12 Feb Why this, now?
This is a great starting question for everything, actually, whether it’s regarding a new business venture, a shopping list item or one more chocolate chip cookie. And in a world where becoming a consultant is as easy as registering a web domain and anointing oneself an expert in something, I think it’s important to answer the question a little more thoughtfully here.
During my twenty-years’ experience in nonprofit arts, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen artists transform themselves and the world around them with theater, music, dance and writing, as well as nonprofit organizations make huge strides in accomplishing their missions while being careful stewards of their resources. On the flip side, I’ve seen artists burned out by lack of funding, audience or focus for their efforts, and I’ve seen nonprofits grind up a never-ending string of employees and pour well-intentioned grant dollars down the drain. Now I want to use what I’ve learned to make more of the former examples and less of the latter ones.
I don’t think it’s about money (although it’s certainly a factor); I don’t think it’s about the latest jargon (although there’s often wisdom in the latest code words). I think it’s about clarity of intention, followed by honesty of action and adjustments based on evaluation of results.
My experience as a producer of arts events large and small has given me the ability to look at the bigger picture, cull the extraneous and hone in on the essentials. This works in festival management, audience development, organizational structure and more. I’m good at working with tons of moving parts and complicated personalities, and I bring experience in most aspects of nonprofit management, coupled with a fierce curiosity to learn more.
I recently left my position as executive director of Minnesota Fringe Festival after seven years at the helm of the Midwest’s largest performance festival. While there, I learned untold amounts about developing artists, artistic leaders and audiences as well as the complexities of producing a multi-venue festival while keeping the schedule, budget and trains running on time. Applying those skills to the needs of others feels like a great next step for me.
What will Arts Progress do?
At the core, no matter what the project is, I’ll help you figure out why this, now. Once that’s been clearly stated, we’ll figure out the simplest, most time- and cost-efficient way to achieve that goal.