum

Posted by Will Maitland Weiss, Dec 07, 2011 0 comments

Will Maitland Weiss

I had a cup of tea recently with Rachel Cohen. You probably don’t know Rachel, which is too bad.

She’s a choreographer, and her dance company is called Racoco. She’s lithe and creative—and happens to be really smart and articulate (it cracks me up to know her Ivy League alma mater, a place you do not associate with turning out dance talent).

She has a day job, three days a week, in order to afford cups of tea and, really, to feed her demon within, which cries out her version of Gotta dance!

There is absolutely only one Rachel Cohen, but—you know what I mean, you know some of them—there are hundreds of Rachel Cohens. Thousands, just in NYC.

She talked to me about how Racoco partners with a couple of other dance companies to pay for a booth at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters gig in NYC each January, and for a space and time to showcase some of their work. How else, we wondered to one another, might Racoco partner with other companies?

Share the effort to get college residency bookings, and share the residencies? Share marketing, having figured out who would perform on which weekend in which venue, so every one of their precious few NYC performances isn’t on the same Saturday? Share auditions, and you know what—share hiring of dancers who can perform the work of more than one choreographer, offering them a longer, contiguous chunk of employment?

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Supporting Arts Education is Good Business

Posted by Emily Peck, Sep 13, 2011 2 comments

Emily Peck

Emily Peck

What is the role of business in ensuring that our educational system provides the workforce that they need?

Businesses have been addressing this concern in a number of ways including forming partnerships with arts organizations and creating signature arts education programs to prepare students from elementary school through college to be successful in careers in both the for-profit and nonprofit world.

Training the Future Workforce to be Creative and Innovative

Businesses have a vested interest in ensuring that the future workforce is prepared for jobs that might not even exist yet and one of the top skills this workforce needs is creativity. 1,500 CEOs interviewed by IBM picked creativity as the most important leadership attribute.

According to the study, “creative leaders invite disruptive innovation, encourage others to drop outdated approaches and take balanced risks. They are open-minded and inventive in expanding their management and communication styles.”

Some businesses have taken on the challenge of building the workforce that we need and created signature corporate philanthropy programs that are training the next generation of employees in creativity and innovation through the arts. Here are two examples but there are many more:

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