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On Our Minds

On Our Minds is our signature newsletter for sharing what’s new at WolfBrown. Published about six times a year, it provides a lively platform for our consultants’ updates and findings.

Photo of the WolfBrown team

2023 – The Year in Transitions

ISSUE 22 • December 2023

As we transition from one year to the next, we customarily take a moment to reflect on the milestones and changing perspectives that shaped our work at WolfBrown >>

Blurred out board members

Leadership Training in the Arts: When Will We Get It Right?

ISSUE 21 • November 2023

By Thomas Wolf, Dennie Palmer Wolf, Alan Brown, Antonio C. Cuyler, Annick Odom It was less than fifty years ago that Garrison Keillor parodied the newly emerging field >>

Unlearning for Equity: Rethinking Capacity Building for Boards

ISSUE 21 • November 2023

An Interview with Antonio C. Cuyler By Alan Brown (edited by Annick Odom) This post is part of a series examining more leadership training in the arts. Antonio >>

Blurred out board members

Preparing Board Members for Their Stewardship Role: Whose Job Is It?

ISSUE 21 • November 2023

By Alan Brown This post is part of a series examining more leadership training in the arts. Recent strategic planning assignments have cast me into the treacherous landscape >>

Person speaking into a mic.

Never Too Early

ISSUE 21 • November 2023

By Dennie Palmer Wolf This post is part of a series examining more leadership training in the arts. No one bats an eyelash when they hear that dancers >>

People smiling in a sunny outdoor picture in Rockport, Maine

Ten Take-Aways from a Leadership Retreat for Executive Directors

ISSUE 21 • November 2023

By Thomas Wolf This post is part of a series examining more leadership training in the arts. Many years ago, I interviewed Sanford Weill as part of a >>

Dennie Palmer Wolf conducting a planning discussion

Equity in Program Evaluation

ISSUE 20 • September 2023

By Steven Holochwost Recent issues of this newsletter have focused on issues of diversity and equity in arts research and consulting. We have addressed arts education, strategic planning, and >>

Image of violinist students rehearsing at NJS

Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in the Arts

ISSUE 20 • August 2023

By Steven Holochwost This piece is part of a larger series examining more equitable practices in arts research and consulting. Our goal is to reflect openly and self-critically >>

Image of students rehearsing with an adult conducting at NJS

Arts Outcomes Worthy of Pursuit

ISSUE 20 • August 2023

By Joanna Borowski (Director of Education, New Jersey Symphony) & Samuel McDonald (Education Manager, New Jersey Symphony) This piece is part of a larger series examining more equitable >>

Evaluation

Access to Evaluation Services

ISSUE 19 • August 2023

By Allison Russo This piece is part of a larger series examining more equitable practices in arts research and consulting. Our goal is to reflect openly and self-critically on >>

Map of BIPOC-centered and nonBIPOC-centered arts organizations in and around LA

Systemic Inequities in the Arts

ISSUE 19 • May 2023

By John Carnwath, Kacie Willis, and Colleagues Racism and other forms of inequity can be understood and addressed at the interpersonal, institutional, and systemic levels. In this issue of >>

Image of a silk embroidered quilt

Arts Funding Inequities in California

ISSUE 19 • May 2023

By John Carnwath This piece is part of a larger series of On Our Minds, the fourth in a series examining more equitable practices, reflects openly and self-critically on >>

Black and white photo of Marc Bamuthi Joseph smiling and color photo of Tres McMichael smiling

Systemic Problems Need Systemic Solutions

ISSUE 19 • May 2023

An Audio Interview with Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Trés McMichael By Kacie Willis, Manager of our Audience Research Program, Audience Outlook Monitor This interview is part of a >>

Image of babies going down river

What We Mean When We Talk About Systems

ISSUE 19 • May 2023

By John Carnwath This article is part of a larger series of On Our Minds, the fourth in a series examining more equitable practices, reflects openly and self-critically on >>

Image of people shaking hands

Equity in Strategic Planning: Walking the Equity Walk

ISSUE 18 • March 2023

By Joseph H. Kluger The journey towards a more equitable future for nonprofit arts organizations starts in the boardroom and too often ends there, as well. This issue >>

Image of Stanford Thompson

Equity and Strategic Planning: An Interview with Stanford Thompson

ISSUE 18 • March 2023

By Dr. Thomas Wolf The journey towards a more equitable future for nonprofit arts organizations starts in the boardroom and too often ends there, as well. This issue >>

Image of a board meeting

Equity in Strategic Planning

ISSUE 18 • March 2023

By Alan Brown The journey towards a more equitable future for nonprofit arts organizations starts in the boardroom and too often ends there, as well. This issue of On >>

Image of children raising their hands in a music class.

