Posts in Uncategorized
Arts & The New Administration Report - December 2017

In the spring of 2017 I joined up with a group of fellow arts consultants and former arts funders to find out what individual artists and culture workers in America thought about the incoming Trump Administration. We created an online survey and 1,100 people from 47 states working in a range of artistic disciplines and types of organizations participated. We also interviewed 15 arts advocates and culture sector leaders. We put together a report that contains findings from our survey and interviews, a synthesis of the comments we collected, key observations from our interview subjects and examples of the different ways artists, arts organizations and arts advocates are responding to the Trump administration.

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And Now a Word from the Crime Desk..

When I worked as a program officer for a foundation one of our grantees got into trouble with the IRS. They had not paid their payroll tax for several years and the Federal Government was not happy. We, as significant funders were not happy either. But as disappointed as we were in the grantee we didn’t want their administrators to go to prison because, when their bank account was running low, they made very bad decisions about which bills to pay. I was reminded of this episode when I read this horrific story in The New York Times.

The bookkeeper for Healing Arts Initiative, a $5m New York City non-profit arts organization is now in jail awaiting trial on charges of embezzlement. But it gets worse. Much worse. This bookkeeper, and several accomplices, are also implicated in vicious acid attack on the non-profit’s executive director who uncovered their scheme.

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Thinking & Acting Strategically

Plans are great but they don’t do anything by themselves. And having a strategic plan is no guarantee that your organization will act strategically.

It is encouraging to see numerous organizations recognize the need to think deeply about where they want to go, the resources they’ll need to get there and how they want to acquire those assets to do what they want to do. Sometimes this recognition leads to a comprehensive strategic planning process that results in a unifying, coherent and even galvanizing plan; and sometimes these questions are tackled less formally. What ultimately matters, however, is not the size or shape of a document, but an organization’s ability to follow through on the actions it believes are vital to its success.

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