How to Create a Successful Community Arts Program

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Miranda
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Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:06 pm

How to Create a Successful Community Arts Program

Post by Miranda » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:22 am

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How to Create a Successful Community Arts Program

Talk with your community first.
“Talk with people in the community and find out if there’s a perception of a need. That’s how our purchase of the building for our arts center came about. We knew in advance from talking with our community that we were going to get donations and could have a successful capital campaign.” –
Judy Neuweg, Kirksville Arts Association

Connect with established community arts groups.
“Go to other events like you want to have and question the people in charge as to how they did it. Get to know other art organizations in the area. They are a good source of info and ideas—they’ve already been there, done that.” –
Steve Snyder, Mount Vernon Regional Arts Council

Build partnerships.
“Partner with anyone who will partner with you—the City, the Chamber of Commerce, the library, Kiwanis, businesses. That often makes you more established, and you get more help. Often you can work for common goals and help each other out.” –
Karen Colton-Millsap, Mount Vernon Regional Arts Council

Get people on board who have the practical skills you need.
“We have a good mix in our board and other volunteers—there are businesspeople, a lawyer, an accountant. Our executive director has great
organizational skills. They understand the bottom line. If all you have are creative people, you could get yourself in trouble.” –
Gary Sanders, Steelville Arts Council

Work with your City government.
“You have got to forge a relationship with the City. If you don’t have that, you will never get anywhere. We have amazing support from our City.” –
Brenda Conway, Downtown Peculiar Arts & Culture District

Get the details straight.

“Never assume anything. Always clarify all the details of a project and get a realistic budget.” –
Judy Neuweg, Kirksville Arts Association

Make your first project high-impact.
“Do something highly visible when your organization is first established. You have to show people you’re here.” –
Brenda Conway, Downtown Peculiar Arts & Culture District

Have a support network.
“You get to a breaking point even if you’re successful. That can kick you in the butt because there isn’t enough of your group to go around for the bigger responsibilities. For me, the best support has been working with MACAA. There are people to network with, and I’ve called up Kristi Kittleson and just cried on her shoulder for an hour. They’re always there for us.” –
Brenda Conway, Downtown Peculiar Arts & Culture District

Don’t be afraid to try anything.

“One of the best educations is failure. When something doesn’t work out as well as you wanted, you learn from it. If there’s a budget and people willing to help, we’ll try it.” –
Gary Sanders, Steelville Arts Council

Look at the positive side of negative comments.
“We got a letter to the editor saying, enough with these canoes! I thought, this is great, we’ve got controversy! It shows we’re being creative and doing something different. Even if people don’t like what you’re doing, it gives them something to talk about.” –
Gary Sanders, Steelville Arts Council

Keep at it even when progress is slow.
“Don't give up! Don't get discouraged! Especially when people around you tell you the arts won't work in your community. Every time you introduce someone to the arts, you are taking a baby step. Those steps eventually lead to more people, then a few more. Eventually, people don't remember when there was no art in your community. One day the arts just become part of the culture in which you live. You just have to wait it out until that moment arrives—the moment when people begin to notice a difference.” –
Karen Colton-Millsap, Mount Vernon Regional Arts Council

Make sure you can maintain your commitments.

“Especially if you start a thing, for the sake of anyone who’ll come behind you, you’re got to follow through. If you don’t get it done, the next time people ask the community for help, the reaction will be ‘yeah, right.’” –
Brenda Conway, Downtown Peculiar Arts & Culture District

Be prepared for the long haul.
“If you work hard and continue to work hard at it, you can do it.” –
Steve Snyder, Mount Vernon Regional Arts Council

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