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Skills of Sustainability from Boston Conference Report

"What Makes a Practice Sustainable?" Slideshow by Liora Beer

Business Plan

Falling Through the Cracks: Funding Integrative Socially-Engaged Practice

Related Articles

Theory | Research | Collaboration | Production | Technology | Sustainability

Skills of Sustainability - from the Boston Conference Keynote Summary

Money skill. Money is a crucial currency in the accumulation and exercise of power. Obama was able to overturn the democratic establishment and defeat Hillary Clinton during the democratic primaries in large part to his web-based fundraising capabilities. Theaster has been able to bring about neighborhood change by developing novel means of financial community focused real-estate development, and has found means of altering the contours of museum exhibitions and culture by mastering the politics of commissions.

Systems skills. Nicco’s work requires an understanding of the mechanisms of power and how social media are reshaping the power map. Theaster’s work depends on knowing the social, mechanical, political and financial systems of the city and those of its cultural institutions. Such knowledge permits artists and activists alike to diagnose how they can achieve the leverage required to make real their dreams. (Related to Organization)

Sustainability Skills – The speed of technical change alters constantly the landscape of art and of politics. Artists and activists must be able to negotiate this rapidly changing terrain, and to understand how their art can be effective in realizing socially imaginative ends. Such skills include clarity about values and vision, building relationships with groups that can serve as platforms and as links for reaching networks and moving resources, and blending art world tactics with real world skills to create new forms and practices.



Presented by Liora Beer of ARTMORPHEUS, and Louisa McCall, Co-Director of Artists in Context

Click here to view slides from Liora's Presentation

From Seth Godin's Blog
 Organization vs. movement vs. philosophy

An organization uses structure and resources and power to make things happen. Organizations hire people, issue policies, buy things, erect buildings, earn market share and get things done. Your company is probably an organization.

A movement has an emotional heart. A movement might use an organization, but it can replace systems and people if they disappear. Movements are more likely to cause widespread change, and they require leaders, not managers. The internet, it turns out, is a movement, and every time someone tries to own it, they fail.

A philosophy can survive things that might wipe out a movement and that would decimate an organization. A philosophy can skip a generation or two. It is often interpreted, and is more likely to break into autonomous groups, to morph and split and then reunite. Industrialism was a philosophy.

The trouble kicks in when you think you have one and you actually have the other. 

The Business Plan
The primary value of your business plan will be to create a written outline that evaluates all aspects of the viability of your venture or project. It will be valuable in number of ways. Here are some reasons not to skip this valuable tool and roadmap:

It will define and focus your objective, using appropriate information and analysis.
You can use it as a selling tool with potential funders and stakeholders.
Your business plan can uncover omissions and/or weaknesses in your planning process.
You can use the plan to solicit opinions and advice.
Here are suggested topics you can tailor into your plan:

A Vision Statement: This will be a concise outline of your purpose and goal
The People: Focus on how your experiences will be applicable. Prepare a resume of yourself and each of your key people.
Your Business Profile: Describe exactly how you plan to go about your intended business. Stay focused on the specialized market you intend to serve.
Economic Assessment: Provide an assessment of the competition you can expect in your business.
Cash Flow Assessment: Include a one-year cash flow projection that will incorporate all your capital requirements.
(the above was taken from My Own Business)



Falling through the Cracks: Funding Integrative Socially Engaged Practice

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Panel discussion featuring Cuong Hoang, Director of Programs at Mott Philanthropic, Andrew Sempere of The Awesome Foundation, and Nerissa Cooney and Alex Hage of FeastMass. The conversation will be moderated by artist Lisa Gross, founder of the Boston Tree Party and Hybrid Vigor Projects.

Click here for Andrew Sempere's presentation slides

Artists involved in post-studio “integrative” practice for positive social outcomes face unique questions and challenges when it comes to funding their projects and supporting themselves through their work. By nature, hybrid projects are difficult to define due to their cross-disciplinary nature and emphasis on process rather than product. Many of these artists eschew institutional support and bypass the art market--the two traditional avenues of support for most artists. Working outside existing institutions and art systems raises many new challenges including questions of metrics and assessment, authorship and creative control, financial accountability, taxation, and long term planning. Other artists choose to self-fund or to operate with little or no funding. This option offers freedom and flexibility, but can limit the scale and/or duration of a project and offers little in terms of long-term financial sustainability.



Further Reading

The Social Entrepreneurship Spectrum: Hybrids

A business planning tool that tends to work for more creative people

For a more rigorous business planning process for nonprofit ventures with skin at stake: Business Planning for Enduring Social Impact, A Social-Entrepreneurial Approach to Solving Social Problems a book by Andrew Wolk and Kelley Kreitz that includes a sample business plan for a nonprofit.

Free business planning templates and tools

How microfunding is feeding the creative economy
Article from the Boston Phoenix on microfunding - highlighting Feast

Book: "The Ask: How to Ask for Support for Your Nonprofit Cause, Creative Project, or Business Venture"
Guide to asking for money

Good-bye Philanthrocapitalism, Hello Citizen Philanthropy?
Short article on the role of money in civil society and the shifting sources of funding for social work

Fusing Arts, Culture and Social Change
Free PDF outlining reasons for grantmaking organizations to keep "...current with changes in the cultural sector... Regardless of its history or primary philanthropic focus, every foundation investing in the arts can make fairness and equity core principles of its grantmaking."

How To Grow” by Abigail Satinsky

Latent Learning Curriculums"
From the text: "Latent Learning Curriculums is a collection of texts, excerpts and statements found while conducting research on a project called Artiscycle. The project is an ongoing research platform exploring the working models of art groups, spaces and projects."

The Sunday Soup Network