Needless to say, I have been neglecting my blog duties. However, my energy and effort have still been focused on the arts. I just completed my first semester in the Arts Management Master’s program at American University. This post is a wrap-up of all things art related from this semester’s classes and activities.
This semester I tackled issues facing the marketing of the arts, specifically the newest trends in online marketing and what, if anything, arts organizations are doing to keep up with the changing leisure culture of Americans. If you’re interested in having your own little arts marketing class at home, below are the books used in class. My favorite, although not an official “textbook” per say, was Here Comes Everybody, by Clay Shirky. If you haven’t already read this, I highly recommend it. Anyone interested in marketing and how to harness the power of the internet to motivate and mobilize individuals will certainly enjoy.
Here are the other three books for my class in Marketing & PR for the Arts:
The Public Relations Handbook for Nonprofits
Arts Marketing Insights
In my other class, Survey of Arts Management, we had overview discussions regarding various topics and issues within the arts management profession: cultural policy, community artists and union relations to name a few. I will admit, as a class, I was not thrilled. That being said, the individual readings I found quite interesting. My particular favorite was Arts, Inc.: How Greed and Neglect of Destroyed Our Cultural Rights, written by former NEA Chairman, Bill Ivey. Ivey proposes a national Cultural Bill of Rights for every American citizen. In short, Ivey feels, as do I, that our cultural and artistic heritage is held hostage to the financial interests of giant conglomerate corporations who only care about turning a profit. Even with the advent of all this new technology allowing individuals to download music and film at the click of a button, it ironically increases the technological divide between the haves and the have-nots. Accessing culture now is more expensive and requires more equipment than ever before. Ivey proposes a federal cultural agency, ensuring and protecting the cultural rights of every citizen and not allowing for business practices that will further inhibit the dissemination of cultural and artistic experiences to American citizens.
In addition to reading everyday, I also worked as a development apprentice with The Choral Arts Society of Washington. This experience taught me what it REALLY means to work in development and fundraising. Apart from what I could have ever learned in any textbook, my time with Choral Arts opened my eyes to the real grunt work involved with raising money to support a worthy cause. The two most valuable things I took away from my experience are, 1) relationships are everything, and 2) even when things seem like they won’t workout, you ignore doubt, and make it work. Thank you to my friends at Choral Arts for showing me this.
As if all this wasn’t already enough on my plate, I thought it might also be nice to sing solos in two separate concerts, two weeks apart. First weekend, two performances of J.S. Bach’s Magnificat as well as other baroque choral works. Second weekend, three performances of Carmina Burana where I sang the small, but oddly funny tenor solo part. I love being a dying swan. Couple this with writing a research paper and preparing a presentation and, well, I guess you can imagine I felt a bit overwhelmed at times. Yet, I managed to get through it all successfully.
Now I look forward to two weeks in Florida and not going back to school until January 11, 2010!! Next semester it’s Cultural Policy, Financial Management and interning at Washington Performing Arts Society. Orlando, HERE I COME!!