More Than the Sum of its Parts: Collaboration & Sustainability in Arts Education
Written by two seasoned practitioners—Thomas Wolf and Gigi Antoni—the new book, More Than the Sum of Its Parts: Collaboration & Sustainability in Arts Education, is a primer on how organizations that offer arts education and creative learning programs can initiate, enter into, and support long-lasting partnerships.
Vibrantly illustrated and presented in an easy-to-read format, it describes the theory and practice underlying various levels of collaboration—from organizational partnerships to mergers to community-wide systems. The book also offers inspiring, real-life examples of thriving arts education partnerships from communities large and small throughout the United States.
The complete book, which is jointly published by the National Guild and Big Thought, is available as a free download. Printed copies may be purchased from Amazon.com.
May the Songs I Have Written Speak for Me
An Exploration of the Potential of Music in Juvenile Justice
By Lea Wolf MSW, and Dennie Wolf, EdD.
Click here to download the complete paper.
For decades the United States has outstripped other nations not only in the number of adults, but the number of juveniles, in its correctional systems—systems that have historically failed to rehabilitate the young men and women entrusted to its facilities and services. In fact, involvement in the juvenile justice system has harsh life-long effects, diminishing young people’s school achievement, mental and physical health and, consequently, their ability to reenter and thrive in their communities, to become someone other than that person who made and paid for bad choices.
Nationally, a groundswell of forces is advocating for change in the juvenile justice system. While mindful of public safety, states and municipalities are seeking to re-imagine this system as an intervention that can foster youth development, rather than as a junior penitentiary system. The reform is three-fold. First, a redesigned system focuses on prevention—to reform the process of arrest, arraignment, and detention into a network of effective youth engagement programs, alternatives to detention, community-based placements, probation, and supports. Second, advocates aim to transform the one-hundred-year-old correctional system from a “holding tank” model of incarceration into one that allows for a pause in self-destructive and violent behaviors and promotes development for young people who have lived much of their lives at risk. Finally, the third imperative is to address the harsh current realities of re-entry by creating sustainable paths out of the juvenile justice system and towards purposeful lives.
Turning these hopes into realities will demand a cascade of changes at the community, state, and federal levels, in the design, location, and staffing of juvenile facilities, and in programs that educate, treat, and support young people who enter and then exit the prevention, corrections, and parole systems. But while policy changes can provide the blueprints, funding streams, and agency mandates, it will require a network of partnerships to make the promised reforms realistic, meaningful, and sustainable—fiscally, politically, and socially. In part, this work entails guaranteeing the basic civil rights of youth offenders while in custody and afterwards: they have to be able to enroll in high schools, they must be eligible for jobs, or viable candidates for scholarship programs for colleges. And it entails fundamental services like counseling and high-quality mental and physical health care. But the young people involved in or exiting the justice system need access to more than these basics. Their minds, spirits, and imaginations also deserve attention—many of them will be on their own to invent new choices and futures. Thus, far from being “extras,” the arts could potentially make significant contributions to the reform and future conduct of juvenile justice. If asked to the table, cultural organizations and individual artists could offer a curriculum in ensemble work, persistence, and imagination:
To be enabled to activate the imagination is to discover not only possibility, but to find the gaps, the empty spaces that require filling as we move from the is to the might be, to the should be.
—Maxine Greene, Quoted in Freeman, 2012
Acting at the intersection between juvenile justice reform, youth development, and a sense of the civic mission of cultural organizations, Carnegie Hall, through its Musical Connections program of the Weill Music Institute, is collaborating with New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services, the Department of Probation, the Department of Education District 79, and other New York City agencies to think about how participatory music-centered programming can support young people who enter and exit the juvenile justice system. Since beginning the work in 2009, Carnegie Hall has sponsored ten creative projects: eight in secure detention facilities and two in non-secure detention settings, serving more than a hundred young people, plus audiences of staff, peers, and families. These residencies last two weeks on average and engage young people in songwriting, instrumental playing, producing, and performing. Each residency culminates in a concert for other residents and staff and the production of a CD. The purpose is not only to teach music or the possibility of ensemble work—it is to jump-start the sense of being a person with potential.
