re-imagining the artist residency at artsfwd

Last month, I began writing for ArtsFwd, the online arm of EmcArts, a social enterprise for learning and innovation in the arts. My first article asked the question: What’s the Value of Transmedia Storytelling for Organizations? It received some notice, and others, like Simon Staffans, offered expanded thoughts about it.

April’s post went up last week, and this month I’m taking on the paradigm of artists as employees by re-imagining the artist residency. From my the article:

Why Aren’t More Organizations Bringing Artists into the Office?

What if every organization with a budget of over $500,000 offered one staff position to an artist? The position would be 40% administrative responsibilities and 60% artistic ones. This would funnel the hours and energy of artists’ day jobs into arts organizations. It would enhance the administrative staff with an artistic point of view. Most importantly, it would create a residency that generates new art in the organization’s space.

This dynamic would break down an organization’s creative and administrative silos. It frames the artist as a person who deserves a salary and benefits.


10,000P courtesy of Mark Krause

Administrators and artists, alike, are responding with strong feelings about this suggestion: Who funds this kind of program? How do organizations make up the slack for the time allocated to the employee’s artistic pursuit? Will other employees feel slighted, burdened or jealous?

These are all great questions. I’d love for you to visit, read the entire piece, and chime in with your thoughts. The only way we’ll reform old systems and innovate is by discussing and collaborating on new ideas. Then, we need to put the ideas into action.

Let me know what you think!

artsfwd blogging fellowship


Recently, I was invited to join the ArtsFwd Blogging Fellowship. From now until the end of June, I’ll be offering my suggestions on innovation in arts administration. ArtsFwd is an extension of EmcArts, a social enterprise for learning and innovation in the arts.

From EmcArts website:

We serve as a nonprofit intermediary for many arts funders, and as a service organization for the arts field around innovation. We exist to strengthen the capacities and effectiveness of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, serving their needs in the design and management of innovative change, and assisting them in building their adaptive capacity.

Think of ArtsFwd as EmcArts’ arms embracing the online community. Blogs, podcasts, videos, and interviews give industry professionals’ tools to actively improve their organizations. ArtsFwd even offers a place for you to share your own innovative projects.ArtsFwd_fbook_coverphoto2-1Yesterday, ArtsFwd published my first article, What’s the Value of Transmedia Storytelling for Organizations? Here is a taste:

Transmedia is the art of sharing a narrative over multiple media platforms (print, online, stage, film, social networks), where unique content is delivered through each platform. For example, Fringe, the hit television show, used transmedia to expand its storyworld and reward its biggest fans. To learn more about how Fringe used transmedia, read my case study about the multiple platforms implemented over the show’s five seasons.

Though arts organizations are different than television programs, I believe it is increasingly imperative that arts organizations employ transmedia thinking as a way to expand a story over multiple media platforms.

Read the rest of the article on ArtsFwd.

The ArtsFwd program is inspiring, and I’m having great fun so far. Shout out to Karina Mangu-Ward, Director of Activating Innovation, and Kendra Danowski, Associate Editor, for spearheading this important outreach initiative. Thanks for having me on board.

Excited about the future.