Blog Posts for Community Engagement

Local Arts Agencies Are Like Snow Flakes

Posted by Marc Folk, Dec 08, 2011 0 comments

Marc Folk

No two are exactly alike. Each has its own strengths and challenges. Some are well funded Departments of Cultural Affairs. Some are small organizations with a shoe string budget. The rest fall somewhere in between.

We land into the category of being created in our city’s charter but stand as a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

What this means is we have to fundraise to deliver our programs and services and partner as often as possible. Both require patience, flexibility, and an innovative mindset to extend our reach into the community and get the arts to the people.

Partnership is often talked about like a simple and obvious solution; however, those that have taken it on know just what may lie in the details.

Partnerships in fundraising, especially cross sector, can prove even more challenging. But they CAN work.

As we enter into 2012, The Arts Commission will be heading into its second year fundraising partnership with ProMedica, a locally-owned nonprofit healthcare organization, and its subset the Toledo Children’s Hospital Foundation. This joint effort combines the agency’s efforts with the Autism Collaborative to centralize services for children with autism and their families and the Arts Commission’s mission.

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Active Engagement for More Excellence

Posted by Ms. Libby Maynard, Dec 08, 2011 0 comments

Libby Maynard

There is a movement afoot for which I’ve been waiting for a long time.

Here in California in the last several years, the James Irvine Foundation conducted several studies and issued reports about arts ecology in California and engagement in the arts by diverse audiences, including folk and traditional arts.

The data was so powerful that Irvine is refocusing its grantmaking efforts “to promote engagement in the arts for all Californians, the kind that embraces and advances the diverse ways that we experience the arts, and that strengthens our ability to thrive together in a dynamic and complex social environment.”

The most exciting report is Getting In On the Act: How Arts Groups are Creating Opportunities for Active Participation, by WolfBrown.

They are specifically talking about active engagement, not passive, such as attending a concert. By no means is the Irvine Foundation abandoning the concept of excellence in the arts, but recognizing that there is a broad range of accomplishment that is equally relevant, perhaps more so to community vitality.

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A New Umbrella for Denver's Cultural Assets

Posted by Jan Brennan, Dec 08, 2011 0 comments

Jan Brennan

The Denver Office of Cultural Affairs is no more. But don’t panic. In this case, it represents a positive development that helps ensure cultural programming and staffing remains strong in Denver.

This summer, the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs and the City Division of Theatres and Arenas combined forces to form a new, merged agency called Arts & Venues Denver.

The merger brings cultural programs and venues into an umbrella agency that brings together all of the City of Denver arts and entertainment assets. Arts & Venues Denver has adopted a new mission: To enhance Denver’s quality of life and economic vitality through premier public venues, artwork, and entertainment opportunities.

The former Office of Cultural Affairs has moved over as a department of the new agency, joining Facilities and Event Services Departments, and served jointly by Communications & Marketing and Finance sections.

We retained all of our staff, programs and budget in the transition, continuing to oversee public art, community events, arts education and creative sector initiatives.

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Creating a Suburban Cultural Hub in the Metropolitan Kansas City Region (Part 2)

Posted by Sarah VanLanduyt, Dec 08, 2011 0 comments

Sara VanLanduyt

Sara VanLanduyt

As I mentioned in a previous post, The Arts Council of Johnson County (ACJC) held a series of forums in 2010 for arts educators, organizations, and artists to gain a better understanding of how to support their work in the community. These ended up being the impetus for ACJC’s new website and solidified our role as a connector; a hub for the arts in our community.

The forums also introduced us to Nicole Emanuel, an artist and community developer, and inspired a partnership between Nicole, ACJC, and the Arts and Recreation Foundation of Overland Park that would become the InterUrban ArtHouse.

The brainchild of Nicole, the ArtHouse project’s initial inspiration came from her need for studio space close to home.

Through her research we confirmed that many artists living in suburban Johnson County felt disconnected from each other and from the Crossroads Arts District in downtown Kansas City. Armed with this information Nicole’s vision for the project grew exponentially; the ArtHouse would be a gathering place for artists, a catalyst for small business developmen,t and a critical link to the greater regional arts community.

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TACLing Collaboration

Posted by Marc Folk, Dec 07, 2011 0 comments

Marc Folk

“There was nothing to do here.” That was Toledo’s myth.

Sure, if you bought it as it is often packaged, you would see Toledo, OH as a barren, struggling post-industrial city with a bleak future and little cultural vitality. Toledo is near bull’s eye center in the “rust belt” region, frequently discounted on a whim and cast with a left-for-dead mentality too often projected on to mid-size Midwestern cities.

Yes, it is true that our community faces stern economic challenges, scant resources, and is faced with its own reinvention. But too, we are graced with profound, rich, and growing artistic heritage and cultural identity.

And let’s not forget, Toledo is a labor town, a little hard work has never scared us.

Scratch just below the soot of our “rust belt” stereotypes, and you’ll see a burgeoning artist community and growing public participation in the arts. Scratch a little deeper and discover that the Toledo Museum of Art was voted America’s favorite museum (it's true) and that its halls hold the bulk of your art history book.

A little past that and you’ll see the world class Toledo Symphony Orchestra recently performed, by invitation, at Carnegie Hall.

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The Collaboration Question (Do You Have Some Answers?)

Posted by Jill McGuire, Dec 07, 2011 0 comments

Jill McGuire

Choosing what to write about is as hard for me as choosing what I should be working on -- which new opportunity(s) should I pursue this week, which projects can I put on the back burner and even what phone calls do I have to return.

I don’t think I have ever been busier or more energized about the new exciting opportunities, the level of community engagement possibilities, the new partnership offers, and the vast array of community processes that the arts are now being asked to be involved with.

And, everyone I talk to feels the same way which, for me, confirms what we always knew and what we have been working for -- the arts are HOT...the arts are in demand...the arts offer real and creative solutions….the arts produce results! (And, they can even be entertaining and fun.)

So, now what?

We are still working with diminished resources but we want to do it all -- I do! And yet I know that it’s probably not possible to do it all and do it well!

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