July 12, 2006

The Big Picture

What is wonderful about being at Americans for the Arts as a research fellow looking into Mid-Career Leadership Development issue is the ability to look at the big picture nationally. Although I have had an industry-wide focus on this issue I now see it in terms of policy initiatives.

Is it possible to impact the field at large? Is the sector’s learned business culture too pervasive to recognize and accept change? Should solutions and approaches be made within the context of an organization or industry that is not functioning at capacity or should it be set towards an ideal or maybe incremental change allowing for current, mid-term and future advances?

All along I’ve been thinking in terms of small organizations – budget, programming and staff sizes being skeletal. Now I’m thinking about the issue across the industry. How can we advance new ideas, investment of resources, programming and… attitudes? At the same time we can’t be too academic or we may alienate a large portion of our constituents.

What I’m finding amazing is the calibre of students coming out of the arts administration and public policy graduate programs. These folks are well read, well versed and have had the internships and fellowships to advance and solidify their ideas. The field was shocked with GenXers – how is it responding to GenY and Millennials?