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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Secrets of an Arts Administrator

Do you ever get stuck on an idea?  I am talking about that annoying moment when you feel like the answer is right there but just won't surface.  That is exactly how I feel this morning.  

Right now Bossier Arts Council is working on a grant for the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation an organization whose primary mission is to be a catalyst for the development and enhancement of the distinct cultural industries of Louisiana by promoting the economic health and quality of life of our cultural economy workforce.  Sound pretty impressive doesn't it?  That's because this organization is pretty innovative.  

Innovation.  That is the word that has sparked my quest for an idea.  The grant we are working on is about innovation and revenue earning projects.  I've sat here for the past hour thinking about what "innovation" means.  While I don't want my weekly blog posts to turn into vocabulary lessons it hard to avoid the fact that sometimes you may have an idea of the definition of a word but not the true meaning.  So this morning I started with searching about what it means to be "innovative".  I've discovered two things.

  1.  Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of better and, as a result, novel idea or method, whereas invention refers more directly to the creation of the idea or method itself.
  2. Innovation differs from improvement in that innovation refers to the notion of doing something different (Lat. innovare: "to change") rather than doing the same thing better.
What I love about this grant is that it requires and organization to evaluate what they are offering and question if it is truly working.  Is there a better approach or something that I can do better?  Whether or not our project is funded we will come to a better understanding of how we function.  

As artists we often times get caught up in accomplishing our goals and we may not take a moment to stop and question if we might be missing out on a "better way" to express ourselves.  It's important to evaluate our processes and acknowledge the logical side of art.  So today I challenge all our artists to pause and think...even if it's frustrating.  

The Cultural Economy Foundation is currently offering grants to non-profits cultural economy organizations, individual cultural economy workers, and cultural economy small businesses.  If you are any of these people please follow this link for more information.  

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