The following paper shares what Musical Connections has learned so far in this work by: 1) examining the history and current reforms in juvenile justice; 2) reviewing the underlying research and evaluations conducted by other musical projects both in adult and juvenile corrections; and 3) harvesting and reflecting on its own musical work in juvenile justice over the last three years. The paper contains these sections:
- A history of juvenile justice in the United States with an emphasis on the long-standing tension between incarceration and rehabilitation
- An overview of the current movement for reform
- A summary of basic research on adolescent development, with an emphasis on the new brain science that explains why adolescents are prone to risk-taking, thrill-seeking, and emotionally-driven choices, coupled with a discussion of the potential of music to reach and affect adolescents
- A review of research and evaluations from an international set of music programs in both adult and juvenile corrections facilities, with an emphasis on what such programs accomplish and the specific effects they have
- A reflection on the design principles emerging from effective programs
- An examination of the current work in juvenile justice supported by Carnegie Hall and the Administration for Children’s Services in New York, with an emphasis on the issues and choices that are arising as this work enters a second, deeper, and more challenging phase.
The purpose of this review is to invite readers and stakeholders–including organizations, musicians, staff, and advocates–to think about these questions:
- What exactly can music (or, more broadly, the arts) contribute to the reform of juvenile justice systems?
- What constitutes making that contribution responsibly and well?
- How do we build evidence that music (or the arts more broadly) make a difference in the lives of youth, staff, families, or facilities?
Put even more concretely, how do artists, along with arts and cultural organizations, partner with their communities to provide the alternatives to “the street” that young people seek?
Managing a Nonprofit Organization
Managing a Nonprofit Organization has been an essential resource for nonprofit administrators, managers, and business professors since 1984. It is a classic in its field. But much has changed since it was last updated in 1999, as the United States reels from political, economic, and demographic shifts, all of which impact nonprofit organizations every day. In the current economy, nonprofits are trying to make ends meet. They are responding to technological innovation in the age of social media and viral marketing. Nonprofit administrators, trustees, and volunteers need Thomas Wolf’s solid advice now more than ever. So do the many college and university students preparing for work in the nonprofit arena.
Dr. Wolf’s update of Managing a Nonprofit Organization includes material that tackles the demands and challenges faced by nonprofit managers as a result of the legislative and policy changes enacted after 9/11 and in the wake of the economic collapse of 2008. Highlighting the generational issues facing many nonprofits, as current management ages and a younger generation prepares to take the reins, Dr. Wolf suggests ways for organizations to best manage these transitions and adapt to a rapidly changing world. In easy-to-understand language and with study questions at the end of each chapter, Dr. Wolf explains how to cope with all the changes, giving you everything you need to know to be a highly successful nonprofit leader.
Managing a Nonprofit Organization is available at Amazon.com.
Making Sense of Audience Engagement
Engaged audiences are a cornerstone in the foundation of a strong arts ecosystem.
Alan Brown and Rebecca Ratzkin
This report takes stock of a growing body of practice in the arts sector referred to as “audience engagement” – a somewhat bewildering array of programs and activities such as lectures, open rehearsals, docent tours and online forums. To help make sense of this rapidly developing landscape, an “Arc of Engagement” model is proposed to aid in understanding the stages through which audience members pass in constructing unique experiences around a shared work of art. A wide variety of engagement programs can be placed along this arc. Drawing from audience studies in the dance, theatre and classical music fields, six diverse audience typologies are described in terms of their engagement preferences: 1) Readers; 2) Critical Reviewers; 3) Casual Talkers; 4) Technology-based Processors; 5) Insight Seekers; and 6) Active Learners. Engaging these typologies requires an understanding of four underlying dimensions of engagement, extracted from an examination of several dozen engagement programs: social vs. solitary, active vs. passive, peer-based vs. expert-led, and community vs. audience. A range of current practice in engaging audiences and visitors is illustrated in 11 brief case studies. Helping audiences and visitors make meaning from artistic work is a major focus in the field right now, motivated by the need to attract and retain audiences in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Arts organizations hoping to reap the benefits of an engaged audience must think holistically about managing the total experience, from the moment a decision is made to attend, to the days, months and years after the event. Engagement is a unifying philosophy that brings together marketing, education and artistic programming in common service of maximizing impact.
