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Quarterly Newsletter - Summer 2014

Arts Midwest sends out quarterly updates and an end of year report to let you know about our progress during the year. Sign up for our e-mail list to stay informed about our programs and activities.

ArtsLab releases new study on how arts organizations learn, grow, and thrive

Arts Midwest recently launched Capacity building and resilience, a report that examines the experiences of eight ArtsLab participants to uncover how they thrived in the face of operational challenges, staffing and leadership changes, and shifts in funding.

Allison Barmann, strategy and learning vice president at Bush Foundation, the lead supporter of the report and a committed funder of the program, remarked, “This report helps ensure that the impact of Arts Midwest’s ArtsLab program will reverberate beyond the organizations and individuals it served over the last 15 years. We are proud to support ArtsLab because it is truly a testament to the power of leveraging art to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in our communities.”

Since its inception in 1999, ArtsLab has helped artists, cultural leaders, and their organizations strengthen operations, build relationships, develop leadership skills, and deepen their connections to their communities. Through interviews with staff, board, and artists from organizations participating in ArtsLab, Capacity building and resilience investigates how the program supported growth.

“The F. R. Bigelow Foundation, Mardag Foundation, and The Saint Paul Foundation—all affiliates of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners—have each funded ArtsLab’s work in the East Metro since the program’s inception 15 years ago. We are thrilled that the new Capacity building and resilience report brings ArtsLab’s insights about creating successful and sustainable arts organizations to the broader funding community,” adds Sharon DeMark, program officer at Minnesota Philanthropy Partners.

Capacity building and resilience was written by consultant and writer Sarah Lutman of Lutman & Associates with research conducted by evaluator M. Christine Dwyer of RMC Research. ArtsLab is generously supported by The McKnight Foundation, United Arts Fund, F. R. Bigelow Foundation, Mardag Foundation, The Saint Paul Foundation, Bush Foundation, and Wallace Foundation.

The McKnight Foundation’s ongoing support of ArtsLab is built around our belief that Minnesota artists and artist-led organizations are at the center of our vibrant communities. The work highlighted in Capacity building and resilience not only speaks to the strength of these organizations, but offers insights to artists engaging in community-based work everywhere.
—Vickie Benson, arts program director, McKnight Foundation

Arts Midwest gathered ArtsLab participants, supporters, and colleagues for a reception celebrating the launch of Capacity building and resilience.

Featured Resource

Play Video IconAs part of the Capacity building and resilience project, we produced videos which outline the new skills, approaches, and success that individuals experienced through ArtsLab. Watch the videos at youtube.com/artsmidwest.

A fond farewell to two incredible state arts agency directors

This summer, Jan Webb of the North Dakota Council on the Arts and Julie Henahan of the Ohio Arts Council are retiring from leading their respective state arts agencies. We thank them for their many years of service to our region.

Outgoing North Dakota Council on the Arts Executive Director Jan Webb.

Jan Webb has led the North Dakota Council on the Arts for 14 years. Under her leadership, the Council has initiated new programs that place arts in assisted living facilities, and a program where train passengers see live performances from western North Dakota to northeast Montana. She has also nurtured healthy relationships with the state legislature, which has resulted in increased funding and stability for the agency.

Julie Henahan will retire from the Ohio Arts Council on July 1.

Julie Henahan has been with the Ohio Arts Council for 30 years. During her time, she helped secure more than $18 million in federal funding for the agency. In the past few years, Julie has directed her skill toward guiding the Council through the difficult state and national recession. She leaves the agency in a strong financial position, poised for a bright and successful future.

Jan and Julie have been incredible assets to our region’s arts sector. Their leadership has helped artists and organizations thrive—raising the visibility of the Midwest as a vital, cultural destination. They will be missed both here at Arts Midwest and among our nation’s arts community, where they have set a high standard for state arts agency leadership.
—David Fraher, Arts Midwest

Arts Midwest Touring Fund helps students use music as a common language

In October, the Arts Midwest Touring Fund supported the Chamber Music Society of Detroit’s presentation of Classical Jam in Detroit and Rochester, Michigan. During their week-long residency, the chamber ensemble conducted workshops, demonstrations, jam sessions, and performances for more than 3,800 K-12 students.

While the Chamber Music Society of Detroit has been presenting in-school residencies for a number of years, this project provided new opportunities for the organization to bring together students from very different backgrounds to learn about and make music together. Students from Novi Woods Elementary School, a suburban school, joined students from the Academy of Americas, a predominately Hispanic school in urban Detroit, and used music as a common language to interact and get to know one another.

Our students were so happy to have met the students at the Academy of the Americas and wished they had more time with them. Thanks for a spectacular day all around! We are looking forward to continuing this relationship that started because of this residency.
—Teacher, Novi Woods Elementary School

Maples Elementary School, in Dearborn, which serves a primarily Arab population, and Wegienka Elementary School, in Brownstone, which serves disadvantaged students, also joined together for a “global jam.” Throughout the day, students from these two schools created a meaningful cultural exchange through music.

Clasiscal Jam with the Maples Elementary School Arabic Drum ensemble.

Announcing new grant awards for national programs

The National Endowment for the Arts announced the latest round of The Big Read grants on May 13. Seventy-seven nonprofit organizations will receive grants totaling more than $1 million to host a Big Read project between September 2014 and June 2015. The full list of grantees will be available at neabigread.org on August 1.

On June 27, the National Endowment for the Arts announced the 40 nonprofit professional theater companies to receive grants through the 2014–2015 season of Shakespeare in American Communities. This year’s grantees are receiving a total of $1 million, and represent 25 states and the District of Columbia. The full list of grantees is available at shakespeareinamericancommunities.org.

Arts Midwest Conference returns to Minneapolis

The 2014 Arts Midwest Conference is returning to Minneapolis, Minnesota, from September 17–20 for four days of networking, learning, and performances. Hosting 1,000 performing artists, managers, and agents; performing arts presenters/venues; and arts administrators, the event is drawing on some of the city’s finest cultural institutions to showcase the vibrancy of the local arts scene.

By day, the Conference will offer more than 12 hours in the Marketplace, more than 30 educational sessions, and countless networking opportunities. By night, attendees can experience incredible, live performing arts with 17 Spotlight Showcases and 200+ independent showcases. Registration is open and early bird discounts end July 10.

David Fraher recognized for promoting cultural exchange between U.S. and China

Arts Midwest is pleased to announce that President & CEO David Fraher is the recipient of a Cultural Exchange Contribution Award, presented by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China. The award was presented by Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong at a reception on April 28.

The Cultural Exchange Contribution Award recipients are credited with having disseminated excellent Chinese culture to other countries and promoting mutual understanding and friendship between Chinese people and people around the world. The awards are presented once every two years to foreign agencies and individuals who have made great contributions toward global cultural exchanges with the People’s Republic of China.

David Fraher accepts his Cultural Exchange Contribution Award from Chinese Vice Permier Liu Yandong.

“Such exchanges and mutual learning are important driving forces for human progress and global peace and development. The Cultural Exchange Contribution Award is just a testimony to this belief, and an embodiment of the commitment and dedication of the Chinese government and people to deepen exchange with different civilizations and cultures across the globe,” said Vice Premier Liu.

David was nominated for this award by the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Washington, DC. He is only the second American to ever receive this award—the first being Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center, who was recognized in 2005. This year’s other award recipients represented the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Russia.