Effective Arts Leadership

Some of the best run arts organizations in North America are those operated by volunteer leadership. I had the pleasure of meeting leaders from several at the Alberta Showcase for arts presenting organizations in Fort Saskatchewan produced by the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta (Canada). These leaders come from varying backgrounds, with a mix of degrees and professions including architecture, forestry, agriculture and medicine (both nurses and doctors). They work diligently year-around to research, book and present exceptional artists in order engage their communities in the arts. There’s no doubt about the effectiveness and high return on investment of their work. They are the cornerstones of the communities and key players in touring throughout Canada.

Raising Money from Individual Donors

This past weekend, I had the pleasure, with Angeles Richardson, Leslie Graham and Anji Milanovic, of leading a workshop on raising funds from individual donors for the Cultivate/Create Initiative sponsored by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Colburn Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts). Over one hundred arts leaders from small and medium sized arts groups exploring, innovating, trying to find new ways to engage people in their work. My faith in this field was replenished.

To give back further, I’ve agreed to respond to the first ten questions from people who participated in that session on June 16, 2012. Just place your question below in the comments section. I also imagine that the many bright people who participated will also have a raft of new suggestions to make as a result of the day’s interactions. I apologize in advance to those who aren’t able to be in the first group of ten.

Data is the new Black


Using negative review comments in an ad

Story in American Theatre Magazine

Full disclosure: Joseph is Cindy and Jerry's son.

Youtube has special features for nonprofits


Click on the 1.25 minute video.

Wall Street Journal article on the Paradox of Power


Some good reminders for all of us in the second half of this article.

Three fabulous essays from the UK based International Futures Forum


Two brief essays describe some ways to dig ourselves out of the mess we're in: Ten Things to Do in a Conceptual Emergency and Beyond Survival

Economies of Life describes the value of art as providing meaning in our lives. One of the best I've ever read.

Pay what it's worth

I think that Massive Theatre Company in New Zealand may have pioneered the concept of Pay What it's Worth. This story is about a non-profit owned bakery that's following suit.


From co-curation to designing

Much has been written lately about the desire of participants to co-curate their own experience. This article suggests that many are going one step further to design their own clothing. What might this suggest for our work in the arts?


Behavioral Economics

Those who taken my workshops will recall that I make many references to writings and research in social psychology. This recently published guide by the good people at Network for Good uses the term behavioral economics - to use behavioral sciences methods to encourage people to make economic decisions (like buying a ticket or making a donation).

They've titled it Homer Simpson for Nonprofits, The Truth about How People Really Think and What It Means for Promoting Your Cause. It's a easy read and covers many social psychology principles in a fun and informative way.