Myths about the Suburbs
Many grantmakers have been awarding funds for years based on impressions about cities and suburbs that are no longer true. How do the realities concerning where today's arts activities and audiences are converging change how we think about grantmaking? How do we fund the arts in a changing geographic and demographic climate?
Cerveny: I think the issue of the suburbs and where culture is and where institutions are is a very, very rich one for discussion for anybody who lives in an urban cultural center at this moment and time—and anybody who lives in the suburbs as well, at this moment and time.So, I am really looking forward to this conversation. Where my sister lives, for example, by the time she gets home the last thing that she wants to do is to get back in her car and come back downtown to see the opera or anything else. My family, anyway, is faced with that dilemma in enjoying cultural activities together. In Cleveland we just finished a significant regional cultural plan. There are a number of counties that are a part of the plan. Some of those counties that lie outside the central county, where most of the cultural districts are, have begun to set aside dollars for arts in their communities. This would seem to be a good thing. A part of what they are looking to do is to create their own cultural institutions and their own cultural centers in outlying counties. I want to introduce you, those few of you who might not know Tom Wolf, who is an internationally known consultant, author, teacher, and administrator. Tom is currently the chairman and CEO of Wolf, Keens, & Co., a consulting firm that focuses on nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Tom, in fact ,did some research for our cultural plan in northeast Ohio. Dr. Wolf was the founding executive director of the New England Foundation for the Arts; he is a professional flutist, and has served as company manager of the Goldovsky Opera Company. Dr. Wolf holds a Doctorate in Education from Harvard University and has taught at Harvard and Boston University. He is the author of Managing a Non-Profit Organization in the 21st Century, Presenting Performances and other books and scores of articles in the fields of culture, arts, education, and management. Tom's firm also regularly publishes a newsletter that I receive that helps me understand the current thinking in many of the issues that arts organizations across the country are facing. I am very pleased to introduce him to you, he will introduce the panel: I look forward to a very rich conversation. Thank you, Tom.
Wolf: Thanks a lot, Kathleen. We are very pleased to be on this panel and it is the first time that I have every been involved in a panel that is dealing with this subject ,which has been very much a part of the work that I have been doing, over the last four or five years, in cultural planning. I will talk about that a little bit later. The old notion about the hub and the spoke, the central city with its arts resource richness and the surrounding core of suburbia is changing very much in terms of how we begin to think about the distribution of culture and the patterns of arts consumption. We have a wonderful panel, minus one. Nancy Glaze, unfortunately, has the flu. So when we get to that portion of the program, I am going to try the impossible: which is to be Nancy Glaze, at least for a few minutes, and to represent to you some of the key points that she wanted to share about Silicon Valley and some of the work that she does at the Packard Foundation. When we had a couple of conference calls about this session with the panel, we emerged with a notion that all of us had been operating for a number of years with certain myths about the suburbs that it was very important to dispel. We would like to begin with presentations by each of the panelists, and to engage in conversation with you because you have many interesting experiences to share. I think, collectively, we can come up with some wisdom by the end of the time. We wanted to dispel some myths and we started with five. Your assignment, during the course of this conversation, is to add to this list so that by the end of the session we have a number of myths that we can add to this list of myths about the suburbs. The five that we felt were ones that often get in the way of effective policy and effective grantmaking are the following: Number one is: Everyone goes to the city for their art. I would like to add as amplification that center city arts institutions are convinced of that. There is only one place to go for their art and it is the city where they are located. In cultural planning, as those of you that have done a lot of cultural planning know, having the major institutions aboard is very important and very often they hold this first myth very tenaciously. The second is: People commute from the suburbs to the core for their work. There is this notion that we have these bedroom communities where people live, and then they go into the city to do their jobs. We will hear a little bit from Joan Naymark about the fact that this is not the case. I will talk a little bit about what we have seen in some of our work in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. The third myth that we are trying to dispel here today is: People of color increasingly populate cities and suburbs are populated primarily by Caucasians. There is essentially an urban core, which is people of color, and then an uninteresting white demographic in the suburbs. The fourth myth that we are trying to dispel today—and we have a wonderful practitioner who, if you are not convinced after his presentation, then nothing will convince you—is that: there are no arts organizations with high artistic quality in the suburbs. This begs a whole lot of questions, like: What is high artistic quality? What is an arts organization? But we will not get into that quite yet. That may come up in the discussion. The final myth that we want to dispel is this one: Suburbs are filled with wealthy people who can afford to build their own facilities and underwrite their own arts organizations. For you, as grantmakers, I think that the message is there that no resources are needed as much in the suburbs as in the city. We would like to begin with a kind of overview, a non-arts overview if you will, by Joan Naymark who is currently the director of Research and Planning for Target Corporation. We went to the best. The department is responsible for research supporting the store expansion program for Target, Mervyn's, Dayton's, Hudson's, and Marshall Field's. Before joining Target Corporation, Joan was manager of Population Studies for the Upper Midwest Council and a research assistant in the Minnesota Office of State Demographer. She obtained her B.S. and M.A. degrees in Sociology/Demography, magna cum laude from Western Washington University in 1975 and 1978. She is a speaker at national seminars and symposiums on retail geographic information systems and demographic topics. We feel very fortunate to have somebody who really knows what they are talking about to lead us off. So, Joan, I will turn it over to you.
Naymark: Thank you. I am very pleased to be here with you today. What a great turnout! I have been asked to set the stage for your discussion of how arts should be funded in a changing geographic and demographic climate. I know nothing about funding, or the arts, so I need to lay that groundwork. But I do know quite a bit about suburban growth in the U.S.; hence, my role as director of research. We do the site location work. I have already been hit with two requests for stores in suburbs since I walked in this room. That happens a lot. When I was asked to participate in this forum last spring and was part of the conference call, I was intrigued to explore the overlap between our fields and discover there is, frankly, quite a bit. Target Corporation's origins were 100 years ago with the founding of three department stores: Dayton's, Hudson's and Marshall Field's in downtown Minneapolis, Detroit, and Chicago. It is not a stretch to state that their presence helped define the character of downtowns in those cities, just as the Guthrie, Orchestra Hall, and the Walker helped define what Minneapolis is. We provided a regional focus, a focal point for people to come to, just as the arts organizations do. Forty years ago, retailers were faced with the question of how to serve our guests who were moving to the suburbs. Our solution was to follow them. Target, which was born in 1962, is a suburban strategy to serve guests close to where they live. Stores in suburbs, we found, support stores downtown, just as arts institutions in the suburbs provides synergy with big city art. Now, forty years later, we are coming full circle; just as many people are moving, again, downtown. A Target store will open next year one block from Orchestra Hall and one block from our flagship Dayton's store, which is just across the street. Our experience, then, has many parallels for you. What we have learned about where to site stores could be similar to where to fund the arts. At the core is our common need to serve people where they live. That has changed substantially in the last thirty to forty years. There are many myths about the suburbs that we carry today, which Tom has just spelled out for you. That people work downtown and come to town for their art; that suburbs are filled with wealthy white people and have no ethnic or racial diversity; and that artistic quality is lacking in the suburbs. These guide our perceptions and our actions. I would like to explore with you three facts to set us straight. Suburbs are a fact of American life. Suburbs are not all alike. Suburban sprawl has become part of our national agenda. First, let's look at fact number one: that suburbs are a fact of American life. I am going to read from an article in The New York Times, last November: Everyone loves to hate the suburbs. Sociologists say they are deadening. Environmentalists call them Empires of Excess. Everyone loves to hate the suburbs except for the people who live there, who sometime in the last few years became a majority of all Americans—140 million. So, what percent of the population does live in cities? Only 38 percent lived in cities in 1996, 62 percent in suburbs; up from 55 percent in 1970. Nearly two-thirds are in cities. That trend line shows, from 1970 through 1996, a declining percentage in the central cities. The growth rates in the suburbs have outpaced central city growth. The first two bars show growth in the suburbs versus the cities in the 1970s; 19 percent growth versus 1 percent. Actually, in the largest of the metro areas in the country it was a decline during that period. In the 1980s, the next two set of bars, suburbs: 15 percent growth, cities: 7 percent. In the 1990s, the last two bars, suburbs: 9 percent, cities: 4 percent. Suburbs grew at the expense of the city. In the 1950s the interstate freeways and economic prosperity allowed Americans to live the dream: a new home in driving distance of their job in the city. Bedroom communities were born. Cities were still the hub, though, of shopping, banking and white-collar jobs—the core of cultural and recreational amenities. But people lived beyond the city. New homes, schools and parks followed—shopping, movies, sports. With the emergence of the service, information, and