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Reworking the Start-Up

Why start from scratch? Every organization begins its life as a start-up fueled by an idea for something great. But how does it grow, change and morph into a giant performing arts venue or an intimate gallery space? When you decide to take the plunge and create something new, how do you defend that decision when there are already hundreds of thousands of incredible arts organizations that currently exist today? With the fierce competition for funding, is there more value in forming partnerships or exploring alternative funding options like micro-financing? What happens when you rework the start-up?

These amazing DC Arts professionals will answer these questions and more Sunday, April 15th at the 5th Annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium.

David Snider with First Lady Michelle Obama and student Playwright

David Snider
Producing Artistic Director and CEO,  Young Playwrights’ Theater

American University Arts Management Professor

David Andrew Snider has been an actor, director, educator, producer, and administrator for more than 15 years. He has worked in both the classical repertory of Shakespeare, Shaw and Chekhov, and on the development of new work with playwrights such as Kenny Lonergan, Femi Osofisan and Karen Zacarias. Over the years he has directed, acted and taught with the Shakespeare Theatre Company, the Kennedy Center, the Joseph Papp Public Theater, the Hangar Theatre (as Director of the Hangar’s Lab Company), Playwrights Horizons (as the Robert Moss Resident Director), Jean Cocteau Repertory and the Maddermarket Theatre of Norwich, England.

Since joining Young Playwrights’ Theater (YPT) in 2005, Snider has reinvigorated the company’s vision and mission, raising the company’s local and national profile while improving the company’s fiscal health and expanding YPT’s infrastructure through several capacity-building projects. Under his leadership, YPT has been awarded commissions from the White House, the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institution, while establishing the company’s first-ever resident acting company and an advisory panel of nationally-recognized playwrights, including: Paula Vogel, Anna Deavere Smith, Sarah Ruhl, Nilo Cruz and Charles Randolph Wright.

Snider has taught master classes in text, directing, acting, voice and Shakespeare in performance as a guest lecturer at the Kennedy Center, the University of Virginia, University of Maryland, Howard University, Dickinson College and as a member of the faculty at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Snider received his master of fine arts from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and his bachelor of arts in English literature and Russian language from Dickinson College, where he graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.

Snider is a directing fellow of the Drama League of New York, the vice chair of the D.C. Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative and the current president of the League of Washington Theatres.  He is also an integral member of the Arts Management Faculty at American University.

Mary Brown

Mary Brown

Executive Director and Co-founder of Life Pieces to Masterpieces

Mary is the co-founder and Executive Director of Life Pieces To Masterpieces, Inc., and has been with the organization since its inception in 1996. Mary graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans and has worked with low-income youth for over 20 years. Mary has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the Mayor’s Spirit of Neighborhood Action Award, the Agusta Savage Arts Leadership Award, a Community Service Award from the Monica Davis Show, and an Outstanding Youth Educator Award from the See Forever Foundation. She also serves on the Board of Directors for a number of organizations including the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, Fair Chance DC, Leadership Greater Washington and the Center for Nonprofit Advancement. In addition to her work with Life Pieces, Mary is also a Training Consultant with Neighborworks America.

Louise Kennelly

Louise Kennelly

Executive Director of DC Arts and Humanities Education Collabrative

As Executive Director of the DC Collaborative, Louise works with the staff, members, and board to ensure the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and objectives. Before coming to the DC Collaborative, she was a Director at the National High School Center located at the American Institutes for Research, where she is still affiliated. Before joining AIR, Ms. Kennelly led external relations initiatives at New American Schools (NAS), providing public relations and policy-related services to clients such as the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Ms. Kennelly has taught at the secondary school and college levels and has covered education issues as a daily news journalist and editor. She graduated from Yale University and holds a Master’s from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and an M.F.A from the University of North Carolina. Ms. Kennelly is also a published poet and painter showing at the Anne C. Fisher Gallery. She is the recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, a North Carolina State Arts Council Individual Artist Award and is an artist in the schools through the Maryland State Arts Council’s Arts in Education (AiE) program.

Brooke Kidd

Executive Director and Founder of World Arts Focus at Joe’s Movement Emporium

As a recent graduate of American University’s MA in Dance Education, Brooke Kidd founded World Arts Focus in 1992 providing educational and cultural programs integrating dance, movement and performing arts traditions from around the world. In 1995, the organization opened a storefront space in Mount Rainier called Joe’s Movement Emporium. Joe’s serves as a professional space for a diverse range of artists by providing rehearsal and performance space throughout the year. Over the past sixteen years, Kidd has provided the community with access to a wide array of learning opportunities that include job training for at-risk teens and year-round arts experiences for low to moderate-income families. Under Kidd’s leadership, in 2007, the new Joe’s opened, expanding to 20,000 square feet and renovating an abandoned direct mail facility to create a new performing arts center.

