Thursday, October 7, 2010

Harlem Arts Alliance Advocacy Week

This note is intended to express my gratitude to Michael Unthank and the Staff at Harlem Arts Alliance for the series of events during Harlem Arts Advocacy Week: October 4-9, 2010. The schedule for the programs was available at the September and October monthly meetings, as well as stuffing my e-mailbox. There were participants representing numerous arts, cultural and political organizations. The thoughts presented these last few days were challenging.

Theme: Collaboration.
The face of collaboration was demonstrated by the fact that varied arts organizations were seated on panels together. This is giving the organizations peer to peer contact. They described their recent and future events. 2) Artists can collaborate with these organizations. 3) Artists collaborating with media as Flo Wiley, publicist, has taught in a recent Workshop given by the Harlem Arts Alliance, “Artists need a Press List.” 4) Artist to artist collaborations could teach, share and support each other.
Beginning at the Monday Harlem Alliance monthly meeting on October 4th listening to the speakers on the panels there were two questions for me about collaboration. What is everyone really sharing and how does it apply to me? Were the representatives merely tooting their own horns; expressing a willingness to be a collaborative organization or telling me how to immediately sell the artwork back in my studio.
Kathy Hughes, Assistant Commissioner, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs shared a concern that the younger generation will be needed to staff the current arts and cultural organizations. Wondering who will have the interest to pursue careers in these organizations that serve to support the arts? This question was echoed by the panel, the keynote speaker and the audience on Wednesday evening at the Schomburg Center. Howard Dodson, Chief expressed support for these current cultural organizations imploring them to continue. But how to involve the younger generation was a questioning refrain? How, when today’s parents are not as involved themselves in the plethora of music, dance, and visual arts as parents were years ago. Years ago when there was more art in the schools and more venues where families were social. Fortunately the Community Boards 9 & 10 have Arts committees that have activities and solutions.
Will Maitland Weiss, Executive Director, Arts & Business Council of New York and Naomi Grapel, Director Marketing and Creative Services, Carnegie Hall had individual and organizational marketing solutions. The e-mails that are collaborations between Harlem Arts Alliance and Arts and Business Council describe a package of related events for a specific time period. Artists and businesses can submit their events for this online info commercial. Naomi Grapel outlined a marketing strategy for artists: a) Branding What is unique about your product b) Express your authentic voice in your press information. Skip the hype. c) Provide access to the artist; add a personal/biographical component to the event. d) Create a relationship with your customer/audience rather than a one time transaction of a ticket purchase.
Here is gratitude for the organizations who collaborated with Harlem Arts Alliance by participating and/or sponsoring Harlem Arts Advocacy Week. Here is gratitude for the sharing by the speakers who by tooting their own horns gave me an invitation to explore and support. An artist needs information. Information is needed about other artists, other arts, and other arts’ organizations. We got it!

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