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You Gotta Know Why

In a discussion with several CEOs of cultural organizations about access, accessibility and community, the conversation kept circling back to the question of “Why?”

Cooking, peaches and tasting the arts

    I am a product of the slow food movement. Kind of. Maybe Diane…

Logic Models

Creative Community Tools National Arts Strategies has developed a set of lessons to help cultural…

Arts as an Engine of Unrest Or, How the Arts Ruined a Perfectly Good Childhood

For many, the power of arts lies in its ability to bring people joy. For me, art matters because of its ability to do just the opposite.

Comments We Can’t Ignore

This week, a guest column by Robert Reich entitled “What ‘charity’ should really mean” appeared on the Christian…

The Possibilities of a Children’s Art Museum

Last weekend my daughter and I spent the morning at the National Zoo. She turns…

Three Strategic Planning Challenges

I’ve found myself thinking about three challenges in strategic planning that we see in our work, and I wanted to release these thoughts into the wild and see what happens.

Becoming Indispensable

Editor’s note:  As part of our online discussion around The Summit at Sundance, we have invited…

Relinquishing Control

Editor’s note: As part of our blog event for The Summit at Sundance, we have…

Online Learning Curve

A look at the Loft Literary Center’s in-depth analysis of how online classes would fit into the organization’s vision

Stories from the Field: Measuring Impact

Over the past three or four years that I’ve worked in the US cultural sector,…

What’s your mandate?

What would the pundits say about your organization? What is your mandate?

Stories from the Field: The Loft Literary Center

The drivers for organizations extending their programming online vary: some pursue new audiences for whom…

The Competing Values Framework

Welcome to the world of the Competing Values Framework – a tool that allows organizations…

Motivated by Convergence Not Crisis: Finding Flexibility in a System Filled with Constraints

Oregon Public Broadcasting has chosen to compete in a different way. This shift has changed the way they make decisions, allocate resources, invest in staff and even in the physical space they inhabit.

Holding Up the Arts: Can we sustain what we’ve created? Should we?

A transcript of Diane Ragsdale’s speech in which she examined the meaning and implications of sustainability and the life cycle of organizations, including the idea that death is a necessary part of the arts ecosystem.

What can science tell us about the art experience?

Dr. Gary Vikan, former Director of The Walters Art Museum, discusses how neuroscience, evolutionary biology and the cave paintings in Lascaux might point to the fact that aesthetics is “hard-wired into our heads.”

Is social media changing your model, maybe?

Summer’s winding down, and I’m sure most of you have heard Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call…

How do multiple programs function as tools in service of one mission?

Jessica Robinson Love, Senior Director at Arabella Advisors, discusses how viewing programs as tools allows her organization to focus on outcomes.

What do the international protest movements mean for cultural institutions?

Basma El Husseiny, managing director of Culture Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy) in Egypt, suggests that the protests movements at their core have been about dissatisfaction with current institutions and wonders what that means for arts and culture institutions.

In Defense of Logic Models

There has been a great deal of conversation, debate (and informational video) around logic models…

Is Opera a Sustainable Art Form?

Diane Ragsdale shares an excerpt from her keynote address on the topic, “Is Opera a Sustainable Art Form?” from the Opera Europa conference in February.

How has your organization reacted to changes in the competitive landscape?

Sebastian Ruth, Founder & Artistic Director of Community MusicWorks, discusses the need for cultural institutions – both big and small – to ask what is their role in the community and what problems they are addressing.

How has your organization reacted to changes in the competitive landscape?

Alex Nyerges, Executive Director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, talks about the museum’s focus on accessibility, relevance and excitement.

What does the convergence of consumer interests, markets and industries mean for cultural organizations?

Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director of Ballet Hispanico, talks about the importance of remaining true to your mission.

What does the convergence of consumer interests, markets and industries mean for cultural organizations?

Keith Winsten, Executive Director of the Brevard Zoo in Brevard County, Florida, discusses how increased competition helped the organization focus on relevance and redefine its mission.

What does the convergence of consumer interests, markets and industries mean for cultural organizations?

