Blog Posts for Community Engagement

Closing the Salon Door

Posted by Theresa Cameron, Dec 09, 2011 0 comments

Theresa Cameron

What a great week of blogs in our first Local Arts Agency Blog Salon!

Thanks to our bloggers and all our commentators, Tweeters, and Facebook sharers.

As I read each of these blogs I was reminded again and again of the famous Tip O’Neill quote “All Politics is Local” only I insert “All Art is Local.”

And the work that our local arts agencies do throughout the United States helps us understand, explore, and create a better place for all of us.

I love that in Oxford, MS there is partnership between the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and the Cathead Vodka Company.

I was inspired to hear about the great rebuilding that’s going on in Toledo.

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The Storyline Project

Posted by Maggie Guggenheimer, Dec 09, 2011 0 comments

The Storyline Project is a great example of effective and inexpensive collaboration with valuable community outcomes.

Launched in summer 2009, the project had roots in an impromptu collaborative effort from the previous year. Charlottesville Parks & Recreation came to Piedmont Council for the Arts (PCA) for help painting a school bus to transport youth to recreation centers around town. Aware of our limited capacity, we reached out to another nonprofit, The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative, for help.

Though similarly small, The Bridge had experience working with local artists on public art projects. With their expertise, PCA’s commitment to managing the project, and our shared enthusiasm for the possibilities, a new partnership was born.

Together, we coordinated a team of local artists and Parks & Rec summer camp students for the exciting challenge of painting what became known as the Fun Bus.

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Creating Access: Defining Neighborhoods As Destinations

Posted by Felix Padron, Dec 09, 2011 0 comments

Felix Padron

I am excited about San Antonio in that it feels like the conversations are finally leading to a collective common ground.

For the past ten years or so, San Antonio has had its share of independent strategic planning efforts related to art and culture, and their relationship with inner-city revitalization, economic development, and tourism. Most of these plans have had little return on investment, in part because of a lack of clear vision and dedicated resources.

Now, however, the mayor’s SA2020 initiative may help jump-start strategies that had never seen the light of day but are still relevant in today's cultural environment. SA2020 has also signaled a new political willingness to shift from a passive planning mode to a more proactive "Just Do It" mindset. This is a good set of circumstances to pave the way for real transformation.

More important, the arts have reached credible acceptance throughout the community. Together with its various art & culture partners, the Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) maintains a productive working relationship with city departments and agencies such as the Convention Visitors Bureau, Economic Development, International Affairs, the county, the San Antonio River Authority, and the Metropolitan Transit System. This level of engagement has given cultural organizations and artists a place at the table as the city and affiliated agencies all move forward with new, tangible initiatives.

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Expanding Community Participation

Posted by Ms. Libby Maynard, Dec 09, 2011 0 comments

Libby Maynard

Continuing the focus on community engagement and participation in arts and culture, I’d like to share with you how we at The Ink People in Humboldt County, CA, have been practicing these principles for the last 25 years.

Our DreamMaker Program invites community members who have a vision for an arts and culture project or see a need in their community that can be addressed through such a project, to partner with us.

Sometimes I think of us as the center of a broad web, supporting and nurturing community-initiated visions. We are not a fiscal receiver. The board of directors decides whether or not to adopt each project as a full-fledged part of The Ink People, with full nonprofit benefits and stakes our reputation on each one.

In addition to this, we give administrative support and intensive mentoring to each project, as well as offering a series of Mini Nonprofit “MBA” classes. The classes are designed only to give project leaders an idea of what they don’t know, so they can ask the right questions to have the best chance at success.

Generally, a project follows one of four paths. It may be short term, with limited and well defined goals and outcomes, such as the publication of a book about Japanese Senryu poetry by the artist’s grandmother, with illustrations by the artist, and a series of workshops on writing Senryu poetry.

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Partnering Under a Banner

Posted by Wayne Andrews, Dec 09, 2011 0 comments

Wayne Andrews

Competition is hard. In the business world market share, loss leaders, and incentives are used to drive product loyalty. This does not work in the creative economy.

You can’t coupon a radio listener into supporting your local songwriter’s organization, or celebrate that the ballet has gained market share over the orchestra.

The arts are one of the few business models where we don’t celebrate growth by one organization over another. Never have we heard the Opera Generation is involved in an art war with New Ballet.

There are a host of incentives and promotions arts groups utilize to entice people to try the ballet or opera. Every arts group has tried a “pay what you can night” or “free tickets promotions” hoping to expand their audience.

Still I don’t care that a prune is a dried plum because to many people it is still a prune. Just as opera is opera or modern art is confusing. Most products realize once the discounted price, coupon, or gimmick that lured the consumers to buy their brand of soap is gone, and so is the customer.

How will art groups build a new audience? By merging more than marketing efforts, but by merging their programs.

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It All Comes Down to Customer Service

Posted by Will Maitland Weiss, Dec 08, 2011 0 comments

Will Maitland Weiss

Anyone still reading this on a desktop computer?

Even you—along with the smart phone and smarter tablet readers—know that the tsunamic trend of digital communication will continue to roil how we deliver art (and get money to do so) in 2012.

You certainly aren’t reading this in one of the printed “newsletters” of my (distant) youth. Those, and brochures, and posters, and postcards, and print advertising—which used to take up so much of our time and of our paltry budgets--are going, going, gone.

We tell the stories of our art differently now. We sell our tickets differently; our tickets, which will soon be pieces of cardboard as often as our subway fares are paid in metal tokens.

C-R-M! C-R-M!

Variable pricing—which got a passing shout-out in a recent Sunday Times Magazine (page 11), kind of in the context of “Duh? Some people aren’t doing this?!

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