Derek Sivers” What I’m Doing Now”

I admire Derek Sivers. He is inspiring to me because he is purposeful and direct.  He started CD Baby and made it a success. Then he sold it for some millions of $.  Then he gave away all the money to music education.  He did it to keep him sharp and working. He didn’t want to coast.

Read this post.  It’s inspiring because it is rare to meet someone who is clear about what they want, about what matters to them.

_______________________________________________________

Derek Sivers Programmer, writer, entrepreneur, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

What I’m doing now

(This is a now page, and if you have your own site, you should make one, too.)

I’m in New Zealand, staying quite focused, avoiding distractions. I spend all my time on these things: (in order of time spent)

read the rest here

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Artistry in Action 2016- Homework Class #1 3/28/16

Hello All

Thanks for your participation in class today.  Very excited about this exploration this term.

This email/post is an example of what you can expect to get from me after most of the classes.  It includes notes & comments from class discussion, homework that was assigned that day, photos of the board notes from the class.

IMPORTANT NOTE- THE CLASS HAS BEEN MOVED TO THE CLASSROOM NEXT DOOR LH 225.

***********************************

Class #1 3/28/15

IN CLASS DISCUSSION

  • I went over the syllabus & the blog.  Here is a link to the syllabus

https://artistryinaction.wordpress.com/artistry-in-action-2016-syllabus/

  • I went over the required reading for the course. Here is a link to the required reading list where you can download or find purchasing information

https://artistryinaction.wordpress.com/artistry-in-action-2016-text-information-and-assignments/

  • I talked a bit about my artistic path & why this class is important to me.
  • Everyone gave their name, degree, described their artistic practice and one thing that is going well about it.
  • I talked about the reading and assignments for the course.  We had some mini-discussions about the question of “What are your expectations for your future in the arts?”
  • I talked about my attendance policy–Please let me know in advance of class if you are going to miss that class session.
  • I mentioned that I like to start each class with some art. So bring examples or links to things that have inspired you recently or that you would like to share with the group.

HOMEWORK

  1. Respond to the following 2 questions to me via email by Friday, April 1  My email is grantd@pdx.edu

1. Regarding your connection to your art: Where are you solid? What are you clear about now- about your process, about what you know you want to do, about what you’ve mastered?

2. “What is one big challenge to you doing your art?”  Do you have an Achilles heel? Something you are afraid might hold you back or that you know you have to overcome?  For me it is modal comping in my left hand.  I overheard someone say ‘I’m a jack-of-all-trades, haven’t mastered any of them.”  This is the kind of reflection I’m looking for.

2.  Read the  weekly blog posts found at the link below by next class.  Respond to one of them in the comment section of the blog page.  Due Wednesday, March 30

https://artistryinaction.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/artistry-in-action-2016-class-1-the-weeks-blog-posts-articles/

3. The following are the first required reading for the class.  We will be discussing these in class on the dates they are due.  To download or get links to purchasing the texts go to

https://artistryinaction.wordpress.com/artistry-in-action-2016-text-information-and-assignments/

1. Read “Making Your Life as an Artist” (PDF on the Class Readings pg)  Due Monday April 18

2. Read “The War of Art” at least pg 1-40 Due Monday April 11

BOARD PHOTO

AnA'16 Board Photo 3_28

Artistry in Action 2016 Class #1- The Week’s Blog Posts & Articles

Here are the Week 1 blog items. Please read or watch by next Class Weds March 30. Most should open up in a new page. Return to this page and post a comment on at least one item in the comments section below

Goal-setting: Judge a goal by how well it changes your actions in the present moment-
http://sivers.org/goals

Goal Setting: Define your goal (your final destination) – then contact someone who’s there, and ask how to get there.
http://sivers.org/call-the-destination

“What if you can’t Get Paid for doing your art?”
http://enteringtheprofessionmusicbiz.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/what-being-a-professional-means-maybe-you-cant-get-paid-for-doing-your-art/

“Beware of turning Hobbies into Jobs”
http://enteringtheprofessionmusicbiz.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/pre-workshop-readingbeware-of-turning-hobbies-into-jobs/

“This is a different time”- NY Times Article
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/business/economy/19grads.html

AMANDA PALMER/“Nothing for Money”

http://www.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_asking#t-801637

http://amandapalmer.net/blog/20120919/

http://justincolletti.com/2012/09/13/in-response-to-amanda-palmer/

AUDIENCE  “Why should they come?”
http://www.missionparadox.com/the_mission_paradox_blog/2014/03/delivering-the-feeling.html

