Photos courtesy of Julie Hawkins
DR. JEAN BRODY
DIRECTOR OF ONLINE PROGRAM
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR & RESEARCH DIRECTOR
ASSISTANT TEACHING PROFESSOR
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From the Editor
I am thrilled to introduce myself as the brand-spanking-new editor for the Artsline newsletter. Though I was raised in Virginia, I moved to Philadelphia from a (very) small town in Colorado this past September--as in two months ago, so I'm new to a good many things around here (Tastycakes, for starters, though we are becoming fast friends).
I began my career as an actor. At the Butte Theater in Cripple Creek, Colorado I moved into management, which led to my decision to pursue administration. I'm delighted with the program so far. I love your city and I'm eager to explore the field of arts administration in more depth. Let's begin!
In this issue, we're looking at emerging trends in the field, featuring a look at second year student Jennifer Schumann's research into the L3C Corporation, a recap of the Arts Administration Graduate Association's (AAGA) October speaker event, and finally, the Department's attendance at a recent academic conference in Louisiana. Thanks, of course, to all the contributors-enjoy!
Artsline Graduate Assistant
From the Program Directors
What an exciting year it is for Drexel's arts administration programs! This fall we welcomed two new incoming classes and two new full-time faculty members, all as we moved into a new home.
This year's incoming classes include nearly forty students from across the country and around the world. We kicked off the academic year with a welcoming reception timed to coincide with the arrival of campus students and the Philadelphia residency experience for online students. Then, the full time faculty and two thesis students, Amy Gibbs and Jordan Shue, traveled to Baton Rouge to present research at the 40th annual Social Theory, Politics, and the Arts conference. Jordan and Amy represented the program well and received many complements on their work.
New full time faculty members Neville Vakharia and Andrew Zitcer have also hit the ground running this fall, teaching classes, publishing research, mentoring students, and serving the cultural community. We are thrilled to have them both on board. Neville, Assistant Professor and Research Director, brings substantial strategic leadership and management experience to the program, most recently from his tenure at the helm of the Cultural Data Project. Andrew, Assistant Teaching Professor and Thesis Director for the campus and online programs, comes to us from Rutgers University, where he is completing a doctorate in policy and planning. He also brings a wealth of community engagement and development experience to both the online and campus programs.
If you haven't yet come by for a visit to the new URBN Center to greet Neville and Andrew and check out our new office and classroom spaces, you'll have plenty of chances coming up, including the tenth annual AAGA Art Auction this winter. Mark your calendars now for February 22, 2013 and join us for what is sure to be an incredible anniversary event.
This year marks a time of transition for Drexel's arts administration programs, with new faculty, leadership, and facilities. The changes, while not without their challenges, bring renewed commitment and enthusiasm to the mission and vision of our work to prepare the next generation of leaders in the field, and to strengthen communities through the development of high-impact, resilient cultural organizations. We hope that you, too, are excited by our forward momentum, and we look forward to connecting with you in person soon.
Dr. Jean Brody, online program director
Julie Hawkins, campus program director
New Models for the Arts:
Exploring the L3C Movement
by Jennifer Schumann
Grant funding cuts, reduced donations and greater competition for sponsorships leave the non-profit sector in an extremely challenging position. As the new generation of arts leaders, how do we face this?
What can we do to make a difference in the arts organizations we serve? Is there one conclusion to be drawn or are there many possibilities out there for us to find?
This past May I had the incredible opportunity to examine one opportunity emerging in the non-profit sector when I attended the second annual L3C - A Tool For Our Times conference in Washington D.C. The conference was hosted by the professional group Americans for Community Development, and the purpose was to explore the new L3C business model as one option for the arts. This event was an exciting chance for me to take a closer look at the recent development of these Low-Profit Liability Companies and begin to understand exactly what they are and how this new model could have a place in the arts and culture sector.
In order to understand exactly what an L3C organization is, imagine a hybrid business model that brings together the general concept of the Limited Liability Company (LLC) and the mission based focus of 501(c)(3) non-profits. L3C organizations were founded in response to the struggle for contributed income impacting service organizations of every form. Recognizing this problem, L3C founder Robert Lang went in search of a new business model that would allow current nonprofits and social enterprises the opportunity to combine the benefits of a partnership-such as flexibility and simplified taxation-with those of an LLC, which offers liability protection and simple transferability of ownership. Americans For Community Development considers the L3C organization to embody a strong brand identity. This identity represents this hybrid structure that links these traditional business methods with charitable purposes in a for-profit entity organized to engage in socially beneficial activities.
