Georgia Straight JAN 30, 2014
THE PUSH INTERNATIONAL Performing Arts Festival and three other local arts groups could be getting a new home. City staff are recommending PuSh, along with Touchstone Theatre, DOXA festival organizer the Documentary Media Society, and Music on Main as tenants in city-leased space in the CBC building on Hamilton Street. According to a report scheduled to go before council next week, the tenants will pay a “nominal rent” of $10 for the 8,500-square-foot space, which was secured by the city in 2006 to be used as a community cultural amenity. PuSh is being proposed as the lead subtenant, and will partner with Touchstone Theatre Society in the governance, operation, and management of the space. “For two years, PuSh and Touchstone Theatre Society have been working together to realize a co-location project including completion of several feasibility studies,” the staff report reads.
Adam Huttler answers
Adam Huttler is the founder and Executive Director of Fractured Atlas a non-profit that helps independent artists and small arts groups build sustainable careers and organizations.
"Through culture we experience meaning, purpose, and identity…”What makes humans special? How are we different from every other species that has evolved on this planet over the past 3.5 billion years?
Two factors set us apart and form the foundation of humanity’s ascendance:
(1) We create technology to fulfill our utilitarian needs.
(2) We propagate culture to nourish our souls and bind us together.
Without these twin pillars, we’d still be hunting and gathering, no one would own an umbrella much less an iPhone, and Ringo Starr would just be Richard Starkey. But culture is greater than technology, because it is a prerequisite for everything else we’ve accomplished.
Shared culture helps us establish trust with strangers, pass knowledge and ideas to future generations, and ultimately transcend our biological imperatives. Through culture we experience meaning, purpose, and identity beyond our own physical selves.
Telling and reinterpreting stories, creating beauty for the sake of beauty – these are quintessentially human activities. Indeed, the arts are culture’s greatest expression and most powerful engine, and as humans we are drawn to them instinctively.
We write fan fiction and we listen to opera. We go clubbing and we teach our children Shakespeare. We do these things because our highest yearning is to define, to express, to reinforce our own humanity, and the arts empower us to do that like nothing else.
Washington Post, By Peter Marks, January 23, 2014
Forty-four Washington theater companies announced Thursday that each will produce a world-premiere play by a female dramatist in the fall of 2015, one of the more audacious and ambitious responses by an American city to the gender gap in high-profile jobs in the arts.
The Women’s Voices Theatre Festival, encompassing virtually every large, midsize and fledgling theater company in and around the city, is being billed as a landmark event in the effort to put new plays by female playwrights onstage. Its organizers acknowledge that it won’t permanently rewrite the statistics showing that in this country, about four plays by men get produced professionally for every one by a woman. But the festival does throw down a gauntlet, in the cause of striking a more equitable gender balance — especially given that surveys show that women make up as much as two-thirds of the theatergoing audience across the nation.
[…] "This really is an opportunity to showcase a variety of female voices. People are talking about musicals, one-person plays, devised theatre pieces, simple storytelling shows, dramas, comedies," said Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith, who is co-organizing the Women's Voices Theatre Festival.
Yo-Yo Ma, Grammy Award-Winning Cellist
Behind The Cello
Yo-Yo Ma reflects on the role of arts, creativity and the edges of life. His comments are adapted from a conversation with WorldPost.
In our highly interdependent global civilization, a lot of things are not working.
When I travel around the country and the world to perform, I pick up in my many conversations a growing sense that the first Enlightenment -- which posited the rule of reason over emotion and feelings -- is getting a little creaky, confining and even counterproductive.
The neurobiologist Antonio Damasio has written about Descartes' error that, to put it in shorthand, "I think therefore I am." Damasio instead makes the compelling argument, empirically based in neurology, that feeling and emotions as expressed in art and music play a central role in high-level cognitive reasoning.
Advances in neurobiology now make it clear that we humans have dual neural pathways, one for critical thinking and one for empathetic thinking. Only one pathway can be activated at a time, so when one is on, the other is off. Yet we are also aware that wise and balanced judgment results from integrating the critical and empathetic, taking emotions as well as reason into account. While this can't be done it tandem, it does occur, we now know, through a loop-back process of layers of feedback.
These discoveries suggest that a new way of thinking is possible, a new consciousness -- perhaps a new Enlightenment -- that brings the arts and science back together.
This new consciousness by which we purposely seek to bolster the integrative feed-back loops of our dual neural pathways could provide a new energy for creativity in our weary civilization.
This integrative awareness is especially important today as our science-driven, technologically advanced world is breaking down into ever more compartments, specializations and disciplines -- even as the interdependence of globalization is creating more links with other cultures through which empathetic understanding is vital.
To be able to put oneself in another's shoes without prejudgment is an essential skill. Empathy comes when you understand something deeply through arts and literature and can thus make unexpected connections. These parallels bring you closer to things that would otherwise seem far away. Empathy is the ultimate quality that acknowledges our identity as members of one human family.
Visionaries like Elon Musk have spoken of the Internet and the planetary reach of the media as a "global thinking circuit." We need to be sure that this connecting circuit is about communication and not just information by fostering both empathetic and critical thinking.