The Path is Made by Walking: Creating Equitable Pathways in the Arts

ISSUE 17 • January 2023

Traveler, the path is your tracksAnd nothing more.Traveler, there is no pathThe path is made by walking.By walking you make a path. – Antonio Machado The next four >>

The sign

2022 – The Year in Transitions

ISSUE 16 • December 2022

As one year transitions to another, it is our custom to share with you a series of reflections on the milestones and tectonic shifts in our understandings of >>

Image of silloutes in a warehouse type setting watching a man play the piano

Digital Strategies: The Future of Classical Music Video

ISSUE 14 • March 2021

How does one get classical music performances to listeners during a pandemic when no one is allowed in concert halls? The obvious answer is to rely on video >>

Image of printed documents in Cyrillic script

Could It Happen Again? The Fate of the Other Russian Musicians

ISSUE 13 • March 2021

During the present crisis in the Ukraine, much has been made of the fate of Russian musicians who are supporters of Vladimir Putin. Superstars like conductor Valery Gergiev and >>

Image of empty red theater seats in front of a closed red stage curtain

Digital Strategies: To Stream or Not To Stream

ISSUE 12 • March 2020

As the US gradually becomes vaccinated, performing arts organization leaders are faced with the Hamletian dilemma of whether to continue to offer digital streaming of live performances after >>

Raindrops ripple in a puddle that reflects a gray cityscape of skyscrapers.

Tomorrow is Another Day

ISSUE 11 • March 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, WolfBrown refined and focused our communications channels to help arts leaders navigate the crisis. With this issue of On Our Minds, we return to >>

Image of EJI's Peace and Justice Memorial in Montgomery, AL

On Memorials: A Meditation on Memorialization, Grieving, and the Arts

ISSUE 10 • April 2021

Nineteen months ago, I learned my grandmother was dying from COVID-19. Before receiving the news, I was thinking about making dinner. After receiving the news, I sat on >>

Image of Natural Landscape Sculpture in the Desert

Milestones and Bridges We’ve Crossed

ISSUE 10 • March 2023

At this time of year it has been our tradition to reflect on the most meaningful arts experiences we’ve had during the year as a way of recognizing >>

Exploring the World of Charles and Ray Eames

Music with Coders, The Case for Arts Education, and Reflecting on Charles and Ray Eames

ISSUE 9 • December 2019

This issue of On Our Minds features learnings from focus groups on music with coders, thoughts on making the case for arts education for children, and a reflection >>

Taneshia Nash Laird, DeLashea Mya Strawder, Myka Miller, Lecolion Washington, and Lorna Jane Norris, Stanford Thompson, Tom Wolf, and Dennie Wolf in a sunny outdoor picture

Reflecting on Leadership Retreats

ISSUE 8 • March 2022

This past summer, the Cambridge office of WolfBrown together with our colleague, Stanford Thompson, experimented with a three-day workshop designed as a deep dive into the skills needed >>

Teaching Artist image, a student captivated in their seat during a performance.

Teaching Artists as Essential Workers: Respect, Collaboration, and Heft

ISSUE 7 • September 2020

By Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf with contributions fromCourtney J. Boddie and Lindsey Buller Maliekel, New 42Victoria Row-Traster, Miami Theater CenterStanford Thompson, Play On Philly This blog post belongs to WolfBrown’s series, >>

Dennie Palmer Wolf conducting a planning discussion

Scenario Planning Versus Paradigm Planning in a Crisis

ISSUE 6 • September 2020

By Dr. Thomas Wolf This blog post belongs to WolfBrown’s series, Navigating the Crisis. This series is a collection of research papers, blogs and announcements that critically examine >>

I Paint. I Draw. I Conquer. Painted on a wall.

Act Now for Young Artists: Save All the Cultural Future We Will Ever Have

ISSUE 5 • April 2020

By Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf This blog post belongs to WolfBrown’s series, Navigating the Crisis. This series is a collection of research papers, blogs and announcements that critically >>

People standing in a dark room around a piano

A Sector in Peril: Philanthropy’s Role in Responding to COVID-19

ISSUE 4 • March 2020

By Alan Brown This blog post kicks off WolfBrown’s new series, Navigating the Crisis. This series is a collection of research papers, blogs and announcements that critically examine >>

Chitenge Safeguarding Street

Frugal Innovations and HR

ISSUE 3 • March 2020

This issue features a discussion on the arts as frugal innovations, a call for nominations for the fifth edition of Managing Nonprofit Organizations, and a reflection on HR topics >>

Image of a house in winter

Happy Holidays from WolfBrown

ISSUE 2 • December 2019

Season’s greetings from all of us at WolfBrown! Once again, we asked the WolfBrown team to reflect on a particularly memorable cultural experience from the last year to >>

Image of climbers outside city museum

Going National

ISSUE 1 • November 2019

This issue features a reflection on the City Museum, a discussion of the National Instrumentalist Mentoring and Advancement Network, and a consideration of the changes small regional organizations >>