technology economies, business no longer needed to be in the core and jobs could follow people to the suburbs. At the start of the 1990s, suburban jobs already outnumbered central city jobs by six million in the largest metros in the country. This chart shows a trend line from 1990 through 1996. The top line, which is going up, is the number of jobs in suburban areas. The line underneath is a flat line, the number of jobs in central cities. It is not declining. Jobs in the central city are still important, but the growth is in the suburbs. The line in the bottom shows the gap between the cities and the suburbs is increasing to nine million more jobs in the suburbs than the city, just in the first six years of the last decade. Look at Austin, Texas. There is no question that downtown is alive, growing, and thriving. The northern growth tier, accessed by something called the research highway which hosts new suburban campuses for Texas Instruments and Apple Computers; with housing, shopping, and schools beyond. In this aerial photo you can see the growth going on. In Atlanta, there are several new downtowns around the northern rings. There are office corridors, new office growth, and strong complexes where the dominant growth is now occurring. Suburban Washington, D.C. is the home to AOL headquarters and Silicon Valley has always been a suburban phenomenon. In Dallas, office complexes have sprung up along the outer freeway loops. The newest suburbs, Frisco and Flowermount, are more than thirty miles beyond downtown. So, let's take a look at the myth that people commute from the suburbs to the core for their work. I do not think so. More people work in the suburbs than the cities and commuting patterns follow the jobs. Here in the Twin Cities, the State Department of Transportation stopped our freeway ramp meters this morning for a six-week test to see if the meters influence congestion. We all hate congestion. It influences the quality of our life and is created when suburban living and population growth outpace transportation funding. Driving downtown takes longer than driving to the suburbs; whether you are driving for a job or for an arts event. The last thing you want to do at eight o'clock at night is drive back into the city. It takes 28 minutes, the average commute into downtown, versus 23 minutes not to downtown. That applies to all kinds ofdrives. Reverse commuting, which is considered to be traveling away from town, or from suburb to suburb, is now the dominant direction of travel. Not the traditional drive from home, in the suburbs, to the job downtown. In the San Francisco Bay area, this map shows rings of drive time based on distance and average speed. The light tan, rose outer ring is where most of the new suburban growth is occurring and it is sixty minutes from town. Thelast thing you want to do is to drive into the city. Thirty years ago, San Jose's art community was quite limited, I am told. But today it is multi-faceted and strong, providing art to the residents of Silicon Valley and reflecting the growth that has occurred there. There are many other maps of many other cities showing the sixty-mile ring, which is actually where the newest ring of growth is occurring. Myth: Everyone goes to the city for their art. People may go to the city for some of their art, but the question is one of frequency. In retail, we always think of shopping frequency: How often will they come see you? This next chart shows the number of miles traveled on an annual basis, between 1969 and 1990. On the left, the first two sets of bars show the number of miles traveled annually, between those two time periods, for your journey to work. It has gone up; you spend more time driving to work over that twenty-year period. The next pair of graphs are for shopping. The third pair of bars are for personal business. They have all gone up! But the last set of bars are time spent for recreational and social activities. I have to believe that cultural kinds of things fit in there—it is flat. Four thousand miles per year. Either we just do not have enough time left in the day for more traveling or we do not want to go that far to enjoy ourselves. So, we live in the suburbs; suburbs are a part of our life. Number two, what about the diversity of the suburbs? Suburbs are not alike but our stereotype is that they are alike. That is where the next three myths come from: that people of color increasingly populate cities while suburbs are populated primarily by white folk; number two, that these are filled with wealthy people who can afford to build their own facilities and underwrite their own arts organizations; and three, that there are no arts organizations with high artistic quality in the suburbs. Again, I am going to read from The New York Times, this time, last April: So many of our generalizations about the 'burbs are no longer sticking. The monolith that was supposed to be suburban America: middle class, homogeneous, white, has just become one of a great many neighborhoods in a larger and more complicated mosaic. Its white nuclear families have been joined by singles and gays, Asians and African-Americans. The suburbs have proved flexible enough to accommodate working mothers, as well as many different kinds of families and lifestyles. All suburbs are not alike. Their character is shaped by many factors, some of which are listed here. The first tier suburbs were developed in the 1950s. Today, they are home to both the original, now elderly, owners and the next wave of families, and often many immigrants. They are smaller starter homes, lower and middle income households, diverse in age, race and ethnicity. But many suburbs do fit that stereotype, right down to the security guard at the front gate. Foreign-born immigrants are moving into both suburbs and cities in this country. Nearly ten million immigrants have moved to the U.S. in the 1990s—the largest wave ever in our nation's history. The vast majority, 93 percent, moved into a metro area but they are equally split between suburbs and cities. A recent Brookings study classified American cities based on population growth, immigration, and race ethnicity. Most international immigrants moved to selected cities in the sun-belt, plus Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C. These cities, and their suburbs and culture, will reflect all of that in-movement and all of that energy. Some metro areas are racially and ethnically diverse, both fast-growing and slow-growing. Their suburbs will reflect that greater metro area's diversity and growth. Some metro areas are mostly white, which is where the Twin Cities is classified. Some are slow-growing, some are fast growing. But in this mostly white Twin Cities area, I must tell you, we have very strong immigration waves from Southeast Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. There is an extremely large Russian community in one of our suburban areas, as well as a large Ethiopian base. So, there is as much suburb-to-suburb variation as across metropolitan areas. You have to be aware that what you see in your local area may be very different from what the next metro area is like. Finally, my last point is about suburban sprawl becoming part of our national agenda. This is an aerial of Las Vegas. Lovely, huh? As housing spreads and congestion grows, there is a backlash that is occurring at the local, state, and national level. It is called New Urbanism or Smart Growth. Someone was nice enough to send your own GIA newsletter to me last Friday. It highlights the issues of Smart Growth for the funding community. It is everywhere. Colorado has a proposition on the ballot in November about Smart Growth, whether they are going to endorse continued growth and development. Local communities across the nation are responding to congestion and loss of green space to large lot housing. New Urbanism calls for more “community:” sidewalks, staying close to home, and less driving. In Florida, the city of Miramar in Fort Lauderdale plans a $130 million project to create a city center. It will house a new city hall, library, office, retail, residential, and—which I think is interesting—a cultural arts center. Normally, they are not quite so specific about wanting that included. In many cities there is a reverse movement of housing growth downtown, such as along the river here in Minneapolis, in order to enjoy the city's amenities and escape the congestion and the sameness of the suburb. We are looking at the possibility of the Guthrie relocating along the river, to take advantage of that growth. Many areas are taking a metropolitan area-wide perspective to development and planning, drawing on the strengths of both the city and suburb into a more unified future. Smart Growth and the New Urbanism movement provide an opportunity for the arts to become part of the locals' conversation. As your newsletter says, there is a role for grantmakers to further a combined agenda for both cultural social equity and Smart Growth. In conclusion, suburbs are a fact of American life; home to the majority of our population. It does not sound as though that will change. Number two, suburbs are not all alike. They contain people of many ages, ethnicity and race, economic, and family status and are becoming increasingly diverse. But they will reflect their own core city's history and culture. The arts are an important part of American life, both in the city and across the suburbs, which the rest of the panelists will be discussing much better than I can. It seems to me that, much like retail, arts in the suburbs must peacefully co-exist with those downtown and work for a synergy together. Thank you.
Wolf: Thank you very much, Joan. I want to give you a chance for, maybe, two or three questions of Joan, who is setting the context for us. While you are thinking of your question, I am just going to tell a little anecdote to lighten things up here. I have two children. One is a 27-year-old-going-on-fifty son who is now in the private equity business. He was recently, I am going to tell you proudly, on Good Morning, America on the series of the overworked American. They said, “We now catch up with a young investment banker as he is going to work at Grand Central Station.” There was my son, who had been primping himself up since six o'clock in the morning to look like a—it did not look at all like how he goes to work, which is a torn t-shirt, unless he is going to visit one of the companies—but he was there in what must have been a new suit and tie. I got lots of calls from people, first of all because they did not know that my son worked eighty hours a week. I did not either and I do not think he did either. They said, My goodness, we did not know that Lex had a job in New York. I said, Well, he doesn't. They said, Well, what was he doing at Grand Central? I said, Well, he is commuting to work. He is going to his job in Greenwich. They said, Well, for goodness' sake, why does he live in New York and commute to Greenwich. I said, Well, I asked him that question, because I was a little surprised myself. His answer was, Dad, do you realize that in Greenwich the people are even older than you are? So much about myths about the suburbs. But he is, obviously, a reverse commuter. He is a white person who is settling in New York and working in the suburbs. Does anyone have specific questions of Joan about her presentation? Yes, go ahead.
