The Arts Council Makeover

Yes, we are working on a makeover.

We don’t want to brag about it because this represents really hard work and – you never know – something might go wrong! The board consists entirely of volunteers and we’re already very busy.

BACKGROUND: The board invited all our member organizations for breakfast in June 2016, and asked them questions like:

  • What do you think the Arts Council should do?
  • What do you want from the Arts Council?
  • What can the Arts Council do for the arts that no other organization in Anaheim can do?
  • What would make people really want to join and invest in the Arts Council?

We listened very carefully, sorted out the answers, and came up with a plan.

BUT FIRST, here is a simple mind map of what we are like now. LEFT:

The Arts Council, in the center, consists of  various arts-related organizations and a number of individual members, honorary members, artists and patrons.

The yellow “lozenges” represent the work we do:

CONNECTIONS. By networking, meetings, newsletters, our website and publicity we build connections.

OUTREACH. At street fairs, and other special events we pitch our booth and make our presence known, inviting people to join us.

CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL. This is our largest annual event providing free arts to children and their families.

FUNDRAISING. Of course there is a cost to everything and so we engage in fundraising. At one time we were one of the most successful fundraising organizations in the city. But no longer. In fact our cash reserves are now very depleted – a situation we need to reverse.

SCHOLARSHIPS. Each year we love to give scholarships to high school students making their way to full time arts degrees at college.

GRANTS.  Knowing how hard pressed are many of our member non-profits we assist where we can with annual grants.

This is not very compelling stuff! It’s comfortable for those who have been with the Arts Council for many years, but it is not dynamic or exciting; not on the leading edge of making Anaheim one of the greatest cities for the arts in California – a destination for art-lovers and the art-curious.

We certainly need a makeover.

Where we are now

As I said at the beginning we listened very carefully to our members and friends, sorted out the answers, and came up with a plan.  Let’s enlarge our mind map to see how this works. Here is the top left corner of the map.

RESOURCES

The Arts Council should provide the best resources for the arts community – providing services of information and expertise.

Now have two, brand new, yellow lozenges: RESOURCES and ADVOCACY. These represent fresh mission; new contributions to the Anaheim Arts scene that will give folks solid reason to support our work; that is, when we actually DO the work and don’t just talk about it.

Resources need to be accessible to everyone so they will have to live on our website. Therefore the Website itself must become a major resource.

The blue cards: Artists, Art Organizations, Art Vendors and Support Organizations will all be in an amazing, comprehensive online, searchable directory. Here you will be able to find everything to do with the arts – and if you catch us out, we will add it!

The directory. This will prove to be a meeting place for people with similar interests who never knew each other existed.

Food and art: where are the restaurants that are art-oriented? You might know some of them, but do you know all of them?

Where can you go for theatre and dance classes? Where can you find private singing or instrumental tuition? Which stores sell the best visual arts supplies? Who can show you how to cut and grind rocks and gems?

The How-To’s. There are some who want classes to help run their own arts non-profits; who want to know all the contacts “out there” in the media, or how to write grants, or even just get the best out of their smart phones and laptops. The Arts Council will (hopefully) become a facilitator of such meet-ups and classes. Given time, we may also have easy to follow instruction sheets that you may never have found on the internet.

Collating all this information will take time, but we will make it easier by spreading the work through social media and providing sign-up forms on the RESOURCES page. You will be able to send us information we may have missed and so become a part of the new adventure. I would also like to enlist an arts registrar whose job it will be to keep the data current. Anyone like to volunteer?

ADVOCACY

Advocacy is speaking up about things for which you care passionately. Perhaps even more than speaking, or writing, but also helping; being part of the solution. There are four blue cards in the mind-map:

AIPP. Art in Public Places. Sculpture, murals, interactive art displays, architecture and landscaping all combine to make public spaces cultured, elegant, noble and uplifting. The finest cities in the world are all blessed with abundant art in public places. So what about here in Anaheim? There is work to be done. AIPP needs a more persistent voice.

Arts Education. This is designed to be the major plank of our advocacy platform. Long term it will span Preschool to K12. It will be the most comprehensive advocacy voice because it will bridge the gaps between schools and ask school districts to restore to the classroom elements of the Visual and Performing Arts that are either missing, or poorly under-appreciated by administrators, or even sometimes viewed as of little value.

This will be an expensive project and those with a keen sense of eagerness to see arts in our school improved are invited to let us know.

City Support. In many respects the City of Anaheim is supportive of the Arts Council. But it could, and should, be far more supportive than it is. This will all unfold in due course.

Business Support. At one time, many years ago, there was an active arts and business committee which vigorously drew many business people into our annual soirees and helped make them such a financial success. In time, with changes of personnel, the venture fizzled. But with new and valuable objectives the time is coming when we will seek to rebuild vibrant alliances with business and commerce for the sake of their own company culture, improved employment prospect and the support of the arts.

You can now see that the arts organizations of Anaheim are expecting a lot from their Arts Council. Nobody would expect a handful of directors, meeting once a month, to accomplish all this. So we will be calling in the support and building new structures (committees or work groups) to collaborate in building a more energetic, visionary and meaningful Arts Council that is competent to meet the needs of this first quartile of the 21st Century.

TO BE CONTINUED...

 

This is where we are going!