Florida's Ten Year Strategic Plan for Arts and Culture
A Continuing Conversation 2005 - 2015
Generously Sponsored By:
Shands Arts in Medicine Program
Culture Builds Florida's Future
Abstract of Meetings from 2007
Established State Priorities
Strengthening the Economy
Promoting Learning and Wellness
Advancing Design and Development
The plan Culture Builds Florida's Future, published in 2005, is a living document, a platform for ongoing dialogue as we build partnerships and create innovative ways to enhance lifelong learning, further economic stability, and promote healthy, livable communities through the arts.
During the summer of 2007, the Division convened three statewide sessions to gather information and further suggestions to advance the plan's implementation. Three workshop days were scheduled for the key issues: Focus on Wellness, Strengthening the Economy, and Design and Development. The objective was to create action plans for the Division and the field.
From the beginning, the sessions were designed to be participatory. Prior to the meetings, surveys were accessible to the public from the Division's website; the surveys contained questions on each key vision area and the responses were summarized and presented at each meeting. Sessions were facilitated by Dr. Jonathan Katz, Chief Executive Officer of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in Washington, DC. Dr. Katz explained that the primary outcomes should be a "to do" list describing what the Division's role could be in the implementation of the visioning plan; a second result would be the discovery of like strategies for artists and organizations.
Public value is a term that all of us must learn to use in our discussions with business and community leaders, politicians, and other funders and decision-makers. It means demonstrating how community arts activities can result in public savings - something that can be measured and advertised. For example, studies show that older adults in assisted-living facilities who regularly participate in arts activities (painting, crafts, singing, songwriting, acting, dancing, sculpting) generally improve their health; by these improvements, the patients need fewer doctor appointments, may reduce medication requirements, demand less professional medical intervention, and spend less time in the hospital. This decreases the public cost and equals public value, particularly if there is less demand for Medicare and other government services.
The larger question for all of us is How can we sustain investment of the arts by government, business, and community organizations? One dynamic way is to show the correlation of public value. Once the value is established, we must continue to provide examples and make the business case - paint the larger picture of how the arts benefit society, how the arts can make a difference if we have the resources. These differences must be expressed in units of public value; this means that arts organizations must learn to measure outcomes and set themselves up to gather data at the beginning and end of projects, and tell their own success stories!
Florida Council on Arts and Culture Welcome
Each session began with Katharine Dickenson, Chair of the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, who expressed the Council's goal of redefining the role of the arts in communities, so that they not only continue to thrive in "traditional" settings but also embrace new, unusual, and extraordinary partnerships. "Our leadership supports and advances the arts throughout the state and we must persist in our demonstration of the effectiveness of their impact across all groups. The state arts agency leadership must continue to extol the position that a community's arts must receive at least as equal an emphasis with all other quality-of-life issues and services; arts can and should exist quite comfortably in a side-by-side relationship with the educational system, libraries, healthcare, and crime prevention."
This Abstract summarizes the lively discussions from each meeting. Let's take a peek at each of the three days and find the specific strategies to enact the principles of Culture Builds Florida's Future!
The Healing Ceiling at Shands, Gainesville
Focus on Wellness
In healthcare settings - hospitals, treatment centers, rehabilitation spaces, assisted living facilities, hospices - the creation and maintenance of the "environment of care" must provide a continuum of safety, image, and the essence of healing. Environment is key to all patients, visitors, caregivers, and staff and is defined as both psychological and physical space; these two elements are critical as they offer communication, inspiration, comfort, and distraction.
The challenge for artists and health workers is to make the "business case" for arts in healthcare by demonstrating its effectiveness in healing. There are compelling market-driven results when patients experience the arts: they may require less medication, doctor visits, and hospital stays, and they can gain emotional and physical wellbeing that enables them to return to the workforce or their previous lifestyle. Creativity and aging studies show that older adults are more open to arts experiences and that their direct benefits are considerable. These activities translate into public funding savings by sustaining good health - they also combat boredom, loneliness, and hopelessness, and promote self-expression and accomplishment.
