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Surviving the Culture Change It’s the 21st century. The world has evolved. Has your mission? Prepared by Diane E. Ragsdale for Creative New Zealand’s 21 st Century Arts Conference
“I feel like I’m the Captain of the Titanic”
the primary issues facing the American arts are not financial
they are cultural and social
the arts are marginal and exclusive
we are not producing another generation of people who attend the arts
Americans have leisure time but are not spending it attending the arts
gardening home improvement and gourmet cooking
playing guitar taking photos renting films going to rock concerts
YouTube MySpace Second Life American Idol blogs
the brutal truth that Diane learned in the potato state of Idaho
you don’t miss what you’ve never had
people space time art
create consume commune communicate
the iceberg: US arts orgs can’t easily explain to people why they matter
Deep Survival By Laurence Gonzales
becoming lost occurs when you follow your mental map even when it’s wrong
bending the map = trying to make reality conform to your expectations
you must make a new mental map of where you are (not where you wish you were)
Podcasts can’t save us? How about Facebook?
these are not the right questions
less a failure to sell well more a failure to see well
communities have changed
art and artists have changed
perhaps we (the brokers) have not changed
Integrating Mission and Strategy for Nonprofit Organizations James A. Phills, Jr.
‘art really exists only in relation to audiences and their experience’
be prepared to go out of business OR redefine your mission in relation to people
the culture change has fundamentally changed our world
we need to put more on the autopsy table than the season brochure
organizations cannot be granted relevance in perpetuity based on their laurels
the ability to adapt is one of the keys to survival
better start to make a new history or become history
IBM made a new history and so must we
#1 unsustainable growth + silos = mission creep (= bad news)
we built supply and forgot to build demand (oops)
a desperation for resources leads to mission creep
those activities inflate your expenses
which leads to greater desperation for resources
which leads to taking on more activities outside of the scope of mission
which leads to more mission creep (!)
silos are aiding and abetting organizations in this mission creepy behavior
beware unsustainable growth
beware mission creep
and his crazy friend, silo
these practices can make it very difficult to adapt
#2 don’t conflate money or attendance with impact
Convergence Culture Henry Jenkins
what matters is depth of loyalty and quality of engagement
break into people’s hearts and minds— in that order
no longer just intellectual property … emotional capital
create ‘lovemarks’ because they are more powerful than traditional brands
they are beating us at our game
consumption exists within a social and cultural context
we are in the business of creating value for society
there is a danger in conflating growth or commercial success with meaningful impact
making great art that matters to people
we can’t declare mission accomplished just for getting people in the door
#3 go cellular
The Cellular Church Malcolm Gladwell (The New Yorker)
people who are in small groups show up stay members and give money
without the small group going to church with 5,000 people feels impersonal
Perhaps a bit like going to a concert hall with 1,800 people?
do they really have no time?
saying “no time” reminds me of the oft-used, let-me-down-easy break up line:
“it’s not you, it’s me”
foster socially driven arts participation by small groups
The Foundry Theatre (NYC) Open House
not content to simply produce great art, they are creating great community
#4 let the art dictate the space—not the other way around
a kiosk with a pot of coffee, a tip jar, and a mini-bar won’t cut it
create spaces suited to the art and dynamic interaction between artists and audiences
3-Legged Dog (NYC) Fire Island
National Theatre of Scotland (no space)
Australia Council for the Arts Babelswarm (virtual space)
#5 fuel a fan base— sample & share
The Long Tail: bye-bye blockbusters hello niche products
free the people and free the art
#6 you can’t fix it in post
why does Obama rock the vote?
no podcast will make 25 year olds go to art that doesn’t seem relevant to their lives
Los Angeles Philharmonic Esa-Pekka Salonen & Gustavo Dudamel
stop doing the ‘medicine thing’ and start having a dialogue with the audience
“the notion of equity is now being added to the long tradition of excellence in the arts”
#7 let people in on the action
Elizabeth Streb: “bringing the once private creative activity into the traffic of everyday existence”
pro-ams are an increasingly important part of our society and economy
tools to do not just to view
share the limelight
start a real dialogue with your patrons-- give them a blog
#8 be arts concierges and filter
arts organizations are terrible at helping patrons make smart purchases
don’t sell them everything sell them something they will value
#9 aggregate supply and demand
horizontal subscriptions— bundling across product lines of many orgs
one play or exhibit at your organization on hundreds of niche packages
does bundling with commercial entertainment make us sleazy or super smart?
cultural omnivores have a taste for high art ad pop culture and everything in between - Richard Peterson
if we don’t feed the cultural omnivores, they’ll show up on someone else’s doorstep
#10 beware the search for silver bullets and innovation for its own sake
the answer is not podcasts + Facebook + $10 tickets
scrambling for wacky ideas is not the answer
there’s no silver bullet that will conquer the culture change
artistic leaders need to be involved in any transformation
pursue both excellence and equity
have the courage, capacity, and willingness to adapt
people survive better in numbers = build effective partnerships
always plan-- but be willing to let go of the plan when necessary
“Art is not a thing; it is a way.” Elbert Hubbard
“the arts are not for the privileged few, but for the many”
“their place is not on the periphery of daily life, but at its center”
the art that matters to us is received by us as a gift is received
The gift moves to the empty place … toward him that has been empty-handed the longest
move towards them
seek to understand them
break into their hearts and minds
in that order
Long live the audience! Jo Taylor Consultant at Morris Hargreaves McIntyre.
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