Massachusetts Cultural Council
Working with Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and many of the major foundations in the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Cultural Council conducted an innovative program for mid-sized budget cultural organizations. Called “Achieving Excellence," it included three three-day seminars at the Kennedy School over 18 months for over twenty Massachusetts cultural organizations as well as on-going coaching support. WolfBrown consultant Marc Goldring providing coaching services for six groups over the course of the program, reviewing progress and facilitating meetings of two representatives from each of the participating organizations.

Assessment of and Recommendations for Organizational Structure
The consultants conducted a series of interviews with all staff members to assess this state arts agency's organizational structure and the effectiveness of communication at all levels in the agency. As part of the research, a comparative analysis of five other state arts agencies was performed. The consultants made recommendations for a realignment of senior staff positions, shifting the reporting lines for some individual staff members, and proposed mechanisms to allow decision-making to be streamlined. The consultants worked with an ad hoc staff committee throughout the process. Many consultant recommendations were implemented within weeks of the submission of their report.

Board and Senior Staff Retreat
For several years running, WolfBrown consultants have facilitated the annual board and senior staff retreat of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). Services included a review of background material, consultation with MCC staff as needed, development of the retreat agenda, facilitation of the retreat, and debriefing afterwards regarding retreat outcomes and their implication for the Council.

9/11 and its Impact on Cultural Organizations
In the fall of 2001, WolfBrown helped the Council organize and host one of the first statewide responses to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and their impact on cultural organizations. ‘Observations and reflections’ from colleagues around the country were solicited and distributed in advance to hundreds of organizations in Massachusetts, in order to create a larger community of care and commitment, and to set the stage for an evening of conversation and idea-sharing in Boston. The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) continues to be remembered by its constituents for this early show of support, and the insights generated have continued to influence the MCC’s priority-setting.

September 11th and Beyond: A Compilation
The following comments, reflections and observations were solicited by WolfBrown in preparation for a gathering of cultural organizations from throughout Massachusetts, brought together by the Massachusetts Cultural Council to discuss the impact of September 11 and how that community should act, react, respond. Through the generosity of those who contributed these pieces (as well as others that couldn’t be incorporated), the compilation became something bigger than we envisioned. Put together, comment layered on comment, they create a tableau of sorts — a remembrance, a cautionary tale, a meditation, a call and response. We hope you find them as compelling as we do. They have been edited only for length.

Click here to download the Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) version of this compilation. (~127KB)

Survey of Private-Sector Institutional Donors
WolfBrown conducted a limited survey of private-sector institutional donors in the state in order to get their assessment of the state’s cultural sector, the impact of the prolonged economic downturn, and possible strategies for the Cultural Council to pursue. This analysis culminated in a retreat of the board, senior staff, and special guests from among those interviewed. The result was agreement on launching a professional communications campaign designed to raise public and legislative awareness of the importance of the cultural sector to the state, and to position the Council for a subsequent increase in appropriation.

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