Last Day! Phew... also the eariliest...
hence the brevity on these Budget Affinity notes from 8AM!
Budget Affinity Group:
Board Members: engage them earlier in the process...
they come to early rehearsals
send them dramaturgical information about the show
let them meet the artists earlier in the season / before the season starts
make sure they come to the shows with receptions, before & after the shows
senior leadership needs to spend a whole lot more time in the lobbies etc, not just opening nights, but to give everyone more accessibility...
Philanthropy in the New Landscape
Moderated by James Bundy, Artistic Director, Yale Repertory Theatre Panelist(s)
Vicki Reiss, Executive Director, The Shubert Foundation
Angel Ysaguirre, Director of Global Community Investing, The Boeing Company
Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Sharon Blake, Performing Arts Program Director, Maryland State Council on Arts
How evaluation systems are changing: size, context, caliber, way in which they are serving the community, salary levels, % of funds that go into product, risk relative to resource,
- concern: the trimming down of risks taken on new work
- get a 'traveling dramaturg' someone who goes out and sees work, if the Programming directors don't have the time/resources to go out and see things...
- don't worry so much about premiers, there are ways to nurture and support new works that might otherwise be forgotten
- life-cycle, some companies should 'die', some should radically evolve...
- Shubert is violently opposed to the hand-pick investment process, open door instead, despite the fact that they only fund a small portfolio, to some extent there is just too much out there for the foundations to take on the burden of responsibly curating their giving actively
- development director salary is average 3rd behind ED & AD.
- they spend time councling POTENTIAL applicants, call them
things of value:
supporting artist to create & distribute new work is the most important thing
organization change: (EMC Arts for example, among others) helping groups to think innovatively about their business practices, restructuring and solving issues
powerful national system:
- if we don't have new money, allow groups to repurpose endowment
- extra cash - upping the GEN Op grants
- depth of investment more important than breadth of portfolio
- they go in five year rhythms, 2011 they will have another national conversation
- have we reaped what we sowed? we've been discussing "sustainability" rather than "vibrant" - make priority amply funded cultural vitality, instead of stability...
- risk & sustainibility have been at odds, but in fact we are in a time to take risk, radical times require radical opportunities
- Duke = equitable access to money - peer review panels vs. Mellon who pre-determines who they want to invest in and then discuss with the group what they need
- what kinds of discussions could happen about grant-maker colusion, and failure to know about who they are investing in
- evaluating gen ops 'crisis' grants, to see if it is a long-term benefit and if their general grant model should shift
- power of the press - the rest of the world has already moved on, read HERE COMES EVERBODY, Shirky - it is time for us to move on from caring about the "press" and the value of "reviews"
- where are we in the landscape and how can we diversify and enrich that landscape
- is 'creativity' something we should 'not' talk about, creativity is everywhere, - enable discipline, instead of expressiveness - in this age of 'expressiveness' when everyone has a blog and can publicly speak all the time, should we be talking about and practicing listening? in the age of 'creativity' should we be talking about follow-through and actually completing a project. Anyone can come up with a creative idea, its the people who can actually come up with the idea AND make it happen well who are rare and absolutely necessary - q. becomes them how do we teach that, how do we do this, how do we demonstrate to the rest of the world who are obsessed with creativity, that second step, that follow-through and execution value.
Marketing is not as big of a consideration as community outcomes (who do they sell their products too is part of that factor)
impact of econ crisis likely means future cuts in funding and or public sponsorship/branding
grants are decreasing in $ size rather than number of groups funded
WHO ARE OUR MOST IMPORTANT PARTNERS?
- cut the fat, and increase the grant sizes to those who remain, and make those increases for gen ops.
