Thank you for continuing to be a subscriber to the Management and the Arts blog postings. The main goal of this blog is to provide topic updates on many of the ideas and concepts covered in the book. If you are teaching a course in arts management, I hope these posts will assist you with additional discussion items to use in class. If you are a student, I hope your horizons will be extended. And if you are a practitioner, I trust you will find a few ideas you can borrow and implement. Other resources on the website include a syllabus template in the “Learning Resources” area, and there are a few case studies you should feel free to use in the “Look Inside 5e” section.
Planning for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The Cleveland Museum of Art recently announced its new diversity, equity, and inclusion plan. The twenty-page document lists 16 “we will” statements on pages 18 and 19 that could be adapted by different types of arts and culture organizations creating their own DEI plan. The “Strategic Road Map” on pages 14 to 16, while still at a rather elevated level, nonetheless provides a good example of practical steps that the museum plans to take to realize its strategies. I included a link to the DEI plan along with information on how to access the museum’s well-crafted strategic plan. There are good examples of strategy statements and objectives in this other document starting on PDF page 14. However, the objectives fall short when it comes to specifics (see Chapter 5 in Mgt & the Arts – “Planning and the Arts” on pages 164-165 for writing objectives).
We read of business mergers frequently that are driven by a desire of companies to diversify, grow, or lessen competition. The merger of SMU’s Arts Research Center in Dallas and DataArts in Philadelphia looks like it will provide a research synergy boost that will result in enhancing the knowledge base available to the arts and culture community in the U.S. The merger will likely allow for research and data analysis projects that will also be of benefit to arts decision-makers. I also provided a link to some case studies on the DataArts website which may be of value to faculty and students.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat Programming?
The article from the Clyde Fitch Report offers some good insights about the dilemma arts organizations face when it comes to revenue generating programming and keeping a creative edge. Judith Bowtell from Australia shares her observations about the arts ecology in her country and outlines items that she feels contribute to arts organizations being innovative. Ideas for helping arts organization get out of a safe programming rut could make for an interesting class discussion. The article also makes mention of a 2017 move entitled The Square, which sounds interesting. I have not seen it but based on the review and viewing the trailer it looks intriguing and reasonably funny.
By Steven Litt, www.cleveland.comView, August 12th, 2018
Helen Forbes Fields, a trustee at the Cleveland Museum of Art, said that she recently saw a guard turn away a young black man when he pushed open the North Lobby doors as the museum was about to close.
Forbes Fields, who is black, said she feared that the abrupt tone in the guard’s voice might have made the visitor feel unwanted. So she told the young man he would be welcome to come back the next day at 10 a.m.
“I just wanted him to know that this is a place that’s open for him and yes, the doors are closed now, but they certainly will be open for him the next day and the day after,” she said, adding, “I felt I needed to say that at that moment.”
Forbes Fields described the incident as one example of why the museum needs the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan that it is formally announcing today. [Read the article at the link below]
Cleveland Museum of Art Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan 2018:
Link to PDF of the plan: CMA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan
Link to PDF of Cleveland Museum of Art Strategic Plan 2018-2027
Jerome Weeks 16 Aug 2018, KERA artandseek.org
When it started six years ago, SMU’s National Center for Arts Research already had the largest arts database in America; it would eventually draw on such sources as the NEA, the League of American Orchestras and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies to analyze how cultural institutions work, how they benefit communities, how they can work better. Now NCAR is merging with the Philadelphia-based research center DataArts. The new center, called SMU DataArts, has the potential to be a global leader in cultural research.
Since 2012, NCAR has made headlines with studies on such issues as the gender gap among art museum directors or whether grants by the National Endowment for the Arts benefit only the wealthy. It’s also delved into what significance arts leadership has with the success or failure of cultural institutions. It’s provided online diagnostic tools like the Arts Vibrancy Index – which measures communities across the U.S. based on a dozen factors such as the number of arts groups per capita and a city’s public support for its cultural offerings.
In doing all this, the SMU center has had a full-time staff of only four people. Now, in merging with DataArts, NCAR will gain 22 employees. The new SMU DataArts center will be headquartered in Dallas with an office in Philly. DataArts started there in 2006 as the Cultural Data Project, and by 2013, its data collection efforts had spread to 13 states. [Read the article at the link below]
Link to DataArts website: http://mcs.smu.edu/artsresearch/
Link to DataArts Reports tab: http://mcs.smu.edu/artsresearch2014/reports/what-fundraising-return-investment#/
DataArts Case Studies: https://culturaldata.org/learn/case-studies/
Chatting with Judith Bowtell of Australia’s Milk Crate Theatre.
By Alan Harrison – August 22, 2018
In business (arts or otherwise), people use “Because we’ve always done it that way” out of laziness, lack of curiosity, or plain ineptitude, and to end uncomfortable conversations. It is the most infamous of toxic business phrases. It signals that inevitable paradigm shift: “time to close the doors.” If nothing else, people who use it should be challenged. “Why have we always done it that way?” “Is there evidence that the way we’ve always done it is the best way to do it?”
How do we respond when this gold standard of toxicity is applied to programming at nonprofit performing arts organizations? Do they limit themselves to being lazy, incurious and inept — along with stubborn and routine? Here’s a test. You tell me if the following at all familiar to you:
- Season starts in September with last year’s Off-Broadway smash hit;
- Then a well-known drama starring your company’s institutional diva;
- Then A Christmas Carol;
- Then something happy to start out the year;
- Then something for students (maybe Shakespeare, a well-known one);
- Then a musical comedy or other comparable crowd-pleeezer-with-three-e’s that can be extended as the last play of the season in May or June.
Of course, that scenario is familiar to you. Because we’ve always done it that way. Lather, rinse, repeat. [Link to full article is below.]
Link to website: The Clyde Fitch Report