North County Arts Convening Notes

North County Arts Convening Notes

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by Daniel Foster, Oceanside Museum of Art

  • The arts in North County San Diego is largely local provincial growth without regional and collaborative funding and growth
  • As the arts communities are evolving, there is a need for regional synergies, collaboration and a leveraged approach to resources
  • There was a panel on 4/1 that brought 6 leaders in North County arts communities together and what came out of that panel was recognition of a need to come together on a regular basis, to evolve the arts throughout North County San Diego
  • Philanthropy and non profits are moving away from the competition mindset and toward Collective Impact
  • What is Art

Audience members briefly introduced themselves

logo-SanDiegoFoundationPresentation on San Diego Arts & Culture

by Felicia Shaw, San Diego Foundation

  • Need to be an advocate for arts, learn how to frame it
  • Giving is increasing
    • Charity Navigator has shown that 2012 donations increased, particularity to art, environment and animal charities
    • In San Diego: Give Big Campaign; saving the San Diego Opera and Ken Cinema from closing
  • Public funding movement:
    • City of San Diego
    • Cultural tourism – San Diego was awarded the 2013 Business Destinations Travel Award for Best Destination for Cultural Tourism in North America
    • Creative placemaking
    • Arts education: Arts Empower San Diego Initiative
  • Organizing
  • The art community is rebounding
  • Cultural art is changing
    • Culture Track reports on changing attitudes of
    • One effect of the economic downturn is that people have cut down on leisure activities
    • Society at large is overstimulated, hyper-focused and overcommitted
    • People are perpetually seeking the “new”
    • Tendency toward sampling lots of different options, versus returning to a single place over and over
    • People in their 40s attend cultural institutions and events least often
    • Culture is being defined more broadly, including street art, food, etc
    • The audience is broad and diverse
    • In general, institutions are seeing lower attendance
    • Deep and authentic engagement is necessary
  • How to engage better:
    • go to people where they are
    • listen to what people define as art
    • understand how people want to be engaged
    • educate arts community about issues people care about
    • encourage organizations to become more relevant

afaaf-logoPresentation on National Arts Issues and Policy

by Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Americans for the Arts

  • There needs to be more public value, appreciation and involvement in the arts
  • The Arts Action Fund is free to join, and similar to Sierra Club, for the

    • There is a need to build more political influence to ensure bipartisan support for art
    • Need an army of advocates – goal is 1 million
    • Goal for PAC money is to raise $250,000 every 2 years to support pro-arts candidates
  • Discussed differences between 501(c)3 organizations versus 501(c)4 organizations
    • Americans for the Arts is 501(c)3
    • Action Fund is 501(c)4
    • for 501(c)3 organizations, there are specific rules defining what is lobbying, that would need to be tracked; if not lobbying, considered advocacy
    • 501(c)3 cannot support a particular candidate
    • 501(c)3 can create candidate scorecards, questionnaires, etc but can’t release if only focused on arts
    • 501(c)4 can release findings of 501(c)3 organizations
  • Discussed importance of knowing the difference between what is considered advocacy versus lobbying
  • PR, Marketing, workshops, public opinion polling under umbrella of advocacy
  • Ballot initiatives are direct lobbying
    • more than 85% of arts-related ballot initiatives have passed, most that did not had some type of rider that concerned a sports team/venue
    • arts education ballot initiatives almost always pass
  • Policy Wheel – steps a group/issue needs to go through to make a policy change
    1.  identify problems and obstacles that people care about
    2.  identify solutions and opportunities
    3. gather external data – research and polling
    4. craft message, identify targets, build coalition
    5. recruit and train grassroots and grasstops (grassroots members connected with decision makers)
    6. promote visibility and media, sharing what is at stake
    7. lobby decision makers
    8. collect policy action outcomes and voting results
    9. Celebrate and evaluate whether successful
  • Get general public to support an issue at a high level and politicians will follow
  • Support pro-arts candidates, educate new politicians to become pro-arts
  • Impacts to elected officials
    • grassroots
    • grasstops
    • coalitions
    • peer-to-peer
  • Strength of collective action lies in tying together organizations that are representational of the breadth of the public
    • diversity of arts disciplines
    • cultural and ethnic diversity
    • organizational size diversity
    • geographic diversity – rural, suburban, urban
  • Politicians often see all in different art disciplines as a single “arts” constituent
  • Need to humanize the issue with a story, find out what the elected official cares about and focus on a message that ties art to what they care about
  • 10 Reasons to Support the Arts

Question and Answer Session

  • “Pro-Arts” cities spend an average of $5 per capita per year
  • Source of funding – neighborhood improvement funds, reinvestment funds
    • but these are normally limited to hard products – building and renovating
    • not “soft” programming
  • Source of funding – NEA does “soft” programming
    • NEA is looking for applications from our area
    • Deadline of 7/24/14
    • NEA used to travel around the country encouraging applications, but stopped due to budgetary constraints, resulting in less applications
  • Idea for future workshop or webinar – Meeting about federal funds that are available
  • Important for North County arts groups together to come up with a laundry list of issues that the
    community cares about and share that with elected officials

    • arts education
    • cultural tourism
  • Source of funding – California Arts Council – but only goes to local arts council and there isn’t one in North County
  • Source of funding – San Diego County Supervisors – each one has $500,000 to allocate to projects they care about
  • How to position a candidate to be an arts advocate
    • community must know what it wants
    • San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition ( does a forum
  • How to get the North County arts, as a unified voice, off the ground
    • answer the question “What are the changes you want to see happen?”
    • find a common denominator, an issue seeking to charge forward
      • create bond
      • activism
    • build a list of important contacts and share it within the group
      keep up consistent good communication within the group
    • The 5 Key Steps in a Grassroots Advocacy Cycle (
    • share credit for successes
    • need leadership roles to keep issues at a manageable level
    • pick first issue and attack it, to start momentum
    • initially must be volunteer-driven until it is clear exactly what the group wants, what it will become
    • to get funding, there must be specifics
  • Audience asked if they believe North County is ready to start meeting to develop a stronger unified voice
    • overwhelming yes
    • frequency of meeting – every other month initially, then maybe quarterly when established
    • initially get everyone together, all-inclusive ; possible future evolution would be to have subcommittees based on art discipline
    • steering effort needed by 6-8 individuals – there were volunteers and Daniel collected their cards
    • meeting location should rotate among facilities of members
  • Dealing with officials that are not arts oriented
    • use different messengers with unified message
    • go to what is important to them and find people in that area to lobby – e.g. story of using a police chief to talk about how arts program got juveniles off the streets, reducing crime rates, to get support from official whose primary focus was public safety
    • bond with them over things that matter to both – e.g. impact arts have on military
  • Money for North County arts group
    • initially do low/no cost
    • after get momentum, some successes, then can ask for money
    • have funders and art organizations meet together


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