ArtsLab News

ArtsLab announces new programs serving organizations across the Midwest

ArtsLab retreat. Photo by Ackerman + Gruber.

ArtsLab is pleased to announce three new Peer Learning Communities beginning in spring of 2015: a North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa program; a Fargo-Moorhead program; and an orchestras program. Participants in these programs comprise forty small- to mid-sized arts nonprofits, who will participate in six and nine month leadership and strategy courses built around the theme of resilience and adaptability.

The courses, tailored to meet the needs of each of the three groups, will explore the concepts of relevancy in the marketplace, leadership development, financial and resource development models, and organizational infrastructure. 

The North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa Peer Learning Community will convene for an opening retreat in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in April. This will be the first time that ArtsLab has included organizations in South Dakota and Iowa, and we are thrilled to expand our reach to two more states in our region. The 19 organizations chosen to participate will be joined by representatives from the state arts agencies for the two intensive retreats and monthly webinars.

ArtsLab in GIA Reader

TU Dance

We’re honored that the Fall 2014 issue of GIA Reader highlights the key findings of Capacity building and resilience, the case study report ArtsLab released in June 2014. The report summarizes the key capacities in common at organizations that have survived and thrived in the face of significant change: a team of committed leaders, knowing what not to do, seeing from the outside in, and being guided by a sense of purpose.

These common strengths, and the report’s recommendations to the arts funding community, form the basis of ArtsLab’s upcoming presentation at the 2014 Grantmakers in the Arts Conference in Houston, where Senior Program Director Sharon Rodning Bash will be joined by by Kate Barr, executive director, Nonprofit Assistance Fund and Randy Reyes, artistic director, Mu Performing Arts in a discussion moderated by Vickie Benson, arts program director, The McKnight Foundation.

ArtsLab in GrantCraft

Photo by Ackerman and Gruber

ArtsLab is proud to be featured in an October 3, 2014 blog post in GrantCraft, an online publication for funders that exists to improve philanthropy through sharing wisdom and experiences from across sectors and strategic approaches.

New study shows how arts organizations learn, grow, and thrive

Capacity building and resilience report cover

We're excited to announce the launch of Capacity building and resilience, a case study report that investigates how small and mid-sized arts organizations learn, adapt, and grow. Examining the experiences of eight ArtsLab participants, this report identifies four capacities that have helped organizations in Minnesota and North Dakota thrive in the face of operational challenges, staffing and leadership changes, and shifts in funding. Key takeaways offer insights for similar organizations seeking to build their resiliency and for grantmakers supporting the arts and culture sector.

Lori L. Jacobwith: Engaging Hearts and Minds Through Stories

Lori L. Jacobwith

ArtsLab Curriculum Team Member Lori L. Jacobwith works with nonprofits across North America to develop and share their stories. As a speaker, trainer, and coach, she has helped organizations leverage their stories to raise more than $250 million. Lori was first inspired by the power of art and artists at the age of seven after performing in her elementary school play. She cherished that opportunity and views her work now–presenting training seminars and webinars for fundraisers and nonprofit staff–as a performance just the same. She values the process of planning, scripting, rehearsing, and thinking through the audience’s experience.

Upstream Arts: Empowering Students with Disabilities through the Arts

Upstream Arts Teaching Artist and Participant

It is a bright, shining, brisk spring day in South Minneapolis. Students are buzzing around the halls of Washburn High School, moving between class and lunch. In one classroom, three teaching artists from Upstream Arts are busy moving chairs to prepare for the arrival of students.

As the students enter, each is greeted personally by the teaching artists, Jess, Evie, and Haley. The mood is warm and comfortable; you can tell that the students are anticipating a fun class.  During the hour-long class session, the artists use music, theater, and visual arts activities, and challenge the students to tackle communication and social skills that they might be hesitant to try out in “the real world.”

Katie Taylor, a speech language pathologist who works with Washburn students, has participated in at least four 12-week sessions with Upstream Arts Teaching Artist teams. Joining in the sessions with her students allows her to observe how they apply learning concepts in a group setting.

Kate Barr: Teaching the Importance of Strategic Financial Management

Kate Barr, executive director Nonprofits Assistance Fund

The members of the ArtsLab Curriculum Team have a deep commitment to the arts and many of them surprise us with stories of their personal artistic pursuits. Our financial strategy expert, Kate Barr, is no exception. Long before becoming executive director of Nonprofits Assistance Fund, she began her professional career as a dancer—studying dance in college, and working in a small dance companies in Colorado and Minneapolis. But to help pay the bills, Kate also worked as a receptionist for the company in Minneapolis. When sudden financial challenges fell upon the organization, she had to step into the daunting role of business manager. She credits her success in managing that transition to the mentorship of a board member.

Jamestown Arts Center: Advocating Locally for the Arts

Jamestown Art Park

In recent years, nonprofit consultants and leaders have emphasized the importance of effective advocacy skills for advancing their missions—developing working relationships with local government officials and involving those leaders in conversations about fundraising and value. The Jamestown Arts Center in North Dakota offers a clear example of how this collaboration can strengthen programs, build infrastructure, and influence a community’s sense of place.

Juxtaposition Arts: Innovative Visual Arts Training for Youth

Putting Creativity to Work, exterior wall mural by Tats Cru,

Since 1995, Juxtaposition Arts has offered youth opportunities to engage with the arts. Their approach is to not only support educational experiences for these youth but to help develop their skills as emerging professional artists and active community change agents.

“We believe the integrative problem-solving abilities learned through the hands on creative process of moving from idea, to production, to market are exactly the skills young people need to succeed in school, in work, and in life.” –Juxtaposition Arts

Northern Lights.mn: Leading the Arts and Technology Dialogue

Photo of Chris Larson's work Celebration/Love/Loss at Northern Spark 2013

The intersection of art and technology continues to be an important part of the conversation about our future. This conversation not explores how organizations use technology to run their institutions and disseminate art, but also how technology is being used in art creation, and how to maintain the hardware that supports important works over time. The conversation is undoubtedly tied to our current obsession with digital social connectivity, and growing (albeit slow) access to technology worldwide. Art and Technology Studies programs are popping up at an increasing rate, which will come in handy for those who someday aspire to become Chief Digital Officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.