Creating Art instead of Spreadsheets

I attended Arts in Crisis today at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. I would wager that anything with the phrase “Crisis” gets the consumer attention these days, and perhaps not for the best of reasons. We are crisis’ed out.
As it turns out, the event was as optimistic, informative, inspirational and enjoyable as anything I’ve ever attended. I will always brag on the board I serve on, The Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR for short), and since Bettina Swigger was facilitating this event, it was highly organized, highly efficient, and just damn good!
Here is my Facebook live blog from the event. I’ve deleted the like buttons, but I’ve included Rudolph’s comment with his permission since it was highly relevant, and just plain dead-on.
Benjamin Day
Benjamin Day

Yes, I’m blogging live… Yes, we have had a Coffee Crisis when we almost ran out of decaf; a Strawberry Squeeze when there was a fresh fruit deficit; but no CC Compromise with Bettina facilitating!
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

‎”first instinct of arts organizations when faced with economic constraints is to start cutting.” Equates programming to marketing: your programming is your message.
6 hours ago ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

‎”There is no reason to give to an organization that is doing nothing”. Huh. Does that extend to organizations / municipalities / communities / organizations outside of the arts?
5 hours ago ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

‎70% of international tourists to the US identify themselves as cultural tourists. 17% of GDP is manufacturing. Smallest number of any developed nation.
5 hours ago ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

A wish not a plan is to do more marketing and more fundraising. Hint: programming. You can’t balance your budget on bequests. Talk about the present and the future, forget the past. Plan big transformative projects, meaning a five year calendar. Kaiser has five years of projects as a menu: donors will connect to one or two; if you have only one, … See More than five years down the line. The length of time actually helps tighten the bond with the audience. Five years gives him time to educate /prepare an audience. Take time to do the exciting work.
5 hours ago ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

Institutional marketing connects people to “the family.” Marketing: you do it and you do it again and you do it again. Hint: arts organizations fear doing anything big. You don’t need big donors: people want to be involved. Big is a pretty easy way to get people involved. Haley Dance Company facing bankruptcy in 1992 paid off their debt within 12 mos.
5 hours ago ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

There is zero room for negativity in the arts, the spokesperson must be optimistic and communicate the positive attributes exclusively. Arts are notorious for whining about their financial problems, reducing programming, being entitled (“ask Bill Cosby for $1 million”… “why? We don’t deserve it”), and living in the ruins of their past (“who was the fool who approved the $56K cannon for The Nutcracker? That was dumb. Let’s marinade in dumb…”). That thinking organizes no one. Arts must be visionary and paint a picture/direction that is optimistic.
5 hours ago ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

Arts ticket prices have created a large degree of exclusivity and thus irrelevance. The Met has decent tickets for standard opera next year: $750/piece. Arts orgs have to think inclusive and how to get everyone involved. Kennedy Center has a free performance daily at 6. Changes daily. Most popular are what likely would seem most irrelevant: symphonic music and ballet. These “free” events draw more than anyone.
5 hours ago ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

We are channeling Seth Godin here: don’t work on your donor base. Work on being exciting. Example Soweto Dance Company. If you can do it there (one of the poorest slums on the planet creates a top int’l dance troupe)… You can do it anywhere. Do exciting & important, focus on that. Biggest arts progam of 2010 was in Gand Rapids, MI, Visual Arts Festival. 1500 artists showed up: year one. Interesting and Important can happen anywhere.
5 hours ago ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

Creede Rep. Theatre has a value of “we will fail.” Kaiser: arts must lead. Probably will fail when you lead. Most “best” arts performances people experience are not ones they expected. Arts are risky: embrace that. People don’t claim Phantom of the Opera as their lifetime best arts experience… It’s good, maybe great, but the best lies in surprise… See More. For me, Arcade Fire and the Sam Lay Blues Band (at Shove Chapel, 1995) are the two best live music experiences I can think of, not the huge, high expectation events. Both surprised me and left me transformed. (Now we are channeling Aeschylus!)
5 hours ago ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

Lots of grumbling before event on the title and use of “Crisis”. We are clearly crisis’ed out. We are city 66 out of 69, maybe is resonated more six months ago. In any event, the theme is exceedingly positive and pokes at the crisis-to-crisis mentality, and that “from the 1890’s there are accounts of the arts are doomed.” Arts are not allowed to function from a crisis mode.
5 hours ago ·
Mark Rudolph

Mark Rudolph

Totally agree..if you have a product, it needs to be exciting more than anything else. Organizations that cut back on programming also cut back on product…no product, no sales. Most marketers look for the “home run” donors, exclusively. But they don’t understand that by tapping the base of the pyramid, you can get tons of singles….Singles win Ballgames!
5 hours ago ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

Arts Crisis Alert! Educational problem and arts not considered part of the necessary curriculum. How to address? Proactive behavior of arts orgs should be to concentrate on inclusive events and actions. Again mentions ticket prices as a huge problem and a deficit of thinking about big programming that’s exciting. Innovation also really brings people in.
5 hours ago ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

Interesting spiritual nugget: arts leaders should be mentored and mentoring.
5 hours ago · ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

Oh dear… First person has left and I can’t say I’m surprised who it was. Yes, an EDC member.
5 hours ago ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

More spiritual… Know when to build a building. Debt kills. The line between sickness and health is very slim. What, is he addressing a bunch of 30 yr old men? :) awesome advice for life not expected at an arts event.
4 hours ago ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

Singles win ballgames… I love it Mark. Thanks!
4 hours ago ·
Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

Send off: we sell more tickets for arts then sports in the US.
4 hours ago ·

Benjamin Day

Benjamin Day

Imagination Celebration presents the Dragon Hat, as the Protector of the Jewels of the Kingdom.
Okay, what are my takeaways from this?
Bettina reposted the ten rules for turning organizations around. This is for the arts world, understand. How many of these are pure gold for entrepreneurs, businesses, relationships, etc? I think most of them:
1.) Someone must lead
2.) The leader must have a plan
3.) You cannot save your way to health
4.) Focus on Today & Tomorrow, not yesterday
5.) Extend your programming calendar
6.) Marketing is more than brochures and advertisements
7.) There must be only one spokesman and the message must by positive
8.) Fund-raising must focus on the larger donor, but don’t aim too high
9.) The board must allow itself to be restructured
10.) The organization must have the discipline to follow the rules
Here are some more perspectives on the event. My brother’s CC Classmate Matthew Schniper provided this on the Indy:
And Tracy Mobley-Martinez offered this at the Gazette:
I’m still processing this, but I for one do not think that this content extends to just arts organizations. I think a lot of this will hit home with any entrepreneur:
1.) Marketing is more than advertisements and brochures.
2.) You are what you program.Extend your programming calendar.
3.) Inclusiveness builds tribes, communities and families… and a permission asset that is extremely loyal
4.) You can’t stop taking risks when the going gets rough
5.) Positive. Proactive. Educating. These are synonyms that describe any business worth talking about.

One response to “Creating Art instead of Spreadsheets

  1. Pingback: Why I quit MaxAvenue « Colorado Springs Real Estate Market Data

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s