Question: I wanted to know if there is any differentiation in the word “suburb.” For a number of years, we had a whole thing with “edge cities;” there are different kinds of suburbs. Now they are also talking about different rings of growth. Post-ring suburbs are now getting left with a certain kind of resident and everybody else is moving out further. I guess I am curious about, in the course of your studies, did you differentiate among kinds of suburbs? Does it have regional implications?
Wolf: The question is a definitional one, about what do you mean about “suburbs” and “edge cities” and all of that. Joan?
Naymark: There is quite a lot of dialogue about whether the word “suburb” is useful. We, in fact, had that conversation at our staff meeting this morning; saying, is that an outmoded word? Edge Cities is a book that came out several years ago. You will find those new tier growth areas, that are either brand new out of the ground or converting rural areas, in all different areas. It depends on the complexion of the landscape—can you sprawl forever, as you can here in the Twin Cities or Dallas—or are you restrained by the land form? I think that you need to consider that in your own community. There will be first tier and next tier, or leap-frogging in Chicago because of the transit. There may be infill kinds of locations. I think that you need to be aware of that. But I do not know that there is a perfect dichotomy. People are trying to figure out: What does it all mean?
Question: With Target stores being one of the examples of cookie-cutter, strip-mall mentality in the suburbs, is there any effort to adjust the design of Target stores in relation to the communities that you are serving? Is there any sense that the design of the store is going to change as the demographics change?
Naymark: I am going to show you a picture. This is a picture in a suburb of Washington, D.C., Gaithersberg—it is called our “Washingtonian” store. We pulled this photo off of a Smart Growth Web site last week, as an example of what can be done in order to be a little bit more aesthetically and community based. It may be a little bit hard to see. It is a two-level Target store. In the back it looks like a downtown streetscape: lots of little shops, it has a lot of design aesthetics, and the parking field is in the back. I think that is obviously what my company does, but the new trend of what you need to do is to be focused on the local community and what will be satisfactory and not make it all be cookie-cutter, to upgrade to the new world.
Question: Can you say a few words about difference in the patterns of wealth in the suburbs and the cities?
Naymark: There are certain common patterns across all metro areas and then you have to drill into a particular metropolitan area. All of the wealth in Denver is to the South, in the Twin Cities it is to the West, and in Dallas it is to the North. There are certain historical patterns that continue to form like suburbs and age and whether it is more blue-collar and working class versus the higher income areas. There is no question that suburbs sort themselves out by socio-economic status, educational levels, and occupational profiles as well. I could not really speak to the myth about whether they are able to fund their own arts organizations. That seems, to me, one less of money than of synergy and critical mass for the local communities. You may have a very wealthy suburb that does not have a very well-developed school district and vice versa. So, there are very distinct socioeconomic patterns in every metropolitan area in the country. Some of them on the East coast formed earlier, according to the transportation patterns, so the more wealthy areas are close in because the more wealthy people lived closer to town. Versus now, the cities in the West that we have developed with the car—the wealthier suburbs can be farther out. It is a transition. The first tier suburbs are now in the location where many inner-city people are escaping to and then those people are moving farther out. That is where you get the phenomenon that all of the new-growth suburbs are now sixty minutes away. We can talk about the same pattern, but distances are greater than they were twenty years ago. Same pattern, just more sprawl. That is why I think that we are at the point of the Smart Growth discussion.
Question: You have just glanced over frequency of visits in the retail world. Could you expand upon that?
Naymark: You may read, in either the business literature or elsewhere, about brand and loyalty. You may go to supermarkets and you will have a frequent shopping card, or Visa, when you use your credit card. People want to get a greater share of your loyalty and that becomes a better customer for you. If you are there, if your car automatically knows how to turn into that parking lot, it becomes a no-brainer, you do not have to think about it any longer. If it is just a special event that you go to once a year—Mall of America, downtown for the holiday windows—that is not your core guest. You need to build frequency and then there is lots of good stuff that happens as a result of that. Again, I think that probably has a parallel. If this is something that you do more frequently, you go to Little League sports all of the time, that makes you more interested in going to a Major League sports game. They all fit together.
Wolf: Thanks very much, Joan. That was a great intro to this session. I want to introduce now someone who most of you already know, Michael Spring, who is the director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs; with an annual budget of $9.3 million and fourteen competitive grants programs. Michael has transcended the industry standards by extending his tenure to eighteen years at his job, the last ten as director. His budget has doubled over the last three years, demonstrating that he is not quite yet in his twilight years. He continues to work as a painter, in spite of, and because of the above. One thing that is relevant to this session, in addition to his work, is that he lost his car in this week's subtropical monsoon, while commuting from the city back to the suburbs. He will talk about “Everyone goes to the City for their art.” Michael.
Spring: Thank you, Tom. It is a pleasure to be here today and not to be debunking the regular myths about Miami, like: we are a wild, Third World, subtropical republic, that hurricanes regularly wipe out what little passes for culture, or that Madonna, South Beach, and Miami Vice reruns are our principle image exports, or even that Elian Gonzalez is regularly memorialized in public art and performances in area museums. What can be said about the metropolitan area of Miami-Dade County, is that it is a vast, complex, and developing metropolis with one of our nation's youngest, emerging cultural communities. I believe that I was asked to come north to Minneapolis because Miami provides a fascinating microcosm for this afternoon's discussion about myths about the suburbs. It might even provide some clues about effective approaches for supporting the development of the arts in a rapidly changing urban/suburban/e-burban context. We may actually need some bourbon by the time we get finished with all of this. Here are some context-setting facts about Miami. First, we are two thousand square miles large. If there is anyone here from Rhode Island and Delaware, we are larger, geographically, than you are. There are 31 municipalities within the county and more coming. We have 2.2 million residents and more than ten million visitors every year to our area. According to the 1990 census, 45 percent of the people that live in our county were born in other countries. Over 250,000 immigrants have arrived from Haiti, Cuba, and Nicaragua since 1980 and we have more than 400 culturally distinct ethnic groups living in our area. Increasingly, residents and visitors are not making a distinction regarding government borders and they are traveling across them for work, play, and dwelling. They traverse the three, and even the five, south Florida counties for these purposes. Now, just as increasingly, people are not migrating about and choosing to stay in their neighborhoods. Now for a few cultural facts about Miami. We have grown from 110 not-for-profit organizations in 1981, roughly when I started with our department, to more than 1,000 not-for-profits today. Including some that you may have heard of, like Miami City Ballet, The New World Symphony, and the Miami International Book Fair, and some which you may not have heard about yet, like our International Hispanic Theatre Festival, our M Ensemble Company. Our arts growth has been in all categories—from major institutions to small and mid-sized organizations and individual artists who are choosing to stay and live in our area. This phenomenal growth of organizations and institutions has created a tremendous demand for new and improved cultural facilities and we have an aggressive cultural building program of more than half a billion dollars, that is now well underway. Tom mentioned a little bit to you about our Department of Cultural Affairs. It has grown into one of the largest, and I say without humility, I think, one of the most progressive, local arts agencies in the United States today. We have made the transition from an agency within our county government to a full department a year ago. We are managing more than $36 million worth of neighborhood cultural facilities improvements now, in addition to our$9.3 million budget and our fourteen grants programs. On to the topic. The myth that I chose was: Everyone goes to the city for their art. For the record, virtually none of the myths apply to Miami. I am tempted to simplify the task of this myth debunking by saying that art in Miami occurs in both the city and suburbs, but it is not quite that easy. The