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Arts Survival Skills - Part II

In order to survive and thrive, the Arts must not be viewed by consumers as something only experienced at the end of the work day/week when there is extra time and money.

Arts organizations need to use their innate creativity to find ways of strengthening connection and relevance to every day community life. At the same time as younger donors are clearly looking to support causes, many in the Arts are still caught up in the old justification; the best reason they can offer to support the Arts is that they are "good for you".

So is broccoli, but that fact doesn't make me want to eat it.

While Executive Director at the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, I had the opportunity to work with some fine professionals at the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, Kalamazoo Civic Theatre and Phil Lane at WGVU to conceive, produce, and direct a series of videos focused on the role the Arts can (and should) in play in our communities.

Arts in Community: United Teens Talent

The concept behind the initiative is something that all Arts organizations must consider as they work to enhance relevance and connection in their communities. The idea that the Arts celebrate IMAGINATION and that leads to CREATIVITY is the connector.

All industries use creativity in some fashion. It may be easy to see that a graphic designer in a small company office is using creativity in a non-Arts setting, but virtually all industries use creativity in the form of problem solving and concept development.

The Arts can stoke those neurons in the brain that are used in creative endeavors and strengthen the pathways so that creative response in all situations is easier and more intuitive. Any young child whose imagination is nurtured, can more easily imagine life can be different.

I have witnessed young teens unable to find their coping skills in a fast-moving world that seems to swallow them whole. The acting out is always disturbing, but channels into something completely wonderful once the teen has experienced their own human expression. Addiction turns into painting. Self-harming becomes book-making and drawing. Violent tendancies find a new voice in improvisational theatre.

It's all about human expression, folks. We all deeply require a means to express ourselves and for many, the Arts are more than "something to enjoy", the Arts are the catalyst for healthy self-esteem, civility, and sense of identity.

#leadership #organization #audience #nonprofit #Arts #creativity