What a difference a few years makes at the Phoenix
Art Museum. In 1974 with a staff of 17, Jim Ballinger
was curator with a budget of $362,000. Named director
in 1982, Mr. Ballinger now manages a staff of nearly
140 and a budget of more than $10 million.
Key to preparing him for the amazing growth and the
ever-expanding opportunities, Mr. Ballinger says,
were participating in National Arts Strategies (NAS)
seminars and the Executive Program for Non-Profit
Leaders-Arts (EPNL-A) program.
"My biggest surprise was when I took the EPNL-A program,"
said Mr. Ballinger. "I remember thinking that there
was no way I could take two weeks and do it. The results
were amazing and I've applied things I learned from
my colleagues here at the Museum."
Mr. Ballinger marvels at the idea of bringing together
key community cultural professionals who don't normally
cross paths in a formal way. For example, through
interaction with a leader from a performing arts organization,
he discovered a new ticketing program that is now
used at the museum.
"We all wrestle with the same problems, and the seminars help further build a community of professionals which fosters trust and open collaboration," he adds.
Mr. Ballinger also points to the high caliber of
instructors and attendees who made it a not-to-miss
event. And by involving his team members, he found
it "helps people rally around an issue" adding that
"if you have a newer staff member, it's a great way
to get to know them and understand their way of thinking."
To sum it up, Mr. Ballinger says "I draw on the experience
I gained from the seminars more than I think I do.
It's become part of how I lead this organization."
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