ArtsUSA.org Blog

  • Introducing Flywheel, Sacramento’s First Arts Incubator (from The pARTnership Movement)
    On June 1, the Arts & Business Council (ABC) of Sacramento launched Flywheel, the region’s first creative economy incubator. For 25 years, ABC of Sacramento has run the Business Volunteers for the Arts program, facilitating over $1 million in pro bono services to artists and arts organizations. Sacramento’s arts scene has grown exponentially over that […]
  • Small Enough to Succeed
    I have, for most of my life, been suspicious of the “growth is good” assumption that we often make in this country or did as I was growing up. (Sometimes when I replay in my mind the famous Gordon Gecko speech from Wall Street, it’s not greed I hear him praise but growth.) At the […]
  • An Artist Reflects on Growth through the Eyes of His Community
    Staying small sounds a bit counter-intuitive to creative types, especially artists. Take into consideration the many years of art school where teachers keep telling students to “work bigger” so that they can “see that piece done on a much larger scale.” Sometimes it speaks beyond the formal issues of a piece: understanding that the effectiveness […]
  • To Scale or Not to Scale, There Are Many Questions
    In the last 15 years or so, I have worked as a consultant to many nonprofit organizations as they undertake strategic planning, and if there’s one mantra I repeat, time after time, it’s “bigger is NOT (necessarily) better.” Everything in our culture tells us otherwise: to children we approvingly coo, “look at how big you’ve […]
  • Scaling Out Like a Saguaro Cactus
    I don’t have a great talent to align easily with authority…one could say I have an allergic response to it…so when I was asked to write about “scaling up”, my head began to ache and I started to sneeze. Maybe my responses are triggered by the “authoritarian” tone associated with scaling up, it’s hierarchical connotations […]
  • Go Deep to Go Wide
    Organizers often believe we have to choose between breadth and depth. Do we prioritize meaningful relationships or strive to “reach” the greatest number of people? At Allied Media Projects we see this is a false dichotomy. Over the past 15 years of organizing the annual Allied Media Conference (AMC), we have learned that we can […]
  • Defining, and Scaling, Our Terms
    Before we can have a useful conversation about taking cultural enterprises or community arts efforts “to scale,” we need to define what we mean by that. “Going to scale” usually means serving more people in more places with the same service structure. But that can happen in a number of ways. First, a single organization […]
  • Creating, Collaborating, Connecting with Art, Activism, and the Internet
    At the end of the last millennium, when the internet was young, I installed two webcams in my studio and invited people watching me out in cyberspace to share their ideas in a chat room. I would incorporate their views into the murals I was creating in my “webstudio.” Back then, I was painting collaborative […]
  • Questions to Ask Before Addressing Scale
    Does size matter? Of course it does. But is this the right question to ask first? How about approaching the question of size by first asking how arts, culture, and philanthropy advance positive social change? And how does size relate to equity? Size matters locally and globally, but arts and culture drive change regardless of […]

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