Blog Posts for Community Engagement

My Year in Horoscopic Preview

Posted by Aileen Alon, Dec 07, 2011 0 comments

Michael Spring

Guru(?) Michael Spring

November -- Take ideas and turn them into concrete concepts. This is the month to unveil adventurous public art works because media and elected officials are in an uncommonly distracted state of mind due the launch of the holiday season and preoccupation with this year’s election cycle.

December -- It is OK to have a hidden agenda. Put as many items on the county commission meeting docket as possible this month -- the planets have aligned in celebratory configuration to curtail debate in the interest of good will, peace on earth, and holiday shopping for all peoplekind.

January -- Take time to get in touch with your inner budget. Now is the moment to act as though old issues are new again and assume a fresh and cheerful view as though it were not insanely optimistic to propose increases in staff and resources.

February -- Sometimes cupid plays tricks on us. Go ahead and believe that there will be love for the arts in the state legislature but redouble your advocacy efforts as the planets’ collisions over redistricting, casino gambling, and presidential primaries may deflect arts’ arrow’s flight.

March -- Adopt a playful demeanor. Never let your staff know how worried you are about forecasted revenue shortfalls, possible mergers, and the end of the world (see December below).

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Local Arts Agency - What’s in a Name?

Posted by Ms. Jennifer A. Armstrong, Dec 06, 2011 6 comments

Jennifer Armstrong

Jennifer Armstrong

Local Arts Agency -- These three words strung together cause confusion among the general public and within the arts industry.

What is a local arts agency? Even local arts agencies have asked this of me.

I receive inquiries from many discipline-specific organizations who are creating arts locally -- aren’t they local arts agencies, they wonder.

Illinois neighborhoods, villages, cities, towns, and regions are coming together and forming what could be considered local arts agencies (LAAs). However, provided with a commonly accepted definition or description, often the leaders in these efforts are reluctant to jump into that ‘box.'

Yet more and more non-LAAs seem to find a connection to LAA issues and want to join our Local Arts Network.

If I have to spend so much time explaining what an LAA is, does that label still fit?

Does it have relevance and resonance? Who falls under that nomenclature today? Is it exclusionary? Is it too wide-ranging?

Do our definitions and parameters still make sense? Does the label mean anything?

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Creating a Suburban Cultural Hub in the Metropolitan Kansas City Region

Posted by Sarah VanLanduyt, Dec 06, 2011 0 comments

Sarah VanLanduyt

Sarah VanLanduyt

How does a county arts council better serve the arts sector segment of its constituency? This is a question that began a two year conversation for the Arts Council of Johnson County (ACJC) and ended with this answer: a new website.

At first glance it’s a fairly simplistic solution; however for a small arts agency working within the greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area it’s a way to reach more constituents, connect them to regional resources and build a foundation for future ACJC initiatives and partnerships.

First a little background on the Arts Council of Johnson County.

ACJC is predominantly an advocacy organization who works with community leaders to promote the cultural and economic development of the county through the arts. Some of our previous work has included developing the Arts Business Plan and serving as lead advocate for Johnson County’s One Percent for Public Art Program. Through these projects and other initiatives ACJC has developed a good working relationship with the county government but in doing so we allowed our relationship with the arts community to weaken.

In 2010, ACJC held a series of forums for arts educators, organizations, and artists, to gain a better understanding of how to support their work in the community. It also gave us a chance to learn about their concerns and challenges within the current economic and political climate.

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Radio Lessons

Posted by María Muñoz-Blanco, Dec 06, 2011 1 comment

María Muñoz-Blanco

Almost a century ago, a gentleman by the name of Henry Garrett (then superintendent of the Dallas Police & Fire Signal System) installed a 50-watt radio transmitter in the central fire station to transmit fire alarms to the other Dallas fire stations.

Between fire alarms, Garrett connected the transmitter to a phonograph and played his collection of classical music recordings. Thus began the life of WRR, which 90 years later (and with a much, much stronger signal) is one of the divisions of the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs.

WRR 101.1 FM is a 24/7 classical music station, operating under an FCC commercial radio license. Because of this commercial license, WRR is what we call in the city an enterprise fund: the station sells advertising to generate revenues to cover its operating expenses, pay for capital upgrades, and keep an operating cash reserve.

The station plays an important role as the voice of the arts in North Texas, providing a venue for call-to-action advertising for arts organizations. I never expected to be in the radio business, but I find that many of the strategies used by the station to meet its bottom line can be successfully applied elsewhere in the agency and by our local arts organizations.

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Stewardship: Taking Care

Posted by Roberto Bedoya, Dec 06, 2011 1 comment

Roberto Bedoya

As an introduction to this blog post, I will be writing about Stewardship as a key to the values of the Tucson Pima Arts Council (TPAC), the community we serve, and to the cultural sector at larger because of its ethical and aesthetic dimensions.

To begin let me contextualize TPAC and Tucson a bit. TPAC is the designated local arts agency (LAA) that serves the city of Tucson and Pima County. Tucson is the second largest city in the Arizona and the metropolitan region’s population recently topped one million this year, of which 40 percent is Latino and Native American.

Pima County is the largest county in the state (which is bigger than the state of Connecticut) and is one of four Arizona counties that border Mexico. It is the home to two Native American tribes - the Tohono O’Odham and the Pascua Yaqui Nations; and numerous small towns and ranches.

Against this background, Southern Arizonans are mindful of the Sonoran desert that we live in, its heritages, its power, and its profound beauty and how these qualities informs the social imaginary that operate here. How taking care of the land and our relationships to each other are grounded in the ethos of stewardship.

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The Art of Collaboration

Posted by Maggie Guggenheimer, Dec 06, 2011 0 comments

Maggie Guggenheimer

At Piedmont Council for the Arts (PCA), we often find ourselves in conversations about collaboration.

The Charlottesville (VA) area has a high number of arts and cultural organizations for its relatively small size.

Don’t let the quaint college town aesthetic fool you – with organizations like Monticello, The Paramount Theater, Live Arts, The Pavilion, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, and three amazing festivals, we’re busting at the seams with high-quality cultural experiences. It’s exciting, but it’s also competitive. For many of the smaller nonprofit arts organizations in the area, collaboration is necessary for getting big projects done with a small staff and budget.

PCA participates in collaborative projects and gathers arts representatives together for networking events and roundtable discussions to address collaboration strategies. I’m amazed at how much even the busiest directors seem to appreciate the opportunity to connect face-to-face and think "big picture." In today’s funding environment, no one doubts the importance of effective partnerships, and we all need to unplug and brainstorm together every now and then.

But beyond this necessity, lately I’ve been thinking about collaboration in a new way.

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