more I thought about our reality, the more I realized that our metropolis can be characterized by art that occurs in both the city and the suburbs. Increasingly, Miami has become a network of neighborhood centers that has residential, business, and growing cultural and recreational amenities. The myth that people commute from the suburbs to the core for their art is absolutely mythic for Miami. Traffic, for us, is bad in all directions, all times. We have a healthy variety of these neighborhood centers in Miami. They include urban cores, like downtown Miami; tourism sub-destinations, like Miami Beach, which we are now referring to as Silicon Beach; working class cities, like Jai-alai; upscale cities, like Coral Gables; inner cities, like Overtown; and rural and agricultural villages, like the south part of our county, like Homestead. These neighborhoods or districts represent the distinctive character, heritage, or background of a particular people or community. Now, this debunks yet another myth: that people of color populate the cities and the suburbs are populated primarily by Caucasians. For Miami, these neighborhood nodes come in all varieties of populations, although they tend to be segregated by economic status. We have worked with our tourism counterparts to promote our various neighborhoods by describing them in terms of a real-life Disney World; they are mini-theme parks distinguished by their people, architecture, cuisine, shopping, and culture. So, we have Little Haiti, Coconut Grove, Overtown, Little Havana, and South Beach. People migrate across these neighborhoods from their homes to work and play. As their migratory paths continue to evolve, we are working to recognize and affect them with our cultural investment. In fact, we are simultaneously, and with some good measure of success, revitalizing what might be called “The Big City,” our urban core of downtown Miami, through the arts. At the same time, we are working to bring the arts closer to the people in these city neighborhoods. We have even developed a parallel to the regionalization of our five county area. We consider these things not to be mutually exclusive strategies for us; instead, they are strategically connected so that everyone can go everywhere for their arts. I believe that we have to be sophisticated enough in our arts investment to embrace divergent trends. I want to say a few words about how to recognize these patterns and then talk briefly about some corresponding ways that we have worked to focus our arts investments. Less than a decade ago, our county commission changed its electoral process from countywide elections to district-based representation. In fact, my board is appointed by the thirteen members of our County Commission, who represent their districts. More recently, our county responded to public demand and created community councils to give neighborhoods more control over their zoning and development issues. We have recently experienced a rapid rise in municipal and corporations, with neighborhoods partially seceding from the county control. Everywhere that I look, retailers are establishing footholds in these neighborhood cities. You can track the potential of these population centers by mapping the positions of Targets, Best Buys, Home Depots, or Lowe's Home Improvement Centers. At the same time, we are increasingly forging multi-county partnership to address issues of mutual concern. These include things for us like: water management, traffic and mass transit, higher education, and tourism. In some respects, we are no different than any other American city, regardless of what you have heard. We have terrible traffic problems—I think we are number four in the country. We are hoping to be number one soon. Our residents have less time for leisure activities. Then there is a tremendous competition for these leisure time hours, given our weather, our beaches and outdoor recreational activities, our restaurants and clubs, e-entertainment, and sports spectating, both professional and collegiate. Here are a few examples of how we are trying to address these trends and these givens for our community. I mentioned the $36 million investment that we are using to put in place new cultural facilities and to improve existing ones. Concurrently, we have designed an annual grants program that gives arts groups enough risk capital to try out programming in one or more of these neighborhood venues. Now, this is an incentive-based program that encourages diverse arts groups to transplant their activities into new neighborhoods for them. We have operated a capital grants program for better than a decade now. It gives priority attention to applicants who can demonstrate a match from the municipality in which their facility is located. At the same time, we are clustering most of our major, new cultural facilities in our downtown area. These include a new $300 million performing arts centers and planned new facilities for our art museum, science museum, and children's museum. In regard to another of the myths for us, it is actually easier for us to get people in the neighborhoods to invest outside of their neighborhoods for these major, new cultural facilities. We even have some recent examples where cultural facilities have been rejected by neighborhoods—major cultural facilities. The result of this infrastructure investment, for us, is a network of cultural facilities. The central hub is our downtown area and it features institutions that have the size and the allure to attract audiences past the impediments of traffic and time. There is a complementary neighborhood theater system of arts facilities that makes attending the arts easier, more convenient, and, most likely, more affordable for audiences, artists, and arts groups. Together, this new kind of hub and spokes network is designed to help build audiences, cultural groups, and artists at all levels of their development, wherever they are. Concurrently, our arts council has been a catalyst for building municipal arts councils with funding programs for their individual cities. We have done this in a number of ways: we have helped conduct planning processes and even provided some short-term staff and funding support to get these started. Given our catch-up campaign to build cultural facilities everywhere, our small and mid-sized arts groups have developed a remarkable mobility and operate at multiple venues in different neighborhoods. We reinforce this through our grants program criteria. This debunks yet another one of our myths: that there are no arts organizations of high artistic quality in the suburbs. For us they are everywhere. At the same time, our major cultural institutions, especially the performing arts groups, have recognized that to survive they have to operate on a regional basis. That expands their base for available venues, fund-raising, and audience development. We have established this five county cultural consortium to recognize the regional aspects of our area's development and to help support it. We have to stay closely in touch with community growth trends, this includes cultural, demographic, geopolitical, economic, and transit indicators. Our support programs must recognized the reality of our communities. Our staffs and our boards must be representative and knowledgeable about current and future trends for the arts, and beyond the arts. This way, we can more effectively develop policies and programs that recognize these complexities and apparent contradictions in our environment and help connect the arts strategically tothem. We have a critically important job to make thearts more convenient and more affordable for people, whoever they are and wherever they are.
Wolf: Michael, thank you. Two or three quick questions for Michael. Yes, go ahead.
Question: Is your organization funded by property taxes or some other source?
Spring: It is a blend of public tax dollars that includes property taxes and tourism taxes.
Wolf: Yes, Kathleen.
Cerveny: What is the evidence that the theater system that you are talking about works?
Spring: I think one of the principle pieces of evidence is that we have very few failures of not-for-profit cultural organizations. This growth that we have had, from 100 cultural organizations to more than 1,000 today, is real evidence that this is working for us.
Question: Who owns these various facilities that are being developed and improved all throughout our county?
Spring: To make matters even more complex, the county and the cities do not own them all. There are various sources of ownership that range from government to the nonprofits themselves and even our school system—we are renovating high school auditoria and developing them as community cultural centers because it is an economical thing to do. So, there are various ownership and various managerial situations. We just work with each one of them; roll up our sleeves and work with them. And fund them.
Wolf: I would like to move to a practitioner, Steve Barberio, who is the producing director of the Stages Theatre Company. It is a Hopkins, Minnesota arts organization committed to the personal growth of children and youth in a professional environment that stimulates artistic excellence. He has been doing that since 1988. Before that he was the director of Theater at the Minneapolis Jewish Community Center. He is currently treasurer of the American Alliance of Theatre in Education and the immediate past president of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts. He is going to talk about three of these myths that we are trying to debunk today: “Everyone goes to the city for their art;” “There are no arts organizations with high artistic quality in the suburbs;” and “Suburbs are filled with wealthy people who can afford to build their own facilities and underwrite their own arts organizations.” Steve?
