From Mission to Motivation

A Focused Approach to Increased Arts Participation

Published in: GIA Reader, Vol 14, No 3 (Fall 2003)

Sharon Rodning Bash

2003, 84 pages, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, 2324 University Avenue West, Suite 114, St. Paul, MN 55114, 651 645-0402

This workbook, targeted to small arts organizations, is definitely about more than simply “putting butts in seats.” It is based on a much broader definition of audience participation and offers a nine- step process to help organizations think about how to increase participation in a more strategic and focused way.

From Mission to Motivation, developed through a series of workshops with more than 100 Metropolitan Regional Arts Council constituents in Minnesota, clearly outlines steps organizations should work through in order to increase their earned income and diversify their audiences while at the same time developing strategies that will build participation in all aspects of their work.

The author encourages organizations to develop a team to explore the exercises in the book and has developed a series of charts, questions, and examples to help groups move from “Step 1: A Look Inside: Know Your Group” to “Step 9: Measuring Success.” The exercises are easy to understand, thanks to clear writing and bold graphics, and raise questions sure to provoke discussion among team participants. Space also is provided for user notes and comments. Groups can move through the workbook at their own pace – spending as much or as little time as needed on each sequential step, pausing to integrate lessons learned, and moving on to the next step when ready.

Throughout the book, the author also references research that has been done about arts participation and clearly explains how it relates to various exercises in the book. Helpful hints also are scattered throughout, such as addresses for Web-based resources that provide demographic data, and an appendix and bibliography include other available resources.

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