Chris Naoum

Chris Naoum

Executive Director and Co-founder of Listen Local First, D.C.

Chris Naoum is an attorney who specializes in copyright, media and telecom law and policy. Chris has previously worked as the Deputy Editor for Broadbandbreakfast.com and as Policy Counsel for the Future of Music Coalition. Chris has been a long time advocate of independent musicians focusing on licensing and copyright reform for the past two years. He has focused much of his work on artist development and proposing policy reforms that benefit local creative communities.  Chris co-founded Listen Local First, D.C. as part of the Think Local First initiative, bringing together local musicians and businesses to promote and expand the local music scene in Washington.  Listen Local First features artists every month ranging from folk to funk, hosts music panels, and showcases artists in local venues throughout the District.

Before moving to Washington, Chris received his BA from Emory University and his JD and MA in Television Radio and Film Policy from Syracuse University.

Curious about starting a non-profit arts organization and being successful? Do you have questions for our panelists? Got anything in particular you want to hear from these panelists?

Share with us and bring the questions to the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium on Sunday, April 15, 2012. See you there!

Arts Advocacy Receives Research Gift

Two major Arts Education studies were released this past week, the FRSS 10-year comparison and the Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth a 12-year longitudinal study.  When these studies are married, their effectiveness as a tool for advocacy becomes undeniably clear.  While the FRSS will get much of the press because Secretary Duncan presented it, the study is of little consequence to the progression of arts education other then outright stating of significant declines in the amount of offerings across the board.  On the other hand, move over Charlie Bucket, the longitudinal study is the golden ticket arts education advocators have been praying for.

The longitudinal study gives the data for students of Low Socioeconomic Status (low SES) with both high and low arts exposure and their counterparts in the High Socioeconomic Status (high SES).  The matrixes measured for each of the four categories include high school graduation rates, civic involvement, recorded GPA, college graduation rates, average test scores, volunteer rates, other extracurricular activities, and labor market outcomes.  The results are startling, not because they affirm what advocates have said for years, but because of the achievement gap between low SES/low arts and low SES/high arts.

Looking at graduation rates alone, low SES/low arts had a dropout rate of 22%, compare that to low SES/high arts with a dropout rate of 4%.  The low SES/high arts students are even below the overall sample average of 7%.  For the mindset of these low SES/high arts students, we need only to look at the percentage of 8th graders planning to earn a bachelor’s degree 74% compared to 43%.  These are motivated students and compared to their low arts counterparts they are 14% more likely to vote in a national election or local election, 21% more like to volunteer, and 29% more likely to read the newspaper.  Looking at grades and curriculum, the high arts students have an average GPA of .39 points above low arts and were 10% more likely to enroll in calculus while in high school.

It should be noted that the high arts students are inherently involved individuals, as they are participants in athletics and service organizations.  However, students who are involved in other activities but are low arts do not have as high of GPA or curriculum gains as high arts students.

This is all fine and dandy, but why am I saying that this is hugely important when combined with the FRSS data?  Because in secondary school music alone there was a drop of 19% of offered programs for students in the low SES, but the high SES saw an increase of 6% between 2000-2010.  In affect, the advantage is going to the advantaged, while the disadvantaged are becoming disenfranchised.  But there’s more: of the high SES, 62% of schools offered 5 or more courses in the music, while low SES only measured 32%.

One area the low SES has dominated though is in collaboration and integration.  Music teachers in low SES are 14% more likely to consult with other teaches to incorporate units of study from other subject areas into the music curriculum and 17% more likely to utilize an integrated music instructional program with other academic subjects and 18% with other arts subjects.

Like music, visual arts have rather similar data (in secondary schools): a drop in offering for the low SES of 13% and only 22% of the remaining programs offering 5 or more courses.  Compare that to the 95% of high SES schools of which 56% offer 5 or more visual arts classes.  The unexpected number in all this comes from the consulting with other teachers to incorporate units of study from other subject areas into the visual arts curriculum indicator for low SES, which stands a staggering 17% above high SES.

So what’s the conclusion?  The students who benefit most from high exposure to the arts are receiving less of it then they did 10 years prior.  Granted we had the Great Recession and states have to balance their budgets, as a native Californian (and boy, did we get hit hard in 2008) I understand.  That does not mean we are off the hook.  As Secretary Duncan has said time and again, “we’re either going to invest in education or not, it comes down to the values.  Everyone has to step up or we’re going to struggle.” (March 2, 2012)

Arts Advocacy 101: Learn the Language

by Ethan R. Clark

Welcome to Washington, DC the center of policy, politics, and protesters. Learn how to make your case for the arts at Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium (EALS) on April 15, 2012. Organized by American University Arts Management students, EALS provides you with professional collaboration and leading discussion on today’s arts management trends including arts advocacy.

