We should allow failing arts organizations to die.

A debate that began (for me) nine months ago, finally gets real at #aftacon.

Agree or disagree: we should let arts organizations that don’t adapt die.

We are left saving arts organizations for the administrators who run them.

Instead of, “Do we allow failing organizations to die?” what if we were asking,
“How do we save ONLY those organizations who are succeeding?”

Who is we? Who decides?
Do we assemble death panels for the arts?
To extend the metaphor: should “we” allow organizations to just die a natural death, or should we play a more proactive role to create a healthy “end of life” transition for organizations whose time has come?

Who are we to choose?

How would we evaluate failure?

Won’t they die on their own?

Who’s already doing this?

How should funders respond to failing organizations—and what different strategies might be employed for the slow failure versus the abrupt crisis failure?

It is likely that your mission statement is not clear enough.
That your strategic plan is not strategic.
That your annual reports are not actually evaluating your progress against goals.

How will allowing arts organizations to die affect the arts landscape/ecosystem?

We’ll lose the historically valuable.

We’ll lose the art made for communities of color.

We’ll lose the most expensive art to produce.

Producers will flee to the popular/contemporary.

Closure will negatively impact collaborators.

Are there arts organizations that should be deemed as too big to fail? How should these organizations be handled if they are sinking into irrelevance?

Closing Statements.

This isn’t to say we should give up on a cure,
just because we also have to plan for end of life.

Follow up question: Which of your debate opponent’s points/arguments did you find most compelling?

PDX small business owner, statistics nerd, reluctant consultant, avid vagabond, arts & #nptech. Co-founder @measurecreative — strategy for progressive causes.

PDX small business owner, statistics nerd, reluctant consultant, avid vagabond, arts & #nptech. Co-founder @measurecreative — strategy for progressive causes.