- proposals that rise to the top: MISSION, mission becomes important, and how you communicate that mission, esp to corporate officers who are often not from the arts field - you have to educate them, esp articulating the mission
- really well run organizations are also higher priority, infrastructure problems are no longer as forgivable, these are investments, you want to invest in an org that is well run, fiscally or otherwise. (operating with a surplus, or a deficit for the first time is one indicator of this)
- there is nothing more motivating than an exciting idea
- most non profits don't know why funders fund them, when we talk about building relationships it has to be more than a thank you letter - ask why they made the grant, understand their mission, what they are trying to achieve through their grant making, ask why am I different from other theater companies?, HOW DO YOU HELP A CORP FULFILL THEIR MISSION?
- they have a really good excuse to say no and cut you off, need to have a good idea, a good business practice...
- new ideas that seem to be getting most funded - SHARED BACK OFFICE proposals
- proposals that build on ideas the Corp has been talking about themselves
- aesthetic risk and fiscal responsibility are NOT mutually exclusive,
- risk tolerance - varies from institution to institution - self define risk for your mission & your context
- Bowing has both handpick investment and open applications models it depends on where they are geographically
- no one really thinks a whole lot unless you force them to, so encourage the funders to have a conversation about the grant-making process, and the burden it is placing on arts organizations - have this conversation @ Fall Forum
- "exhibiting proficiency"
- Bowing funds theater companies to increase participation in theater, look for partners who can help us do this, don't twist it to fit, don't make something up to fit, don't apply if you don't fit
- serious issue with corporations shifting towards HHS and away from the arts.
- big binders are crap: don't send 80 pages of printed materials, they don't have the office space, they don't have the time to read it, once they have invested, talk to them, talk to them
- we have to invest in arts leaders who can make the argument that Arts is not in competition against HHS & Environment, and that it too deserves funding, and find ways of configuring the Art not in opposition to HHS & Environment
Blake/Maryland State Arts Council:
SAs are getting cut
- really look at your mission, how does it serve you goals, activities, art, business and funding strategies
- MSA wants to support Gen Ops
Q: why is the burden on the arts institutions to FIND the funders, and not the other way around? perhaps a more efficient model is for the arts institutions to make art, and the funders to seek out the groups they want to fund.
Q: one big issue is project vs. operating funding, project grants give us permission to 'spin' or 'create projects for the grant that have nothing to do with our mission'
Plenary Session: "The Road Ahead," Andrew Zolli
Why is it so hard to imagine the future? to think about the long-term future?
Forcasts are often based on faulty models and systems and tools -
Fast moving trends get attention, but in fact slow moving trends have all the power.
Risk & Investment:
we seem to respond to threats that have a sense of immediacy despite their lower probability to actually affect us
vs. ignoring threats that operate slowly and don't have a sense of immediacty, despite their higher probability to affect all of us
- evolved to deal with crises that are personified, break a moral taboo, fit within a narrative of human relations, and happen suddenly
- not slow moving, abstract issues...
we tend as organizations to focus on fast acting threats, on people within or in competition with our org, but in fact its the slow moving issues that cascade into a phase shift, we need to pay attention to the whole system condition
Resilience: the ability engineer your organization to maintain its core function under the widest variety of operating conditions
operate as if the next step you make is like "ballroom dancing in a mine field"
long-term agenda has to be about the creation of new forms of value in anticipation of demand that has yet to arrive, so that we receive those waves strategically (MP: Strategically Plan")
Innovative leadership best practices
- make the top accountable
- constantly place lots of small bets
- invest in employees close to teh customer
- leverage inovations outside the company
- copy existing "best practices" - but sparingly
- embrace a "cognitive portfolio" approach - i.e. different types of thinkers all conveining on the same set of issues
- systematically scan for 'weak signals' - trends that are quieter, happening slowly
- create highly differentiated partnerships
2 Trends to Watch
- on the road to 9+ Billion
- urban is trending up rural is flattening, (NY is trending down, Lagos up though so its an interesting shift in where the pop growth is happening
- new population structures emerging (age-wize): its not a 'normal' curve with biggest population size at birth and gradual shift down to 80+: some regions have huge bell-bottom curves with most of the population under 30, some regions are flat top to bottom or even reverse, with more elderly than middle-aged and young people >>> US is tiny at very top, fat in the Boomer, and then slightly slimmer in the younger gens... : implies for us, the END of retirement. first we have all this latent human capital post 65, second we are headed towards an hourglass with biggest at 'retirement' and biggest in 'school' age section. of population.
