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strengthening, unifying and connecting greater Cleveland's arts and culture sector

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CultureForward Blog

Showing blog posts written by Megan Van Voorhis

Is an arts job really as legitimate as a [insert every other industry here] job?

My colleagues in the arts industry may bristle at this question, particularly in light of the fact that I’m an arts and culture advocate. If truth be told, I thought we had moved beyond the point where we have to answer this question, due in large part to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis & National Endowment for the Arts. Last year, they released data demonstrating the considerable contribution that arts and cultural production makes to the GDP. After years of local and national organizations conducting analyses to explore the role of arts and culture in the economy – much to the dismay of some in the arts and culture field – the economists in government were finally paying attention.

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Categories: artist, Artist as an Entrepreneur, Education, research | comments

National Organizations Examine Creative Intersections

'Snaps and Words'

We spend a lot of time analyzing the environment in which the arts and culture sector operates, both locally and nationally. We follow the news closely to understand what’s top of mind in our community and we meet with people outside of arts and culture to learn the same. We have conversations with artists and arts and cultural leadership to understand their priorities and challenges. Along the way, we identify those places where the priorities of the arts and culture sector serve the broader community. We call those creative intersections.

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Categories: Artists, arts and culture, artsandhealth, creative intersections, Health, Neighborhoods | comments

Moving Forward with Light Speed

Yard signs are popping up all over Cuyahoga County. Newsletters and emails are being sent. Literature is being dropped. Phone calls are being made. Curtain speeches are rolling forth. Momentum is building. The force, as they say, has indeed awakened. I could go on with the Star Wars metaphor, by noting how useful a Jedi mind trick would be to the arts and culture campaign, but really, what we need is one big force push to ensure that arts and culture prevails.

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What I did for Summer Vacation: A Reflection on the Arts and Democracy

This summer, I had the opportunity to attend the Kettering Foundation’s Deliberative Democracy Exchange in Dayton, Ohio. The week-long event brought people together from throughout the world to have conversations related to one fundamental question for Kettering: What does it take to make democracy work as it should? With the turmoil in the Middle East, the ongoing questions about the justice system in the United States, and the influence of money in our elections system, you like many Americans, might be wondering if democracy can work. In truth, there are days I get so frustrated by what I see that I wonder if there is any hope at all for our democracy. Then I remember something really important. It is our democracy, and without citizen engagement, it can’t function as such.

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Categories: Civic Engagement, Neighborhoods, public benefit, public policy | comments

What is your team's DNA?

A recent staff departure combined with a fresh fiscal year and new set of objectives for CPAC has given me cause to think about how best to deploy our small, but mighty, team; and what might be needed moving forward. Almost fifteen years ago, when I was an MBA candidate, I read a book by Jim Collins called Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t. He and his partners had spent a significant amount of time studying companies and identified key characteristics that differentiated the “good” from the “great.” One of the most important takeaways from that book for me was the discussion about the people on your team; namely, the importance of getting the “right people on the bus,” and then once you’ve got them, getting the “right people in the right seats.” If you can really become good at that, Collins notes, you can go anywhere. In recent years at CPAC we’ve focused a lot on understanding our team’s DNA and how that influences our work. Because, if you don’t really understand your people, you certainly can’t ensure that you’ve got the right people in the right seats. So, how can you better understand your team’s DNA?

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State Advocacy Alert: Music Therapy Licensure Efforts Gain Momentum…Your Help is Needed Now!

House Bill 184 (HB-184) has been introduced in the Ohio House under the bi-partisan leadership of Rep. Dovilla of Berea and Rep. Antonio of Lakewood. Music therapists led a highly successful outreach day where they had contact with the offices of all 99 House members and 33 Senate members with personal visits with over 40 elected officials. At the end of the day over 20 House members, from both sides of the aisle, signed on to co-sponsor with Reps Dovilla and Antonio….and three senators signed on to co-sponsor once the bill goes to their side of the legislature.

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Categories: advocacy, artsandhealth, creative minds in medicine, music therapy | comments

#tbt #artsmarketing

This year marks the 18th year of CPAC’s existence as an arts and culture service organization in Northeast Ohio. Having served as a CPAC staffer for 2/3 of the organization’s existence – 12 years this year – I remember most of CPAC’s work with the exception of the planning process that launched the organization itself. Perhaps you recognize the image at right. It’s a photo of a kiosk poster advertising Culture4Me.org, one of CPAC’s first forays into marketing and communications on behalf of the sector – an arts and cultural event calendar. What ever happened to Culture4me.org? It’s a thrilling tale, but not one I’m going to tell today.

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Categories: audience, marketing | comments

If your slides look like this, you better read on.

If your slides look like this, you better read on.  

Program Development-Elyria

Actually, if your slides look like this and you haven’t read my blog on declaring our independence from the bad presentation, you should read that first. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

So now you know there’s a whole lot of work you have to do on your presentation before you even think about opening up slide software. I also urge you to ask yourself one other question before doing so: Should you even use slides?

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Categories: design, presentations | comments

Declaring Our Independence from the Bad Presentation

A few years back, I made a presentation to a group of about 60 students from a professional practices class at one of our area universities. I had been asked to talk about CPAC and the resources available to individual artists in our community. It was an after-hours presentation, and as I know the topic so well, I didn’t invest a lot of time preparing for it. As the saying goes, you get out what you put in, and not surprisingly the presentation was a total bomb. There were students sleeping in the room and the overall engagement with me as a presenter was abysmal. I left feeling resentful…I had after all spent my personal time to make this presentation, the least they could have done was pay attention.

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Categories: arts, capacity building, culture, presentations, training | comments

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