Tuesday, August 15, 2006

August 15, 2006

Barry's Blog - September 1, 2006

Table of Contents:
I. Shameless plug for my services as a consultant
II. Rand Report on the Arts & State Government
III.Arts Administrator Mid Career Crises
IV. Random Thought on arts & the advertising industy
V. September Hessenius Group focus on the November election

Hi everybody.

"And the beat goes on..............."

I. Offering Consulting Services:
"I am, I said......................"

After ten years at the helm of three arts organizations - the California Arts Council, the California Assembly of Local Arts Agencies, and Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, I now join many of my colleagues as an independent consultant. Someone called me a policy wonk, and I kind of like that - though I'm not exactly sure what it means. I am pretty sure being a "wonk" - by itself - doesn't pay really well, and as my accountant has informed me that if I have any intention of living more than another 12.6 years - at the style to which I have become accustomed (and I do), that I need to make some more money. So I am now a writer and consultant.

I am using the Hessenius Group concept to offer a wide range of customized consulting services - bringing together a talented group of nationally known experts across all discipline areas of the arts sector on an ad hoc basis. This will allow me to assemble different teams of people and tailor the approach to the specific needs of each project and provide organizations in our field with the skills and experience that will address the needs of each client. While the group will include people on and off the Hessenius Group that conducts monthly discussions on this site, it is a completely separate effort.

I have experience and expertise in facilitating meetings, and in the strategic & cultural planning, marketing and advocacy areas, and so I am also offering personal consulting services to facilitate Board of Director retreats, Strategic Planning Sessions, City and Regional Cultural Plans and other kinds of meetings and gatherings.


  1. Board leadership - roles, responsibilities & mechanics
  2. Fiscal role (budget planning & oversight / how to read financial statements / fundraising) 
  3. Board organization / relationships / interpersonal dynamics
  4. Board expansion / recruitment 
  5. Board policy formulation & strategic planning 
  6. Advocacy roles & responsibilities
  7. Building capacity and how to sustain the growth.
  8. Marketing
  9. Committee work organization 
  10. Communications 
  11. Event planning
  12. Executive Director recruitment, oversight, evaluation,relationship. 
  13. Crisis management / intervention
  1.  Pre-Planning Consultation / Agenda planning
  2. Organizational Needs Assessment / Assets Inventory 
  3. Fund raising / Development (including analysis of competition, local environment, current strategies) 
  4. Policy formulation
  5. Programmatic Analysis & Development 
  6. Advocacy roles & responsibilities 
  7. Marketing / Visibility (including branding, market positioning, audience analysis, communications & media strategies)
  8. Operations / Capacity building (including analysis of administrative functions)
  9. Collaborations / consensus building 
  10. Short term / Long term strategic approaches and task planning 
  11. Creating a business plan (current organizational review and analysis)
  12. Casting a Wider Net (so as to get to the "tipping point")
  1.   Community Assessment / Input / Polling
  2.   Master Planning / Operations
  3.   Facilities Considerations
  4.   Specific Populations (multicultural, seniors, children)
  5.   Arts Education component
  6.   Financing / Funding - sources / strategies
  7.   Public access / Marketing
  8.   Business & Industry involvement / roles
  9.   Equity and balance issues / collaboration
  10.   Artists and Creativity
MacMillan & Company will publish my book Hardball Lobbying for Nonprofits in 2007, and I will be offering an Advocacy Workshop beginning early next year featuring a no-nonsense comprehensive boot camp approach to the ABC's of effective lobbying, and also include usually ignored topics such as how to: finance the effort, motivate people to participate, build coalitions, manage the media in support, make the case, and compete in the political arena. I will be available to consult with both individual organizations and coalitions on the design and implementation of specific city, regional and state campaigns to pass specific legislation. And I will be setting up an Advocacy website with links, resources, tutorials etc. that I hope will help our field to empower itself in this area.

