Saturday, February 19, 2011

Advocacy and Some New Websites to Check Out

I have long been a proponent of initiating an open, frank, constructive and positive dialogue with our communities and politicians about the importance of the Arts to our society. I've also spoken with colleagues about the importance of this becoming part of the training of new Arts Administrators, so that they become aware of the issues and can engage constructively.

There are currently two advocacy organizations in Alberta who have undertaken what I believe are constructive, positive campaigns to let politicians know that the Arts really matters to Albertans. If you're interested in supporting these campaigns (and I sincerely hope you are, particularly if you live and work in Alberta), check out the I Love Alberta Arts campaign by the Professional Arts Coalition of Edmonton and the work underway at Save Our Fine Arts.

Thanks to Wolf Brown's bi-weekly On Our Minds newsletter - you can sign up via their site to receive your own copy - I also discovered an amazing American Arts blog, Createquity. It's a fascinating read and a great resource for the latest in US policy and research. It's a truly inspiring model that one day I hope I can emulate through this blog - if I ever have time...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On Speaking The Truth

A colleague said in a meeting last week that we must be able to speak the truth to each other and to those we enter into dialogue with. In this climate of hard times, where we are constantly trying to maintain good relationships, survive and ensure sustainability into the future, it's something all of us can and should carry with us.

But what does speaking the truth mean? To me, the truth:

  • is what the speaker believes to be the honest, clear reality at the time he or she speaks it;
  • is frank, open and honest;
  • is not always easy to hear or to speak;
  • is not spoken in a mean or mean-spirited way;
  • can change during a dialogue, if the discourse is open-minded and ego-free;
  • is not taken personally by the listener, although it can be challenged providing the listener is also frank, open and honest, and willing to be open-minded and ego-free.
We work with and for Artists, who speak their own truths through their work all the time. We want them to do this. It is what Art is for. As a society, we rely on them to do exactly this, illuminating both the pleasant and unpleasant truths. Now, more than ever, we need to not be afraid to follow their example and speak our own truths - have our own dialogues with those who need to hear our message, be they other Artists, Organizations, Patrons, Sponsors, Funders or Colleagues. This is the only way we will progress and the only way we can survive.