Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Higher Education Loan Dilemma for Non-Profit Workers

Recently, I was asked to give a recommendation or rather a review of my Masters program by a prospective student. The first thing that came to mind was to warn him about the impending doom of repaying school loans, especially the hefty ones that come with a graduate education from a private institution. I have suddenly become aware of the exact amount I will be forced to part with on a monthly basis for the next 10 years, and it is overwhelming to say the least.

I am very satisfied with my job and know that my degree from Pratt was a factor in securing it, but it is hard for me to accept 10 years of debt for a job that doesn't pay very well. Now, it is important to note that my salary is competitive in terms of my experience and region. This highlights the constant dilemma for those in the non-profit sector. Degrees are almost essential, debt is inevitable and unfortunately oftentimes shockingly low pay is as well. I was lucky to be offered a job that allowed me to live above the poverty line, as was not the case for the two positions I had previously been offered.

As for my graduate program itself: the instructors were for the most part highly qualified and knowledgeable about their particular content area. I enjoyed the liberal manner in which my graduate program in Arts and Cultural Management was administered (i.e. no tests, few hard and fast rules of any sort and the ideal that education happened primarily outside the classroom). I have told others that have looked into this program that an education at this school will become whatever you put into it. If you want to coast through your Masters, then you can get a degree from a prestigious institution and likely a decent job out of it. If you are more inclined to work hard and engage in thought provoking conversation, then you will get a lot more out of the program. I was always the dork that managed group assignments, asked questions and sat in the front of the room. I gained critical insight into the current state of the arts in America and graduated feeling equipped to succeed in the field.

During my first few interviews after graduation the validity of my education was c

onfirmed when I was able to face the firing squad of a board, answering their questions on how I could revive their organization. I was interviewing for an Executive Director position at a very, very small arts organization in Central NY. In preparation for the interview I was able to establish the financial health of the organization, identify outreach challenges and speak to possible solutions to a lack of new audience interest. I ended up being offered the job but was unable to accept it due to a realization of saddest salary I've ever heard of for a full time position. A former classmate brought to my attention that small organizations are likely to offer meager salaries in exchange for fancy titles.

During the conversation with a board liaison in which I respectfully declined the position, I questioned her about the future of the organization. How could the board expect to attract an educated, talented, full-time Executive Director with a salary that flirts with poverty?

Many organizations and new graduates face these dilemmas. This predicament begs the question that was raised to me by my friend contemplating a return to higher education, “Should I go back to school for a degree in Arts Administration?” It seems obvious to me that the nonprofit arts sector is moving toward an advanced degree standard for new hires. The concern for those considering this path is whether they will ever be able to live free of educational debts.

I cannot address these concerns entirely reasonably as I am currently suffocated by them and do not have access to a reliable crystal ball of any sort. I can however draw attention to a possible answer that will hopefully, at the very least, provide a bit of hope for the future., a public service organization and online source for student financial aid information posted a page about Public Service Loan Forgiveness:

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 established a new public service loan forgiveness program. This program discharges any remaining debt after 10 years of full-time employment in public service. The borrower must have made 120 payments as part of the Direct Loan program in order to obtain this benefit. Only payments made on or after October 1, 2007 count toward the required 120 monthly payments. (Borrowers may consolidate into Direct Lending in order to qualify for this loan forgiveness program starting July 1, 2008.) 

As mentioned, this loan forgiveness has gone into effect! It seems that, if you're planning to stay in the non-profit field for at least ten years full time then there is an way out of the debt! Now the question seems to be, is ten years too long to live with an embarrassing debt to income ratio? For some, the answer may be "no".

I have seen a number of articles about this lately and hope that my fellow non-profit workers are investigate along with me. Ten years of debt is a daunting prospect, but this Public Service Loan Forgiveness program may be the light at the end of this very long and low-income tunnel.


Monday, December 8, 2008

December Meeting Reminder

Friday, October 17, 2008

Online Discussion about Nonprofit Career Building

Update: Here is the link for the complete transcript of this conversation:

On Tuesday, October 21, the Chronicle of Philanthropy will host an online discussion about building a career in the nonprofit sector.

Join Shelly Cryer, author of The Nonprofit Career Guide: How to Land a Job That Makes a Difference, to discuss such issues in a live online discussion on Tuesday, October 21 at noon U.S. Eastern time.

Get more details about the discussion here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What Emerging Leaders Want

Hi Emerging Upstate Arts Professionals!

