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2010 in Review

The statement “no one can read everything” is actually a colossal understatement.  Even when describing the literature from a narrow field of interest like arts policy and research, no simple informed search from a few selected sources will suffice.   That is why, each year at about this time, I ask a few colleagues, “what did you read this past year that you found especially interesting and insightful?”  Here are three interesting pieces from a much larger array sent to me by my friend and colleague Aimée Petrin, Executive Director of Portland Ovations (Aimée was reviewing material as background for her organization’s strategic planning process).  In each of the selected items, I found many nuggets to savor, each of which is important to consider in maintaining a thriving arts organization.

In “The Performing Arts in Lean Times,” as I looked at the list of participants, I was reminded that the challenges we face today in the arts are truly global in scope and that the solutions may come from unlikely places and from new colleagues around the world.  Diane Ragsdale’s “Surviving the Culture Change” notes a lovely quote by Susan Sontag  about “the precarious attainment of relevance.” Ragsdale applies it to the idea of strategic adaptation as a prerequisite of artistic vibrancy in the 21st century.  Finally, there is the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s “Research into Action: Pathways to New Opportunities” (which includes, among many other things, work by Alan and colleagues in WolfBrown’s San Francisco office).  It is a reminder that strong data-based community assessment work is often the soundest way to map a strong future.

We invite you to share your favorite readings from 2010.  What will be most relevant in 2011 and beyond?  Join the discussion here.


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