GETTING PAID FOR YOUR ART

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/31/arts/design/looking-at-how-performers-are-paid-for-performance-art.html?_r=0

Artistry in Action 2015- Homework for Class #7 4/20/15

PLEASE REFER TO THE MASTER HOMEWORK PAGE FOR HOMEWORK ASSIGNED IN PREVIOUS CLASSES.  LOOK BELOW FOR BOTH WEEKLY AND LONG TERM ASSIGNMENTS GIVEN THIS CLASS AS WELL AS ONGOING TEXT READINGS


LONG-TERM ASSIGNMENTS

None assigned today.

Continue working on your Life Goals Assignment.  You should have your outline and the last 20-30 years of your life charted by now to stay on track to finish on time.  The entire project is due Friday, May 15th

The Write your own obituary exercise is due by email, Friday, April 24, You’ll also need to bring a draft to class on Monday, April 27


WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS

Read the blog post Saving Souls from Adam Thurman, which gives a perspective on  the idea of serving a community.  Be prepared to discuss in class- Due Wednesday, April 22

Assignment 1 – Intersections with your Art– Due Wednesday, April 22

From the various news, articles and ads in the newspaper you selected in class today, come up with 2-3 intersections with your art.  For each intersection, think of a potential project you could build around it.  Write a few sentences about what the projects might look like and bring them to class for discussion on Wednesday.

Things to keep in mind:

1. Approach the assignment from the perspective of asking the question: “How Can i Help?”

2. Think of yourself as a collaborator in the process, look for partners and partnership opportunities.

3. Look for ways to draw from and contribute to the commons, rather than letting economics drive the process.


We will talk about these assignments in class on Wednesday, but I wanted to post them so you could start thinking about them.

Assignment 2 – “What’s your secret exercise” -as a way of relating to community- Due Monday, April 27th

Think about something you could reveal about yourself to a community in order to establish a basis for relationship or connection.  Think in terms of things that are connected to your humanity outside or peripheral to your art but that affect who you are and maybe how you approach your art.  We will orally share these with the class.

Assignment 3– Community Gathering Assignment

Pt. 1. – Research places, organiztions, groups and events that might connect you with as sense of community in your artistic field and start a list of these resources.   – Due Monday, April 27th

Pt. 2-  Go to a gathering or event of one of these communities. (Note- this doesn’t have to be a community of people who all look like you, or do what you do.  You can be the  only person in your discipline who is there, as long as it feels like a place that might provide community for your artistic endeavors and aspirations. Report back to the class on what happened – Due Wednesday, May 6

Assignment 4 (Optional) : -Who is your model Exercise:

As a continuation of the Survey the field exercise, choose 1 person from your list that you don’t know about and research their career.  Try to get a sense of their development and how that might assist you in thinking about your path.

 


ONGOING TEXT READINGS

“Making Your Life as an Artist” (PDF of the Class Readings pg)  Due Monday April 20 (We will discuss in class April 22)

The War of Art Book 2 Pg 58-101   Due Monday April 20

“Economies of Life” Chapter 4  10 pgs   30 min read    Due Wednesday, April 22

 

Examples of Economic Chains in Different Art Forms

The goal of the economic chain  exercise is to look at the places and people that money flows from & to in your industry.  There are many different revenue streams in every industry.  Looking at economic chains helps you understand your field better, broaden your understanding of markets, and reveal the value networks (underlying connections) in your field. Buy seeing how revenue flows it can reveal  opportunities that you hadn’t considered- for earning cash flow, and for finding audience/customers for your art.    It also can help you identify things like geographic locations that are fertile for your field, and under-served niches that you might look into.  Here are a few examples in varying levels of detail:


Field: Ceramicist

Economic Chains:

Buyer -> Gallery ->

-> Gallery Personnel
-> Artist ->

-> Studio Space
-> Supply Stores


Field:  Multi-instrumentalist musician (person who plays 4 or more instruments well)

Economic Markets:

•    Broadway
•    Cirque Du Soleil
•    Major cities such as: Las Vegas, California, New York etc.
•    Hollywood (film scoring)


Field:  Live Music Performance:- Cello

Economic Chains

Bars/clubs (no cover charge)

Concert-goers/Average audience member/Bar customer

Bar/club owners

Percentage ranging from 10%-30% of money made during performance goes to the band
Which is usually distributed evenly among the members.