Barberio: Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be here. Stages Theatre Company was formed in 1984 as a small community theatre in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities. In 1984, the organization was targeting children and families in their immediate community: Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie. The budget that first year was about $20,000. Today the organization has much more of a regional, statewide focus on a budget of $1.3 million, serving people all across Minnesota. I have been with Stages Theatre Company, as Tom said, since 1988. When I came to the theater in 1988, I was the only full-time staff person. Today, we have fifteen full-time and about thirty-five part-time artists, educators, designers, directors, and soon. I am humbled to serve on this panel with such esteemed and knowledgeable people working in the field. My experience is, largely, direct experience working in the communities throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area that we now, currently, define as a seven-county metropolitan area. It is expanding. There is discussion that it may have already happened; that it will become a twelve-county metro area because of the suburban growth into the outlying areas. The first myth that I would like to debunk is that everybody goes to the city for their art. I can speak primarily from my own experience. Stages Theatre Company is located eight miles west of Minneapolis. This year we will reach 85,000 people just through our production program. We have production, education, and in-school partnerships. In our production programs, we will serve 85,000 people. Thirty-five percent of those people reside in our immediate area, the western suburbs of Minneapolis. Twenty percent come out to us from Minneapolis itself; five percent travel approximately 22 miles, from St. Paul, to see our shows; 35 percent from other suburbs in the metro area, and about five percent from greater Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. If our organization is any example, people are coming to us from all over the metro area and, in fact, throughout the state. There are other very successful, nonprofit arts organizations in suburbs throughout the Twin Cities: the Minnetonka Arts Center, Bloomington Civic Theater, Lakeshore Players, Medina Arts Center. There is a radical rise in the number of small communities that are working to build their own arts centers. We, in Hopkins, built a new arts facility that opened in 1997. Many organizations are following suit and aiming to build a city center with a nonprofit arts facility or a municipally-owned arts facility in their central business district. Back in 1993, when we were exploring where to relocate—we were in need of a new facility—we did a study both of our immediate audience at that time, as well as people who knew about us, had inquired with our organization, but had never attended. The vast majority of people, when asked, Would you travel either to the suburb or to the city to see our work?, responded overwhelmingly, We would rather come to you out in the suburbs. 169 and 394 is kind of the marking point where we put there, or northeast Minneapolis. The response was significant about where they would rather travel. That was, by no means, a fully scientific study, but it is an indication of what our audience and what our followers were most interested in doing. The second myth that I want to talk about is artistic quality. I bristle at the question of artistic quality because, so often, the question and the response are purely subjective. So, when we say that there is no high artistic quality in the suburbs, what we are saying is that the only artistic quality is in the cities. That is simply nottrue. I challenge this community, the funding community, as well as my colleagues practicing art, to examine not subjective response about artistic quality, but measure of artistic value. Examine how an organization itself defines quality. What do they mean when they say that what we are doing works? How do they measure those statements? In doing so, they then can examine the value of that art to their own community. So, is it really fair to put the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, an internationally renowned orchestra, side-by-side with a community band and say, “One has great artistic quality and the other does not and the reason for that is their geographic location.” I am sorry, it doesn't work. I challenge all of us to examine how we are defining quality. Are people in the community supporting the work based on what that organization is saying that they want to do? It is my contention that without those kinds of measures, you cannot really talk about quality. You have to have the organization statement of what their aims are and then some statement about how they are reaching those aims. Lastly, I want to focus on the myth that the suburbs are filled with wealthy people who can afford to build their own facilities and underwrite their own arts organizations. I know that there are wealthy people in the suburbs who can, in fact, underwrite organizations and build facilities. This myth is one of kind of an either/or. There are wealthy people, therefore the organizations or communities do not deserve or need outside funding. It implies that all suburbs, as Joan said, are the same. In our community here, the City of Hopkins, where we do most of our work, the median household income is a little under $40,000—and that is a suburb. In St. Louis Park, the median income is just a little bit over $45,000 and that is, again, a first-ring suburb. Another first-ring suburb is Edina, Minnesota where the median income is about $85,000. To say that people living in those communities see the world the same, their values are the same, their interest and their means are the same, just doesn't work. It is a real challenge to tap into individual families' or individuals' discretionary income. When we are fund-raising for organizations and as individual artists, that is our challenge: to reach into people's hearts as well as their pocketbooks and hopefully get them to contribute to our purpose. To say that people only contribute in their geographical area is not true. People give to organizations and causes in which they find an interest or they have an interest. The majority of wealthy people who give to nonprofit arts organizations are giving to those organizations because they have an interest in the purpose of that organization. For me to say to Mr. Pillsbury or Mr. Dayton, “Our organization puts on great plays two doors down from you, therefore you should give.” I will not get very far with Mr. Dayton or Mr. Pillsbury. It is not a matter of geographic location. The process of requesting those funds and obtaining those funds is very sophisticated, as I am sure you well know. Many suburban organizations are largely run by volunteers. Volunteer fundraising often, not always, but often is a grassroots, who do you know, kind of thing. The larger dollars are not necessarily going to come into those less sophisticated fund-raising mechanisms. Lastly, I want to dispel, if I can, a sub-myth of this last one. Because we are an organization that focuses on young people in the arts, I often hear the myth that the only place where you will find kids at risk is in the cities, that we only serve kids at risk. There was an excellent study done over the past number of years by the Search Institute and Peter Benson on assets and deficits in young people. He maintains, and certainly we find in our work throughout this entire metropolitan area, that all kids are at risk. Young people face many different risk factors. For one individual who was challenged in a community where there are high levels of crime, drugs are on the street corner, that young person faces severe risks. For a young person who lives in Eden Prairie, a wealthier suburb in the Twin Cities, whose parents are both corporate attorneys working twelve hours a day, that young person faces risks. The challenge for us working in the youth arts is to elevate the assets in those kids' lives, in all kids' lives; not just kids who face the most severe challenges, but in all kids' lives. To simply say that we must serve kids who face the severest risks are leaving out kids who face all other kinds of risks. Kids in the suburbs, I am here to tell you, are challenged in many different ways and we need to look to them as well. One of the most effective ways to keep healthy kids healthy and to nurture kids who are challenged is to involve them in the arts. I thank you very much.
Wolf: Thank you. Do we have a couple of observations or questions?
Question: I am also a strong believer in community arts. I wonder how you, in terms of artistic value rather than quality, how are you measuring that? Because of the structure of those organizations not being sophisticated, they are measuring things that do not need to be measured any longer. What do you suggest them to measure so that when they go to a funder, those things are in place?
Barberio: I would suggest that they establish artistic goals for themselves. In terms of their stated artistic mission, what goals do they have from one year to the next to improve the quality of their art from within? What strategies are they taking to reach those artistic goals? Then, some measurement of whether or not they are successful. I look to subscriptions, quantifiable methods really are whether or not the organization is thriving. Are there growth patterns, internally? Subscriptions, registration for their classes, evaluations by parents, by participants, evaluations by artists, internally looking at the programming and how their community that they are serving is responding to their goals.
Barberio: The question is: Is there an alignment in contributed dollars that follows the same pattern as our audience base? The simple answer is: No, they do not follow that base. One of the primary goals that we are embarking on is to expand our individual giving. Currently, of our $1.3 million budget last fiscal year, only three percent of our budget came from individual contributions—$33,000 on a $1.3 million budget. We did studies nationally, as well as locally, that is at least half of what our peers in the youth arts field nationally, and our peers locally, of organizations of similar size are attracting. The majority of the individual contributions coming in to our organization are from the board and the closest inner circle of our organization. Geographically, I can only tell you that our board is representative of the metro area. I do not have specific answers.
Wolf: Before I introduce E'Vonne, I would like to put a question to all of you, and it is a question that has come up in numerous cases with clients of ours who are funders who have this dilemma. It is a dilemma of, maybe not defining artistic quality, but defining artistic importance, if you will. I will give you a specific, here, and this is the central city versus the suburban arts institution and who is deserving of scarce resources. I had a meeting recently with a couple of directors of the Big Five orchestras; those are the ones in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Chicago. They have allowed two or three others in as peers so that there now will be the Big Eight or the Big Ten, depending on how you would like to define them. Those of us who are originally from one of those cities still call them the Big Five. Two of those cities, I will not mention which ones, are really struggling at a very basic level about whether, in the next 25 years, those cities will be able to provide the resources to keep these orchestras in that international level of great American orchestras. We were talking about this in terms of funding. These orchestra executive directors were saying, you know, the problem is that the major funders now are not serious in the serious arts anymore. They are interested in suburban institutions and multicultural institutions; most of them do not know anything about classical music. They do not care about putting resources in the major institutions and they do not understand what impact it will have in these cities if these institutions do not remain at this high level of, not only artistic importance, but also civic importance. The question becomes, I guess, if it costs however many millions of dollars each year in contributed income to sustain those institutions in an economically challenged, old city, where do you draw the line in terms of how much of your resources, as grantmakers, you are going to put into those old institutions to maintain them? What is the extent to which all of the trends that we are beginning to talk about are going to come into play and you are going to say “Enough is enough,” as many grantmakers have? I am not going to take the answer now. It is a thought that I want to throw out because it is all very well for us here to say that everything is good, but in the end, we are talking about scarce resources and we are talking about where they go and how they go there. This is one of the dilemmas that I am seeing in my work playing out over and over again. Where does one draw the line in terms of supporting those great institutions which command those kinds of dollars? Our final speaker is known to virtually all of you. E'Vonne Coleman is, as my mother would say in Russian, a persona; she is someone who everybody knows. She currently serves on the board of Grantmakers in the Arts. Most recently, she was named one of the One-Hundred Most Influential People in the Triangle—the triangle is not the Bermuda Triangle, it is the Triangle down in North Carolina—by Business Leader Magazine. She, of course, has been the executive director of the Durham Arts Council since 1992, and prior to heading the Arts Council, she completed seven years with the National Endowment for the Arts. She has over twenty years of experience in the field. From 1985 to 1991, she was the assistant director of the Expansion Arts Program, providing grants to arts organizations and communities of color and rural areas. As assistant director, she initiated numerous national arts networks and was the leading spokesman on issues of cultural diversity nationally. Just before coming back to North Carolina, which is her home, she was a special assistant to the chairman of the NEA. We are glad that you are going to give us the answers to all the rest of these questions.