Differing from the traditional 501(c)(3) business model, an L3C is managed like a regular business and is not penalized for generating profits. Despite this, the primary aim of the L3C is not to make a profit, but to achieve socially beneficial purposes. An L3C organization considers profit and the appreciation of capital secondary and therefore provides a bridge between for-profit and charitable sectors. In April 2008, Vermont became the first state to recognize the L3C as a legal corporate structure.
In a climate where the competition for contributed income becomes more and more intense, it was important for me as a future arts administrator to consider the potential this new model can bring to the arts and culture community. While this model is still new to the arts world, its inception and potential can open many doors toward the future of organizational sustainability. It's essential that as future leaders we constantly look for, and strive to achieve, sustainability methods that will help to grow financially stable arts and culture organizations. This new L3C model is one way in which we can explore the role of the arts in these ever changing economic and political times.
Jennifer Schumann moved to the Philadelphia area to begin her undergraduate career at Temple University where she graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and minor in Theater.
Arts Administration Graduate Association's
Fall Speaker Event
The AAGA kicked off the new term with several welcome events as well as a panel discussion held on October 16th. AAGA Board Vice President, Lindsay Tucker-So, organized and moderated this event. In attendance were about 30 students, professors, and faculty. The panel featured:
Tucker-So started the conversation by asking the panelists to discuss differences and similarities between their organizations and the monoliths. John Frisbee, Mark Christman, and Jennfer Schick spoke of the positive aspects of not being tied to buildings. Mark Christman, whose Ars Nova has presented in "probably a dozen spaces" in the past decade says, "overhead is very very low for us," and that makes a company like Ars Nova "extraordinarily more resilient," than many larger organizations.
Jennifer Schick added, "if you're part of these larger organizations, then you are pulling [audiences] in...whereas we're going out and reaching out to the community through different venues and different methods." This sentiment was echoed by Ellen Owens of Magic Gardens, who added that while her organization is "very much tied to our space," they don't look like an institution; "The art is on the street," Owens said. She added, "In a larger institution, change is really difficult and gradual. For a smaller organization you can have more of a direct impact."
That sentiment was echoed by John Frisbee, who says of Pig Iron, "the work we make is personal. As an administrator, that has a lot of...problematic aspects, but I also think it's given a lot of meaning to what I do."
The discussion turned to the audiences the various organizations serve and how they accomplish serving them. Ellen Owens spoke of thinking of audience in terms of, "who they were, who they are, and who we want them to be." As for accessibility, each organization cited a reliance on digital and social media as part of their messaging efforts, though they also encourage a multidimensional approach which utilizes their partner contacts as well as community organizations, churches, social services, and similar institutions to reach out to their audiences. Each organization also strives to make their programs accessible through free and low-cost events and memberships. Christman, Schick, and Frisbee (who is also on Shakespeare in Clark Park's Board) mentioned that their organizations also access different audiences through their various venues. Each organization's representative also acknowledged the accessibility advantages of being small, approachable, founder-driven organizations.
When faculty member Neville Vakharia asked each panel member to share its organization's biggest challenge, some familiar issues arose. Space was one. The organization that has one (Magic Gardens) has to navigate the building's maintenance as it ages. Magic Gardens is also charged with interpretation and a certain amount of preservation of the public murals around South Philly. However, Schick and Christman both reference lack of venue control and precarious partnerships as challenges faced by their organizations. Christman also cautioned that not having a space also softens brand identity, and cited revenue diversity as a challenge as arts funding decreases.
In closing, the panel had the following advice for entrepreneurs: utilize resources such as the Arts and Business Council, which provide cheap resources and great networking opportunities. They advise doing it right the first time--involving the right people, and taking the right steps to set up your organization. They encourage investigation into new modes of doing business, and stress the importance of setting high expectations for the Board.
The evening was an enjoyable and enlightening opportunity to discuss the small organizations (annual operating budgets of less than $250k) that make up over 73% of Philadelphia arts and culture organizations. These organizations, according to Mark Christman, make up "the real cultural capital in Philadelphia."
Drexel Faculty & Students Attend
Conference on Social Theory, Politics, and the Arts
This October, full-time faculty members of the Arts Administration faculty and two students attended the 40th annual Conference on Social Theory, Politics and the Arts. This year's conference was hosted by Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge over the weekend of October 18th-20th. According to Assistant Professor Neville Vakharia, the conference drew around one hundred scholars, social scientists, and consultants from around the world.
Neville Vakharia presented a paper called "Drowning in Information, Starving for Knowledge: The Data-Driven Arts Manager," which examines, "how arts organizations can leverage data, metrics, and technology to build institutional capacity around knowledge."
