"Relationships between artists, institutions and audiences are being redefined and reset, and the structures we have used to present and support culture are straining to keep up. Ironically, some of the very strategies that brought success in the old models are the very ones that work against us in the new." --Doug McLennan
Helicon Collaborative designed and launched the Dynamic Adaptability as a response to a March 2009 study we conducted about the effects of the recession on cultural institutions in the Puget Sound. In that study, cultural leaders asked for more opportunities to gather with colleagues, exchange ideas and learn about ways of managing rapid changes. The series included seven convenings over the course of 2010-2013 and welcomed over 700 attendees.
“Dynamic adaptability” describes the capacity of an organization to be responsive to a changing environment in order to thrive.
Selected session descriptions, videos and links to materials below.
In the context of a statewide campaign to approve a new tax mechanism for public funding in Washington State, we brought three speakers who are experts on what works — and what doesn’t — in campaigns for public funding:
- Sheila Smith, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts — in 2008, passed the largest state constitutional amendment for culture funding in the U.S., providing arts, culture, heritage and environment over $52 million a year. Unconventional partnerships with hunting and conservationist advocates were key to the success of the campaign.
- Tom Schorgl, Community Partnership for Arts and Culture in Ohio – in 2006, passed a county-wide cigarette tax for arts and culture that yields over $17 million a year. Their grassroots advocacy campaign appealed to what really mattered to people.
- Michael Rushton, Director of the Arts Administration Program at Indiana University – an economist and public policy expert who addressed the importance about making an argument for what is uniquely valuable about the arts that can’t be replicated by any other sector.
Click here for videos of the session and materials about public value.
“Community,” “relevance,” and “engagement” are now buzzwords in the cultural sector, but what does it look like when a cultural organization is really engaged with its community, beyond audience development strategies and outreach departments? James Kass (Youth Speaks), Chris Coleman (Portland Center Stage), Lisa Sasaki (the Oakland Museum of California) and John Michael Schert (The Trey McIntyre Project) talked about what civic leadership means to them, and how this has led to numerous other benefits, including greater organizational stability and artistic creativity.
Learn more about how exemplary organizations are engaging with community in our Bright Spots report.
Leaders of nonprofit arts organizations in today's world are being called on to do more and more for their communities and their organizations, but often these demands can take a serious toll on personal health and well-being. Ronnie Brooks, former director of the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute, led this workshop on personal and professional renewal as a necessary survival skill for working in a stressful and changing environment. View the full workshop video here.
"The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence…The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace. It destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful." ~Thomas Merton
Doug McLennan from ArtsJournal.com (the leading arts news aggregator on the web) and social media guru, on how technology and the Internet is changing culture and offer strategies for thriving in this new environment. Learn how to build a community around your work, and why doing so is necessary for your institution's and your mission's survival. Video of the keynote:
Slides of the presentation
This session featured an opening plenary by Clara Miller, President and CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Clara focused on fresh ways to apply nonprofit financial management and capital strategies to building and sustaining healthy cultural institutions. Video of Clara's keynote:
There are no more Dynamic Adaptability planned for now, but we hope to keep the ideas circulating.
To see Dynamic Adaptability resources and videos visit our blog and search "Dynamic Adaptability." And please don't hesitate to tell us what you think.