If you have been following the Emerging Leaders listserv you will remember a question that was posed a few weeks ago about what emerging leaders want. Over a dozen emerging leaders from all over the country responded and all of the information was organized and emailed to the Emerging Leaders listerve by Marisa Catalina Casey, Founder/Executive Director of Starting Artists, Inc. in Brooklyn and posted to a google discussion board for the Pittsburgh Emerging Leaders Network by Tiffany Wilhelm, Director of Development & Membership at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council - Thank you Marisa and Tiffany for pulling all of this together!

I would love to hear what everybody thinks! What do you as an emerging leader want? What do you think about what emerging leaders around the country want? You can read the full post (it is long) by clicking this link:
- Tanya

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October Creative Conversations Meeting

On October 9, 2008 the Emerging Upstate Arts Professionals will host RIGHT TO THE SOURCE: A Panel Discussion with Established Arts Professionals & Networking Opportunity at The Saratoga County Arts Council’s Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York. The meeting is one of hundreds held throughout the country during the month of October as part of Americans for the Arts Creative Conversations program. Creative Conversations, organized by the Emerging Leaders Network, strives to bring established and emerging arts professionals together for candid discussions about the past, current and future state of the arts and arts administration.

Here is the format: emerging arts professionals will submit questions (to either the whole panel or to an individual) and panel members will have a predetermined amount of time to respond. The questions will be submitted prior to the meeting and a representative from The Saratoga County Arts Council will moderate the conversation. The panel discussion will last about one hour and afterwards we invite all arts professionals, both established and emerging, for a casual networking meeting, complete with food and drinks donated by area businesses.

Already have a question in mind for the panel? Email it to us at – Questions can also be submitted when you arrive!

Sample Questions:
if your question is to a specific panelist, please include the panelist name in your question
1. When reviewing resumes or interviewing, what are you looking for most in a candidate? Advanced degree vs. Experience
2. How has the face of arts administration changed over the past decade?
3. How do you see the face of arts administration changing over the next 5 years? 10 years?
4. Mentorship is a hot topic for emerging arts professionals – do you currently mentor (formally or informally) emerging arts professionals? If so, how? If not, why?.

Let us know if you plan on attending! Contact: Tanya Tobias at 584-4132 x202 or email,

The Panel:

Philip Morris
CEO, Proctor’s Theatre
With over thirty years in the field, Philip Morris has managed multi-million dollar expansion projects, designed and financed major restoration projects, created and expanded collaborative education programs, and significantly increased constituency at both Proctor’s and the Arts Council for Chautauqua County. In his 7 years at Proctor’s he has also revitalized programming for the theatre, doubling the number of events and subscription base, and designed, financed and completed restoration on an adjacent building to include a new gallery space, classrooms, dance studios, and a 150 seat “new works” theatre. In 1996 he received the Most Innovative Arts Administrator award from the Alliance of New York State Arts Organizations.

Joel Reed
Executive Director, The Saratoga County Arts Council
A relative newcomer to the field of arts administration, Joel Reed has been Executive Director of the Saratoga County Arts Council at The Arts Center since January 2007, after serving as the organization’s Associate Director for 3 1/2 years. He has led SCAC through a smooth transition following the retirement of the organization’s long-time and founding director, in the process increasing the organization’s budget and endowment, forging new partnerships with state-wide and national organizations to provide additional services for artists in the Saratoga area and extend the reach of Arts Council programming, welcoming the artwork of John Lennon and the avant garde art collective TODT to Saratoga Springs, and he has turned The Arts Center into a regional locus for new and experimental music. He holds an MA and a Phd in English, and in a previous life was a professor of eighteenth-century British literature and Critical Theory.

Martha Strodel
Director, NYS Arts Rural Arts Program
Martha Strodel has over 35 years experience in not-for-profit arts administration, working as an executive director, program director, funding reviewer, consultant to other nonprofit staffs and boards, and researcher/writer on resources and issues related to building strong community arts organizations. Since 1993, she has been director of the NYS Arts Rural Arts Program, which directly serves cultural organizations with technical assistance, information, services, and networking in 32 rural counties of the state. Martha presently serves on the board of the Warren County Historical Society; has served on the advisory board for the development of the Charles R. Wood Theater in Glens Falls, and for many years served on the board of the Lake George Arts Project.