Director of the campus program, Julie Hawkins, also presented her paper, "Walking the Talk: Implementing Toronto's Cultural Plan for the Creative City." Second year student Jordan Shue presented her thesis, entitled "Lobbying in the Arts Sector: a Study of the Advocacy Tactics of Americans for the Arts." Amy Gibbs, also a second year student, presented her thesis work, "Employing Creativity: A Comparative Study of Three Federal Job Support Programs in the Arts."
Assistant Teaching Professor Andrew Zitcer, and Jean Brody, Director of the Online Program, also attended the conference. Xela Batchelder (Assistant Professor in Drexel's Entertainment and Arts Management program) also presented her paper entitled, "The Largest International Performing Arts Festival Goes Head to Head with the Largest International Sporting Event."
Vakharia estimated that Drexel University had the largest contingent at the conference, which "created a lot of buzz about our program." Other topics discussed at the conference included venture philanthropy, cultural heritage, international issues, and even urban planning.
It's Election Time. Do you know where
your candidates are?
For a moment, let's put aside the messy social issues and divisive red-state, blue-state/us-vs.-them mentality that accompanies football-I mean, election-season, and examine just one issue: arts funding. Here's what's up:
Governor Mitt Romney, Republican challenger:
According to his website, Governor Romney proposes $600 million in "reduced subsidies," to the NEA, NEH, and the LSC (Legal Services Corporation, which provides funds and monitors free civil legal aid in the US).
In an August 6th, 2012 phone interview with Fortune magazine, Romney was asked to specify where he would cut the budget. His reply:
"So first there are programs I would eliminate. Obamacare being one of them but also various subsidy programs -- the Amtrak subsidy, the PBS subsidy, the subsidy for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities. Some of these things, like those endowment efforts and PBS I very much appreciate and like what they do in many cases, but I just think they have to stand on their own rather than receiving money borrowed from other countries, as our government does on their behalf."
President Barack Obama, Democratic incumbent:
Thanks to the advocacy of groups like Americans for the Arts, arts policy is addressed in the 2012 Democratic platform:
"... Investment in the arts strengthens our communities and contributes to our nation's rich cultural heritage. We will continue to support public funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and for programs providing art and music education in primary and secondary schools...."
When he first took office, President Obama increased funding for the NEA, then slashed it by 13.3% in his 2011-2012 budget. His budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year raises NEA funding by 5.5%.
Confused about PA voting requirements?
As covered in other parts of Artsline, The Arts Administration Graduate Association (AAGA) has already held several events thus far in the Fall 2012 quarter. As the term progresses, they will hold two more upcoming events, and begin the planning process for the annual Art Auction.
Mentor and Advocacy Event
6PM, Wed. November 7th, URBN Center, Room 141*
This event will feature speaker Jenny Hershour, Managing Director of Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania. The discussion will center around arts advocacy and is a great opportunity to learn more about this crucial topic in the wake of the presidential election.
Following the advocacy discussion, The AAGA will host a party at Landmark Americana (3333 Market St.). First-year, on-campus students will be paired with second-year students in the AAGA's mentorship program. The AAGA will provide food and drink, and hopes this program will foster mutually beneficial relationships throughout the program and beyond.
*On-campus students, attendance at this event is MANDATORY
This social holiday event will be hosted by the AAGA to raise funds for the organization and spread good holiday cheer! Bring a friend!
10th Annual Art Auction
Fri. February 22nd, 2013
URBN Center/time TBA
It's never too early to start planning for the annual Art Auction! On-campus students, remember that this event is why your attendance at Arts Advocacy Day in D.C. is not an out-of-pocket expense. The AAGA needs high-quality donations (think goods, services, tickets, and especially artwork) as well as volunteers to serve on various committees. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In other news, the AAGA is proud to announce that they have forged a new partnership with Americans for the Arts and will become a local chapter of their "Emerging Leaders Network." The AAGA will continue its commitment to current programs and events, and is excited to explore new opportunities this network will provide.
Student, Faculty & Alumni News
Michelle Baxter, first year student, became the Strategic Initiatives Project Manager at The Academy of Natural Sciences.
Jamie DeAngelis, second year student, is interning with the Philadelphia Art Alliance. She is currently in charge of their blog, which will be featuring artists participating in their upcoming "Shop on the Square" fundraiser, to be held in December.
Yue Su, first year student, recently participated in Ai Weiwei's "Fairytale Project," a 2007 project which the Chinese artist is revisiting in partnership with the Slought Foundation.