Dynamic Adaptability: Arts and Culture Puget Sound


Dynamic Adaptability: Arts and Culture Puget Sound was a series of conferences for cultural sector leaders sponsored by a consortium of five funders in the Puget Sound: The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, The Boeing Company, 4Culture, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and The Seattle Foundation. This initiative was a response to a March 2009 study about the effects of the recession on area cultural institutions and their needs at this time. In interviews for that study, cultural leaders asked for more opportunities to gather with colleagues, exchange ideas and learn about ways of managing the rapid changes they were experiencing. “Dynamic adaptability” is a term used to describe the capacity of an organization to be responsive to a changing environment in order to thrive.

The common theme among all sessions was how arts leaders can adapt and change to manage successfully in this changing environment. The content and format of the events were informed by surveys of and conversations with cultural leaders conducted at various points throughout the year. The sessions covered:

  • capitalization and finances,
  • strategies for effective change leadership,
  • technology and audiences, and
  • renewing yourself and your organization through clarifying core values.

A brief summary of the first four sessions is attached here.

See video and materials from past events:

  • Cultural Capital: Tools for Managing Revenue and Risk
    February 8, 2010, Town Hall, Seattle, Washington
    Video of Nonprofit Finance Fund President Clara Miller’s presentation on new ways of thinking about capitalization in the nonprofit cultural sector, presentation slides from afternoon workshops with funders and cultural organizations and background reading materials.

  • Managing Change When Change is Hard: Effective Change Leadership
    May 3, 2010, Town Hall, Seattle, Washington
    Materials from Chip Heath’s presentation on new approaches to leading effective change, even when change is difficult.

  • New Audiences and New Technologies: Anticipating the Future
    June 21, 2010, Town Hall, Seattle, Washington
    A presentation by Doug McLennan of ArtsJournal on how to connect authentically with your audience.

  • Keeping the Fire without Burning Out:
    Strategies for Personal and Professional Renewal

    January 24, 2011, Town Hall, Seattle, Washington
    Ronnie Brooks, director of the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute, leads this workshop on personal and professional renewal as a necessary survival skill for working in a stressful and changing environment.

  • Cultural Organizations as Civic Leaders
    November 2, 2012, Town Hall, Seattle, Washington
    James Kass (Youth Speaks), Chris Coleman (Portland Center Stage), Lisa Sasaki (the Oakland Museum of California) and John Michael Schert (The Trey McIntyre Project) talk about how they are changing the way that they engage with their communities and what it means to exercise civic leadership as an arts organization.

  • For more on dynamic adaptability, click here.



Sponsored by The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation; The Boeing Company; 4Culture; Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs; The Seattle Foundation; and U.S. Bank; and organized by Helicon Collaborative and Philanthropy Northwest with assistance from Grantmakers in the Arts.



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