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Future Arts Administrators and Other Adult Learners Persevere Online5199 <p>As students gear up for the spring semester (whether in-person or virtually), many are preparing to return to programs that look and operate much differently than in previous years. Those who teach and run arts administration programs have experienced this shift as well, with many programs rethinking and reworking pre-existing systems to acclimate to the current environment. </p><p>We recently connected over email with John-Morgan Bush, Director of Lifelong Learning at The Juilliard School, and Lee Ann Scotto Adams, Executive Director of the Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE), over email to discuss obstacles and bright spots that the arts higher education landscape has experienced as a result of the pandemic, its resultant economic hardships and the urgent, ongoing conversations around equity and access. Despite previously anticipated enrollment drops in higher education due to rising COVID-19 cases on campuses and the potential drawbacks of virtual course instruction, Bush and Adams share that arts programs and their students—from the undergraduate to the continuing education level—have demonstrated perseverance and agility, adapting and learning within a new environment.</p><p><strong>The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused enrollment changes in higher education programs as cases on campuses rose last fall. What are some challenges unique to arts programs? And how are people addressing them?</strong></p><p><strong>LSA&#58;</strong> Many arts administration programs in the AAAE network have actually seen recent increases in inquiries, applications and enrollment. This isn’t too surprising, as this tends to happen in higher education when there is an economic crisis. There was a similar trend during the 2009 economic collapse. People go back to school to augment their skills or make a career change; this is true at the undergraduate level too. One of AAAE’s undergraduate programs in the Midwest has seen a 25 percent increase in its freshman class this year, and they are getting an influx of undergraduate students who are choosing arts-discipline majors and minors. Undergraduate students who are interested in studying the arts may be choosing arts administration during this time of economic uncertainty, as the skills taught in these programs are transferrable to multiple careers. &#160;</p><p><strong>JMB&#58;</strong> First, I believe that it is important to realize that the impact of COVID-19 is being felt acutely across all sectors, public and private. We are out of balance as a society right now and are collectively reeling. Throughout the performing arts, there are the obvious challenges such as not being able to convene an audience in person or teach in our traditional settings. But beyond these immediate dilemmas, I believe that one of the biggest challenges that we need to address is how we keep our adult audiences interested in the artistic work we do during this time of separation. I believe that curiosity is the sister to creativity. </p><p>In Juilliard’s Evening Division (an adult learning program that offers an array of programs in various arts disciplines), we are looking at every way possible to provide value to our students, so they remain curious about the art forms that they love, even in the absence of live performance. When they stay curious, they are engaged to not only support artistic practice, but willing to participate in the artistic process as well. In my view, curiosity is what we will need most of all when the pandemic passes (and it will!)—we will need communities who are inquisitive enough about our artistic output that they want to support us and participate as soon as they are able to do so.</p><p><strong>What kinds of changes and/or adjustments have programs made for disciplines that require frequent and rigorous in-person instruction? </strong></p><p><strong>LSA&#58;</strong> Fortunately, for arts administration and related programs, such as theatre management, entertainment industry management, cultural management, arts leadership, arts entrepreneurship, cultural policy and museum studies, these programs can be easily transitioned and scaled to an online classroom environment. This is one area of arts teaching and learning that doesn’t require hands-on instruction. Even before the pandemic hit, many arts administration programs in the AAAE network were offered online or offered an optional online component to the curriculum, especially at the graduate level.<strong> </strong> </p><p><strong>JMB&#58;</strong> COVID-19 has upended our belief about what is possible and what learning environments in the performing arts can look like and it has catalyzed innovation. The impact on continuing education was no less substantial. If you envision online learning as students “beaming” into classes via broadband and greeting each other and their professors through webcams built into laptops you are not entirely wrong. But, if your mental image is a group comprised solely of tech-savvy millennials and gen Z’ers livestreaming into classes, that’s where you’d be mistaken. At Juilliard, it was in fact the intrepid students of the Juilliard Evening Division, more than 50 percent of whom over the age of 60, who paved the way in online learning. COVID-19 has taught us that flexibility is needed more than ever—it’s essential. It has also reminded me to never underestimate the human capacity to adapt and learn at any age. </p><p><strong>What has been lost in all the technology? Alternatively, what have programs and educators gained?&#160; </strong></p><p><strong>JMB&#58;</strong> I’ve advised our continuing education faculty to think of online learning not merely as a replacement or facsimile of an in-class lecture, but rather as a completely new opportunity to provide more value and deepen learning experiences. Working together with our Evening Division faculty, we’ve found ways to creatively organize continuing education curricula so that students realize and can track where they are on their carefully designated learning journeys. We can organize our supplemental materials, videos, scores, readings and more, in ways that spark curiosity and meaning to the individual artistic experience. </p><p><strong>LSA&#58;</strong> We’re seeing some advantages as well. Though it was a tough start when the pandemic hit and arts leaders initially panicked, I believe these technologies have enhanced the field by broadening access to the arts. As an example, the AAAE academic conference moved to an entirely virtual format in May 2020, and drew in almost double the number of attendees, with members joining us from China, Australia, Vienna and Manila. These international members typically aren’t able to attend the annual meetings, as travel budgets and academic schedules can be prohibitive. This year, the virtual formal levelled the playing field for all and brought many new voices to the conversation.