The money the band makes turns into spending money/bill payments/equipment purchases necessary to play

Venues/Clubs (with cover charge/ticket price)

Concert-goers/Average audience member

Venue/club management or owner

Depending on the number of acts, range from 40%-75% of ticket sales/cover charge goes to performers, Headliners generally receive at least 10% more than openers. The rest goes to business costs (employees including sound engineer)

The money the band makes turns into spending money/bill payments/equipment purchases necessary to play

Classical Symphony Concerts (ticket sales)

Concert-goers/Average audience member

Symphony management deposits sales to a budget. Symphony management generally agrees to a rental price with the concert hall, arts center, church, etc. ahead of time and has paid in advance or contractually agrees to pay after.

Symphonies (amateur and professional alike) make contracts with their members on pay. Most of them agree to pay each member a fixed rate for each “service” including rehearsals and performances. Members are paid after the performance.

 

Supplemental Reading: How to Lead with your Mission & Create Your Own Niche: An Interview with Genghis Barbie

https://internationalmusician.org/genghis-barbie/

A great interview with a group that is carving their own path.   A couple great quotes:

“We all need to be better, more outspoken advocates for our art. There is a reason that we all got into music, decided to study it seriously, and are now trying to make careers in this field. Can you articulate that reason clearly and convincingly to a stranger on the street? I think we all need to have a compelling personal statement to share with anyone who asks what we do and why. It can, of course, evolve over time, but you simply have to have some way of expressing to others why what you do is meaningful. Your passion can, and must, be contagious. Be an example to the world of the value music brings into our lives.”

“I never thought that I would have any desire to be “entrepreneurial” with regards to music, but that all changed with Genghis Barbie. I care so deeply about this group and believe absolutely that we are making the world a better place. It was this strength of belief that sparked my own interest in learning how to better promote and market our product, which allows us to ultimately share this incredibly joyful thing with more and more people (which is the real goal here). So for someone wanting to start their own venture, make sure you have a project that you can throw your whole heart and soul behind! It’s your own conviction that ultimately pushes you to learn more and find the tools you need. Like Rachel said, the resources are out there, you just need to start (and keep) asking questions.”

 

Read the whole article here

Art & Mission: Can exploring the Intentions of your Art help you define its role and your goals for it?

Washington, DC – The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released prototype estimates today from the new Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA). This is the first federal effort to provide in-depth analysis of the arts and cultural sector’s contributions to current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the final dollar value of all goods and services produced in the United States. According to these new estimates, 3.2 percent — or $504 billion — of current-dollar GDP in 2011 was attributable to arts and culture. In comparison, BEA’s estimated value of the U.S. travel and tourism industry was 2.8 percent of GDP.

“The positive value of arts and culture on society has been understood on a human level for millennia. With this new effort, we are now able to quantify the impact of arts and culture on GDP for the very first time. Better utilizing this type of knowledge and information is part of the Department of Commerce’s ‘Open for Business Agenda,’ through which we are seeking to provide more transparency and data to enhance decision-making, create more value, and better understand and grow our economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

– See more at: http://arts.gov/news/2013/us-bureau-economic-analysis-and-national-endowment-arts-release-preliminary-report-impact#sthash.mV7C6cX3.dpuf

Washington, DC – The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released prototype estimates today from the new Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA). This is the first federal effort to provide in-depth analysis of the arts and cultural sector’s contributions to current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the final dollar value of all goods and services produced in the United States. According to these new estimates, 3.2 percent — or $504 billion — of current-dollar GDP in 2011 was attributable to arts and culture. In comparison, BEA’s estimated value of the U.S. travel and tourism industry was 2.8 percent of GDP.

“The positive value of arts and culture on society has been understood on a human level for millennia. With this new effort, we are now able to quantify the impact of arts and culture on GDP for the very first time. Better utilizing this type of knowledge and information is part of the Department of Commerce’s ‘Open for Business Agenda,’ through which we are seeking to provide more transparency and data to enhance decision-making, create more value, and better understand and grow our economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

– See more at: http://arts.gov/news/2013/us-bureau-economic-analysis-and-national-endowment-arts-release-preliminary-report-impact#sthash.mV7C6cX3.dpuf

Washington, DC – The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released prototype estimates today from the new Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA). This is the first federal effort to provide in-depth analysis of the arts and cultural sector’s contributions to current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the final dollar value of all goods and services produced in the United States. According to these new estimates, 3.2 percent — or $504 billion — of current-dollar GDP in 2011 was attributable to arts and culture. In comparison, BEA’s estimated value of the U.S. travel and tourism industry was 2.8 percent of GDP.

