Blog Posts for connect

Three Insights Tools for Increasing Audience Engagement

Posted by Dr. Melissa Akaka, Oct 29, 2021 0 comments

In the recent Arts Marketing Coffee Chat entitled “Research & Data: What Do You Need?” I shared the process for how arts organizations can address a specific a business problem by identifying data that an organization has or needs, which can provide insights into developing an effective solution. 

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Member Spotlight: Asiyah Kurtz

Posted by Linda Lombardi, Oct 25, 2021 0 comments

Located in Camden, New Jersey, Camden FireWorks is a Black-led, community-based arts organization that works to grow, gather, and invest in artists and artists-to-be in the Camden community. Executive Director Asiyah Kurtz is an applied anthropologist with 20 years of experience in leadership of private, nonprofit, and public sectors. “As a young arts organization, we had previously only relied on volunteers to teach our open studio workshops for our first five years of operations. With the support of our Board, one of the changes I made this year was to pay a meaningful wage to teaching artists for their time, labor, and talent. If I have anything to do with it, there will be no starving artists in Camden.” 

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Shining a Spotlight on Native American Media and Mediamakers

Posted by Mr. John W. Haworth, Oct 14, 2021 0 comments

It is important for cultural leaders and individual artists to know the work of organizations elevating Native artists. This is of special urgency given the current challenges faced by local and regional arts agencies: Leaders in the cultural sector simply must have a broader understanding of social and economic justice issues. As our field does more to support civic engagement and informed public dialogue about these key issues, local arts leaders have the opportunity to assume leadership roles on the complex challenges in our communities—promoting equity, addressing the climate and other issues, and promoting civic literacy about the issues we face. As arts administrators and managers, it is not enough to be informed about the issues—we need to know how to communicate effectively with broader, more diverse publics that we serve. Local arts agency leaders must understand these issues on ever deeper levels as they develop meaningful competitive grant review processes and find effective ways for arts organizations to take central roles in public discourse. 

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Creative Confidence and the Education Revolution

Posted by Camille Zamora, Sep 16, 2021 0 comments

Art-making seeds a certain bone-deep faith in one’s instincts, a deeply grounded sense of comfort that frees one up to try new things. Developing one’s artistry is an exercise in taking risks and living to tell the tale. Mistakes aren’t only tolerated, they’re expected. Built into the artistic process is the act of rough-drafting, rehearsing, reframing, “take-it-again-from-the-top”-ing. The voice will crack at some point as we seek our sweetest, most vulnerable sound, and our foot will falter occasionally as we attempt a new pirouette. Producing meaningful art means that we’ve given ourselves space to experiment, iterate, fall and fail and get up and try again. The opportunity to correct flies in the face of an educational system predicated on the right/wrong binary of standardized testing. It’s radically freeing to look beyond that binary, and creative confidence is the byproduct. With creative confidence in place, anything is possible for our students.

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Think!Chinatown Uses Public Art to Help Local Restaurants

Posted by Yin Kong, Jul 13, 2021 0 comments

ASSEMBLY for CHINATOWN was launched in collaboration with A+A+A Studio to build outdoor dining spaces at no cost to Chinatown businesses. We design, source materials from Chinatown vendors, and construct Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant dining barriers for restaurants. Artists beautify and personalize the space for the restaurants with the help of volunteers who come (socially distanced) together in a help-a-thon to sand and paint the wood barriers. The mural project came into play with our first artist, Kat Lam, who reached out to ask if we wanted her to paint one of the barriers. Her style matched with the business owners, so we moved forward. She contributed her vision as a muralist and we decided to do that for all the barricades to enliven the space and the neighborhood. People want to be part of this community project. Painting is such a gratifying way to work together. Whenever the volunteers walk by, they feel ownership and want to patronize the business. 

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Native Arts and Cultures Foundation: A national leader supporting Indigenous artists and engaging Native communities

Posted by Mr. John W. Haworth, Jun 25, 2021 0 comments

Founded in 2008, with start-up funding of $10 million from the Ford Foundation, NACF supports Indigenous artists, culture bearers, and Native-led arts organizations through fellowships and project funding. Betsy Theobald Richards (Cherokee), who served as Ford’s Program Officer in Media, Arts, and Culture from 2003 to 2010, provided key leadership in establishing NACF. Other Native leaders and artists were involved from the get-go: the civil rights lawyer Walter Echo-Hawk (Pawnee), poet and musician Joy Harjo (Muscokee-Creek), museum director and artist Elizabeth Woody (Yakama Nation Wasco descent and Citizen of Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs), and singer, artist, and educator Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree First Nation of Canada), among others. It’s powerful to have such dynamic and creative national and community-based leaders setting the stage for NACF’s work. The organization is currently in the early stages of developing a major cultural facility and new headquarters: the Center for Native Arts and Cultures in southeast Portland, Oregon, with a vision to create a “vibrant gathering place” for Indigenous artists as a convening ground for cultural ceremonies and celebrations; as an incubator for Native artists to create; and as a venue for presenting contemporary exhibitions and performances, workshops, and seminars.

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