Wednesday, April 21, 2010
third in an ongoing series of posts that share cool ideas from the across the region
About a month ago I was at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts for a meeting of LOCALS—a great professional development group that the Metro Regional Arts Council provides for local art centers. I’ve been to the Minnetonka Center for the Arts before, it’s beautiful and has a great shop. It’s always a plus in my book when I can combine shopping and work. And speaking of shopping (see how I did that?!) the Minnetonka Center for the Arts has a really cool new program at Ridgedale Mall. They’ve taken over a retail spot in the mall and have programming for all ages, including some inspired drop-in classes for kids. I asked the Center’s Executive Director, Roxanne Heaton about this unique partnership and how it came about, here’s what she said:
“This is the perfect example of a win/win partnership. Initially, General Growth (Ridgedale owner) was motivated by a need to make the gathering spaces they created as part of a major renovation more attractive. We were obviously interested in the marketing and awareness building aspects. Over time, we've added banners created by our outreach partners to the center court and paintings created by on-site series class students to empty walls in front of unoccupied storefronts - lots of nice eye candy for mall goers and, again, a great awareness boost for us. The drop-in classes that just started in our storefront were viewed by them as a tremendous service to provide their patrons and a way to differentiate the shopping experience at the Ridgedale center.”
I think this is such a good example of the ways that we can create partnerships--nonprofit and for-profit; education and commerce; art center and mall. I went to the mall last weekend to check out the space and it looks great (it’s right by Sears on the upper level.) I’m looking forward to bringing my daughter there for a Saturday morning class…but right now she has ballet on Saturday mornings…darn you, Twin Cities, and your plethora of arts opportunities!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Going beyond the buzz words
By Kate Barr, Executive Director, Nonprofits Assistance Fund
There are some recurring terms that I’ve been hearing over and over in meetings, conferences, and articles intended to help nonprofits, including arts organizations, respond to the serious challenges created by the recession. From what I hear we all need to be resilient, learn to innovate, and adapt to a new normal. It sounds good, but is there some substance that we can use behind these words?
Resilience: Frankly, the people who lead and work for arts organizations have always been about as resilient as you could be, if resilience means the ability to improvise with what’s at hand and bounce back.
Innovation: How about innovation? The arts shine as innovators in creating art, but much less so on the organizational side. Most nonprofit arts organizations are structured using a management and financial model that’s been around for a long time. More and more questions have been raised about the model that will eventually lead to some more options. On his great blog The Artful Manager Andrew Taylor frequently writes about these questions including here and here. There are other interesting developments in helping arts organizations to innovate for long term structural change. The James Irvine Foundation states that “we define innovation as instances of organizational change that stem from a shift in underlying assumptions and provide new ways to fulfill the mission.” Incremental change isn’t enough for arts organizations to confront their long term challenges.
Adapting to the new normal: I’m not so sure that we ever had an “old normal”, or that change is a new dynamic. Regardless of the current terminology, though, arts organizations are facing deep and sustained changes to their funding sources, audiences, and role in the community. There is a lot to learn about becoming more adept at identifying the questions and leading the necessary changes. The article Leadership in a (Permanent) Crisis describes adaptive leadership as the capacity to sort out and balance the short and long term issues. Facing immediate problems, many managers will hunker down and nibble around the edges of problems.
People who practice what we call adaptive leadership do not make this mistake. Instead of hunkering down they seize the opportunity of moments like this one to hit the organizational reset button. They use the turbulence of the present to build on and bring closure to the past. In the process, they change key rules of the game, reshape parts of the organization, and redefine the work the people do.
The time is critical for many arts organizations to understand their current situation, envision the extent of changes, and learn to truly and continually adapt.
What if?: Last week I was sad to read that the Harlem School of the Arts closed its doors. The school was an institution in the neighborhood for over 40 years. The news report paints a case story of their failure to adapt – years of financial, management and governance problems and attempts to address them with short term cuts, emergency fundraising efforts, and fingerpointing. If we don’t want to see this happen elsewhere we need to learn some new approaches.
Yes, they’re the buzz words of the day, but I can’t argue with the importance of resilience, innovation and adaptive leadership.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Community Supported ART! Artists Announced Shares Go On Sale Monday, April 5th!
Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy seasonal food directly from local farms. With the same buy-local spirit in mind, mnartists.org and Springboard for the Arts are joining forces for a similar endeavor to support local art, artists and collectors. Last week, the project assembled a panel of local food and culture taste-makers who reviewed over 150 artist applications and selected the9 Featured CSA artists that will be creating fresh works to fill the "farm boxes".
Want to know whose work will be in your box? Check out the selected artists.
- Calpurnia Peach: (textile/fashion)
- Jennifer Davis/ Burlesque design: (painting/printmaking)
- Andy Ducett: (drawing/printmaking)
- Sam Hoolihan/Switzerlind (musician/photographer)
- Amber Jensen: (book arts)
- Maren Kloppmann: (ceramics)
- Lacey Prpic Hedtke: (photography)
- Amy Rice: (painting)
- Karl Unnasch: (stained glass/sculpture)
HOW IT WORKS
The selected artists will receive a commission to create 50 "shares" for the program. Interested consumers/collectors will purchase a share from Springboard for the Arts and in return receive 3 "farm boxes" of locally produced artwork at intervals this summer. Featured works could include items such as: an edition of vinyl 7", a run of screen-prints, series of small tea cups, run of photographs, tickets to an upcoming performance or event, letterpress editions of a poem or short story, or even 50 small original paintings. Each member share will include one piece from each of the 9 CSA featured artist works over the summer and will also include "bumper crop" of additional artwork and arts opportunities. The pick-up evenings will be at local art sites and will be events in themselves. (More on this later!)
Member shares cost $300 for the three-month season and go on sale Monday, April 5. Purchase a share by contacting Andy Sturdevant at 651-292-4381 or email@example.com