EALS Panel discussion, Arts Advocacy 101: Learn the Languagefeatures DC’s leading experts in research, policy, and communication.  Learn the potential effects of research and policy on arts organizations. Know your role as an arts advocate to build and maintain successful civic and government relationships.  Apply your knowledge and experience to current and available data to distinguish your organization’s public message.

Anne L'Ecuyer

Anne L’Ecuyer

Professor of Arts Management at American University

Moderator Anne L’Ecuyer is a writer and a consultant who stays closely connected to an international network of city leaders, cultural professionals, and working artists. She is an expert in creative industries and cultural tourism in the United States, as well as the contributions of the arts toward educational, social, and environmental goals. L’Ecuyer’s experience producing seven national conferences and leadership events for cultural professionals and their allies in government, business, and education guides this panel with a perspective from across the board.

Today, Anne owns and operates the Washington Writer’s Retreat, a private writing and research residency in the nation’s capital. She is an essayist currently at work on a book-length collection that profiles cultural leaders in ten American cities. Anne also consults independently with businesses, nonprofits, and public institutions. She holds a Bachelors degree from Northern Arizona University, studied public policy at the University of Maryland at College Park, and now teaches at American University in the Arts Management program.

Jonathan Katz

Jonathan Katz

CEO of National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

Jonathan Katz, Ph.D., is CEO of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), which was created by the 50 state and six jurisdictional arts agencies of the United States as their primary vehicle for arts policy development, advocacy, leadership development, research, information and communication. Dr. Katz consults globally on cultural policy, leadership development, strategic planning and effective advocacy. A former member of the U.S. Commission on UNESCO, he has advised the International Federation of Arts Councils and Cultural Agencies on its corporate development and facilitated its CEO Seminar for heads of national arts and cultural agencies at World Summits in England, South Africa and Australia.

Most recently, he has advised the governments of Korea and Canada and led a session on problem solving for Grantmakers in the Arts in Chicago. He is a founder of the Arts Education Partnership, the nation’s coalition of more than 100 organizations for the advancement of learning in the arts, and of the Cultural Advocacy Group, which is the forum through which the national cultural service organizations of the U.S. develop their united federal agenda. For the U.S. Department of State, he has conducted planning and professional development sessions with culturalagencies in five cities in Mexico. 

Robert Bettmann

Robert Bettmann

Advocacy Director for DC Advocates for the Arts

Robert Bettmann is a choreographer, community organizer, writer and administrator. He is the Advocacy Director for the DC Advocates for the Arts, Managing Editor of the arts magazine Bourgeon, and the author of the book Somatic Ecology. The Washington Post called his recent choreography, Quis Custodiet, “A powerful performance” (August, 2011). Later this spring the Arts Club of Washington will host the book launch and award event for the 2nd annual DC Student Arts Journalism competition.

Andrea Kreuzer

Andrea Kreuzer

Program Associate of Arts Education Partnership

Panelist Andrea Kreuzer is a Program Associate for Research and Policy at the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), based in Washington, DC. At AEP she has a substantial role in developing and authoring a new user-friendly database of outcomes-based arts education research and policy implications, called ArtsEdSearch. She’s also working with the U.S. Department of Education’s Professional Development for Arts Educators Program to develop and implement a rubric to assess the quality and effectiveness of grantee Annual Progress Reports. Andrea also co-wrote the AEP Research Bulletin, Music Matters: How music education helps students learn, achieve, and succeed which compiles and digests recent research on the benefits of music education.

Andrea received her Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies from The George Washington University and her Bachelor of Sciences degree in Photography and Art History from Ithaca College. Before coming to AEP Andrea worked in museum research and evaluation, and in exhibition development and design at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History and the National Geographic Society.
 

Jeffrey Herrmann

Jeffrey Herrmann

Managing Director of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Panelist Jeffrey Herrmann became Managing Director of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in 2007 after eight seasons as Producing Director of Alaska’s Perseverance Theatre.  A NY native of Schenectady, NY, Jeffrey grew up in West Hartford, CT, and received his BA in English at Vassar College and his MFA in Theater Management at the Yale School of Drama.  Prior to his enrollment at Yale, he was Managing Director of the Albany Berkshire Ballet in Pittsfield, MA.  During his time at Yale, he worked at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and as Associate Managing Director of the Yale Repertory Theatre.

Curious about trends and issues in arts policy and advocacy? Do you have questions for our panelists? Got anything in particular you want to hear from these panelists?

Share with us and bring the questions to the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium on Sunday, April 15, 2012. See you there!