If you have any need of consulting services, I hope you might consider talking to me. I would be happy to send you a bio and a packet of materials on the services offered if you will just email me. I can be reached at: barryarts@comcast.net; and would be pleased to discuss with you your needs and expectations. I would be grateful for your referrals.

Thank you for your consideration. I very much appreciate it.

II. Rand Report on the Arts & State Government issued by the Wallace Foundation
"Sometimes I wonder, what I'm a gonna do............."

Click here for the Rand Report on the Arts and State Governments just issued by the Wallace Foundation - focusing on the issue of what approach maximizes support for the arts from state government. http://www.wallacefoundation.org/WF/

NOTE in the Appendix section of the Report that California continues to rank last (50th out of 50 states) in per capita support for the arts at a current pathetic and altogether embarassingly unacceptable nine cents. Frankly, I don't understand our failure to promote a sense of outrage. Every state should provide a minimum of one dollar in per capita support (and that in addition to the NEA - which ought to be funded at not less than $500 million). I don't give a damn about deficit shortfalls, greater priorities or any of the other bogus arguments and lame excuses disingenuous governors and legislatures keep foisting on us for their failure to act. Please. The money is there in every state IF they were of a mind to support us. The bottom line is that in every state the arts return more than one dollar per capita in benefits -- jobs, tax income, tourism dollars and the like, and we continually get the short end of the stick. I still personally believe that is because we lack political power. If we raised a half a million dollars across all states and nationally to contribute to candidate campaigns and threatened to pull those contributions, I guarantee you both the myopic enemies of arts support as well as our apologetic so called 'friends' would sing a different tune. I wonder what California or any other state would do if the benefits arts & culture bring were to disappear. This is just insanity.

III. Arts Administrator Mid Career Leadership Crises.
"And struggle for the 'legal tender'............"

Note from Amy Kweskin

Over the past several months I have had the opportunity to work with Americans for the Arts as a Fellow researching leadership development needs of midcareer arts managers. Inspiration for this work came out of my own questioning of what it means to be midcareer. The larger context for this research is the impending labor shift as pioneers of arts nonprofits, now on the brink of retirement, perceive a dearth of qualified successors. Those ready to take the helm are equally frustrated wondering if the field can foster their leadership aspirations. The concern is exacerbated by census statistics indicating a shrinking labor pool available to replace senior leaders in the next ten years.

The research methodology involved dozens of arts professionals from across the country who participated in roundtable discussions, peer groups, on-line surveys and one-on-one interviews. These candid discussions with arts managers, funders, educators, consultants, management service providers, and board members, as well as self-identified mid-career arts managers, have allowed me to paint a picture of midcareer leaders.

My conclusion is that the leadership pipeline is underdeveloped and midcareer is the point at which arts professionals seriously question their future in the field. No longer on the steep learning curve of establishing their footing, midcareer managers are experts in their area of focus ranging from mid-level and senior management to Executive Director. Despite their accomplishments a desire for developing management and team leadership skills is unmet. Career paths plateau because organizations lack the resources to offer professional development or career advancement opportunities. This has resulted in a vast migration of professionals moving between organizations in endless pursuit of advancement opportunities. For many it means crisscrossing the country every two to four years.

Most alarming is the belief that Executive Director is the only viable career aspiration for leading the field. Regardless of interest or expertise it was sited repeatedly by research participants as the only way to be involved in the strategic advancement of an organization and to earn a competitive salary. Further concern comes from the need to balance career expectations with life goals such as having the means to start a family and obtain property. When unable to reach these goals many wonder if their future is in the arts. For some the solution has been to career transition into other sectors of nonprofit management or to exit completely. As one interviewee stated, midcareer is the last opportunity to leave the arts and see if you can make it in the corporate sector.

Americans for the Arts appreciates your participation, as do I. If you would like to follow up on this research please contact Anne Ecuyer, Associate Vice President of Field Services at 202.371.2830.