“The positive value of arts and culture on society has been understood on a human level for millennia. With this new effort, we are now able to quantify the impact of arts and culture on GDP for the very first time. Better utilizing this type of knowledge and information is part of the Department of Commerce’s ‘Open for Business Agenda,’ through which we are seeking to provide more transparency and data to enhance decision-making, create more value, and better understand and grow our economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

– See more at: http://arts.gov/news/2013/us-bureau-economic-analysis-and-national-endowment-arts-release-preliminary-report-impact#sthash.mV7C6cX3.dpuf

Washington, DC – The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released prototype estimates today from the new Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA). This is the first federal effort to provide in-depth analysis of the arts and cultural sector’s contributions to current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the final dollar value of all goods and services produced in the United States. According to these new estimates, 3.2 percent — or $504 billion — of current-dollar GDP in 2011 was attributable to arts and culture. In comparison, BEA’s estimated value of the U.S. travel and tourism industry was 2.8 percent of GDP.

“The positive value of arts and culture on society has been understood on a human level for millennia. With this new effort, we are now able to quantify the impact of arts and culture on GDP for the very first time. Better utilizing this type of knowledge and information is part of the Department of Commerce’s ‘Open for Business Agenda,’ through which we are seeking to provide more transparency and data to enhance decision-making, create more value, and better understand and grow our economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

– See more at: http://arts.gov/news/2013/us-bureau-economic-analysis-and-national-endowment-arts-release-preliminary-report-impact#sthash.mV7C6cX3.dpuf

Washington, DC – The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released prototype estimates today from the new Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA). This is the first federal effort to provide in-depth analysis of the arts and cultural sector’s contributions to current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the final dollar value of all goods and services produced in the United States. According to these new estimates, 3.2 percent — or $504 billion — of current-dollar GDP in 2011 was attributable to arts and culture. In comparison, BEA’s estimated value of the U.S. travel and tourism industry was 2.8 percent of GDP.

“The positive value of arts and culture on society has been understood on a human level for millennia. With this new effort, we are now able to quantify the impact of arts and culture on GDP for the very first time. Better utilizing this type of knowledge and information is part of the Department of Commerce’s ‘Open for Business Agenda,’ through which we are seeking to provide more transparency and data to enhance decision-making, create more value, and better understand and grow our economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

– See more at: http://arts.gov/news/2013/us-bureau-economic-analysis-and-national-endowment-arts-release-preliminary-report-impact#sthash.mV7C6cX3.dpuf

Washington, DC – The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released prototype estimates today from the new Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA). This is the first federal effort to provide in-depth analysis of the arts and cultural sector’s contributions to current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the final dollar value of all goods and services produced in the United States. According to these new estimates, 3.2 percent — or $504 billion — of current-dollar GDP in 2011 was attributable to arts and culture. In comparison, BEA’s estimated value of the U.S. travel and tourism industry was 2.8 percent of GDP.

“The positive value of arts and culture on society has been understood on a human level for millennia. With this new effort, we are now able to quantify the impact of arts and culture on GDP for the very first time. Better utilizing this type of knowledge and information is part of the Department of Commerce’s ‘Open for Business Agenda,’ through which we are seeking to provide more transparency and data to enhance decision-making, create more value, and better understand and grow our economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

– See more at: http://arts.gov/news/2013/us-bureau-economic-analysis-and-national-endowment-arts-release-preliminary-report-impact#sthash.mV7C6cX3.dpuf

Washington, DC – The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released prototype estimates today from the new Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA). This is the first federal effort to provide in-depth analysis of the arts and cultural sector’s contributions to current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the final dollar value of all goods and services produced in the United States. According to these new estimates, 3.2 percent — or $504 billion — of current-dollar GDP in 2011 was attributable to arts and culture. In comparison, BEA’s estimated value of the U.S. travel and tourism industry was 2.8 percent of GDP.