Coleman: Hey! Some of you knew what I meant by that. I am from up North and up South for those of you who are wondering, really, where North Carolina is. It is somewhere between him and, maybe, him and the rest of you. It is truly an interesting state. In spite of what Texas believes, it is the State of the Arts. I know Josephine is back there, she is going to deny that. I do want to say that it is interesting, also, to be at this point in the panel because I am in a rather complex area. I have to also say that sometimes when I am particularly a couple of years ago, when I think I was the only person on GIA's board from North Carolina, the whole state was considered rural. It is fascinating to be a part of this panel and talking about suburban and we are not going to talk about rural. The region that I am in is known as the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill region. For those of you who may pay attention, it is, in fact, the place where Duke University is and a lot of other things are down there. But it is also fascinating because it is urban, it is suburban, and it is quite rural. Each of the three cities are in a different county. Durham County is the second largest of the three, we only have about 200,000 residents. We have in our market, by the way, a 1.3 percent unemployment rate and do not tell anybody else because everybody you know is moving there. It is an amazing place. The Durham Arts Council is also a very diverse and complex organization so I will only be speaking about our work and some of the things that we are thinking about as it relates to this topic from a grantmaking perspective. We do far too many things and grantmaking is only one part of it. Again, another complicating factor about where I live, in Durham County in particular, is that we have the highest per capita income of any county in the state. We often tell Charlotte, North Carolina that. We call Charlotte, by the way, the “State of Mecklenburg” as we call Texas “The Other Country.” We also have a situation that 40 percent of the people who work in Durham do not live in Durham. Some of our grantees—we support both professional organizations and civic organizations—have as many as 60 percent of their participants, meaning their artists actually onstage with them, their board members, etc., from outside the county. This is particularly complicating for us as a grantmaker because we only fund arts organizations that are based in the county. However, we support individual artists that are in five counties. So, we are rather unique and things are rather complex for us. A few years ago, we conducted a study of cultural participation and in this study there were a number of incredible findings. But most relevant to the discussion of grantmaking is, first of all, the reason we chose to do it in the first place. We were concerned with helping organizations learn how to fish instead of continuing to look at ways of just giving them the bread, the water, the pole, and everything else. We very much wanted the arts organizations in our market—again this was a three county study—to start thinking about where they were and what it meant to be where they were: where their audiences were coming from; why they were coming; what they were thinking about and what did that mean both to the management and the artistic directors as well as to the board; and, most urgently for us, what was their leadership style. What did all of those things mean? Again, in the context of grantmaking and the topic today, what we found is that: the more rural the county, the more likely the cultural attender will travel outside the county to attend arts events. For instance, Orange County is the most rural of the three counties. It is also, population wise, the smallest. It is the home of Chapel Hill. For those of you who do not know where the ACC is, we are the headquarters of the ACC basketball teams, we are pretty convinced. Only basketball, nothing else. Chapel Hill is very much a university town but you have rural, very strong rural; neighborhoods are rural. We found that those individuals were far more likely to travel outside of their counties, even though they went to things in their counties, but to travel outside of their counties. They had no concern at all about driving 45 minutes to see a good performance, to go to a museum, or to attend an event. Of course, we found on the other hand, for those who were located in Wade County, they were much more likely—85 percent of those who called themselves cultural attenders at that point stayed in Wade County—and only once or twice in an entire year, went outside of the county in which they were based. Again, Raleigh is in that particular county and there are a lot of larger arts institutions there. What we also found in our work, and I will talk a little bit more about how it has impacted our grantmaking—what we also found in the work is that part of our research involved a focus group excuse me, a telephone survey. And the screener was: Have you attended an arts event in the last year? If they answered “No,” we continued to ask the questions. They were often seven- or eight-minute interviews. Almost 85 to 90 percent of the individuals answered “No” when, in the course of conversations, we talked to them about what they were attending These were professional interviewers. They were from the Boston market; the North Carolinians with the twangs thought it was kind of weird, people calling. Nonetheless, we did get some information. We did about 500 telephone interviews, by the way. We found that 80 to 90 percent of those individuals were, in fact, participating in arts events and arts activities. They were doing swing dancing, country dancing, nearly all of them had been to cultural festivals, festivals with very strong arts components. It leads us to understand that this definition of the arts, even in the context of this panel and the myths of “Do you find strong arts organizations outside of urban cores,” etc., is a really relevant one. In our work, we did find that of those who were attending, they had particular impressions about what they saw in the different counties. Again, we did not ask them the questions about activities that are in the urban environment versus what is in the suburban environments. Part of that is, in reality, we do not talk about suburbs versus inner-city or those kinds of perspectives. We are a pretty small community and it is quite politically polarized in a lot of ways. We did find that they did have some interesting impressions about what they found in the different counties. The definition of suburbs is one that is generally not talked about because we use phrases like it is either “in the city,” “in the county,” or it is “in the region.” There are suburban communities within the city limits. You can drive fifteen minutes outside of downtown Durham and you will see not one cow, not two cows, you will see fifty cows. They will be mooing and somebody will be milking them. [laughter] It is Howdy Doody. As a grantmaker we grant both public and private funds. As a public grantmaker we were concerned that the public did not associate the broad range of what we consider the arts and cultural activities as such. We were concerned about the whole issue of perception, of quality. What was art? Much like our previous speaker touched on. As a private sector funder we are providing a variety of different kinds of support to organizations. We are one of those unique funders in that we do, in fact, give some money and it is considered significant in our market and our community of 200,000 people. On the other hand, we also house arts organizations, individual artists, provide rehearsal space, and subsidize performances in the major halls in our community. Again, do not move to Durham. But we do provide free office space, rehearsal space, scene, shop, and storage space for professional and civic arts organizations. That is a part of our grantmaking Don't move! [laughter] Don't tell those organizations who are looking for a new home to move to Triangle. Based on our research, we were concerned about a number of things. We created a new grant program to stimulate activities, that we prefer to call in “the neighborhoods” as opposed to “the suburbs” or some of those other phrases that we have heard. Our goal was to validate where the arts were already happening. That was part of our goal. Our goal because, as the major player in the arts in our community and also the arts council in our community, we wanted very much the citizens of our region to recognize that the arts happen everywhere. The arts that you are participating in, even if it is country dancing or a concert in the park sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department, it is, in fact, an arts event. It is an important event and it is one that the whole community needed to embrace. Did we get criticism from some of the larger arts institutions? Absolutely, but they could not, frankly, do anything about it. [laughter] They had to talk to me anyway. Our concern was Yes, I did say that. Our concern was that this perception of the arts only happening in downtown or only happening in particular venues we knew, in the long run, would be something that would hurt the field and would hurt the industry. We were concerned that the public sector would wake up one day and say that it is only supporting things that wealthy white individuals in the community can afford anyway. All of the myths would, in fact, come back to haunt us. It has proven to be very successful. A final report requirement, by the way, for those organizations, those neighborhoods We give monies to individuals who just want to do an art project, by the way. We give money to cultural ladies. We give monies to non-incorporated groups, neighborhood associations. A lot of the projects that we have supported have been activities that were already going on but they are now including professional artists in those projects. So we really are also seeing some employment benefits, as they relate to artists. This is not a new source of full time living, but certainly we do not support projects where they are not paying the artists, even if the artist volunteers. We take issue with that. A requirement for the final report for this particular program, it is a small program that we have just started, is that they write a letter to a City Council member or the Mayor. These elected officials are thinking that they are getting these letters just spontaneously; we have not told them that it is a requirement. [laughter] Do not tell them! You go to City Hall and they say, “You know, I got the nicest letter the other day!” So, it has really been a nicething. We are also finding that this particular program is becoming a feeder program for our larger grant categories. Really it is serving the intent of validating that where the arts are happening—if it is in the neighborhood, if it is in the cow pasture, if it is actually in downtown, if it is in a section of town that is right outside of the urban core—it is still very important, it is, in fact, the arts, and it is something that we want to support. I thank you for your attention to this today.
Question: final report letter
Wolf: This is about the final report letter, you want to hear more about that.
Coleman: It is a very simple requirement. We all have filed report requirements. We just ask them to write a letter to an elected official of their choice stating what they did and what benefit, what difference it made. So far those have all been good letters. [laughter] It has truly proven to be a nice little political benefit.
Wolf: What about rural? What about the issues of transportation?