</p><p>The Wallace Blog recently posted <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/can-pandemic-be-catalyst-for-new-global-arts-ecology.aspx?utm_source=facebook&amp;utm_medium=b32ae361-3e65-4032-82eb-0cda2790e66e&amp;utm_campaign=Website&amp;utm_content=organic_paid">an article</a> by Zenetta S. Drew where she states, “Artists—whether professional or not—became the unofficial essential workers of the pandemic, vital to our nation’s health and recovery, and an overwhelming validation of the importance of the arts.” </p><p>Our nation is consuming the arts now more than ever. Perhaps it’s the equivalent of eating a pint of ice cream to combat a stressful day. The arts are nourishing to the soul. They also provide an escape. Drew goes on to state, “the continuation of the pandemic has…also forced a group of technology-resistant learners of all ages to learn to use online platforms, opening up arts events to new audiences, many of whom will pay to view performances online.”&#160; </p><p>Again, here we see a case for technology broadening access to the arts among new audiences.</p><p><strong>In what ways have students inspired you through their practice during this critical juncture?</strong></p><p><strong>JMB&#58;</strong> One of the most devastating impacts of COVID-19 has been the isolation it has imposed on elderly and other at-risk populations. While I knew that learning would persist online, in those early days I wondered if our sense of community would as well. I can say now, with total certainty, that community does persist. As we moved our courses online, I was inspired by the student interactions with each other and faculty. In March during the darkest days of the pandemic [in New York], I witnessed one professor end his class with the sincere wish that his students (mostly senior citizens) stay safe and well, and they reciprocated the sentiment. But the emotion behind it, the role that this course had come to play in both the lives of students and teacher was extraordinary. It provided rhythm to the passing of time, opportunity to connect with like-minded peers when isolation was the order of the day and celebration and/or escape through music. </p><p><strong>LSA&#58;</strong> Since the pandemic began, the AAAE membership has seen an influx of new student members. I believe students are eager to connect and engage with each other and with leaders in the field. We have also seen strong student interest in leadership opportunities. Perhaps with the limited internship opportunities available during the pandemic, students are looking for alternative avenues to build their skills and grow their networks. I recently put out a call for conference planning committee members, and I received 13 student volunteers! I received so many offers from students to assist that I had to create a student planning sub-committee. Like the at-risk populations John-Morgan references, students have so much to lose with social isolation and dramatic shifts in academic and professional development opportunities, but they are proving to be absolutely resilient and brilliant through all of this.</p><p><strong>What do you think the arts higher education landscape will look like next the five to ten years?&#160;</strong></p><p><strong>LSA&#58;</strong> There are so many factors at play here – the political landscape; policy decisions (especially around federal student loans and possible federal student loan forgiveness coming down the line); timely COVID-19 relief funding to assist individuals, businesses and organizations that are struggling right now; and accumulating debt among so many Americans. I think we will continue to see growth in interest in arts administration programs and other arts disciplines with transferrable skills, and an increase in quality online and hybrid programs. There is much more widespread recognition of the value of the arts in our society, especially as we navigate these difficult times, and this will continue to drive interest in arts administration programs. </p><p><strong>JMB&#58;</strong> This is a great question and one for which I desperately wish that I had a definitive answer. But seeing that none of us have a crystal ball, we must be careful to not project but evaluate what we see before us today. In public schools, higher education and continuing education, we are beginning to see the value of flexible and hybrid learning formats as well as remote work environments. We are seeing that excellent teachers are excellent both online and in-person and that a humanistic approach to instruction has always been an incredible asset. We are collectively acknowledging that digital performance will play an ongoing role in our artistic lives. It’s bringing people together. We are seeing students signing up for online classes with siblings, parents and friends on opposite sides of the country. Adult education courses are a great way for them to stay connected through the arts. This is just one of many new opportunities to pique curiosity and find new ways to engage adult learners with our art forms. </p> <em>Please note, John-Morgan Bush’s responses are based on his personal expertise and as Juilliard’s Director of Lifelong Learning.<br><br>John-Morgan Bush photo by Gregory Mahan;&#160;Lee Ann Adams photo by Frederick Fullerton<br></em> Two veterans of the arts higher education field discuss the challenges and happy surprises of operating throughout the pandemic GP0|#459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81;L0|#0459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81|arts;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#08f9e8ce-8bc1-4630-b27e-e43da4cdf1fa;L0|#008f9e8ce-8bc1-4630-b27e-e43da4cdf1fa|arts higher education;GP0|#0d69bd67-20f2-42a6-a775-b2d8be7e498a;L0|#00d69bd67-20f2-42a6-a775-b2d8be7e498a|arts continuing education;GP0|#11779922-06dc-4c78-b3c9-51e7ff55ca6c;L0|#011779922-06dc-4c78-b3c9-51e7ff55ca6c|arts studentsGP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Wallace editorial team79<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/arts-higher-ed-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2021-01-14T05:00:00ZTwo veterans of the arts higher education field discuss the challenges and happy surprises of operating throughout the pandemic1/14/2021 8:12:34 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Future Arts Administrators and Other Adult Learners Persevere Online Two veterans of the arts higher education field 88https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
