STIMULATING ORGANIZATIONAL SUCCESS (S.O.S.) ::
More Tips from the Field
We continue our survey of local arts leaders for their advice to other arts and cultural organizations. "What best practice tips would you offer to create/sustain a successful organization?"
Andrew McMasters, Producer/Artistic Director, Wing-It Productions
Wing-It Productions is dedicated to producing theatrical events to enlighten and entertain audiences of all ages using all mediums of theater and multimedia. Our mission is to create improvisational-based theater and other theatrical events, and to educate audiences in the ideas and philosophy of improvisation.
Paul Meecham, Executive Director, Seattle Symphony
"2 - Be honest and forthright with your Board and employees about your organization's current and future financial situation, and solicit their ideas for improving the bottom line.
"3 - Make good use of volunteers. If you have a small staff, don't try to do everything yourself."
The Seattle Symphony is recognized for its adventurous programming and tradition of performing music by contemporary composers. It is one of the world's most recorded orchestras, represented on more than 80 compact discs and recognized with 10 Grammy nominations. From September through July each year, the Seattle Symphony is heard live in Benaroya Hall by more than 300,000 people.
Laura Penn, Managing Director, INTIMAN Theatre
"Leaders of your organization have to be excited about what your organization does, and have to relay that excitement to the staff, the Board, donors and the public.
"Be disciplined and honest with your staff and your board. Work with the happiest people you can and keep your sense of humor. And spend some time in your own life.
"Maintaining a positive cash flow is key, and strong budgeting, planning and understanding within the organization and an involved board is critical. Unless you have all the money you need, you're going to have to be creative and lean. Be up front and clear about what your organization needs, and don't be afraid to ask your board, donors and friends to help."
INTIMAN Theatre produces classics, contemporary plays and world premieres, along with numerous artist conversations, education programs and community collaborations.
Ron Chew, Executive Director, Wing Luke Asian Museum
The Wing Luke Asian Museum engages the Asian Pacific American communities and the public in exploring issues related to the culture, art and history of Asian Pacific Americans.
D. David Brown, Executive Director, Pacific Northwest Ballet
always get the other person to say a number first;
Pacific Northwest Ballet, internationally recognized for its performances, also provides extensive dance education and outreach programs to the greater Seattle area and opportunities for community involvement which place it in the top tier of American dance institutions.
Don Hudgins, Executive Director, Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA)
"The temptation to ask grant writers to work on commission should also be avoided for many reasons. Foremost of these is that you will be submitting inferior materials and thereby undermining your efforts. It is also considered unethical to ask professional grant writers to raise their own salary."
CoCA serves the Pacific Northwest as a catalyst and forum for the advancement, development, and understanding of contemporary art. CoCA provides opportunities for the art audience in this region to view new and experimental artwork firsthand in exhibitions that show the work of international, national and local artists.
Speight Jenkins, General Director, Seattle Opera
Seattle Opera strives to produce musically extraordinary, theatrically compelling operas, employing uniformly high-quality casts, dramatically aware conductors, and innovative yet textually concerned directors and designers. Seattle Opera commits itself to advancing the cultural life of the Pacific Northwest.
Seattle Youth Symphony.
Photo: Colleen Boyce.