Innovation and Sustainability in Community Arts Education
In December 2009, the National Guild for Community Arts Education (the Guild) received support from the Kresge Foundation to explore how it might pursue an initiative that would promote innovation, sustainability, and enhanced capitalization among its members. The ultimate goal was to strengthen organizations that provide arts education in community settings. Consultants from WolfBrown were contracted to assist in this process.

The design effort involved in-depth research about the Guild’s members and the field of community arts education in general.  From this research, the Guild was able to draw a number of important conclusions about the needs of its members.  At the same time, WofBrown identified examples of organizations that had successfully met some of these needs where model practice was already occurring. Based on findings from the research, the Guild and the consultants subsequently designed a prototype initiative that would bolster member organizations’ innovation, effectiveness, and long-term sustainability.

The consulting firm WolfBrown conducted the bulk of the research, including a comprehensive field needs assessment survey, focus groups with Guild members across the country, and interviews with key leaders including selected funders, policy makers, and other stakeholders. They also completed a literature review and developed a list of sample “models” of innovative practice.

The work of this project was deemed so valuable that a book was written based on the research and many of the findings: More than the Sum of Its Parts: Collaboration, Impact, and Sustainability in Arts Education, by Thomas Wolf and Gigi Antoni, published in 2012, and available here.

Completed: 2010
Consultants: Thomas Wolf, Jane Culbert