Council Members Market Public Value of the Arts and Arts Council
Demonstrating their strong conviction that one of their primary responsibilities is to advocate for the Montana Arts Council (MAC), MAC's 15 council members have developed a marketing plan to formalize their contribution to spreading the word about the public value of the agency and the arts. The plan, which complements MAC's 2014–2018 Operating Framework, enumerates and describes 20 advocacy activities. It is designed to guide individual council members as they work, with minimal staff assistance, to build awareness of MAC's programs and achievements. Council members are charged with deciding what parts of the plan to undertake, keeping in mind which efforts they can leverage through personal and professional relationships. The plan was created by the council's Marketing Committee, chaired by council members Mark Kuipers and J.P. Gabriel, and formed specifically for the task, with input from the full council and MAC staff. With an eye toward improving advocacy efforts over time, the council's biannual meetings will now include a progress report on the plan as well as a discussion of what council members have learned as advocates. To learn more, contact MAC Council Chair Cyndy Andrus.
Arts and Inclusion Conversations across Tennessee
Through a new series of Arts and Inclusion (A&I) Conversations, the Tennessee Arts Commission (TAC) is working with another state agency, the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, to increase participation and inclusion in the arts for all Tennesseans. The conversations, coordinated and facilitated by the Council on Developmental Disabilities, bring together representatives of local disability and arts organizations to build relationships and to identify best practices for increasing arts accessibility for persons with disabilities. Each conversation addresses issues specific to its participants, building off the question of what an inclusive, barrier-free arts experience would look like. All of the convenings benefit from the strategic insights and other resources offered by the Council on Developmental Disabilities. So far, TAC has held two A&I Conversations, and it is planning a third to ensure it hears voices from across the state. It also is developing local resource groups and creating a best-practices guide for statewide distribution. TAC launched the A&I Conversations initiative to realize the first goal—Thriving Tennessee Arts and Culture—of its soon-to-be-released strategic plan. For more information, contact TAC Arts Access Director William Coleman.
New Cultural Districts Program
Artists perform during the monthly First Friday Gallery Walk, an event that draws thousands of people to Oklahoma City's Paseo Arts District. Photo courtesy of Joel Gavin, Oklahoma Arts Council
Like many statewide cultural district programs, the Oklahoma Arts Council's (OAC) Cultural District Initiative aims to help communities identify and leverage their creative assets for economic growth and community vibrancy. Unlike most other statewide cultural district programs, however, there is no legislatively set policy behind OAC's effort. Without a legislative mandate, OAC was able to design the program as it saw fit and so chose a two-track approach. The program's Cultural District Development component provides guidance and grants to local communities trying to establish a district. Grants may be used for professional consulting, marketing and operating expenses, and the salary of a cultural district coordinator. In addition, OAC requires participating communities to form and work with a diverse committee of arts and community leaders to foster their distinct character and creative industries. The program's second component, the guidelines of which are being designed, will be OAC certification of individual cultural districts, which will confer eligibility for various benefits not available to uncertified districts. Contact OAC Community Arts Director Joshua Lunsford to find out more.