J. Mikel Ellcessor, general manager of WDET, Detroit, discusses the role of cultural organizations in a world where audiences see themselves as creators.

What does the convergence of consumer interests, markets and industries mean for cultural organizations?

Timothy O’Leary, General Director of the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, suggests that art is about looking forward and therefore arts organizations must be perceived as forward-looking.

Don’t throw that home run ball back!

Baseball fans have taken to throwing back home runs hit by the opposing team, a practice this author decries as “the worst tradition in baseball.” This article on the trend made me think about one of the challenges we face every day in arts and culture.

What does the convergence of consumer interests, markets and industries mean for cultural organizations?

Patrick McIntyre, General Manager of the Sydney Theatre Company, talks about the increasing pressure to articulate the benefits of the experiences we offer. He suggests that in the new environment content is marketing and that the concept of co-creation is as old as the Gramophone.

Of mental models and doorknobs

In a rapidly changing environment, examining and recognizing our mental models is essential if we are to shape organizations that have the resilience to adapt to change.

Note on Technology as a Strategic Tool

How can organizations embrace new IT models to maximize workflow and productivity while reducing IT costs?

IBM’s Centenary: The Test of Time

The article points to a useful question for cultural leaders: does your artistic mission need to be so intimately tied to a specific “technology,” and if it does, what additional challenges should you therefore expect to face as a leader?

When Business Meets Culture: Ideas and Experiences for Mutual Profit

In this book, eight academics look at the strategic, cultural, and marketing parallels between for…

A New Type of Hybrid

A comparison of the nonprofit and commercial models, and the introduction of a hybrid that may be more appealing.

If you were to rebuild your organization today what would it look like?

Linda Ames Key, Education Director of the Vital Theatre Company, discusses her vision for a new theater model with education as its primary focus.

If you were to rebuild your educational program today what would it look like?

Linda Ames Key, Education Director of the Vital Theatre Company, discusses a better model for “art in schools” partnerships.

What advice would you give to someone rebuilding an arts organization?

Kim Sajet, President and CEO of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, talks about the importance…

If you were to rebuild your organization today what would it look like?

Beth Boone, Artistic & Executive Director of Miami Light Project, talks about their process of…

What advice would you give to someone starting a theater company?

Anthony Moseley, Executive and Artistic Director of Collaboraction in Chicago, discusses finding the right models…

Rethinking Capitalism

In this video interview on Rethinking Capitalism, Michael Porter (of Porter’s Five Forces fame, among…

A response to the 10-point Action Plan in the UK

On December 8th, Arts Council England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced…

All Together: A Creative Approach to Organisational Change

This report describes the Royal Shakespeare Company’s creative response to external changes that allowed it to grow while staying true to its core mission.

Creating a Customer-Centric Business

Professor Ranjay Gulati of Harvard Business School discusses how organizations can become more customer (or audience)-centric and why this is a critical time for them to do so.

To Get Paid What You’re Worth, Know Your Disruptive Skills

An interesting thought on what you’re selling (and therefore emphasizing) to your organization. Are you trumpeting the right things?

What’s an organization for?

With many folks talking about the need for new business models to make arts organizations more sustainable, The Artful Manager’s Andrew Taylor takes the discussion a bit further.

Advocating for Arts in the Classroom

Mark Bauerlein has made a truly splendid argument for the real and important intrinsic value of the arts in our education system.

Mapping Business Models

This post introduces an interesting, knowledge-game approach to understanding and developing an organization’s strategic direction. It includes a mapping tool and suggestions for how to create a team session which can be focused in any number of ways.

Diane Ragsdale on Surviving the Cultural Change (Version 4.0)

This transcript is of Diane Ragsdale’s keynote “Surviving the Cultural Change (Version 4.0)” at the Arts Alliance Illinois Members’ Meeting on June 21, 2010. In this speech she challenges arts organizations to adapt to the cultural changes that have been taking place.

The Limits of Nonprofit Impact – HBS Working Paper

This working paper argues that while performance measurement is a helpful management tool, it is not always appropriate to focus on impacts depending on the scale and scope of an organization’s activities and theory of change.