· The appearance of failure is just as harmful as failure itself (an empty seat never recommended anything to anyone).
· Seek audiences everywhere.
I found this very encouraging!
My expectations for this event were set low. After reading “Austin arts groups feel strains of growth,” which ran in the Austin American Statesman the Saturday prior to the event, I was unsure of what to expect. The article outlined the troubles facing arts organizations in Austin and pointed to the organizations currently operating above the line as those who lead the rest into the future. While I found the article useful in many ways, I wondered how it would look to donors or potential donors. Is painting a bleak picture of Austin’s arts and culture sector the way to improve stewardship? As a firm believer in transparency and authenticity, I think that explaining one’s troubles can be productive; however the media already thrives on this. Negative news makes headlines, so in some respect, it could be argued that the general public has already read about the troubles facing the art world. What they haven’t read about is how organizations are attempting change, and taking steps to not only survive, but support one another. I think that article would have encouraged me to support my favorite local arts organization.
I would hesitate to say that everything I learned last Thursday night was a new. I would, however, say that for the first time in my life, I attended a dialog that promoted change and collaboration with the people who had the power to make it happen.