How Diversity can help an arts organization grow!
I just came back from speaking at a music education workshop and of course, it was slighty intimidating, since I was the only one in the room that did not have any degrees in music? As one person said to me, it’s a great thing they did not ask you to sing! I was, however, talking about fund raising and grant making— a topic relevant to any group—not matter what the artistic ability of the group is. There were many themes that came out of the conference but the greater theme was the constant repetition of speakers of the need to embrace all of the newer types of music (specifically rap and hip hop). This group felt that in order to grow and continue to be around for many more years they would need to be open minded, work more closely with youth and youth organizations and openly accept all types of people in this organization and all types of music.
Diversity, Diversity, Diversity! Only when groups realize that a change is needed; that they must embrace what is new in their fields; that they must pay attention to what their audiences are looking for; that they might need to look at programming in new ways to accommodate different groups, ethnicities, ages (the millennials) and interests—will they grow and continue to progress and sustain themselves.
The arts are constantly challenged! We must be constantly aware of what is going on in our field – which is one real value of the Americans for the Arts who constantly bring into our light what is going on nationally and internationally in the arts. If you are not a member, you should join immediately.
The theme this year for the Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads is “Diversity”—plan now to join the Alliance and participate in the several programs, workshops and leadership forums that will assist the arts community with dealing with a variety of diversity issues.