The second of four 2015 North County Arts Network (NCAN) meetings was held on April 16 at The California Center for the Arts, Escondido (340 North Escondido Boulevard, Escondido, CA 92025). The honorary NCAN host was Jerry Van Leeuwen, the Executive Director of CCAE and all 110 participants were treated to wonderful food and drink by this gracious supporter of north county arts.
Daniel Foster made introductions and explanations as there were many new people attending this event. NCAN aims to strengthen the arts organizations and communities of North County San Diego and beyond through convening, networking, and strategic/collaborative approaches that will produce leveraged impact for arts and culture in the region. The goals for this evenings meeting is to discuss the purpose and forming structure for NCAN, map and survey our NCAN community and priorities, create dialogue and discussion with all attendees, and provide excellent informal networking opportunities to build relationships and sense of community.
A panel facilitated by Leah Goodwin, Education Partnerships, CCAE had in put to help define the need for this newly formed organization from Jim Gilliam, Arts Administrator, City of Encinitas, Jacquelyn Kilpatrick, Director, School of Arts, CSUSM, Vincent Kitch, Cultural Arts Manager, City of Carlsbad and Wendy Wilson, Executive Director, Escondido Arts Partnership.
There were five break out groups after the panel. I was one of the facilitators for the first group Marketing, Membership, and Development Group with Erin Decker, Sr. Associate Dir. of Development, La Jolla Playhouse. Alexandra Kritchevsky, Grants Manager, La Jolla Playhouse was our secretary and will be presenting full notes as will the other four groups. I hope to post those results in the future.
We started with a brief statement about how the three topics were related: Marketing gets people in. Membership makes them want to stay in and Development turns members into supporters. NCAN is all about coming together and that implies collaborations, so collaboration was a big part of our discussion. We discussed sharing an understanding of our audience and the importance of clarity of our message. I have outlined below just a few of the strategies that were discussed.
- Online networks
- Best practices in marketing strategies
- Cross collaborative events/programs jointly marketed
- Shared ad space
- Potential shared database of North County arts patrons
- Splitting the cost of market research
- Joint membership privileges
- Discounts for members at for profit services and shops
- Best practices in membership growth and involvement
- Joint grants applications (NEA, etc)
- Joint fundraising events for collaborative programs
I found that five breakout groups were not enough for 110 people and the number of people in our group (over 30) made it more difficult to really know the participants. If we intend to do any real projects together, we need to get to know and trust each other. So I am hoping for no panel and smaller groups at the next session which will be held at the Lux Institute on July 16. We might also need to have a separate pre-event for first timers so they are familiar with NCAN and what we are trying to achieve. I see NCAN very much as a pilot program for other parts of the county. If we can make it work in the north and invite others to form their arts network, we can eventually all join together to form an official SD County Arts Council.
The most exciting aspect for me was to encourage some new brave initiatives that might fail but if they succeed will raise all boats on the tide. Sometimes you need the support and help of your colleagues to make this kind of leap of faith.
The four other groups were:
Visual Arts Programming Group
Wendy Wilson, Executive Director, Escondido Arts Partnership
Daniel Foster, Executive Director, OMA
Raziah Roushan, Dir. of Marketing, OMA (Secretary)
Performing Arts Programming Group
Christy Yael, Intrepid Shakespeare Company
Riley Carbonneau, Dir. of Performing Arts, CCAE
Jennifer Pena, CCAE (Secretary)
Civic / Municipal Arts Group
Jim Gilliam, Arts Administrator, City of Encinitas
Vincent Kitch, Cultural Arts Manager, City of Carlsbad
Naomi Nussbaum, Executive Director, Synergy Art Foundation (Secretary)
Arts Education Group
Leah Goodwin, Education Partnerships, CCAE
Merryl Goldberg, Professor, School of Arts, CSU San Marcos