Warm Regards,

Amy Kweskin

IV. Random Thought
"Baby you can drive my car...................."

There is a new television ad for a Mitsubishi car that features Taiko drummers. It is, in my view, an excellent integration of the arts into a commercial message. The drum beat reinforces the image the car manufacturer wants to convey that their sports car is both fast and solid. To me it just works. The Taiko artists are stunningly visual and it grabs your attention. It must have seemed that way to the account executives at their ad agency when they conceived it. That got me thinking about the scores and scores of other art forms / artists that might work well for the advertising community -- everything from the majesty of a full symphony, to one of a dozen dance forms, to other musical forms, to a solitary painter in quiet contemplation at his or her easel. What we need is a video or power point presentation that packages how effective and dramatic use of the arts and artists can be for the advertising industry so that we might convince them to more frequently think in terms of using the arts and artists (as more effective than "celebrities" in the creation of their messages (tv, radio, print, other). That might then end up an ancillary source of income to artists / arts organizations (we can use every source of income we can get) and help to remind the public of the arts. I know it wouldn't be a big deal, but we have to think in terms of the aggregate of lots of small "deals" as it were. Maybe this is a project for a state agency, a foundaion, or even the NEA - as a pilot. Just another random thought...............

V. September Hessenius Group to focus on November Election
"I'd like to help you son, but you're too young to vote........"

NOTE: Starting this month, the HESSENIUS GROUP discussions will run for two days (not four), making it easier to follow along. The September discussion (9/12 and 9/13)will focus on the November Election and what it means for the arts. I will be announcing the addition of seven new members to the group and guest experts joining the discussion.

Have a great week.

And Don't Quit!


Monday, August 7, 2006

August 07, 2006

Table of Contents:
I. The Election
II. Changes in the Hessenius Group schedule & format
III. Youth in the Arts Study
IV. Bits & Pieces - handy internet links

Hi everybody.

"And the beat goes on..................."

I. The November Election:
"Tossing and Turning all night..............."

The November election is less than 90 days away. It promises to be one of those major elections that denote a sea change in the political fortunes of the two parties and a change of power - not just in Washington, but perhaps across the country. If the Democrats don't win the House, THAT will be as dramatic as if they do.

So what are the arts doing to position themselves to reap the rewards of new leadership?

I know there are efforts - some new, many ongoing - to make the case for the arts, to promote the value of arts education, to urge reinstatement of previously cut funds, or to provide new funding, to create arts task forces and so on, but I am talking about politics - involvement in campaigns, including financial contributions to candidates -- and the access, influence and relationship that involvement brings.

Are we involved in the candidate campaigns in any way? Have we made the case to candidates, gotten them to take a stand on supporting our positions, even made our positions known? Have we done anything to convince candidates that we are a voting bloc with some power?

Have we submitted candidate questionaires seeking them to take a stand?

Have we written editorials and sent them to newspapers?

Have we circulated email petitions urging candidates to take a public stand in support of the arts?

Have we held their "feet to the fire" as it were intimating to them that if they want our support (and they should), they need to publicly address our issues?

Have we hosted candidate fundraising events that are attended by arts supporters?

I'm asking because I don't know. I haven't seen much of any involvement we might have in this arena, and I wonder why? If we're not invovled, then we're crazy for passing up this opportunity. If it is going on, why haven't I heard about it? I'm not exactly a hermit.

Please let me know what is going on out there in terms of the arts developing relationships with potential new elected officials, and I will pass that info along. I think it important that we all know if there are efforts being made so that we can build on what is being done. There isn't much time left, but it is enough time to act, and for us to take advantage of this important election.