Beyond the clients' wellbeing is the vital role of the caregivers - nurses, doctors, therapists, counselors, volunteers, staff - who make the actual connections with them. These caregivers can be helped by arts interactions through programs specifically designed for them - for example, nurse "burn-out" is a serious problem that professionally-directed arts activities can mollify (poetry workshops, dance exercises, visual arts, etc).
Voices of Healing
Natasha Garziano and Lauren Arce
Both of these individuals - one a patient and one a caregiver - were perfect examples of the "power of a presentation." Natasha shared her remarkable experiences of dealing with cystic fibrosis through the "guided imagery of dance." She gained both inner strength for her mental attitude and physical strength from the exercise of dance classes. A lung transplant has enabled her to remain healthy and active; her mission now is "to share the healing power of dance and help others live long, healthy lives." After having witnessed the transformational force of arts in healthcare at Shands, Lauren - a registered nurse - joined the Arts in Medicine program where she works with diverse patient populations and frequently lectures. Within the program, Lauren and Natasha formed Breathe Strong: Pilates for CF.
The subject of Learning (a part of Learning and Wellness in the plan) was not specifically discussed at the convening sessions, but it is important to reiterate that the overwhelming suggestion from the field is to encourage the Florida Department of Education to continue arts and culture in schools and magnet programs for all ages; specifically, to maintain and develop arts curriculum through for-credit classes, certification of teachers in a variety of arts disciplines, and applying universal standards. Happily, through the Division's strong relationship with the Department, arts education is continuing to strengthen. By design, there will now be a representative from the Division on the Advisory Board established by the Department of Education as they move forward in the rewrite and re-evaluation of Florida's Sunshine State Standards and current curriculum; this is a major accomplishment! And the Division will continue to identify arts needs in rural and underserved areas through a new grant category that offers assistance in building arts education programs where few or none exist.
Strengthening the Economy
The best demonstration of the power of the arts in strengthening the economy is to furnish examples of their public value. Here are two:
"Angel of the North"
This is a sculpture (pictured at right) produced in Gateshead, England, an economically distressed region. It became the focal point of an economic revitalization of the area. Galleries, a performing arts center, and educational facilities were soon built around the piece; these "creative industries" soon led to the development of other cultural landmarks and organizations as visitors from all areas of England and Europe required restaurants, lodging, and other amenities.
Voices of Business
Ann Shaler, Bank of America; Don Shea, The St. Pete Downtown Partnership; Kerri Post, Visit Florida
- When fundraising, it is important that arts and cultural organizations position themselves as worthy causes instead of needy causes.
- Organizations must convey the benefits of investment in their projects and programs - it is more effective to convey why they should continue and what benefit will be provided.
- Effective corporate/community partnership demonstrate the benefits that are provided to the company by being involved in arts projects (volunteer opportunities for employees, creative thinking and problem solving environments, etc).
- Kerri Post stated that the tourism industry (and Visit Florida) has a strong emphasis on cultural tourism. The tourism industry and the arts industry benefit each other. Cultural tourists stay longer and spend more money on their trips in Florida.
Research, communication, and relationships were the major themes of this workshop. The following top strategies for implementation were developed:
Research is imperative. Without solid research on a unified level led by the state, the organizations and partners that the state depends on will not be able to act with a unified front and with consistent statistics. Dollars follow knowledge and value.
Communication Plan (interactive)
The state arts agency should take a leadership role in developing an Interactive Communications Dissemination Plan. In order for the plan to be effective the following key factors must first be determined:
- What are the messages?
- Who are the messengers?
- What is the most effective way to express the commonalties to the leadership?
- How do we bring the leadership hands-on Art Experience?
- How do we engage the media?