2020: Pain with Some Rays of Light26288 <p>​​​​As the holidays approach, we are closing in on the end of a very difficult year. Few Americans have been untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic or the emergence of a social justice movement calling for an overdue reckoning with the nation’s troubled racial past. Some too have been hit by devasting wildfires and hurricanes. As 2020 draws to its conclusion, I want to give a brief update on how The Wallace Foundation has responded to these developments and how we intend to face 2021.</p><p>The pandemic has had far-reaching, inequitable and sometimes dire effects on many sectors of our society. The areas in which Wallace works—the arts, education leadership, and learning and enrichment—are no exception. We have responded in two ways, with both cash and information. </p><p>On the financial side, Wallace has made unrestricted emergency assistance grants totaling $8 million to about 70 of our grantee partners under a special fund our board established last April. While the overall need vastly outstrips our resources, these emergency grants were intended to help our grantees who had the most severe budget shortfalls due to the pandemic. The organizations serve education, the out-of-school time and summer learning fields and the arts. Proportionately larger grants were made to organizations that directly serve children, are led by a person of color and/or work with more than one of our focus areas. In addition, we made a number of targeted grants to organizations that support racial justice and to various disaster relief funds.</p><p>As for useful information, Wallace has drawn on its knowledge base and marshalled our communications channels to try to share timely ideas with the fields we serve for how to face the pandemic’s challenges. We’ve offered free webinars on nonprofit financial management in a crisis, and on the federal CARES Act. Our <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/default.aspx">blog</a> has covered these topics and others, such as&#160;how principals are managing the switch to online learning&#160;and&#160;how&#160;digital technologies can be used to&#160;keep young people engaged in creative pursuits. A series of virtual conversations we’ve organized, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/reimagining-the-future-of-the-arts-a-webinar-series-from-the-wallace-foundation.aspx">Reimagining the Future of the Arts</a>, has brought together thinkers and arts innovators to share insights into how arts organizations might prepare for a post-pandemic world. Finally, we have funded a number of tools that we hope can aid organizations as they weather the storm, including <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-uncertain-times-a-scenario-planning-toolkit-for-arts-culture-sector.aspx"><em>Navigating Uncertain Times</em></a>, a​​​​​ scenario planning toolkit for arts organizations, and guidance to principals about <a href="https&#58;//www.nassp.org/restart-and-recovery/">planning for reopening schools</a> by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.</p><p>Longer term, Wallace remains committed to our approach of developing large-scale, multiyear initiatives that help us&#160;make progress on important unanswered questions in the fields we serve. We will continue to aim for dual goals. First, to help our grantees create value for those they serve by supporting and strengthening their work at the local level. Second, to add value by capturing what is learned by our grantees as they innovate, and then sharing these lessons and evidence with practitioners, policymakers and influencers in order to catalyze improvements more broadly. </p><p>These are dark times, but the recent news about the effectiveness of vaccines has&#160;brought a ray of light to at least one aspect of the darkness. Like everyone, we are hoping that at this time next year we will be able to talk about the pandemic mainly in the past tense, even as we deal with what are likely to be its longer-term effects. We hope that the push to address the systemic oppression of marginalized communities in our nation, however, stays very much at the forefront. As I wrote back in June, we are intensifying our efforts to infuse “diversity, equity, access and inclusion into the work we do internally and externally in the arts, K-12 leadership, summer learning, social and emotional learning, and afterschool.” That applies to both our current efforts and to the design of new initiatives, at least one of which we hope to launch in 2021. </p><p>Whatever the new year brings, we remain committed to strengthening the capacity of our grantees to serve their communities while developing credible ideas and information to advance policy and practice nationwide. All in the service of our mission to foster equity and improvements in learning and enrichment for young people, and in the arts for everyone.</p><p>I wish you and everyone a happy, peaceful holiday season—and a brighter new year.</p><p>Sincerely,</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/2020-Pain-with-Some-Rays-of-Light/Will-Miller_Wallace.jpg" alt="Will-Miller_Wallace.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;110px;height&#58;26px;" /><br></p><p>Will Miller<br>President</p><p><span><span><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/2020-Pain-with-Some-Rays-of-Light/Will%20Miller%20headshot.jpg" alt="Will Miller headshot.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;94px;" /></span></span><br></p>Wallace President Will Miller offers thoughts on an unprecedented timeGP0|#b6d0dece-99d4-4329-af5f-eccf3b6dd495;L0|#0b6d0dece-99d4-4329-af5f-eccf3b6dd495|philanthropy;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81;L0|#0459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81|arts;GP0|#3ab38f86-968a-4357-8214-f3b9195f9ef7;L0|#03ab38f86-968a-4357-8214-f3b9195f9ef7|education;GP0|#cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00;L0|#0cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00|research;GP0|#d12b494a-8c5d-4014-9866-51539e68ea50;L0|#0d12b494a-8c5d-4014-9866-51539e68ea50|COVID-19GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Will Miller4<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/end-of-year-post-2020-lg-feature2.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-12-18T05:00:00ZWallace President Will Miller offers thoughts on an unprecedented time12/18/2020 6:45:21 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / 2020: Pain with Some Rays of Light Wallace President Will Miller offers thoughts on an unprecedented time 278https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