Making Sense of Audience Engagement was commissioned by The San Francisco Foundation and Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund as part of the two funder's collaborative capacity-building efforts, supported by The Wallace Foundation through its Wallace Excellence Awards Program.
© 2011 The San Francisco Foundation
Getting In On the Act
Arts participation is being redefined as people increasingly choose to engage with art in new, more active and expressive ways.
This compelling trend carries profound implications, and fresh opportunities, for a nonprofit arts sector exploring how to adapt to demographic and technological changes.
Getting In On the Act: How Arts Groups are Creating Opportunities for Active Participation is a new study commissioned by The James Irvine Foundation and conducted by WolfBrown. It draws insights from more than 100 nonprofit arts groups and other experts in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. The report presents a new model for understanding levels of arts engagement as well as case studies of participatory arts in practice. It also addresses many of the concerns that arts organizations may have in supporting participatory arts practices and provides inspiration and ideas for exploring this growing trend.
Understanding Audience Involvement
With growing frequency, artists and arts organizations are integrating active arts practices into their work, often through collaborations and partnerships. The Audience Involvement Spectrum is a simple framework developed to describe the different ways participatory arts programs work, and the various entry points for participation. This five-stage model illustrates a progression of involvement from “spectating” — in which the audience member plays only a minor role in shaping the artistic experience — to the point at which there is no conventional “audience” at all because every person involved is creating, doing or making art.
Within the three participatory stages of the Audience Involvement Spectrum, audiences are involved at various levels of interactivity or creative control: curatorial engagement (selecting, editing, organizing, voting), interpretive engagement (performing, remaking an existing work of art), or inventive engagement (creating something entirely new). These levels add further dimension to the spectrum, and may be helpful in providing language to describe a complicated area of arts practice.
The full report is available for download from the James Irvine Foundation's website.
How to Connect with Donors and Double the Money You Raise
There is no shortage of donors today. What is lacking is our ability to relate to the donors we already have and others we should have. That, in essence, is the message of Tom Wolf's new book, How to Connect with Donors and Double the Money You Raise.
Too often we see donors through the distorted lens of retention rates, average gifts, moves management, and gift table place setters. While that may help us harvest low-hanging gifts, fundraisers who reap the real bounty do something many neglect. They engage their donors in a multitude of ways, large and small, as Tom demonstrates through irresistible, real-life stories. How to Connect with Donors and Double the Money You Raise convincingly shows that successful fundraising is all about turning names into relationships. When you do that, the money will flow.
Read an excerpt, "It's the Donor's Ballgame," at guidestar.com.
Best known for his textbook Managing a Nonprofit Organization in the 21st Century, Dr. Thomas Wolf established the Cambridge office of WolfBrown in 1983 and has enjoyed a long career as a consultant to organizations throughout the world. His new book is a fun, fast read that both experienced fund raisers and beginners should have in their libraries.
Copies are available from:
Palmer Wolf Corporation, 8A Francis Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138.
- one copy: $21.95 (save $3) plus $3 shipping
- 2-5 copies $19.95/copy plus $2/copy shipping
- more than 5 copies $17.95 postpaid
Call 617-494-9300 or email Ingrid@WolfBrown.com
for more information.
Also available from Amazon and Emerson & Church.
Donor Motivations Study
This suite of three reports, completed in 2010, explores why donors give to arts groups in the Bay Area, and captures lessons learned by individual artists and small arts groups in raising matching funds from donors. Click here to view the full study reports.
Community MusicWorks Evaluation
If You Are Walking Down the Right Path: Published December 2009
Richmond Region Cultural Action Plan
When a major region of the country announces a new cultural action plan, it is important news -- especially when it provides a bold vision in these challenging economic times. “A Cultural Action Plan for the Richmond Region” is hot off the press. Engaging over 3,000 residents, the plan was developed under the guidance of WolfBrown. It provides a call to action to strengthen Richmond’s dynamic mix of history, heritage, arts, and culture.