Coleman: As noted in my introduction, for a number of years I was involved in the Expansion Arts Program. Unlike many of my colleagues inprobably in arts funding ten and fifteen years ago, there is indeed art happening in rural communities. There always has been art happening in rural communities. That is the first way in which I would encourage thinking about the whole question about what is there. It is a matter of validating what is there and it is a matter of also helping the people who are in those communities recognize that what they are doing is really great stuff. A reality about the concern with outlying areas and rural areas versus suburban areas in our market, in our seven county area, it is only being thought about by public sector funders, unfortunately. The private sector funders, be it a foundation—even as sophisticated, although they do not necessarily fund the arts, as the United Way—they are not considering the question at all of decentralization and funding where things are happening. The issue of transportation in rural areas is an issue thatin our community it is an issue in public areas as well because of when the bus systems may stop. The factor of transportation is just a reality.
Wolf: Before I bring you Nancy Glaze's message and then we open this up to general conversation, it is quite warm in here and I want to try a little something. This will take exactly thirty seconds. If everybody would stand up.
Coleman: Is this the Macarena?
Wolf: put your arms over your head. Take a deep breath, hold it, let it out slowly. Now sit down.
Coleman: That was your Art Attack in the suburban
Wolf: That was your chance to escape if you wanted to. I would like to, first of all, give you an introduction of Nancy Glaze, who is not here. Many of you know her. Since 1983 she has directed the arts program at the Packard Foundation. Nancy's budget has increased several times in that period and she wanted me to share with you the fact that every time her budget has gone up, her constituency has told her that she is smarter, more beautiful, and funnier. [laughter] She also asked me to share some things with you from work that she has done and also work that we have done together. We worked with her on a cultural plan for Silicon Valley. Just a few highlights from what Nancy was going to say. She considers that is important to view the suburbs as a set of communities rather than little cities. I am sorry, almost little cities rather than a sprawling mass of houses with a Wal-Mart. These little cities, or clusters of communities, often contain an amazing amount of artistic activity that is often passed over by organized philanthropy and discounted by the mainstream arts community. Not only do the workers and audiences move constantly between the big city and the little cities, but, and this is important, so do the artists. Actors who live in San Francisco regularly commute to their gigs in Carmel, Sacramento, Ashland, and San Jose. Temporary housing for artists is a hot subject. She says that the whole issue of the geographic boundaries is a difficult issue for her as a funder. Are they more physical or are they more psychological? She says that lack of public transportation is a problem, especially as, in her case, you have a bum leg and your kids are non-stop activity units. I had the pleasure of working with Nancy on a cultural plan for Silicon Valley. A couple of anecdotes that I think are important and illustrative of some of the things that we are talking about First of all, many years ago, when I was at the New England Foundation for the Arts, I met with some people from Digital Equipment Corporation which, at that time, was the second largest computer manufacturer in the world. Their workforce had been increasing astronomically for a period of five years to the point where they could not get enough trained engineers. They started recruiting and they discovered that people from the conservators, particularly the musicians, had particular kinds of aptitude for training as computer programmers. So, for many years I went around saying that the great thing about the arts and why high-tech companies should support the arts is because you have this wonderful workforce of creative people. It was interesting because when we did the work in Silicon Valley, I had the opportunity of interviewing a number of CEOs. It is very depressing, after doing a lot of this work in a lot of old cities—where you go in to interview a CEO and you know that he or she is at least fifteen years older than you are—to do these interviews and find out that the people are at least fifteen or twenty years younger than you are, as many of these CEOs were. I tried this out on them: Isn't one of the reasons why your company should think about supporting the arts or giving more to the arts because of this wonderful resource of these wonderful, creative people? The answer I got was: Frankly, absolutely not. When we want to hire trained people to do our work, we go to MIT, Cal Tech, and places like that and we hire engineers. If you want an engineer, you hire an engineer. So I was very depressed by what seemed to be a real negativism, about the fact that this was not the reason to support the arts, until we began to think about with them the question of arts support more broadly. What they said was that they do feel that the support of arts and culture is a terribly important thing, but not for the reason that I gave. They are in a constant war to attract and keep high quality employees. In Silicon Valley, there are some major problems. One is affordable housing, because the housing stock is so expensive. One is traffic and commuting problems. One is a good educational system so that young engineers will come with their families and feel that their kids can get educated. The other, and this is a very important part and this was the key to why they felt the arts were so important, is to have amenities and things to do for them and their families close to home. Close to home. Most of them live in this suburban close to home. When we went on and did, with the help of the Packard Foundation, some consumer studies, we found the two number one rated things by the general public about where they wanted to see new resources given for arts and culture. Number one, off the charts, was more and better arts education. Number two, not nearly as highly rated but definitely number two, was cultural facilities close to home, smaller cultural facilities where they and their families and their kids could have the opportunity to participate without having to get in the car or not having to travel so far. Those are some of the things that Nancy wanted me to share with you. Now what I would like to do is throw this open for some questions, some comments. You have two assignments that we asked you to do. One is: Are there other myths that should be added to this list with which we started? The other question is about the funder dilemma of supporting the major, international downtown cultural institution; how much is enough and how much is too much? Any comments on any of those things or questions for any of our panelists? Yes?
Question: I have a question regarding local media. In Sacramento, the local paper thinks that the city is where the arts happen. They cover more information about San Francisco and Reno than they do about the arts in the capitol city. How do you convince media organizations that local arts are worth covering?
Wolf: Okay, who wants to tackle that one?
Barberio: I can speak about the Twin Cities to some extent. At one time we had four major newspapers here in the Twin Cities. We had the Minneapolis Star, the Minneapolis Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and the St. Paul Dispatch. At that time, there were still four newspapers. When I was just entering the field, there was a sense of competition among those four newspapers to cover a broader landscape of activities. They were independently owned and there was a competitive marketplace. Today we have two: the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. There is less competition now for them to reach out further and further. The case that I think [break between tapes] increasingly, people participating more and more in the arts and attending. Attendance is not the only thing that people do with respect to the arts. If the readers are participating in the arts, that is a case that can be made to the localpress.
Wolf: Could I just add one thing? Let's not fool ourselves, folks. The newspapers are in business to make money and the firewall between the editorial side and the business side of newspapers is not a firewall anymore. If you want more coverage for local arts institutions, you had better increase your advertising budgets significantly. That is the way that you get coverage today. If funders want it I think that a lot of these self-awareness programs—where you get the editorial side coming to a meeting like this and everybody talking together and the nice platitudes about how we should be working together—does not, in my view and my experience, translate into more coverage. What does translate into more coverage is to put those dollars into direct advertising in the media and you will see more coverage in the media.
Question: some of the arts organizations cannot afford
Wolf: No, I am saying that is where the funders ought to put money to help those arts organizations, rather than to sponsor workshops where they all get together and talk about the problem and nothing happens. Yes, ma'am.
Coleman: What we have found most helpful is to On one hand, a lot of the arts groups wanted to see reviews. You and I know that they did not like the reviews that they got but, nonetheless, they wanted to see more reviews. We have two major papers covering our market, again it is a community of 200,000 people in Durham; the region is much larger. What we found far more useful, beyond trying to get people to pool their monies to buy bigger ads, was to work more with the feature writers, with the writers who were not supposed to be covering arts but who were what we call general reporters. Pitching general reporters different kinds of articles, different kinds of angles, on a variety of things all of the way from In our paper there is a section where they cover people who have taken vacations; they just show photographs from vacations. We have gotten really creative. We have some art vacations in there. That is an approach that we have taken because money was not all of the answers. They do still say there is a firewall. Meeting with the editorial board does not really make a difference. The publisher and locally-owned paper we can get a little bit more out of than the one that is owned by a business outside of the community. We just diversified the communication approach ourselves and started pitching articles in absolutely every single direction, including to sportswriters.
Wolf: There is one important model, we will not take a lot of time talking about it now. Those of you who do not know Gary Berger (Gary can you put your hand up?) from the Knight Foundation in Miami The Knight Foundation has been doing a very interesting model program on community-wide marketing service organizations to build up not only much more sophisticated marketing plans among a lot of organizations, but also developing a level of clout through a professional marketing service organization, which can work on behalf of not only small arts organizations but smaller arts organizations.
