Blog Posts for Community Engagement

A Network Changes Everything

Posted by Ms. Jennifer A. Armstrong, Dec 05, 2011 1 comment

Jennifer Armstrong

Jennifer Armstrong

At our statewide arts conference this year, held un-ironically in Normal, IL, our theme was The Creative Breakthrough. We wanted to acknowledge that there is no ‘normal’ to pinpoint right now, but that it will be the creative who will break through to sketch out a new normal.

The gathering was a unique opportunity for arts leaders from across the state to come together and break through old ways of thinking, spark new ideas and connections, and to leave with the affirmation that we have the power and resources to break through if we use the force within ourselves, our communities, our sector, and the creative collective.

Our keynote speaker Bruce Mau of Bruce Mau Design and Massive Change Network, posed a theory that the only way to break through the noise is to come together. His key takeaway was - a network changes everything.

According to our post-conference survey, what leaders need most in order to have more breakthroughs is a sounding board, mixing open-mindedness, and institutional knowledge. Our Illinois Local Arts Network (LAN) provides for this and more for local arts agency leaders, and it wouldn’t be possible without the collaboration of two statewide institutions and a core team of Local Arts Agency (LAA) leaders.

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The WOO WAY

Posted by Erin Williams, Dec 05, 2011 0 comments

Erin Williams

Erin Williams (Photo by Paul Kapteyn)

Worcester, MA, is a New England industrial city busy reinventing itself.

Worcester is the heart of the Commonwealth; home to 180,000+ residents and 32,000 college students.

In the late 1990s a group of cultural organizations came together to create a unique coalition, in partnership with the City of Worcester, which shines a spotlight on the creative activity taking place in the region.

The Worcester Cultural Coalition is the unified voice of the cultural community. Today 72 cultural organizations (from the stately Worcester Art Museum to the feisty arts collective Fireworks) work together with creative entrepreneurs to incite a panoply of creative activity, encouraging residents and visitors alike to get engaged.

Inspired by the work of Charles Landry, an international authority on city futures and the use of culture in city revitalization, the Worcester Cultural Coalition organized a series of forums in 2005 to encourage a civic dialogue about our great city.

More than four hundred people – artists, entrepreneurs, business and civic leaders, students, and neighborhood activists – took part in many conversations led by Landry over the course of four days, which opened up a dialogue and encouraged people to express their unique vision of the city and its future direction.

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Welcome to Our First Local Arts Agency Blog Salon

Posted by Theresa Cameron, Dec 05, 2011 0 comments

Theresa Cameron

With local arts agencies facing many challenges, earlier this year Americans for the Arts conducted our second "Listening Post" survey designed to gather a collective perception about the direction of local arts funding and current trends.

Overall, our field seems to be optimistic about the future and are very resilient, but we also wanted to give folks the opportunity to talk about their communities.

As part of the Listening Post, we are launching our first very Local Arts Agency Blog Salon. For this Blog Salon, we’ve invited a sample group of bloggers representing the field as a whole.

Based on the Listening Post, we asked them to write about the following:

  • How the arts community can come together to address changing trends in arts attendance and audience engagement
  • The level of collaboration between arts organizations and non-arts community groups/agencies
  • Other trends/areas that will be important to your community in 2012 
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