“The positive value of arts and culture on society has been understood on a human level for millennia. With this new effort, we are now able to quantify the impact of arts and culture on GDP for the very first time. Better utilizing this type of knowledge and information is part of the Department of Commerce’s ‘Open for Business Agenda,’ through which we are seeking to provide more transparency and data to enhance decision-making, create more value, and better understand and grow our economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

– See more at: http://arts.gov/news/2013/us-bureau-economic-analysis-and-national-endowment-arts-release-preliminary-report-impact#sthash.mV7C6cX3.dpuf

Washington, DC – The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released prototype estimates today from the new Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA). This is the first federal effort to provide in-depth analysis of the arts and cultural sector’s contributions to current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the final dollar value of all goods and services produced in the United States. According to these new estimates, 3.2 percent — or $504 billion — of current-dollar GDP in 2011 was attributable to arts and culture. In comparison, BEA’s estimated value of the U.S. travel and tourism industry was 2.8 percent of GDP.

“The positive value of arts and culture on society has been understood on a human level for millennia. With this new effort, we are now able to quantify the impact of arts and culture on GDP for the very first time. Better utilizing this type of knowledge and information is part of the Department of Commerce’s ‘Open for Business Agenda,’ through which we are seeking to provide more transparency and data to enhance decision-making, create more value, and better understand and grow our economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

– See more at: http://arts.gov/news/2013/us-bureau-economic-analysis-and-national-endowment-arts-release-preliminary-report-impact#sthash.mV7C6cX3.dpuf

intentionWe talk in class about the various roles for Art in the world, and the ways individuals approach making & using art

How do these “intentions” or “roles” factor into the art you pursue in your life?  Are they significant in how  you make your art?  How about the ways you put it out in the world, or how you permit or encourage it to be used?

Possible Intentions for my Artistic Work

My Art as gift
My Art as passion or hobby
My Art as a business
My Art as symbol
My Art as political tool
My Art as a commercial product
My Art as medium for social change
My Art as a status symbol
My Art as an educative force
My Art as an generator of community
My Art as exploration
My Art as innovation

Here are 3 other  questions to think about:

1. Does artistic mission need to be articulated or even intentional on the part of the artist?  Can I just be a guy who likes to play North Indian music on the harmonica?  Do other’s get to articulate the “mission” for my art or is it better if I  do it?

2. For my art to serve as a medium for social change, do I  have to be intentional?  And what amount of reaction justifies the art as having effected social change?

3. Are goals like “Changing peoples ideas of art”; “redefining genres expectations”, or changing the framework/presentation of performances” examples of types of artistic mission, or are they general aspirations of art making.

 

Artistry in Action Class #6 Summary & Whiteboard photos

Hello all,

Sorry this is a day late.  Our class discussion yesterday was wide ranging.  We had

We had a very good discussion to open the class about how to deal with the inevitable rejection letters that come when you try to go for opportunities to put your art out in the world.  I asked the question: “What are some strategies you might use to handle these rejections and continue your work?”  What growth-mindset thoughts or actions might help.  The Board photo below contains some of the things we came up with.

We talked about the Life Plan Assignment and put some examples on the board.(See Board Photo) You should have covered the last 20-30 years of your life now for each area.

We talked about business yesterday from a couple different perspectives.   I talked about the idea of value networks.  This is a new concept for me to communicate about, and I wasn’t as articulate as I would like, but I think it is an important concept for us as artists to understand about business.  The take-away I hope you get is that a business is not just seller & buyer. Every business has networks of connections that hold it together.  There are opportunities for income and participate at many different points along this network of connection.  If we as artists recognize these networks, we can find creative ways to engage through our art and our skills at lots of points along the chain.

Here is the link to the blog post we looked at the describes these value networks in relation to the pharmaceutical business.

http://www.christenseninstitute.org/encouraging-value-networks-that-enable-disruptive-therapies/

I updated the homework page.  It now has the PDF for the skills survey exercise.  Also on the blog are the Values handouts that I spoke about a couple classes ago. The post tells you how to use them. I’ve included a blog post that I’d like for you to look at for next weeks class where we start talking about community.

Below are board photos for today.  Don’t forget to check in with your partners about your 10-week goal  If you need an email or contact info for your partner please let me know.  Also if you haven’t seen your partner in class ans suspect they may have dropped.  Let me know that too, and we’ll connect you will someone else.

AA Photos Class 6 #3

Strategies for dealing with Rejection letters

 

Strategies for handling rejection letters

Examples of areas in your Life Plan

AA Photos Class 6 #2.