A Pandemic Time Capsule in 10 Blog Posts26783<p>​​​​​​​​​A deadly global health crisis. Its economic fallout on school districts, arts organizations, nonprofits, and communities of color in particular. An energized racial justice movement across America and beyond. </p><p>It’s no surprise that both Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com at the time of this writing have both chosen<em> pandemic</em> as their word of the year. Indeed, the most widely read posts on The Wallace Blog in this tumultuous year reflect concerns across the many communities we work with. &#160;From the first lockdowns in March, our editorial team, with the assistance of so many partners, quickly shifted gears to help people navigate the fog of 2020—everything from an <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/managing-nonprofit-finances-during-the-coronavirus-crisis.aspx">interview with a financial management expert</a> on weathering the financial crisis to a <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/the-arts-getting-us-through-a-pandemic.aspx">list of the nonprofit arts organizations</a> that provided comfort, stimulation and plain-old entertainment when we needed them most.</p><p>Our Top 10 stories this year might someday become a time capsule of Wallace’s work during the pandemic. We present them here by popularity, which for this purpose is defined by total number of&#160;views, from lowest (1,030) to highest (more than 20,000!), with an average viewing time of three&#160;minutes and 12 seconds. </p><p> <strong>10) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/helping-museums-navigate-through-the-covid-19-fog.aspx"> <strong>Helping Museums Navigate Through the COVID-19 Fog</strong></a>&#160;Much like the rest of the country, museums have been grasping for ways to endure the disruption COVID-19 has brought on. Elizabeth Merritt, vice president for strategic foresight at the American Alliance of Museums,&#160;​offers ways that museums and other organizations could create plans for possible post-pandemic scenarios in their communities. </p><p> <strong>9) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/engaging-audiences-in-the-age-of-social-distancing.aspx"> <strong>Engaging Audiences in the Age of Social Distancing</strong></a>&#160;This post describes&#160;how some of the arts organizations that&#160;participated in our now-concluded Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative ramped up their digital offerings and continued&#160;to connect with their audiences online.</p><p> <strong>8) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/bringing-out-the-best-in-principals-during-the-covid-19-crisis.aspx"> <strong>Bringing Out the Best in Principals During the COVID-19 Crisis</strong></a>&#160;Back in early summer, we caught up with Jill Baker, superintendent of the&#160;Long Beach (Calif.)&#160;Unified School District, about the district’s efforts to support principals during school closures, as well as its summer plans for school leadership development.</p><p> <strong>7) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/changing-principal-preparation-to-help-meet-school-needs.aspx"> <strong>Changing Principal Preparation to Help Meet School Needs</strong></a>&#160;In the first post of a series profiling the University of Connecticut’s efforts to strengthen its principal training program, the university’s director gives a behind-the-scenes look at the changes the program made to better prepare future leaders. (Reporting for this story took place in the few pre-COVID months of 2020.)</p><p> <strong>6) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/research-about-the-arts-and-kids-a-fertile-area-for-inquiry.aspx"> <strong>Research About the Arts and Kids&#58; A Fertile Area for Inquiry</strong></a>&#160;Wallace’s director of communications Lucas Held recaps a conference held at George Mason University, part of an effort by the National Endowment for the Arts to help ensure “that every child will have access to arts education.”<br></p><p> <strong>5) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/keeping-young-people-creative-and-connected-in-quarantine.aspx"> <strong>Keeping Young People Creative (and Connected) in Quarantine</strong></a>&#160;At the height of classroom shutdowns, we chatted with Kylie Peppler, a researcher who focuses on the intersection of art, education and technology, to discuss how digital technologies could be used to keep young people engaged in this era of social distancing and isolation.<br></p><p> <strong>4) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/literacy-expert-on-why-kids-must-keep-reading-during-this-unprecedented-moment.aspx"> <strong>Literacy Expert on Why Kids Must Keep Reading During This ‘Unprecedented Moment’</strong></a><strong>&#160;</strong>Jimmy Kim, the person behind <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/reads-helping-children-become-summer-bookworms.aspx">READS for Summer Learning</a>, offers guidance and tools for parents and caregivers on encouraging at-home reading for children amid all the uncertainty of the pandemic.</p><p> <strong>3) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-the-pandemic-means-for-summer-learning-and-how-policymakers-can-help.aspx"> <strong>What the Pandemic Means for Summer Learning-And How Policymakers Can Help</strong></a>&#160;Government policies can both help and limit summer learning efforts. In this post, RAND’s Catherine Augustine discusses a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-support-for-summer-learning-policies-affect-summer-learning-programs.aspx">report on the summer learning policy landscape</a> and what could lie ahead for summer programs in the pandemic and beyond.</p><p> <strong>2) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/managing-nonprofit-finances-during-the-coronavirus-crisis.aspx"> <strong>Managing Nonprofit Finances During the Coronavirus Crisis</strong></a>&#160;It might come as little&#160;surprise that&#160;our second most popular post of 2020 is about the financial bottom line. Nonprofit financial management expert Hilda Polanco discusses&#160;how nonprofits can best assess and work to maintain their financial health throughout the pandemic. While you’re at it, take a look at the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/navigating-covid-19-for-nonprofits-from-financial-triage-to-scenario-planning.aspx">webinar</a> on this topic, attended by more than 1,000 people.