"And the beat goes on………………."
GIA CONFERENCE - DAY 2
Two sessions today:
I. Cultural Policy and Local Arts Agencies: At the Nexus of Cultural, Economic and Community Development - featuring the work of the Tucson Pima Arts Council (Roberto Bedoya - Director of Civic Engagement) - shifting policy from grant making to serving the community directly; the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs (Kerry Adams Hapner - Director of Cultural Affairs, Deputy Director of Economic Development), - moving on the challenge of cities to develop talented workforce pools; and the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture (Randy Engstrom, Director) - emphasizing arts education as a "Creative Advantage" program.
A lively audience discussion followed the presentations centering around the role of the LAA in policy formation, noting the difference between planning and policy, and exploring ways policy might be developed via programming and internal work within city hall. What we want, of course, are formal policies that the decision makers subscribe to that clearly set forth the value and role of arts and culture in every aspect of the lives of our citizens. Something that transcends the frequent changes in the political landscape and is lasting. How we get there is the question.
- Randy suggested an out-of-the-box idea: fund a FTE in the city planning department paid for from the arts agency's budget. The notion of having an arts perspective embedded full time in the city's overall planning mechanism that comes from our side of the fence, moves way beyond having the arts merely seated at a decision making table. This is perhaps a bold kind of move for our future.
- Laura Zucker suggested that what we need is to work for policies valuing the arts not from an exclusively top down, nor bottom up, effort in city government - but from both - and which will survive the politics of city hall, so that we don't have to continually fight the same fights over and over again when regimes change and new politicians are in office.
- Jonathan Glus noted that the Houston Cultural Plan includes policies valuing the arts with specific guidelines for other city departments (though the guidelines aren't mandates) it does go beyond the traditional cultural plan "wish list" of inter-departmental collaboration.
- Have an articulated game plan, informed by the organization's overall vision strategy.
- Build capabilities, don't just do projects. Technology is not a project but a process
- Shake up the organization chart with an integration of digital competency positions, including training
- Put audiences first and be prepared for constant change.