Is it worth doing? What if the U.S. House had 291 arts supporter members of the arts caucus? Two thirds. Enough to override any veto, enough to make the NEA budget $250 million. Ditto various state houses around the country? If the Governor of California wanted to increase the CAC budget to $100 million (absent a recession) HE (or SHE) COULD ABSOLUTELY GET THAT DONE. We've given our elected officials enough reasons to understand and appreciate the value of the arts, but have we given them reasons why they should make it their agenda? Have we given them any reason to carry us to the finish line - when support for anyone, any idea, any group or cause, of necessity, must come at the expense of someone, or something else -because the pie just isn't big enough to support everything?

Next month's Hessenius Group will consider this issue, but I would love to hear from all of you out there as to what you know we are doing, what you think we should do, and what you think we can do at this point in time.

And again, I urge you to join the Arts Action Network - the only national PAC the arts have. Click here: href="http://:www.artsactionfund.org">www.artsactionfund.org

Someday maybe arts people will run for office themselves. Here's an interesting link to information on a general outline of How to Run for Office - http://www.dkosopedia.com/wiki/How_To_Run_For_Office#The_Campaign

II. Changes to the Hessenius Group
"Cha, cha, cha changes.........................."

Beginning next month (September) I am making some changes to the Hessenius Group online discussions of the major issues facing the arts. So as to more realistically accommodate the group member's schedules, we will do eight discussions per year - taking off January and the summer months of June, July and August. Starting in September, each month's online group discussion will last only two days - making it easier for the participants and for you to follow along, and hopefully, that change will also make it flow quicker with the dialgoue moving faster. (And I'm considering making it a single day event if two days seems too long).

Finally, I will be adding six new members to the group so that we continue to have new blood and fresh ideas and insure an even wider representation of thoughts, ideas, positions and areas of the arts sector. And also inviting more guest participants month to month.

The subscriber list for the Hessenius Group continues to grow and I want to thank all of you out there for helping us to spread the word so that as many people within our sector as possible might have access to these ongoing discussions of the major issues that we all face. My purpose is to promote a national dialgoue that is otherwise absent, and to build a sense of community within our ranks. We have tremendous strength in the brainpower of our field if we can only 'tap' into it and share it as widely as possible. Please continue to help us by spreading the word, putting a link to the site on your website or otherwise letting your constituency know of this resource. I really appreciate it very much.

III. Youth Involvement in the Arts Study
"We were young with all of our might....................."

I have been doing a study for the past year on Youth Involvement in the Arts considering the questions of how our sector is faring in terms of involving young people in our organizations - including the generational succession issue and how we are recruiting, retaining, training and integrating young people into our governance structures (as staff, board members etc), and as potential advocates, financial supporters, and audiences as well as our efforts to support the next generation of young artists.

A final report on this study - commissioned by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation - will be published late next month. The Report will include a mapping of current efforts - focusing on California as a microcosm of the national efforts, an analysis of what programs are working, where opportunities exist but are not being exploited, and a comparitive analysis of what the environmental field of the nonprofit arts sector is doing in the same area and what lessons we might learn from that sector's efforts. The findings should be of great interest to our field, and Moy Eng and I hope to disseminate the Report as widely as possible so as to encourage debate and discussion on what the arts might do in the future to address the critically important issue of involving young people. I hope you all might help us to distrbute the Report. An electronic pdf file will be available to everyong - and a limited number of hard copies will be sent to organizations across the country.

IV. Bits & Pieces:

Link to article in New York Times on arts education study: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/27/books/27gugg.html?ex=1155096000&en=df79f4cc1d6475b8&ei=5070

Here's a great little site that can calculate the miles between the major cities in the world. http://www.airtimetable.com/Air_mile_calculator.htm

And here's a site that provides FREE telephone conference calling. Just sign up (no obligation) and get a contact telephone number and a pin number and then as many people as you would like can engage in telephone conference calls - the only charge being whatever toll charges apply for each individual participant on THEIR telephone bills to call the dial in number in St. Louis. (And lots of people now have telephone plans that permit unlimited national long distance calling so they would pay nothing).

Have a great week.

Don't Quit!