What does it mean to participate in the arts today?
Recently, more than 200 arts leaders and influencers from across the globe came together at the Zócalo Public Square Conference in downtown L.A. to connect with arts engagement practitioners and Californians. Three leaders from our cohort of grantee-partners in the New California Arts Fund (NCAF) were part of the robust dialogue, and submitted the following thought pieces:
Oakland Museum of California’s Lori Fogarty shared the museum’s approach to redefining engagement through a timely issue in “How a Black Panthers Exhibition Connected Activism of the Past to an Evolving Present.”
In “Can Museums Serve Distinct Groups While Also Building a Cohesive Community?” Nina Simon of Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History contributed a perspective on social bridging for arts organizations and their patrons.
Deborah Cullinan revealed how Yerba Buena Center for the Arts used conversations among diverse communities to create a culture that sparks civic action in “A Partnership Between Art and the Public to Design San Francisco’s Future.”
These insights are just a few of the lessons we’re hearing from arts organizations interested in providing deeply meaningful arts engagement experiences that benefit individuals, communities, and their organizations’ sustainability.
We supported Zocalo’s conference to foster fellowship among like-minded leaders. As we think about arts engagement as a field, we’re examining the challenges and prospects highlighted in a recent report by Adrian Ellis of AEA Consulting. We continue to be inspired by the NCAF grantee partners and others committed to this work.