Portions of a Value Network in Graphic Design

 

 

 

Saving Souls- A perspective on the artist’s connection to audience/community

This is a really cool way to view the role of the artist in society. From Adam Thurman’s “Mission Paradox” blog.  It also applies in relation to the discussion yesterday about Vin Diesel and his connection to his audience.

Savings Souls

99 has done another great post talking about how sports have been able to make themselves part of the fabric of mainstream American culture in a way that the arts have not. (h/t to Thomas Cott for bringing it to people’s attention.)

In many ways I love the sports comparison, but there is a vital difference between the two that we should discuss.  So let’s do that and then I’ll offer a different industry that I think the arts could learn from.

Part of what sports offer to us is a clear outcome.

I know, for a fact that the Chicago Bears beat the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday 25-19.  This is our starting point.  If I’m talking about the game with anyone in the world, we all can agree on who won the game and who lost.

Now what we can debate in the sports world, and debate endlessly, is why certain things happened during the game and how those things could impact the next game.  We can talk about whether the Bears need to run the ball more effectively, or whether the Seahawks have a viable backup quarterback in Seneca Wallace.

But when I call my friend to discuss those things, we both know the context of the discussion.  The Bears won.  The Seahawks lost.  Both teams are trying to do the same thing, win the Super Bowl.

Now imagine if I called my friend and we first had to discuss whether the Bears won or lost, or the standards for winning or losing, or whether winning or losing was important in the first place.

Then we would have the arts.  Thousands of organizations.  Thousands of individual goals.  No clear standards by which to judge success or failure.

This is why it’s hard for “the arts” to have a huge national profile.  It’s far too complex an organism for that.

This isn’t a good thing, or a bad thing.  It’s just how it is.

But I do think there is an industry far closer to ours that we can learn a lot from.

Church.

—————————————–

Thousands of churches.  Some big.  Many small.  More opening up every day.  Just like the arts.

Hundreds of variations of religious doctrine.  Just like there are endless variations on artistic styles.

And also like the arts, the end purpose of a church is difficult to define.  Is it to save souls?  Make people better?  Avoid damnation?  It all depends on who you ask.

Most churches even have a performance element, better known as the Sunday sermon.

So what does a good church (emphasis on the good) do that we can learn from?

—————————–

When you talk to a leader who runs a church that is really working well, that leader gives most of the credit for that to his/her congregation.

Essentially, a church is only as strong as the community they serve.

It’s the community that provide the bulk of the money, bodies and other resources they need to get things done.

Not the government.

Not some foundation.

Not a corporation.

A church lives or dies based on how well they serve a selected community.

Hold that thought for a second and let’s move on.

———————-

Think about the church leader doing a sermon for let’s say 2,500 people.

The leader has the spotlight, the audience, the platform.  It’s a lot like an actor doing a particularly good part of a play.

But here’s what the good church leader gets that some of us in the arts can’t grasp yet.

That spotlight he gets on Sunday, has to be earned.

When is that spotlight earned?

Monday through Saturday.

It’s earned when they teach classes in their community center, or stand by the side of a dying parishoner, or offer marriage counseling, etc.

They understand that if they don’t do those things then the sermon (the performance) doesn’t really matter much.

——————————

In the arts we are great at Sunday.  We are great at the sermon.  We know how to perform.

But all too often we disappear Monday through Saturday.

We treat outreach – real sustained outreach – as something to think about every once in a while . . . as something we do in between the “real work” of performing.

But outreach . . . the work of connecting our art to communities in creative and effective ways . . . IS THE WHOLE DAMN SHOW.

There is nothing else.

This is particularly true for emerging organizations that don’t have the history and artistic reputation to stand on yet.

——————————

All arts organization are service organizations.  That’s what a wise man shared with me and it’s the gospel truth.

So go serve somebody.  Be creative.  Think of ways to add relevance and context to work you are sharing with them.  Think of ways of adding their own creative urges with your own.

If you do that, if you effectively serve a community, then in return they will give you your Sunday.  They will give you the platform you crave.  They will fill your seats and donate to your annual fund.

If not then you’ll be like all the rest, screaming at the top of your lungs and wondering why nobody hears you.

I’ll say it again.

Go serve somebody.

http://www.missionparadox.com/the_mission_paradox_blog/2009/09/savings-souls.html