- work, family, immigration paradoxes
boomers - some will retire, some will stay working
Xers - some will be catapulted earlier than normal, some will stuck where they are because boomers don't retire
- retirees are moving back in with their children in growing numbers (financial reasons)
- when you change the family you change consumption, you chance cultural memory, you change all kinds of things...
- wealth is still owned by the top end generations
- generation affinity skips generations - boomer & millenials, boomers give the millenials their wealth, and Xers are cut out...
- weather: people are moving to warm, sunny places at huge rates.
- language: we are way behind the the demographic changes in ethnicity - white caucasian in US will be the largest minority, but there will be no dominant majority.
- education: women, because of education, are blowing men out of the water, (and this is why women in major urban centers are having a hard time finding complimentary men)
psychology of generations
optimism, diversity, trust, participation, socialization
Boomers: highest on socialization, lowest on trust, then diversity, then participation, and optimism second highest
Xers: lowest on socialization, highest on diversity and in general lower than everyone else on all fronts
Millenials are full throttle in all directions, highly valuing all these values
we have a tendancyy to conflate that which is most novel with that which is going to be important in future - this is wrong..
- what is important about networks is that the organizational structures are shifting
- important nodes for communication channels: we have an impulse to choose: Chatty Cathy node (nodes with most links, bridge nodes (nodes between two isolated groups), : but in fact, you should look for the nodes that have not most quantity of reaches, but shortest paths to all sub-networks
- need META DATA, aggregated insights into demand at scale,
- we need to know more about what the needs of our communities are, where they are, who is looking at you etc... what are they searching for?
- ex. TOOLs, like Misnomer's AEP....
the internet is a political philosophy encoded in technology: the entrepreneurial benefits to empowering small entrepreneurs out ways the risk to doing this.
cultural implications of this for organizations - its not just a place to push content, its a place to pull, and its a place to engage in content production.
Lunch: Studies about New Plays
"Theatre Development Fund’s New Plays and Playwrights Project, led by Todd London, draws on extensive quantitative and qualitative research about the experiences of more than 250 playwrights and 100 theatres across the country. And “The Gates of Opportunity: A Field Survey on the Infrastructure for New Works in the American Theater,” by David Dower and funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is a report on a tour of 14 communities and more than 300 individuals involved in the creation of new work."
- audience development is vital, i.e. creating and educating and finding the audience for the "new" forms, it is a question of risk management, these forms are high-risk, because they have small audiences.
- mid-career is a major crisis point
- form is one of the biggest barriers to getting the work produced
- look up Jeff Jones piece in America Theater; what we can learn from visual art about audience development and communicating with them
- the evaluation / quality / rigor question was brought up - how do we deal with this, talk about it, address it?
--- taste, peer pressure, financial concerns, reviews etc that have nothing to do with quality or merit are the driving factors often in choice
--- where is the "excelence" bar, it has to be also about intention - towards rigor, quality, knowledge, understanding of other work,
--- ask WHAT DOES DOING THIS CONTRIBUTE TO the overall organization? right now we focus on quantity of activity, rather than why we do a certain activity
- we need to start have more discussion about terminology as well, we can't apply them as blankets across the field, the presumption that one type of stakeholder uses a term to mean what an different type of stakeholder thinks it means is a crucial issue for the field
- product focus, audience focus, artist focus have to be three equal parts of the triangle
- cookie cutter programs and initiatives do not serve the sector well at all, the challenge is how to deal with organizations who need (funders) to deal with systems and templates
- National New Play Network: look 'em up playwrights