BUSINESS IN VANCOUVER
By Nelson Bennett
Fri Jan 17, 2014
James Pollard, who has terminal prostate cancer, hopes to see a software program he developed to help directors manage live productions commercialized before he dies. Pollard, a former general manager for Theatre Under the Stars, has launched a KickStarter campaign in the hope of raising $59,000. He needs the money to help secure financing from the Canadian Media Fund, which would be used to fine-tune and commercialize PreShow, a software program for live theatrical productions. “I have a strong passion for the cultural community and I wanted to offer affordable, meaningful ways to better deliver live presentations through PreShow,” said Pollard. “Unfortunately, my time is literally running out. So, it’s my hope that I can raise $59,000 in 30 days with KickStarter, which will enable us to launch PreShow in 2014.”
VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail, Jan. 20 2014
Artist Anthony Thorn moved to Victoria in 1980 from Thunder Bay, Ont., and almost immediately discovered the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, in a residential neighbourhood close to his apartment. He became a member, and says he was welcomed and made to feel as if he might become a good addition to the artistic community. When he read in the past couple of years about current director Jon Tupper's decision to renovate and expand the gallery in its current location, rather than continue its more than 30-year search for space downtown, Mr. Thorn was impressed with the vision. The artist asked for a meeting with Mr. Tupper, to see if he could help make it happen. He has. On Monday, the gallery announced a gift of more than $2.5-million from Mr. Thorn to support the gallery’s redevelopment.
“This is the largest single monetary gift we’ve had in the last 65 years. It means that we can start looking at our dreams of renovating and restoring the current location,” Mr. Tupper told The Globe and Mail on Monday.
By Joe White January 18, 2014
Heather Hansen is a New Orleans-based artist who really puts herself into her work. In her project, "Emptied Gestures," she creates something like you've never seen before. She begins by taking a mysterious stance on a huge, blank piece of paper. With a piece of charcoal in hand, she lets her imagination come to life.
Heather is a dancer, painter, and sculptor. She has performed all of her talents around the world and she doesn't plan on stopping any time soon.
Check out her website here.
By Alex Temple on January 16, 2014
Composers spend an awful lot of time worrying about whether or not what we do is culturally relevant. Many discussions start from the assumption that it’s not; the only question is how we’re going to makeourselves relevant before our art form shrivels away like a neglected houseplant.
Whenever I hear words like “relevant” or “important,” I always want to ask, “relevant or important to whom?” When that detail is left out, these words become codes or shorthands: “important” means “important to Serious Art People,” and “relevant” means “relevant to Real-World Audiences.” But “Real-World Audiences” is a code too, because the people who use the phrase seem to have a pretty narrow idea of who counts as real. Other musicians? Not real. Artists in other media? Not real. College students and faculty? Not real. People over 40? Not real. You can sell out a huge concert hall, but if everyone there falls into one or more of the above categories, you’ll still have people citing your show as evidence of classical music’s imminent demise. Because when people say “culturally relevant,” what they really mean is “relevant to young people with mainstream tastes.” And “mainstream tastes,” unfortunately, doesn’t include classical music.
No other form of experimental music-making holds itself to this kind of standard. Japanese noise artists, for example, don’t seem to worry about whether or not their enthusiastic but small audience is a “real-world” one, and I’ve never heard anyone say that in order for them to justify what they’re doing, they have to appeal to people who aren’t interested in what they’re doing. “Why should non-mainstream music reach out to wider audiences?” asked Masami Akita in a recent interview. “These days, everything is diversified and it’s OK to have many different non-mainstream musics for non-mainstream music lovers.”
Let's create the kind of solid public support that makes cuts to the arts politically dangerous or, even better, unthinkable
The Guardian, by Three Johns & Shelagh
Monday 13 January 2014
A Plan B for arts funding in the UK: some organisations have been pursuing it for years, but many more need to. Why is Arts Council England's report on arts funding called Towards Plan A? The result of its State of the Arts strand in partnership with the RSA is essentially an exhortation to the cultural sector to provide better evidence to government. Secretaries of state for culture and education on both sides of the party divide have pleaded for more evidence, particularly on economic impact.
But that's not what's needed. National and local governments don't take decisions about arts funding based on evidence, however convincing it is. Instead, they act in the context of the wider economic picture, and in light of their own prejudices, world-views, ideologies and instincts. That's what makes politics, politics, rather than managerialism.
This government is driven by an overarching prejudice that guides its actions, and explains its failures. It sees the public and private sectors as separate and oppositional, rather then symbiotic and collaborative. It draws no distinction between, on the one hand, organisations that are independent and only partially funded by public money (like the vast majority of arts organisations who are honest, pretty efficient, and deliver a lot of public value) and some of the creakier, dodgier and more self-indulgent bits of the public sector.
Unfortunately for the arts, they are part of the public realm, dedicated to public purpose. As public space turns private (think shopping malls instead of streets; housing developments instead of parks) cultural buildings from theatres to libraries to heritage sites become all that's left of the shrinking public realm. No wonder the arts are under attack. Evidence will not change that – but is there a plan B that will?