</p><p> <strong>1) </strong> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/the-cares-act.aspx"> <strong>The CARES Act&#58; Five Things That School and District Leaders Need to Know Now</strong></a>&#160;EducationCounsel, a mission-based education organization and law firm, dug into the federal CARES Act and summarized its&#160;major education&#160;provisions&#160;shortly after the relief&#160;legislation was passed&#160;last spring. The post was followed up by&#160;a&#160;webinar on the&#160;topic, which you can view <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/unpacking-the-federal-response-to-covid-19-in-education.aspx">here</a>, and the team is ready to look at any&#160;future federal legislation as the pandemic continues into 2021. </p>Our most-read posts this year—from helping schools and nonprofits navigate shutdowns to keeping kids connected from homeGP0|#cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00;L0|#0cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00|research;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#e88b2616-a432-46ee-ba46-884731bd0e23;L0|#0e88b2616-a432-46ee-ba46-884731bd0e23|reports;GP0|#a543fa77-7186-47e8-8be8-ec7c33473169;L0|#0a543fa77-7186-47e8-8be8-ec7c33473169|publications;GP0|#be73f1e9-f427-431a-950b-6731a9a332fd;L0|#0be73f1e9-f427-431a-950b-6731a9a332fd|knowledge center;GP0|#459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81;L0|#0459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81|arts;GP0|#b9334c26-a923-4388-bc0a-e17897e654f7;L0|#0b9334c26-a923-4388-bc0a-e17897e654f7|schools;GP0|#a494c0bb-aee6-4c93-9e3a-c4141e38023f;L0|#0a494c0bb-aee6-4c93-9e3a-c4141e38023f|afterschool;GP0|#507166ce-121b-4ec6-97dc-339d45606921;L0|#0507166ce-121b-4ec6-97dc-339d45606921|summer;GP0|#b30ec468-8df4-44a4-8b93-5bb0225193fc;L0|#0b30ec468-8df4-44a4-8b93-5bb0225193fc|SEL;GP0|#d12b494a-8c5d-4014-9866-51539e68ea50;L0|#0d12b494a-8c5d-4014-9866-51539e68ea50|COVID-19;GP0|#7ff2f131-13bc-4778-9e94-2b922fd73327;L0|#07ff2f131-13bc-4778-9e94-2b922fd73327|pandemicGP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Jenna Doleh91<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/top-10-blog-posts-2020-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-12-15T05:00:00ZA look back at your favorite reads this year—from supporting principals during COVID-19 to keeping kids connected during quarantine.12/15/2020 6:51:26 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / A Pandemic Time Capsule in 10 Blog Posts Our most-read posts this year—from helping schools and nonprofits navigate 373https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Looking Toward an Alchemy for Arts Organizations Post-COVID26778<p>​​What is a “universal story”? </p><p>While many leaders of nonprofit arts organizations have, out of necessity, made financial stability a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic, some have been driven to explore even more fundamental questions about the stories they choose to tell in their performances, and how to make sure the stories have meaning to their audiences. The goal, ultimately, is to broaden their audience base as well as strengthen their financial bottom line. </p><p>Michael Bateman, managing director of the A Noise Within theater in Pasadena, California, for instance, says he has focused on connecting with and finding relevance with communities beyond the organization’s more traditional audiences in Los Angeles, which had been predominantly white. The organization began by questioning the so-called classic plays they presented from the Western tradition, which touch on what are intended to be universal human themes—the artists ranging from Shakespeare and Dickens to Moliere. Did these plays really touch and move the kinds of diverse audiences the theater wanted to reach, particularly in communities of color? </p><p>To answer that question, the organization found opportunities to hold discussions with artists of color and asked them to define what a new “universal story” might be. They’d begun this effort before the pandemic, but Bateman says it gained new importance as the organization began to rethink its mission and increase its outreach to new communities as the pandemic and national reckoning with racial justice took hold. </p><p>“We know it’s hard for all to feel welcome here,” Bateman says of the traditional plays and other performances and events at the theater. “We want to tell stories where the audiences see themselves. We want to make people feel more welcome. We’re engaging with other artists in our community. What we’ve done is go back to our community and say, ‘What do you need from us now?’”</p><p>Bateman was one of three panelists in <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/reimagining-the-future-of-the-arts-a-webinar-series-from-the-wallace-foundation-session-2.aspx">the second conversation</a> in Wallace’s <em>Reimagining the Future of the Arts</em>&#160;series. The other participants were Zenetta S. Drew, executive director of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and Kim Noltemy, president and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Association. Zannie Voss, Ph.D., director of SMU DataArts, one of the country’s leading centers for arts research, moderated the panel. </p><p>Voss is co-author of a recent study for the Wallace Foundation, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/the-alchemy-of-high-performing-arts-organizations.aspx"><em>The Alchemy of High-Performing Arts Organizations,</em></a> which analyzes the elements that produce financial stability by looking at two groups of high-performing arts organizations, one group that had consistently strong financial track records and a second group that had been in financial distress but recovered. The study summarizes its lengthy analysis this way, “The cornerstones of high performance appear to lie in the alchemy of high standards in the creation of work that is meaningful to the local community.”</p><p>Simply put&#58; high-quality art + community relevance = success. </p><p>In the panel discussion, and in later conversations with the panelists on their efforts to adapt to the current environment, all three emphasized that finding those meaningful community connections was an immediate priority, in the hopes that the results would eventually help them build new business models. Each admitted to a combination of excitement and anxiety.</p><p>Drew of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre describes this as a moment of validation for her organization and the company’s vision. She says it is a time of great challenges but also opportunities that we have waited years to implement. Since 1996, she says, the theater has tried to build a digital audience, previously with little success, due to historical barriers to online expansion. She has leapt at the greater interest in virtual performances now, with theaters closed, both to try and sustain revenue but also to connect with audiences and communities beyond Dallas. </p><p>A starting point, she says, is the role the arts are playing in helping people manage in the pandemic. “As a result of the pandemic, the arts are finding relevancy for our individual and collective work,” Drew says. “Everybody now, novice and professional, has become art makers and are putting things online. Art has been validated in its relevance. Artists are essential workers to our nation’s social, emotional resilience and recovery. It is enriching us. It changes lives. It heals.”