Boost for the arts: Participation in ArtsLab will help Arts CenterArts in Jamestown received a major boost recently with the announcement of participation in an intensive training and mentorship program. The Arts Center was one of 15 arts organizations in the Midwest to be included in ArtsLab, a two-year leadership and strategic management program of Arts Midwest.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Arts in Jamestown received a major boost recently with the announcement of participation in an intensive training and mentorship program.
The Arts Center was one of 15 arts organizations in the Midwest to be included in ArtsLab, a two-year leadership and strategic management program of Arts Midwest.
“I think what nonprofit arts organizations don’t do often enough is look at their organizations as a business, and nationally the arts are a big business,” said Taylor Barnes, director of the Arts Center.
Nationally the arts employ 4.1 million people full time. Also, $74.1 billion is generated nationally in arts-related expenditures.
Through workshops, webinars and community meetings, Barnes hopes to build the arts in Jamestown as more of a business.
In the past four years the Arts Center has brought in $400,000 worth of funding through grants — all of which has stayed in the community.
“We also understand arts provides quality of life and our workforce expects quality of life. And the arts will provide that quality of life they’re expecting,” said DeAnn Brunner, office coordinator for Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. which will also participate in ArtsLab.
The arts will be acknowledged in JSDC’s revamped strategic plan, which is due out this fall, Brunner said.
Not only do the arts provide employment opportunities, they provides tourism opportunities.
Arts Midwest recently announced that Jamestown would be one of four cities in the nation to participate in Caravanserai — a program that will bring a variety of Moroccan artists into the community over the course of a year. Barnes said she hopes to draw people to the programs from a 100-mile radius.
“The arts really helps with tourism and tourism is a huge economic player,” Brunner said.
ArtsLab focuses on four core areas, according to Angie Keeton, ArtsLab program manager. Those areas are leadership capacity, adaptive capacity, management capacity and operational capacity.
“I think it’s going to be a very exciting to witness how they tap into those opportunities and identify those opportunities as they participate in the ArtsLab program,” Keeton said.
The ArtsLab team is Barnes, Brunner, Arts Center Board of Directors member Joan Morris, JDSC intern Leah Olmstead and Angela Martini, Arts Center advertising and public relations coordinator
For the next two years that team will take retreats and conduct monthly webinars to focus on those four areas.
“You have to have all four of these areas in balance to ensure functional success and growth, and that’s everyone in the organization receiving what they need,” Keeton said.
She said the ArtsLab board of directors selected the Arts Center for a number of reasons, one of which is the future potential for growth in the region.
“They felt that Jamestown was at a really, really exciting point in their development, that they were ready to take on this program and utilize all the opportunities associated with it — to enter the next step of organizational development,” Keeton said.
Although not the main goal, arts organizations that participate in ArtsLab typically see their budgets double after the two-year program.
The Arts Center just saw a decrease in funding, albeit by a small amount, when the City Council slashed funding for the Arts Center at a special meeting on Monday. Two years ago it received $10,000, last year $5,000 and this year $2,500.
Jamestown City Council member Ramone Gumke said the money should be spent elsewhere.
“The arts is a very positive thing,” Gumke said. “To place funding tied to the organization on the back of the taxpayer, I don’t think is something we should be doing.”
Gumke said the money could be used to provide essential services the community needs, like equipment for law enforcement.
“That (City Council) decision last night,” said Barnes on Tuesday, “made me realize we’re not doing a good job educating the community on the impact arts have.”
The Arts and Economic Prosperity IV study by Americans for the Arts found that, in the city of Minot alone, the arts support 225 full-time equivalent jobs, generated more than $4 million in household income, generated $400,000 for local government and $420,000 for state government.
The city of Minot provides $47,000 for the arts, Grand Forks provides almost $125,000, Fargo and West Fargo provide $124,000 combined and Bismarck provides $50,000. Some are directly given to the arts organizations and others are distributed in the form of grants through umbrella organizations.
The Arts Center in Jamestown will use the $2,500 from the City Council to provide classroom education, afterschool and summer programing, and programing at assisted-living facilities.
The Jamestown Public School District contributed $15,000 this year to continue in-class education.
“I don’t think often enough the arts are viewed as part of a community’s economy,” Barnes said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org