A Call to Action - This brief report provides an important overview of the cultural action plan and a summary of goals and key strategies.
Richmond Region Cultural Action Plan - This report provides the complete plan with findings, goals, and recommendations for action steps.
Richmond Region Technical Report - This provides the complete details of the three research components – Cultural Census, Cultural Budget, and Cultural Education—including complete findings and copies of all protocols.
The Contours of Inclusion: Frameworks and Tools for Evaluating Arts in Education
In her article “Freedom Machines,” Dennie Wolf outlines a bold approach to evaluation of arts and cultural learning programs. The article is part of “Contours of Inclusion,” published by VSA at the Kennedy Center. Wolf’s piece is accompanied by a case study of a joint project between the Studio Museum of Harlem and Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom School, a small high school in the South Bronx.
More Than Measuring: Program Evaluation as an Opportunity to Build the Capacity of Communities
More than Measuring is the final publication of the longitudinal study that assessed the impact of ArtsPartners. The evaluation, conducted over five years in cooperation with the Dallas Independent School District, the City of Dallas and over 50 cultural organizations, focuses on design principles used in conducting evaluations in ways that build the capacity of communities to design and improve programs for children and youth.
The Search for Shining Eyes: Audiences, Leadership and Change in the Symphony Orchestra Field
From 1994 to 2004 — a seminal decade for the arts in America — the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation invested $13 million in its Magic of Music Symphony Orchestra Initiative. This commissioned history by Dr. Thomas Wolf offers not just a chronology of the program, it identifies significant lessons for funders and for orchestras. Those insights extend to other nonprofit arts organizations as well. The Search for Shining Eyes tries to reach beyond the Knight Foundation family and the small pool of orchestras that participated to capitalize on one of the most valuable roles foundations can play - to serve as a lasting laboratory for learning.
Assessing the Intrinsic Impacts of a Live Performance
(embargoed lifted January 2008) This report attempts to define and measure how audiences are transformed by a live performance. The study, commissioned by the Major University Presenters consortium, develops a simple measurement tool to assess impact, provides an analytical framework for considering the results, and suggests how performing arts presenters might begin to use this information to select programs more purposefully and evaluate them on the basis of impact instead of attendance.
The Values Study: Rediscovering the Meaning and Value of Arts Participation
The Values Study was a participatory qualitative study of arts participation in Connecticut involving teams of board and staff members representing 20 Connecticut arts organizations. The study develops a new framework for understanding arts participation (i.e., five modes of arts participation) and the many layers of benefits and value that consumers seek. The third section provides extensive guidelines for arts groups that may wish to conduct qualitative research on their audiences and visitors.
And the Band Stopped Playing: The Rise and Fall of the San Jose Symphony
Though this is a book about a specific orchestra in a particular city, it contains lessons for arts organizations and nonprofits in many fields. It is also directed at the funders that support them. This is a challenging time for the nonprofit sector, especially symphony orchestras. But it is also a time of great opportunity for innovation and experimentation. The authors are impressed by the many examples of nonprofit institutions that are redefining what it means to be central to those who live in their communities. They applaud the many leaders -- professional and volunteer, artistic and administrative -- that make innovation and excellence possible.
Managing a Nonprofit Organization in the 21st Century
Completely revised and updated, this book has been popular in nonprofit organizations and in classrooms nationwide since its original publication in 1984. Thomas Wolf guides the reader through all the major elements of a nonprofit organization - board, staff, marketing, finances, fund raising, planning - and discusses the big picture concepts of sustainability and leadership. Step-by-step checklists appear at the end of each chapter to assist the reader in understanding the change landscape of America’s nonprofit organizations.
Presenting Performances: A Basic Handbook for the 21st Century
This recently revised edition of an industry classic contains seven chapters devoted to discussion of presenting from several perspectives, including that of the community, the organization, the performer, the audience member, the fund-raiser, and the technician. This edition contains appendices with sample bylaws, contracts, and press releases as well as glossaries of technical and presenting terms.