</p><p>The theatre has been charging for popular digital events, a model that Drew says she intends to aggressively pursue. She stresses that it’s not just an alternative way to add earned revenue, but a core element in the mission of an arts organization that, she says, has long confronted an array of deep challenges. DBDT has never had the kind of broad and deep donor base that some other arts nonprofits have, making for a precarious and lean structure well before the pandemic. Also, its focus on Black artists and Black audiences has meant the organization encountered resistance from some white members of the community and sponsors, she says. Some had urged the organization in the past to remove the designation as a self-declared “Black” theater from the name, which it has to this day refused, since that is the group’s identity and identifies a core community it serves.</p><p>“I’ve always been working with the pandemic of racism,” Drew says. “That’s been true for us from the beginning. COVID is just another issue on the list of issues we have to deal with, and that’s why we’re ready, we’re resilient, we have ideas. I have the same panorama of problems as everyone else, but we are focusing on the opportunities.”</p><p>Audiences have embraced DBDT’s online events and performances, which are earning revenues and expanding not just in Texas but in surrounding states and even overseas. “I have someone from Australia on every virtual event we do,” she says.</p><p>“I’m trying to lead the industry in thinking outside the box,” Drew says. “We’re not just doing things until we can get people in seats again. We can’t go backwards. We’re building a new paradigm for our existence. This was great news for DBDT.” (To read more about DBDT's digital efforts and vision for the future, read <a href="/news-and-media/blog/pages/can-pandemic-be-catalyst-for-new-global-arts-ecology.aspx">Drew's recent essay​</a> for The Wallace Blog.)<br></p><p>On of Drew’s fans is Kim Noltemy of the Dallas Symphony (the two sit on each other’s boards). She expresses admiration for how successfully the Dallas Black Dance Theatre has utilized virtual performances to earn more revenues and to create a sense of excitement around its events. It is a model, she says, that she is eager to replicate to some degree at the symphony.</p><p>“I think this is going to be a great turning point for the orchestra industry,” she says. “People are becoming accustomed to listening to music online and paying for it. It was such an effort before. People only wanted live music. But we’re changing the paradigm.”</p><p>Offering virtual concerts, about 20 percent of which are free, is a means of developing a more complete digital musical experience. Additionally, they have expanded the symphony’s free outdoor music events, mostly chamber groups, which allow it to reach into new neighborhoods and build relationships with more diverse audiences, particularly in communities of color. In those outdoor events, they have been offering a combination of classical music, pieces such as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, popular contemporary music, such as music by the film composer John Williams, and jazzy ragtime pieces for a brass chamber group. In previous years, she says, the symphony did from 15 to 20 of those events a year. Performances have increased sharply to about 90 since the pandemic hit, and Noltemy expects they will offer 40 more before the year’s end, hoping that some of those audience members will turn into subscribers.</p><p>“This transformation is permanent, no matter what happens with the pandemic,” she says. “Now, our focus is creating high quality content for the online events and getting better at those productions. That takes experience.”</p><p>Additionally, Noltemy says they will be extending the kind of attention that the symphony has traditionally provided to donors, board members and subscribers to a broader array of audience members and prospective audience members. Once the symphony is offering indoor concerts on a regular basis again, this will include invitations to pre-concert discussions of the programs to post-concert parties attended by some orchestra members. For now, there will be more targeted marketing materials and digital outreach. “That has to be a high priority, like in business,” she says. “We need to use those tools much more than we ever have.”</p><p>Such ramped-up communications and personal outreach can help organizations interact more deeply with the diverse communities they seek to engage with. Some are even creating programs designed to prompt discussion and feedback. Bateman at A Noise Within points to new free online programs&#58; “Noise Now,” started last year, and “Fridays@Five,” which began during the shutdown. Both involve a series of discussions with writers, directors and artists of color talking about their backgrounds and what special insights they may bring to their work in the theater, among other things. </p><p>“We have to dig up that part of our cornerstone and rebuild our foundation,” Bateman says, referring to the organization’s mission and its growing knowledge of what kind of stories might be relevant and meaningful to the different communities around Pasadena. In fact, A Noise Within has just written a new strategic plan with a goal of one day creating a new financial model that includes, among other things, more revenue from online plays and events—something that has come directly from these conversation about community and sustainability. </p> ​<br>Expert panel says high quality art, community connection plus a strong online ​GP0|#eb123597-b1b2-4fae-839e-15572565fd68;L0|#0eb123597-b1b2-4fae-839e-15572565fd68|digital events;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81;L0|#0459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81|arts;GP0|#7ee74777-f4ad-4204-a3cc-1a02bb45abab;L0|#07ee74777-f4ad-4204-a3cc-1a02bb45abab|arts audiences;GP0|#6d76b4c4-bff2-4a32-9edd-7f97c22d5061;L0|#06d76b4c4-bff2-4a32-9edd-7f97c22d5061|performing arts;GP0|#ae3018bd-38f8-4459-be73-7941ca86e093;L0|#0ae3018bd-38f8-4459-be73-7941ca86e093|theater;GP0|#8f428424-7926-41e1-a334-736576fa1532;L0|#08f428424-7926-41e1-a334-736576fa1532|dance;GP0|#458b32e7-d270-4ed2-81c0-def6839f8f0d;L0|#0458b32e7-d270-4ed2-81c0-def6839f8f0d|music;GP0|#cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00;L0|#0cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00|research;GP0|#d12b494a-8c5d-4014-9866-51539e68ea50;L0|#0d12b494a-8c5d-4014-9866-51539e68ea50|COVID-19GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61James