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!