Communication is the key to effectively elevating the partnerships between the arts and other industries. A shift in the language will be key to ensuring that the message reaches the widest possible audience in the most effective way - the arts are an "INDUSTRY."
Develop Working Relationships
It is important for the arts organizations to come from a point of worthiness rather than a standpoint of need. The overall goal of establishing partnerships will be emphasizing that the partnership is beneficial to both parties involved.
Design and Development
What if artists were involved in every design, development, redevelopment, revitalization, and remodeling project within a community? Revolution! In fact, many projects already involve artists as design consultants who work alongside architects and builders in all aspects of planning.
For communities and projects that lack such a relationship, guidelines could be developed by the local arts agency and the Division on how to involve an artist in the process. Suggestions on stipends, consultation fees, and checklists can be developed and distributed by state and local agencies. State and local agencies can also develop resource directories for planners, builders, and architects that carry contact information for the design professions.
Voices of Design
Mike Nelson, Zeidler Partnerships Inc.
Mike Nelson spoke about his firm's numerous performing arts center construction projects, showing how the facility's design can be both multi functional for the organization and a beautiful contribution to the community's built environment. He also gave examples that show these facilities have been a catalyst for redevelopment of downtown areas, most notably an increase in real estate values in the surrounding areas.
Larry Thompson, President, Ringling College of Art and Design
Dr. Thompson announced, "The future lies in the creative careers. The most successful businesses in our world today are the ones that focus on creativity and integrate the creative process into their planning and the way their business works. An excellent example is Starbucks. Their success is not dependent on the coffee itself; people go to Starbucks because of the experience, the way the spaces are designed, the music that is being played. The principles of design are the main element to making that experience meaningful. Starbucks becomes a place for people to relax and have a meaningful experience going far beyond just a cup of coffee." In reference to the students at the Ringling College in Sarasota, he added, "Let's dispel the myth of the 'starving artist.' Students coming out of our college's programs are not starving artists; many go to work for the world's most successful and profitable companies. Our college is committed to dispelling this myth; in fact, we created a new major The Business of Art and Design. This program will combine a business and arts curriculum."
The extraordinarily wide list of arts careers that this college trains for not only includes the business emphasis but also elegantly combines science and art with game design and computer animation - the business of design is everywhere and students work in traditional design settings (advertising, interior, fashion, graphic) as well as film and television, photography, digital imaging, and fine arts.
Perspectives, the Ringling's magazine for alumni and friends, notes, "The conversation about why design is increasingly important for product differentiation, business problem solving, and global competitive advantage is a lively one - weaving through the agendas of everything from international economic forums to design conferences" (Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2007).
SO . . . What is the Role of the Division of Cultural Affairs?
The Division is the authority and should provide the leadership that sets the tone for arts and culture discussions
The Division should:
- craft an articulate message with unified language
- develop a prototype ground plan that shows how to approach decision-makers to demonstrate arts and culture's significant contributions to the life of a community
- provide examples that individual arts organizations can shape to their own situations and communities
- serve as a clearinghouse for arts advocacy information
- provide a consistent set of recent and reliable statistics with strategic arguments
- provide reliable resources for research: websites, links, bibliographies
While the Division's ability to fully implement all of the ideas in this summary is dependent on such resources as adequate staffing, effective partnerships, and additional funding, every effort to establish and sustain this agenda will be made.
Three themes clearly exploded throughout the session discussions - education, communication, and partnerships. And the overriding question of Who executes the plan?
The answer is that Everyone takes a role - from the Division on down to statewide and regional arts organizations to local arts agencies to arts associations and institutions to individual artists.
All of us must accept responsibility for the arts to "survive and thrive."
Here are bullet points for each theme, your own "to-do" list; it describes what both the Division and YOU can do. Custom-design for your own use!
