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Welcome to 2014 – the year of the Sochi Olympics, the year we supposedly withdraw our combat troops from Afghanistan, and the year of the seventh annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University.

Fittingly, according to numerology, 2014 is a “seven year” (2+0+1+4 = 7), meaning a year of introspection. As I think about this in terms of the arts sector, it seems quite fitting. It’s a complex and fascinating time to be in the “content business” and it seems that arts organizations are embarking on a period of looking inward and questioning whether or not our core values are being reflected in and supported by the structures within which we reside.

With the rise of the hybrid business model, arts organizations are beginning to look inward for revenue streams as outward sources (public and private funding) are becoming more competitive and less available. In her article for Nonprofit Hub, Jill Havlat calls the current marketplace “ripe for a productive disruption like this one.” Innovative arts organizations are beginning to look to for-profit models to feed their work. An exciting example that was brought up at last week’s APAP Conference is Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis which offers a restaurant, bowling alley, and live theatre performance.

It can get tricky, this merging of nonprofit and for-profit models. Where does the organization’s mission come into play? Who are the “investors” or “donors” and what are their incentives and benefits? And where do we turn now for capital?

In this year of seven, the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium marks its seventh year. And with all these questions and complexities surrounding “The Rise of the Hybrid” it’s only fitting we should host a panel around it. More details to follow as we solidify panelists, but in the meantime, get your wheels turning and your questions ready.

The SEVENTH annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University is March 23, 2014. Save the date and stay tuned for registration information.

Shannon Musgrave is in her second year of American University’s Arts Management Master’s Program and is this year’s Executive Chair for the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium.

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