The haves and have-nots
Just like the country's citizens, there are two camps: the haves and the have-nots. The haves are the big beasts, mainly in London, who will continue to get funded regardless. They are well-connected and will still get the vast majority of donations and sponsorship from businesses and philanthropists. Let's not forget that many of them are held in great esteem and affection by the public. Do they need evidence for advocacy? Well yes, though many of them have a more effective route to political persuasion in the form of trustees who can pick up the phone and dial numbers 10 and 11.
Outside London, there will be councils that get it – who fund the arts whatever their financial situation – and councils that don't, who will cut the arts whatever their financial situation. Will robust evidence and advocacy save the have-nots? No. But will plan B? Possibly.
There is nothing new about this proposal. Five years ago we said to the cultural sector: "What culture needs is a mandate from the public … professionals need to build greater legitimacy directly with citizens." Recent revelations in Greece explain why. When recession hit Athens, all cultural funding was cut. The arts community protested, but the government ignored them. The arts community then asked for public support in their battle with the politicians, and there was silence.
How many arts organisations can honestly say that their local communities would erect the barricades to defend them? Plan B involves creating the kind of solid public support that makes cuts politically dangerous or, even better, unthinkable.
Some cultural organisations have been pursuing plan B for years – it's in their blood, and it's why they thrive. But many more need to:
• Create relationships rather than transactions with their communities
• Extend their reach and improve ratings – bums on seats do matter; so does critical and public response to their works
• Make their governance reflect their community
• Be clear about their artistic and civic purposes and shout about them in plain and simple ways
• Not treat public funding as a proxy for public engagement
• Use language that everybody understands instead of advocacy-speak
• Be as creative and innovative in their organisational life as they are, or as they should be, in their artistic endeavours
• Use their spaces as much as possible – public buildings should be used every hour of the day and night
• Collaborate as much as possible, with other local arts organisations, community organisations, public agencies and businesses
• Be financially careful and able to show they give great value for money
• Show they care
Cultural organisations should be loved and cherished by their communities of interest and/or geography. Communities = people, and people = voters. But people are not only voters who can influence politicians; they are individuals who can dig into their pockets.
This doesn't mean abandoning public funding; there will always be organisations that need public funding to be creative, or to serve communities that cannot afford to support them. But if organisations do get total public support, they will be able to flourish without grants. Their existence will no longer be subject to the vagaries of public funding or the whims of philanthropists.
The success of plan B might look like a supreme irony – turning the arts into the private sector – but it's not. Instead it sees cultural organisations pursuing artistic and social purposes with direct accountability to, and support from, members of the public. Plan A is not a radical new idea; it's a failed old idea. We need something different.
This is an edited version of a piece published on a-n, the artists' network
Three Johns & Shelagh are John Holden, John Kieffer, John Newbigin and Shelagh Wright
CAPITAL CAMPAIGN MAGIC - REVEALING THE SECRETS OF SUCCESS
4 Things You Need to Know to Create Your Capital Campaign Budget
1. Create Your Capital Campaign Budget Early
We all know the phrase, “It takes money to raise money,” yet too often I see nonprofit organizations go into a capital campaign without first creating a budget for the campaign itself.
Don’t make this mistake – it’ll end up costing you more money down the road and it’ll make your campaign much less effective!
Instead, create a preliminary campaign budget early in your campaign process – and include the campaign costs in your ultimate campaign goal. For example, let’s say you want to raise $5,000,000 and you estimate the cost of the campaign at $500,000. In that case, your working campaign goal will actually be $5,500,000. (You’ll have to front-end some money to pay for early campaign expenses, but you can include these expenses in your campaign goal as well.)
What will you be spending the money on? I’ll cover the details in another post, and a sample campaign budget is included below. For more detailed information, including several sample capital campaign budgets, consider buying my book.
(Gail and I will be going over capital campaign finances in our Capital Campaign Magic coaching program! Submit an application to be considered for the April sessions.)
2. Calculate Your Initial Campaign Budget as a Percent of Your Campaign Goal
The budget for launching a successful capital campaign is calculated as a percentage of your fundraising goal – the larger the goal, the smaller the percentage. Why? Because some campaign costs will be the same, no matter how big or small your goal. These same costs, though, will be come to a larger percentage of your goal if your goal is a smaller one.
Let’s take a look at the ballpark:
If your campaign is small — $2,000,000 or less, you can expect to spend 15% of the goal. If you’re raising between $3,000,000 and $5,000,000, though, expect to spend around 10% of that amount on your campaign.
And if your goal is closer to $10,000,000, you can expect to spend around 4% or 5% to raise those funds.
Once you’ve come up with a basic estimate based on percentages, run the numbers the other way and build budget from the ground up with a list of everything you think you’ll need to make your capital campaign a success.
Canopy Arts Desk
Tammy Hampel (Isaacson)
News and information about Arts and Culture, Arts Administration, Communications, Development and Non-profit Management