Experiencing APAP NYC, what I am taking from the 2012 conference. – Day 3

Day 3:

Bolz Center students share their work

I started this morning with a session with our fellow arts management students at the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the University of Wisconsin.  The students involved, Joanna Simpson, Brian Hinrichs, Marcella Dover, Laura Blegen, Andrew Maxfield, and Danielle Boyke, presented this year’s edition of the Dawson Research Internship: Power Influence, and Performing Arts.  Bolz Center director Andrew Taylor moderated.  The research and presentation was designed to connect the dots between power and influence in policy-making and the arts.  Here is a brief summary of the two hour session:

  • Social Network Analysis – there are 4 steps to analyzing your network:
    1) Define the group
    2) Know your position in relation to the group
    3) Identify the connectors and bridges between you and a desired network connection
    4) Create a plan for how to change your position
    – Analyze your network to see the actual connections.  It is a great way to visualize what you need to do to further your connections and position (i.e. – get someone on the Rotary club so you can connect with a certain local businessperson).
  • Social Movement Theory –
    – How do they function?  The root idea is the base, then comes the mobilization of resources, then comes a cycle of cognition (recognizing smaller goals), coordination, and cooperation.
    – Arts fit in with social movements by providing communication, mobilization, solidarity, long-term impact, and emotional power.
  • Power in Politics – Economic power is the main source of power in the US (the 1% idea that has been brought forward from the “occupy” movements).  The “power elite” have a mix of social upper class, policy forming organizations, and corporate community.
    – How to make a change:  identify your “power elite” and find a way into the network.
  • Organizational behavior – the 6 source model from Influencer by Patterson, Grenny, et al.: shows different ways to affect change (this is a great companion book to Switch by the Heath brothers).

Ideas picked up from session participants and personal thoughts:

  •  Ticket buyers are an outcome, not a network.
  • An army of people camping on the steps of the capital is not as powerful as one person having a conversation with the chair of a congressional committee.
  • As far as advocacy, we arts people have such a large network, that the potential for huge clout is there; we just have to mobilize the network.
More info on the research can be found at bolzcenter.org/dawson

At 11:00, I attended the next plenary session, The Village Beat – Taking Action.  It was hosted by John Hearn, principal at SYPartners.

John Hearn

The towering consultant led the group in a discussion on connecting the organization to the community and its needs.  This doesn’t mean simply residing in a community and trying to lure its members in.  It means having a direct connection.  His four pillars of what constitutes a community’s situation are the individual, the community (group), change that is happening, and money.  The major questions to ask yourselves as an organization are:

  • How is the world changing for the community you serve?
  • What is the ideal that would answer your community’s most pressing needs?
  • How will you or your organization rise to this occasion?
  • What is the evidence that you can exercise this leadership?
  • How must you stretch in order to fully occupy your new role in the community?

Thoughts taken from this session:

  • Don’t think about your community in terms of art, because chances are it is not what they wake up thinking about.
  • Define your success as an organization based on the success of the community around you, not by looking at yourself in the mirror.

There was a lot of grand, eloquent thoughts and statements during this Village Beat session.  I can only hope that the arts leaders who made these statements will actually put these thoughts into action and not keep them on the shelf.

After a dinner at the famous Carnegie Deli, I headed over to the Broadway Comedy Club on 8th avenue to check out what Chicago City Limits had to offer.  It is a 6 member

Chicago City Limits

improvisation group that has 5 actors and 1 amazing improvisational accompanist.  I was not disappointed.  I know I said yesterday that 7 Fingers was my favorite….well, Chicago City Limits has now taken that position with a coup de force.  I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard.  You know when you get to laughing so hard that they get high pitched and you start snorting……yep, that was me.  The troupe started with a song about a phrase that the audience came up with, which happened to be “Anything Goes.”  The lyrics were masterfully composed, and the actors really played off each other rhymes well. Then they performed a sketch about another crowd creation in multiple styles, which were also drawn from the crowd.  Another highlight was the “story time” sketch based off of a title that an audience member gave.  The actors passed the baton, so to speak, picking up the story and continuing to create it as the “director” pointed to each actor.  They also performed a long-form improv musical, and ended with a hilarious game in which one actor had to guess a regionalism phrase based on extremely vague clues given by the other actors.  I cannot even begin to do justice to the comical genius of the group in this blog.  I can only recommend that you look them up and plan to attend one of their shows.

Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

After that, I meandered down to 44th and 8th to the famous Birdland jazz club to listen to a set from the world renown and Grammy winning Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.  Each musician on the stage was a true master of his craft.  It was a delight to listen to such wonderful Latin jazz.  Once again, I recommend hunting them down and listening when you get the chance.

– Steven Dawson
“The world needs art, not so they can escape, but so they can embrace.”

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