Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Can You Feel It?

On the ATA Listserv, Executive Director Dale Davis posts a slew of cultural policy tidbits.

Today's offerings include a link to an article at Grantmakers in the Arts. The results of recent surveys of arts funders are presented in an effort to give the community "real-time information about the impacts of the recession on funders and the arts field as a whole."

There's also useful guidance for fearless leaders of non-profit arts groups:

We asked funders to describe the characteristics of the arts groups they think are adapting most effectively to changing circumstances. No one we interviewed had a definitive list, but these qualities were mentioned most often:
  • Courageous leaders, willing to ask tough questions about the relevance of their organization to its community, face the answers honestly, and take informed risk.

  • Relentless focus on core mission and strategic position, and on capitalizing the core mission (that is, secure the necessary financial resources for the core before funding any ancillary activities).

  • Clarity about the function of structures, processes, and products, and flexibility (even heretical flexibility) about the forms those functions take.

  • Powerful connection to and genuine engagement with community.

  • Forecasting ability and a keen interest in the larger forces likely to impact viability — economics, demographics, technology, audience behavior, capitalization, environmental sustainability, and community priorities.

  • Strategic thinking, capacity to learn from previous experiences (both positive and negative), and nimbleness in integrating change strategies throughout the organization.

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