Amy Williams
President & CEO, The Arts Center of the Capital Region
Amy has been an innovator and leader in the fields of arts education and arts-in-education for more than twenty years. The longtime Vice President of The Arts Center, she returned to lead the organization in January 2008, after serving for three years as the Executive Director of the New York State Alliance for Arts Education (NYSAAE). Since assuming the Presidency of the organization, she has led an aggressive and multifaceted effort to expand programming, increase collaborative programming with artists, educators and organizations region-wide, and enhance the organization’s fiscal standing.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Collective Bargaining

This is a post from Mission Paradox with a pretty good idea for increasing arts coverage in your area. I like it. I hope you do, too.
Posted by Chris Casquilho

Friday, September 12, 2008

Emerging Leaders Listserve

If you haven't done so already, join the Emerging Leaders Listserve!

This listserve is a membership benefit of Americans for the Arts (if you aren't a member, your organization might be). There are some great threads going on right now, including one on "what emerging leaders want" and one on "why we work in the arts. Sign up here

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some Thoughts...

Hi EU^Pers... Recently I asked an intern here at The Arts Center, to write a post for the blog that best describes the way she feels about being a recent graduate and looking for a job in arts administration - below is what Meredith wrote:  (by the way to anyone in the Boston area who is currently hiring - Meredith is fantastic!) 

A two hundred thousand dollar education, and no secure job. That is my latest dilemma. I am a recent graduate of Skidmore College, with a degree in Studio Art. Not the most “practical” major. I stayed in Saratoga for the summer, in part because I did not know what I wanted to do post graduation. Remaining in the town, along with half of my class, seemed like the best way to drag out our college careers just a little bit longer. Now, as summer draws to a close, it is hard to imagine not returning to Skidmore in the fall.
Deciding what to do in the real world has finally become a reality. It seemed like something that I could just push off until the bitter end. A few months ago, I decided that come September I would move to Boston with friends. The thought of moving back home, while the most economical choice, was not a possibility in our minds. Happily, all parents agreed that this was a good decision. Prior to apartment hunting, the question continually arose, should one find the job and then move, or choose a city and then find the job? My roommates and I all opted for the latter. We now have the apartment, but still, no jobs.
This has not been for lack of trying. After several career counseling meetings, creating a resume and composing numerous cover letters, the job hunt is in full swing. Mainly, my method of searching has been via the Internet. Sites such as Idealist and Craigslist have presented some “worthwhile” jobs, and I am familiar with some larger art and academic institutions in the Boston area. I have come to terms with the fact that for the first year or so I will most likely be the glorified secretary. Now, I wait, and hope for a response. Though searching online is an entirely reasonable way to find a job, it seems that having some sort of connection would be incredibly beneficial in the current job market.
Throughout this process I have contemplated expanding my job search from the art realm. I feel that I could be happy doing a multitude of things. But my real interest lies in the arts, and I don’t necessarily want to forsake that. After some deliberation, I became a Studio Art major because it was what I enjoyed doing the most. Painting, in my mind, clearly trumped writing a twenty-page essay. I did not become an art major with the intent of becoming an artist. That is far from what I see myself doing. Rather, I would like to be the one to work with other people’s art. My internships and jobs to this point have combined the more marketable office skills with art and design, which I want to continue to do. Before contemplating graduate school, I want to learn by doing, something that is particular to the arts.
Searching for a job can seem an endless quest. I think that part of the reason I have yet to “freak out” about my soon to be unemployment is that I know there will always be some sort of job available, and that my first job will not be forever. It is merely a starting off point. I am young and unencumbered, and as such, I have accepted the possibility of low pay, and meager benefits. Though, having given it more consideration, I would always settle for less pay if full benefits were on the table.
I have been fortunate enough to have a lot of parental assistance, both emotionally and fiscally. I was always told that one should go to school for an education, not for a job. Additionally, I am lucky to have no school loans and hence have less pressure than some, allowing me to pursue my interests. While I want to be an independent, I know (and they know), that it is not fully possible until I have a secure job with a consistent salary. That to me seems to be the biggest difference between my parents generation and my own. While my mother and father were able to go off into the world directly after college with relatively no assistance from their parents, I, for the time being, am dependent on their monetary aid.
After writing this entry I feel compelled to apply to some more jobs! And, should anyone reading this know someone in the Boston area who is looking to hire, I dare say, I’m their girl!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


We have a great director, Michael Unger, working at our theatre who has come up with a terrific melding of e-networking and actual utility for theatre casting - The site is free for "Casting Members" - theatre companies, producers, and directors, and carries a nominal fee for performers posting a profile on the site.