Coleman: I think that one of the things that we have to be careful about as funders as we begin to respond to the opportunities that technology and Internet and digital and all of those things provide us, I think that we have to be really careful about how we look at the digital divide and the implications. We may, in fact, be setting up again a paradigm that, in fact, what he was just talking about, those five or six institutions that think, for whatever reasons, that they should be there forever. I am sorry, did I say that? [laughter]. We have to think about that whole inclusion issue very, very carefully if we are looking across geographic areas in the creation of art, in the experiencing of art, and in the distribution of art. I think it is on us, as funders, to help figure those things out. I think that the artists are in the business of creating; I really think that we are the ones who need to spend some time thinking about that.
Wolf: Was there a comment Yes, go ahead. Nice and loud.
Wolf: Well, I would just make one observation because it was brought up in the keynote this morning. There was a work of art, an opera called The Marriage of Figaro, that was talked about this morning. I do not know my history perfectly, but I can absolutely guarantee you that the earned income for the first performance of that masterwork, which still endures today, was less than 40 percent. The question is: If we only set a criteria of earned income as an index of value, are we, in fact, serving what we are here to do? Sort of to keep the conversation going and in partial answer to Michael, no foundation, I think, has had more of an influence than his on changing the nature of the dialogue. The Ford Foundation invented the arts grant in,whatever it was, 1957 and for the next 25 years all of your folks' predecessors were interested in increasing the quality of the supply. It was making arts organizations better at what theydo. There is a reason why symphony orchestras have this expectation as behavior. What they were rewarded for was getting better artistically and getting better administratively. The issue of audience and the demand side was simply not part of the dialogue until about 1985. It is very interesting, Michael, that you suddenly introduce this issue of audience because that has not been in the equation all that long, not more than about fifteen years. It takes a long time to get battleships like symphony orchestras to change their view. Yes?
Question: E'Vonne and Michael both brought up the theatre system. Is that new audience, is that what you are talking about in terms of that theatre system? Of bringing them up, through the suburbs, to be new audiences for Could that be considered part of why the funding is moving more toward the suburban community organizations? Because there are new audiences being built by those that are not artistic, do not know, that they could be future audiences for those wonderful
Wolf: Unfortunately, the research on audience does not show a progression from smaller organizations, maybe suburban organizations, that you kind of get the experience there and you work your way up to the major institutions. There is not that hierarchy of behavior among audiences. You had a comment.
Barberio: Yes, just to dovetail on that. I would say that research does suggest that if you support youth arts organizations, we are developing the audiences of tomorrow. It is very important that we look at arts education, both in the schools and in community settings, as a developmental process for our industry. I think that is very important. Somebody mentioned earlier a question about partnerships. The growing need, I think, in our community here is being recognized—that small and mid-sized organizations, as well as the major institutions, need to explore ways in which they can share resources to expand their audience base; to be innovative, artistically, reaching out across both geographic and cultural barriers. That, I think, is one way that we can, as an industry, dispel some of these myths. We are in the process right now of putting together a partnership with a smaller city-based theater that serves the pan-Asian population in the Twin Cities with our organization in the suburbs. Because, in our community, the rise of Southeast Asian families coming to our communitieswe need to find ways to serve them. Looking for one organization to look to another organization for ways in which they can cross cultural and geographic barriers, I think is a way to go.
Wolf: Yes, Doug? Nice and loud.
Doug: I will try. This whole demographic shift that has been described here A lot of the myths that you are looking at, I think at the time I was growing up in Greenwich, Connecticut, would have held true inthat very wealthy suburb of New York. Clearly, the flow was to New York City as the urban center. Nowadays, looking at that area demographically, I am not really familiar with it, but clearly Stanford, as a suburban/urban node, is playing a much different role in that relationship. It seems to me that some of the things that you described here are these changes in relationships having to do with commuting, having to do with flow of capital. Some of the problems that arise in this relationship in these communities The large corporate institutions that were supported by that flow of capital in relationships in an earlier period, that suggested there should be new kinds of alignment developed in terms of specific kinds of cultural functions that are played not uniformly across a particular suburban community, but suburban communities in relationship to each other. When Target thinks about situating a store in a suburban area do you look at this kind of cross-suburban area relationship? Having heard this conversation, are there any lessons you have learned?
Naymark: People are aware of Did you get the question in the back? Basically, how do retailers look at the differences along political lines, as well as the social interactions across communities? People are aware of the city that they live in. They do have allegiances. There are things that are tied to their kids or their community that do need to stick within the community. When we are looking at stores we say, there is that border, that invisible border, that everyone knows exists and they will not cross that border. But, for other kinds of activities, the border disappears. People are very savvy; we are very mobile. The suburbs are filled with this next generation of Baby Boomers; that is the one topic that I did not really talk about: that the Baby Boomers who are between 35 and 55 have kids in middle school, early elementary school, raising this next Generation Y. They will start to age in place, the Baby Boomers. They are going to become “empty nesters”—they will have teenagers, heaven help us. They have always been more educated, they have always been more mobile, they have always moved beyond where they grew up. Now they are going to start to age in place but they bring that mobility and that greater awareness and education level with them. The new, the next generation, is the next largest group of births. That is going to start to tie into the growth of youth and art cultures. The Baby Boom Generation is going to want that kind of exposure and education for their kids. This survey in San Jose about the number one thing is education and the arts. I do not think there is any coincidence there. I think it can work to your advantage, bottom line. We do know there is You can take advantage of both things. There is that invisible line and there is not. You leverage it in both ways.
Wolf: Yes, go ahead.
Question: The study so far has focused on the difference between urban and suburban arts. Is there a blend of the two in the audience? I wonder if you think about improving the artistic life in the suburbs; have you thought about the infrastructure that artists need in order to do their work and live their lives?
Barberio: I really appreciate that question as someone who threw pizzas for a long time and performed, directed, and taught all over the metro area. I think you need to look at a number of issues related to that. The most important is: What value do we put on an artist's life in our society? As a community, as a society, are we valuing artists appropriately? By that, I mean are we making enough resources available for artists to live a reasonable life, financially? There are those issues as well as access and transportation issues. If an artist has an outstanding service or product to offer a community but does not have reasonable access in and out of that community, whether they are in the suburbs or the city, it makes it very difficult for that artist to find the work. I have found, being a producer in a suburban area, that many of these biases exist in the artists' community as well. “I do not think I will go work out there because that is just going to be community art. Therefore, I do not have a place there.” Conversely, a suburban artist, not feeling—this is just purely anecdotal of some people I know—suburban artists not feeling accepted in the urban core. “Well, I happen to live in Minnetonka. Well, I am renting in Minnetonka; it is a studio apartment on the lower level. It is in Minnetonka, it has the right Zip code.” There are these biases that go back and forth. I do not know, entirely, what my answer to your question is. [laughter] There are these issues for artists as well. I see some of my colleagues locally, Jackie might have some comments on that and others
Wolf: We have time for maybe one or two more comments. Yes, go ahead.
Question: I was going to say, it seems like there is a huge issue of education, audience involvement, and whose job is it to educate or develop audiences. Do we see that there really is a much bigger population in the suburbs; that should be a goal, to reach those audiences and help them develop. If their awareness of what an artist can contribute to their community is really at the heart of all this. Are we helping them to make those decisions in an informed way or are we just leaving them to their own devices? There is a lot of sharing that could go on this way.
Wolf: Yes, go ahead.
Question: I just wanted to make a comment to the concept of the feeder program. Something that we do, and we put a lot of our effort into serving the suburban and more rural community I look at a book added as “Developing Audiences for the Arts” but not that the chamber group in one suburb is going to, ultimately, develop that audience to a point. I do not necessarily see funding that as the feeder system to greater and greater orchestras. I do see it as, in working with young people, a feeder system for developing arts audiences for arts in their community, in other communities, but not in that hierarchical sense. I think that looking at it that way is looking at the myths. It is assuming that the myths are accurate.
Wolf: Michael, we are going to give you the last comment here.
Spring: I think that is true but I also think that, at least in the context that I am working in now, that this feeder system sort of works in the reverse way. It provides multiple venues for our arts groups to have opportunities to perform, to earn income—for artists to earn income—to expose their work to new artists, to transplant ideas, all of those things. I do not necessarily see this hierarchically; I see it as a level. It is all equal, it is lateral. You have this system of venues and opportunities all throughout these neighborhoods, suburbs, or urban areas where arts groups travel from one to another and have more opportunities.
Wolf: We want to thank you for staying. Please join me in thanking Steve Barberio, E'Vonne Coleman, Joan Naymark, and Michael Spring, and Nancy Glaze in absentia. Please fill out your evaluation forms. Thank you.
Myths about the Suburbs (571Kb)