Sterngold 112<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/blog-arts-conversation-2-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-12-10T05:00:00ZExpert panel says high quality art, community connection plus a strong online presence can help fuel future success in the arts12/10/2020 2:00:24 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Looking Toward an Alchemy for Arts Organizations Post-COVID Expert panel says high quality art, community connection plus a 321https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Can Pandemic Be Catalyst for New Global Arts Ecology?26775<p>​As the COVID-19 pandemic shut down America’s businesses and arts organizations, the entire nation became an at-home arts industry overnight. Through social media and other online technologies, people of all ages transformed into artists, as the arts, and not sports, offered the means to express their pain, healing and hope. Artists—whether professional or not—became the unofficial essential workers of the pandemic, vital to our nation’s health and recovery, and an overwhelming validation of the importance of the arts. <br></p><p>At the same time, leaders of arts organizations were in a state of complete panic as the cessation of ticket sales, touring fees and other earned revenue intensified an assortment of operating challenges and financial problems. Many groups lacked the resources or familiarity to quickly transition to the virtual realm. But what shocked me most was the resistance of arts leaders to see the situation as an opportunity to explore and develop a new dynamic business model. Instead, there seemed to be consensus that the pandemic was a finite attack that would end with a return to the safety of our previous status quo. </p><p>But even before COVID-19 the system was broken. Audiences and revenue from ticket sales have been steadily declining for the previous three decades. National <a href="https&#58;//www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/US_Patterns_of_Arts_ParticipationRevised.pdf" target="_blank">statistics have tracked this disturbing trend</a> in audience participation, while a recent <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/audience-building-and-financial-health-nonprofit-performing-arts.aspx">review of the literature on audience behavior</a> found little evidence as to why audiences are shrinking or how the field is responding. Additionally, organizations face growing challenges and costs from efforts to reach underserved communities, competition for contributed revenue and pressure to implement Diversity Equity and Inclusion initiatives. In short, the business practices that worked half a century ago now offer diminishing returns, as arts organizations fail to reach, educate and attract large numbers of new participants. </p><p>Where is the creativity in arts leadership, and who is championing change? Now is the chance to make significant and lasting changes industry wide. For the first time in recent history, all of the arts share a common problem, which presents a transformative opportunity to seek a new business model that can benefit all genres and move the industry into the twenty-first century. </p><p>Over its 44-year history, Dallas Black Dance Theatre has weathered its share of crisesand has come to embrace a crisis management philosophy inspired by Niccolo Machiavelli&#58; “Never waste the opportunities offered by a good crisis.” While COVID-19 caused other arts organizations to freeze, DBDT’s staff, dancers and Board of Directors immediately recognized the unique opportunity to stimulate intentional change. For the company, the pandemic revealed an unlimited continuum of undefined possibilities now and into the future. Its real impact will have far-reaching consequences for the arts; it is essential that we look forward and not backward.</p><p>An early pioneer of the digital age, DBDT began exploring online platforms in 1996. This initiative was made possible by the telecommunications company GTE, which provided a $700,000 grant to DBDT to create distance learning opportunities with seven school districts across America. The dance program entitled, “Choreographing the Future through Arts, Technology, and Education,” emboldened DBDT’s vision to use technology to expand the reach of arts programming. </p><p>With the new millennium and the advent of HD television, DBDT began conversations with Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, to pursue 24-hour arts programming to expand and broaden support for Dallas Black Dance Theatre and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Due to the aftermath of September 11, the idea was not actualized, but the powerful concept had been planted. In this fast-paced and ever-changing digital age, the arts must continuously re-invent, re-envision and innovate to not only stay relevant but merely survive.&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p>Let’s take a lesson from football. It was never a widely popular sport until television helped familiarize the nation with the game in the 1960s. One early leader to recognize the potential for brand awareness and expanded marketing was the Dallas Cowboys. In 1966, the Dallas Cowboys adopted the practice of hosting Thanksgiving Day games. With families spending the day at home with limited options on television, they offered a captive audience who gradually learned the game and developed holiday traditions around the annual event. Since then, the Dallas Cowboys have played on Thanksgiving Day every year (except twice), spearheading the brand to national prominence regardless of the game’s final score. </p><p>Today, the sports industry has generated so much interest that there is now a little league football team in every neighborhood. This phenomenon has created a communal mindset that increases the number of people who ultimately attend games in person. It is this same concept that DBDT has been advocating for since that first GTE partnership. We firmly believe that the greater the exposure and education about various art forms and arts organizations, the greater will be the number of people who become interested in engaging in a live arts experience. Just as sports owners are continually having to build more massive stadiums, performing arts centers will need to build larger theaters in the future!