Join the Conversation: Transforming Organizational Structure

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Use the hashtag #ArtsFwd to join Nell and Virtual Summit participants from around the world for a conversation about this topic on Tuesday, October 22 at 5:30pm EST. Learn more and register for the free Virtual Summit here

The Transforming Organizational Structure session of the National Innovation Summit for Arts & Culture is all about breaking free from small thinking. Small thinking handcuffs organizations to the ways things have always been done, the staffing structures that have worked before, financial models that once were profitable, or programs that used to draw an audience.

But in order to stay relevant and continue to make an impact in our communities, arts organizations increasingly need to scrap the old structures and reinvent themselves.

This need is more prevalent today than it has ever been as an economic restructuring and an increasingly competitive environment for audiences has left most arts organizations struggling to remain relevant and financially sustainable.

In this session, five arts leaders will share how they tossed out the old and reimagined their work, the process they went through and the better future that awaited them on the other side.

Instead of asking the question, “How do we survive?” these arts leaders asked the question, “What do we want to accomplish and how can we rethink our work to get there?”

And in that rethinking, in that tossing out the old in pursuit of a more effective way of doing things, these arts organizations found a more impactful, more sustainable way forward.

That is not easy work, by a long shot. So I am eager to hear these arts leaders talk about how they stayed true to larger, longer-term goals when everything else was thrown out. How they found consensus around an ultimate goal and then began to build structure around it. And I’m also interested to hear how they found funding for this transformational work. Arts organizations are notoriously resource constrained, which often breeds an aversion to risk. So I look forward to hearing how these organizations broke free from that risk aversion and found a way to innovate forward.

Join the conversation!

During and at the end of the five talks, I will lead a discussion among a group of Virtual Summit participants on Twitter via the #ArtsFwd tag. We will think about the following questions:

  1. What elements need to be in place in order to completely rethink organizational structure and purpose?
  2. How can organizations move away from thinking about structure and instead think about the ultimate end goal of the work?
  3. How do we move beyond the inherent risk-aversion of a financially strapped sector in order to embrace innovation?
  4. How do we convince funders that risk and innovation are worth funding?

I’m really looking forward to the National Innovation Summit for Arts & Culture and the Transforming Organizational Structure session. It promises to open our minds to new possibilities and ways forward. I hope to see you there!

Join Nell and Virtual Summit participants from around the world during the Transforming Organizational Structure Talk series on Tuesday, October 22 at 5:30pm EST. Learn more and register for the free Virtual Summit here

Speakers in the Transforming Organizational Structure Talk Series

Joël Tan, Director of Community Engagement, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
A Math Teacher and an Accountant Walk into an Arts Center: The Curious Case of Two Unlikely Art Heads

Joël Barraquiel Tan has more than 25 years experience in community arts and health education. Tan is a co-founder of Los Angeles’ Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team. In addition to working as a social justice and public health advocate, Tan has a rich background in literary arts and theater and his works on sexuality, desire, and identity have been published widely. Tan received a BA in Comparative Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley and a MFA in Literature and Creative Writing from Antioch University.

Kelly Pollock, Executive Director, COCA – Center of Creative Arts

Kelly Lamb Pollock is Executive Director of COCA. Previously, Kelly had served as COCA’s General Manager since 2006, overseeing all business operations and programming. In that role, Kelly secured one of four national Innovation Lab grant awards from the Doris Duke Foundation and EmcArts to develop COCAbiz, a program designed to integrate arts practices and concepts into talent and leadership development in business. Kelly holds a BA from Washington University and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy Administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is also a graduate of the CORO Women in Leadership Program.

Lori Fogarty, Director and CEO, Oakland Museum of California
Silo-Busting: Transforming the Rake into the Flower

Lori Fogarty is the Director and CEO of the Oakland Museum of California, overseeing all Museum programmatic and administrative operations, which were recently transferred from joint oversight by the City of Oakland and the OMCA Foundation to sole management by the non-profit corporation. Lori led the Museum’s $63 million capital campaign, which included the first major renovation and enhancement of the Museum’s landmark building and collection galleries.

Steven Matijcio, Curator, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati
Rebuilding Our Building

Steven Matijcio is the curator of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. Prior to this he served as Curator of Contemporary Art at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem, NC from 2008-2013. Matijcio is a graduate of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and has held positions in a number of galleries and museums including the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the National Gallery of Canada. Matijcio was honored in 2010 with a prestigious Tremaine Exhibition Award for the project paperless.

Susan Medak, Managing Director, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
How I Learned to Leap Without a Destination

Susan Medak has served as Berkeley Rep’s managing director since 1990, leading the administration and operations of the Theatre. She has served as president of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and treasurer of Theatre Communications Group, organizations that represent the interests of nonprofit theatres across the nation. Susan chaired two panels for the Massachusetts Arts Council and has also served on program panels for Arts Midwest, the Joyce Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Susan serves on the faculty of Yale School of Drama and is a proud member of the Mont Blanc Ladies’ Literary Guild and Trekking Society. She lives in Berkeley with her husband.

David Devan, General Director and President, Opera Philadelphia
Transformation and Capitalization

David B. Devan was appointed as General Director and President of Opera Philadelphia in 2011. He joined the company in January 2006 and was appointed as Executive Director in 2009. Since his arrival, Mr. Devan has worked closely with board and administration on strategic planning initiatives and building partnerships within the community and the opera world. Key achievements include the establishment of the Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater and the establishment of the nation’s first collaborative Composer in Residence Program with New York partners Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group. Mr. Devan came to Philadelphia from Pacific Opera Victoria, where he held the position of Executive Director from 1997-2005.

Nell Edgington is president of Social Velocity, a management consulting firm helping nonprofits grow their programs and reach financial sustainability. In addition to leading Social Velocity, she writes and speaks extensively on innovating in the nonprofit sector, including the popular Social Velocity blog. Prior to Social Velocity, Nell held management positions throughout the nonprofit sector nationally, including PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), the Oregon Children’s Foundation, and the Capital Area Food Bank. She holds an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.