The site is great and speaks for itself. It was launched late last fall and has a handful of teensy bugs being ironed out - but this is the future of casting, especially for people working at a distance and on a budget. It takes the guesswork out of trolling YouTube for talent, and should grease the wheels connecting talent with work.

Posted by Chris Casquilho

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cold meats, wet feets, and white rubber tents

I've been doing some reading lately on the would-be demise of certain fundraising events. Before (and during) my tenure as a nonprofit arts exec, I've had the opportunity to organize and execute events for a few different places, as well as do a whole-lotta installations in and around NYC working for an event lighting company.

The semiotics of these events have always baffled me. Well-off folks in nice clothes congregate in close quarters under rubbery tents in damp grass and eat hot food that has gone cold that cost twice as much as a good meal in a decent restaurant on any other night.

The mathematics are worse. Typical direct mail campaigns cost about $0.15 to raise a dollar. Many events cost at least $0.35 on the dollar - with some costing more than they raise. The health care and arts sectors are notoriously inefficient at generating ROI at events. I'm a bad blogger because I can't find the article that backs this up - I think it's in my office, and I'll post it when I turn it up.

There are certainly good reasons to hold fundraisers - also called "friendraisers": building brand, recharging emotional capital, and creating networks of stake holders. But how do white rubber tents and the dense damp atmosphere under them promote those activities?

Now that many nonprofits are run by folks in their 20s and 30s, and their supporters are more and more drawn from the baby boomers and less and less from the Greatest Generation, the semiotics of these events are in a moment when they can and should evolve. Rather than perpetuating the mystique of black-tie gatherings, let's take advantage of baby boomers' fondness for all things Springstein, shiny Harleys, and kitschy TV nostalgia. And I'm not just talking centerpieces - really re-engineering these events to be fun and to meet the expectations of the people we're asking to attend them.

There's a lot of room for comment and debate on this topic - it's a big issue, and my run at it here is a little slap-dash - but having come out of my big annual fundraiser last week, it's been on my mind. Comments are appreciated!

Posted by Chris Casquilho

Monday, July 14, 2008

UpstArt Cultural Events

UpstArt is holding its monthly movie night at Rock Hill Bakehouse Cafe in Glens Falls, Wedsnesday July 16th at 7:30pm. This month's film is "Russian Ark" - a film famed both for its art historical and philosophical content and its achievements in cinema - the entire film is shot in one cut and casts hundreds of actors. The film takes place in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburgh, each room in the museum holds a chapter of Russian culture - from music and art to philosophy and theatre. This is a free event.

Thanks to everyone who came to our art party Saturday night; the Art of Politics show will open Friday July 25th at 5pm at The Rusty Matcutter, 21 Cooper St., Glens Falls, NY.

Our next open critique will take place Saturday July 26th at 2pm, please call ahead or email to book your spot - 518 932 2477 or

UpstArt is seeking a space to hold its annual Charity Art Auction in October 2008. If you or someone you know has a space to donate or can lease a space for the evening at low cost please contact us at This has been a highly successful event in the past and has donated to such organizations as the Homeless Youth Coalition of Warren/Washington Counties.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Movie Mondays

Christopher Davenport has been sharing a series of short films about development he calls Movie Mondays. You have to sign up for them - check out the archives, and use the link on the page to sign up for future broadcasts. It's a bit "for dummies" if this isn't your first rodeo - but even then, it's a good refresher, and you can send the films to board members and new or junior staffers.
Posted by Chris Casquilho

Friday, May 23, 2008

Opportunities for Artists / North Country Arts Center

Several opportunities coming up:

The North Country Studios Tour is looking for applicants. This will
take place in late August, an Open Studios Tour across the entire
North Country! More information can be found here:

Also, the 10th Annual Colors of Fall Festival is in the planning
stages. This is a September fun-filled day, and easily the most
economically priced craft show - at $45 a booth, you can't beat it!
Applications and more info can be found here:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Artist Discussion this Thursday, 7pm

For all you art lovers- don't miss the chance to view some great work, and chat with some great artists!

The Arts Center Gallery at 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, invites the public to attend a discussion with the artists of its current exhibit, American Bliss. Both Michael Millspaugh and Ken Ragsdale will be present this Thursday, at 7pm to discuss the inspiration, concept and process in the creation of their artwork.