</p><p>Yet many arts leaders have been insistent that such a strategy reduces in-person attendance rather than creating demand. Even the most seasoned leaders have approached virtual formats for delivering arts programming with dread. Although there is no data to support this idea, the unchallenged position has been that for the arts to be genuinely appreciated, performances must be experienced live. I agree that live experiences are the epitome of arts engagement but compared to having no experience at all, is virtual programming not an acceptable alternative? Consider how many thousands of people are as excited by the experience of watching a sports game via technology versus sitting in a stadium. For many sports fans, the same barriers prevent in-person participation as they do in the arts—cost, geography and access. </p><p>Once health situations improve and theaters safely reopen to capacity, it is reasonable to believe that dedicated arts lovers and even sporadic attendees will return to in-person engagement and the one-of-a-kind experience that can only be achieved sitting in a crowded theater in front of live artists. But what about the thousands of others who have now been exposed to the arts via technology but cannot transition back to pre-COVID-19 in-person attendance options? Indeed, a Culture Track <a href="https&#58;//culturetrack.com/research/reports/" target="_blank">survey conducted in the early months of the pandemic</a> discovered that digital events are attracting more diverse audiences and that many people enjoying arts experiences online had not visited an arts institution in the previous year.&#160;&#160; </p><p>Will the future of arts participation remain another form of arts elitism? For those who have no theaters, museums or live cultural access in their cities, schools or community venues or for those who lack the transportation, money and even the attire to feel comfortable in an arts venue—do they no longer deserve some level of continued arts access?&#160; </p><p>To begin to answer these questions, we must acknowledge that two basic historical barriers to the online expansion of the arts have converged at once to create an open door for resolution. First, the contractual constraints, protection of artistic and intellectual property, union contracts and numerous other legal restrictions are being reassessed and new constructs developed as art makers, worldwide travel limitations and arts agency budget cuts have drastically reduced opportunities for in-person creative work globally.&#160; </p><p>Limited access to technology for a large segment of the general public was a second barrier, but the continuation of the pandemic has allowed for the expansion of broadband and accelerated the implementation of technology infrastructure for students learning at home, K-12 schools, universities, community venues and performing arts venues. It has also forced a group of technology-resistant learners of all ages to learn to use online platforms, opening up arts events to new audiences, many of whom will pay to view performances online.&#160;&#160; </p><p>Over the summer, Dallas Black Dance Theatre became the first professional dance company nationally and internationally to consistently present paid virtual performances as a new business model after the closing of live performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While others in the dance industry began streaming their content for free to raise donations, DBDT decided immediately that paid virtual performances needed to be part of our new operating model and that this crisis was an opportunity to create a new paradigm shift toward resiliency, expand audiences and generate earned income.</p><p>This new model has resulted in extending the organization’s reach beyond the theater, allowing audiences in areas the company has never traveled to physically to enjoy performances. Once in-theater programming resumes, the company plans to retain a virtual option to continue to expand its audience base, reach new underserved and more diverse communities and to generate an additional earned revenue stream.&#160; </p><p>Dallas Black Dance Theatre envisions and is now developing a full complement of virtual activities. These include conservatory-level dance training at the same professional level as in-studio classes, student matinee/field trips, lecture/demonstrations, in-school dance residency programs, community outreach, and touring programs made available to presenters, as well as a home-school education program for those looking to incorporate dance into their curriculum. For the past three years, DBDT has also been exploring a new streaming platform designed to become a “Netflix for The Arts.” We believe now is the time for the arts to coalesce and move forward to pursue the potential of this concept as an industry.</p><p>The creative industries have always sought to recruit, train and develop the most talented of individuals who can be creative, daring and financially practical, all while delivering out-of-the-box experiences and outcomes. So, should we not expect the same from arts leaders and organizations?</p><p>Pandora’s Box has been opened in 2020 for the arts worldwide. What if, through our collective creative leadership, we could envision the arts ecosystem 20 years from now and say that the COVID-19 pandemic became the catalyst for creating a new, more inclusive, more financially viable, global arts ecology?<br></p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Can-Pandemic-Be-Catalyst-for-New-Global-Arts-Ecology/Zenetta-Drew-Dallas-Black-Dance-Theater.jpg" alt="Zenetta-Drew-Dallas-Black-Dance-Theater.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;width&#58;135px;" /><span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;"></span><div><br></div><p><em>Zenetta S. Drew is the executive director of the </em><a href="https&#58;//dbdt.com/"><em>Dallas Black Dance Theatre</em></a><em>. The lead&#160;photo (above) is by the Dallas Dance Project.</em><br></p>This year forced high-tech solutions to the global arts crisis—and it’s about time, says leader of Dallas Black Dance TheatreGP0|#7ee74777-f4ad-4204-a3cc-1a02bb45abab;L0|#07ee74777-f4ad-4204-a3cc-1a02bb45abab|arts audiences;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Zenetta S. Drew113<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/blog-zenetta-drew-op-ed-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-12-07T05:00:00ZThis year forced high-tech solutions to the global arts crisis—and it’s about time, says leader of Dallas Black Dance Theatre12/7/2020 7:17:36 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Can Pandemic Be Catalyst for New Global Arts Ecology This year forced high-tech solutions to the global arts crisis—and 2474https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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