In planning our capital project at the theatre where I work, we are entering new territory. The variety of programs that we are planning, and the spaces in which we will be able to do them, will be multiplying by the time the project is finished.
As arts organizations, we are mission-driven to provide artistic and cultural experiences to our patrons, and often to the community at large, regardless of their age, income level or other factors. Chances are, unless you live in a very tiny town, there are other organizations that are obligated to better the lives of their community as well.
The great part about all of this enrichment and quality of life improvement is that it gives us many opportunities to collaborate. For example, some of the programs that we will be adding are music education and lessons, school programming, independent cinema, and a student theatrical program. Because this is our first foray, as administrators, into this territory, it could potentially be a mountain of work and coordination, and it might take us years to get it right.
Very fortunately for us, there are people in our community who already do these things on a smaller or piecemeal scale. A local teacher who schedules and gives piano lessons is working with us on our music education program. A group of teacher center directors is helping us to determine the best way to introduce programming into our schools. Another organization in our area who does a small amount of independent cinema wants to partner with us to promote their brand and serve a neighboring community. Our student theatrical program will be directed by a woman who has worked with various groups of young people in the areas of acting, creative movement and performance.
There is no need for us to reinvent the wheel, and learn from scratch skills and aptitudes that others have spent many years developing. Make a list of your ideas, and ask yourself who can help. If you are starting a new initiative, chances are that there is someone in your community that could lend advice, expertise or experience to your efforts. The time that you spend seeking them out will be a great investment in your future. Working together not only makes your projects more fundable, but it keeps you from duplicating services and splitting your audience with a more established program at another venue.
Have you had good experiences partnering with others in your community? Feel free to share them with us!
Hey there, dear reader. Still here at Cinefest, and feeling more tired and drained than funny, but there you go.
Though Cinefest is a classic film festival, when most people think of film fêtes, they think of independent films and hipsters. So today’s selection is entitled “The Melted Mind of a Film Buff.”
As a classic film fan and one who works in a place that exhibits classic repertory films, my own melted brain is more a combination of flash title anxiety, Dippy Doo Dads, George O’Brien (sigh), abhorrence of slapstick comedy/mugging, silent movie scores, theatre organs, Frank Capra, and The “It” Girl, plus some smaller bits that haven’t been mapped yet.
What makes up your artistic and cultural brain?
Don’t jump all over me. I didn’t say I hate the Arts, or advocacy, or even Arts advocacy. I am all for those things. But Arts Advocacy Day, not so much. (Though I do have to say, this poster is, frankly, pretty marvy.)
I suppose I should qualify my statement a little bit. It’s not so much that I hate the idea of Arts Advocacy Day. Often, people go into it with the wrong mindset, and that bugs me. I used to be one of those people. I would arrive home from a day in Albany, NY (our state capital, and a four-hour round trip) frustrated and tired because I didn’t feel like I had even made a dent. It’s easy to get discouraged as a young professional who is passionate about your cause. You’ll rarely find a representative that is as passionate about it, but it’s (usually) not because they don’t care.
I used to be an advocate for environmental causes in college, and I worked as a canvasser for Citizens Campaign for the Environment for a time. I get it, I do. I know what advocacy accomplishes and why we do it.
There is a fine line between solidarity and white noise. If you go to Advocacy Day to tell your reps anything about your own organization, you can almost guarantee it will get drowned out by the sheer volume of stories that they are hearing that day. Representatives and their assistants (the good ones, anyway, of which the ones in my district fortunately are) do listen and want to help, but they’re not superhuman.