American Bliss features two artists whose work reveals distinct viewpoints about exploration and possibility, inherent American traits. Whether going car camping or coveting a firearm, there are specific traditions, mores and expectations that define American identity. Both artists use mixed materials in their artistic voyage; each offers an investigation from personal histories to political possibilities.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Get Linked

I'm not talking about sausages! is a burgeoning tool for maintaining our relationships as we emerge as the next generation of arts leaders (and later as we crust over and clutter the landscape with our ossified ideas). Start your profile today - and use it as a great way to keep in touch, recommend colleagues, and expand your network. Look me up - I'm already there! Be sure to have LinkedIn scour your contacts to find out who else might be out there that you already know.
Posted by Chris Casquilho

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Laws of Attraction

The Chronicle of Philanthropy posted a good article covering a meeting of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network - a national organization that addresses a broader version of what U^P seeks to address.

In the article, Paul Schmitz, chief executive of Public Allies, a charity with headquarters in Milwaukee that trains young people for public service, makes this comment about salary gaps between for the for-profit and non-profit sectors:

“Most business is small business. And really, when you compare apples to apples, the average nonprofit to businesses the same size, the nonprofits pay well,” he said. “We don’t compare ourselves to the $13-million manufacturing company down the block, so we have this entitlement belief that we should be paid like Goldman Sachs.”
Mr. Schmitz is comparing apples to oranges. The people with the talent, intensity, courage, and creativity to become tomorrow's nonprofit leaders aren't deciding between working for your NPO and a local printing store. They're deciding to work for you or Bill Gates, or Google, or Apple, or start their own film production company or graphic imaging shop with one of their well-heeled peers.

In the case of arts professionals, the salary divisions can be particularly piquant. If you're looking for work in social services or health care, maybe there aren't as many sexy options. But if you're interested in curating and you can choose between an underpaid museum job, or managing a private gallery, it's not so easy to decide. And if you happen to manage a museum and you're hiring that employee, the problem is acute. When any NPO starts looking to hire someone into a creative position in marketing or communications, they'll face this problem.

From my own experience, I've learned that many nonprofits are willing to pay top-dollar for a variety of consultants - communications, capital campaign, long-range planning, etc. that are often far out of scale with internal salary levels. This tells me two things:
1. Boards do recognize the actual costs of doing business.
2. Boards believe that you will work for less, because you will.
If you're not willing to walk away from the table, you're not negotiating.

Posted by Chris Casquilho

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Manager Wanted

The Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake has announced it will begin a search for a new Managing Director to replace founder, Bob Pettee. Bob and his wife Susan Neal founded what would become Pendragon in 1980. In that time, it has grown very organically, and is an integral part of the town - having achieved the status of institution.

Pendragon uses a mix of community amateurs and professional theatre artists, as well as interns from nearby colleges to produce some quality theatre - and some pretty edgy stuff as well. Many of the board members, volunteers, and employees have been there a long time. The space(s) the theatre inhabits are as quirky and organic as its history.

From the outside looking in, the theatre has been flexible and responsive, opportunistic and visionary, and under careful and competent leadership.

Which all leads to the question: what kind of person can fill Bob Pettee's shoes?

In many ways, this is the same difficulty any business faces when it replaces a visionary founder with new blood - often a person younger than everyone she will manage. Challenges will always include resistance to change, people your parents' age subordinate to you who insist on calling you "kiddo," and so forth. In this situation, however, as in many arts organizations, there are some unique challanges:

1. Bizarre skill set. Arts managers are often expected to fundraise, advertise, design, motivate, hire, manage, and do light maintenance on outdated infrastructure - both technical and physical. In Bob's case, it would also be handy if his replacement could build and paint sets, act, direct, and teach. It leads to very overwhelming-looking job descriptions on ArtJob or ArtSearch. Don't be afraid to apply, even if the company seems to want a super-hero.

2. Inherited volunteers. These can also be board members. You can't fire them. You can't discourage them. However ridiculous and inefficient they may be, you're stuck with them and you have to learn how to live with them. Especially if you are in an isolated area with a small pool of willing volunteers and a very active grapevine - any perceived slight may send your bothersome volunteer packing - which may discourage other, more helpful folks.

3. Maintaining donor relations. Many of your organization's most ardent supporters might be friends of Bob at this point. Keeping them as involved as they have always been requires extra acrobatics, because they're not your friends, but you really need their $2000 or the board will think you're incompetent.

Still interested in Bob's job? I thought you were. Remember, Bob didn't have any idea what he was in for when he started either.