- schedule local strategic plan workshops and invite everyone
- schedule training seminars for board members
- arrange workshops to learn skills and techniques in how to measure outcomes for public accountability so that administrators and artists can develop the tools for proper assessment and evaluation
- gather data at the beginning and end of all projects (attendance, demographics, etc)
- learn the techniques of creating an input - activities - output - outcomes - indicators model for organizations and projects
- make certain that a "healthy community" definition includes the arts and culture as an indicator
- provide learning opportunities that train artists how to create art in different settings - schools, clinics, hospitals, correctional facilities
- learn skills in promotion and marketing and then tell your stories
- the Division can serve as a clearinghouse of arts information, statistics, reports, studies, best practices, resource bank - all in the service of presenting a unified advocacy message
- the Division can use such communication methods as e-blasts and e-newsletters
- the Division can also convene meetings, advertise, market, promote; operate campaigns and award programs
- local arts agencies or other umbrella groups can produce their own newsletters and cultural calendars
- arts organizations should extrapolate from grant final reports and publicize the success stories
- identify all of the customers (there may be some you haven't thought of)
Remember, success stories in the arts are about the connection - find them. Why isn't all the great work visible? Sharing experiences is powerful - decisions on support and funding are made based on personal experiences or the powerful presentation of an experience.
- the state must be a role model for good partnerships with the decision-makers (legislature) and other agencies
- organizations must develop active partnerships where there is clear and defined quid pro quo; make certain there is measurable give and take between each partner to the benefit of the other, no partnerships in "name" only, make them work for you and develop cross-promotion
- arts organizations should be active members of organizations such as Visit Florida, chambers of commerce, convention and visitor bureaus, local revitalization and redevelopment agencies
- explore "unlikely" partners in the local/regional community - you will significantly reduce any fear of approaching "non-arts" businesses and groups if you are convinced of your own argument, facile with facts and statistics, and filled with stories
- collect support letters from peers who can speak directly to the benefits of your art and projects (keep them recent!)
- approach local United Way about joining as a non-profit organization in pursuit of contributions (and be able to make the case for why they are as important as local health support groups, service organizations, etc.)
- develop and maintain meaningful relationships with all local business and government leaders; invite them to performances, exhibitions, and other events
- expect local arts agencies to carry the message from the state agency on down to the local level and exploit the partnership relationship between the Division of Cultural Affairs and themselves
- partners must be "ready" - this is a key success factor
We're All In This Together!
The Division of Cultural Affairs celebrates its role as a primary influence on the "state of the arts" in Florida. Its mission recognizes several responsibilities: foster development and growth of arts and cultural activities, provide arts resources and services, award excellence, and promote arts-related public/private partnerships. These are accomplished through:
- grant programs that support arts projects, programming, facilities, and institutional operating expenses (build capacity)
- workshops, conferences, convening sessions, awards, exhibitions
- communication and publicity
- resources, guidance, networking
- public policy direction
The unifying element that runs among all of the Division's programming is the belief that the arts can help change the world for the better and it starts with one person in one community at a time. We must help our citizens and visitors "connect the dots" between the arts and quality of life issues, to understand that the arts intersect individual lives in meaningful ways, and that the arts can be integrated into "unexpected places" (healthcare settings, prisons) for the benefit of all of us. Culture Builds Florida's Future is both the maxim and the formula for accomplishing our mission; it is a continuum - a line along which artists and organizations find themselves at any given time, a line that is moving and changing. It is the foundation upon which we build.
Embrace the State Arts Agency's Arts and Culture Strategic Plan
Read the plan
Discuss the plan
Apply the plan
Build on the plan
Measure the results of the plan
Publicize the impact of the plan
Resources - for further reading
The Arts and Healthcare
Shands Arts in Medicine
Society for the Arts in Healthcare
The Arts as Economic Engine
The Arts and Economic Prosperity, Americans for the Arts
Handmade in America
The Arts Everywhere We Look - Design and Development
Ringling College of Art and Design
Ziedler Partnerships, Inc.
Americans for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
Florida Division of Cultural Affairs
Culture Builds Florida's Future (10-Year Strategic Plan)