Thanks to Bob Pettee for being my unwitting example.

posted by Chris Casquilho

Thursday, April 3, 2008

General Information Survey

Hi Emerging Upstate Arts Professionals!

Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey. The information you give will help us make decisions about future meetings.

Click Here to take survey

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Daily Gazette Article (Tuesday, March 18, 2008)

"Council Starting Networking Group"
by Tatiana Zarnowski
Gazette Reporter

It's a classic dilemma - the clash between young and old professionals who come to the job from a different vantage point. And chances are, it's playing out at an arts organization near you.

The people who started arts centers and children's museums from scratch in the 70's and 80's are retiring. And the administrators who replace them are younger folks with graduate degrees but without practical experience. "There's definitely two different viewpoints coming into an organization," said Tanya Tobias, The Saratoga County Arts Council's education coordinator.

The arts council is starting a regional group that would bring young arts professionals together to network - and help them learn from experienced pros. "There was never this established model for professional development," Tobias said of the arts profession.

The group, dubbed Emerging Upstate Arts Professionals (Emerging U^P), will also function as sort of a support group for working arts professionals, which Tobias said can be anyone from an administrator at an arts center to a museum curator to a working artist. "It's a very specific world to be in," said Leigh Ollman, regrant administrator for the arts center.

The group will hold its first casual meeting at 6 p.m. April 3 at The Arts Center, 320 Broadway. After that it may have bimonthly meetings at various host sites. Emerging U^P is the upstate New York chapter of the Emerging Leaders Network in Washington D.C. Young arts council employees started thinking about starting a group after they realized that the closest Emerging Leaders Network was in Poughkeepsie. The network was developed by Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit organization devoted to advancing the arts. the national program targets professionals new to the field or those 35 or younger.

The local chapter will cover a wide area, including the entire Capital Region and as far north as Ticonderoga, Tobias said. The arts council has reached out to executive directors of other organizations to spread the word about the new group. And they've started a blog and discussion board at The initial networking meeting will help establish the group's agenda, Ollman said. "Our needs as upstate New York arts professionals are different from our friends in Manhattan. I think you need to get a consensus,"Ollman said.

The local arts council is something of an anomaly because three of its five employees - Tobias, Ollman and Laura Colomb - are all under 30. Executive Director Joel Reed, who at age 45 represents the transition between the arts movement founders and recent graduates, said the arts council aims to attract new audiences, including younger ones.

"We make the arts accessible for everybody," Reed said.

Do you have something to include?

Hi Everyone,

I am writing to invite any visitors to the Emerging U^P blog to post a blog of your own! If you have something you would like to post, an article you would like us to link or have ideas about future posts, let us know.

You can e-mail us what you would like to include at or We also welcome any and all comments to previous posts.

We look forward to seeing you at the first networking meeting on April 3!
Don't forget to spread the word!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Networking Meeting Announced!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Why is Emerging U^P Important?

Hi Emerging Arts Professionals!

I believe I speak for all of us here when I say The Saratoga County Arts Council is excited to spearhead the upstate New York chapter of the Emerging Leaders Network! Why we decided to take on the project was two-fold. First, SCAC is unique in that three of our five staff members are under thirty years old. That being said, the three of us have a combined total of nearly 20 years experience in museums, universities, and other arts organization and not-for-profits, ranging from special events and marketing to exhibitions and education. As a group we represent what is often considered the "new generation" of arts professionals in a field where 90% of the professionals are from the generation before us. Second, according to Victoria Saunders, in her article Boomers, XY's and the Making of a Generational Shift in Arts Management, between 50% - 80% of non-profit executives plan to retire in the next five years. In our region, this statistic is particularly frightening. With very few oportunities for professional development, and even fewer opportunities to network with our peers, arts organizations in the area risk losing staff who are knowlegeable and already dedicated to their organization. Unfortunately, the lack of professional development opportunities also means that when advancement opportunities do arrise, nobody within the organization is qualified to take the reigns. Changing this is imperative. How we change this is the big question...

The Saratoga County Arts Council will be hosting the first official meeting of the Emerging Upstate Arts Professionals on April 3, 2008 from 6:00pm - 7:00pm. I have posted the invitation above...Please spread the word!

Over the next few months, we will also be developing a steering committee comprised of emerging arts professionals in the region. Each term will last one year, and committee members will be responsible for developing a schedule of bi-monthly meetings and workshops with our mission in mind. If you are interested in being a part of the committee, e-mail and let us know.