I had a great discussion yesterday with a local grant writer. We were discussing the nature of the arts in today’s world. We both came to the same conclusion that a majority of artists and arts organizations these days might actually be getting in their own way for success. “Why is that? I don’t get it,” we both exclaimed.
We figured that one of the reasons was fear. Some artists and arts organizations are afraid to try something new in order to succeed. Maybe there is a learning curve involved that they simply do not want to get past or are afraid to attempt. Perhaps they are afraid that straying from the status quo would make them appear strange and ignorant in comparison. Perhaps they are simply afraid of success. I have touched upon this topic before stating that the 5th C of audience development is “Courage.”
We also thought about ego. Sometimes ego can get too big that it masks new and exciting possibilities. Needing to have it your way can push away brilliant ideas, new people to work with, and new projects.
There is also the reasoning that people are so used to the status quo way of doing things, that they do not want to change. “I’ve always done it this way,” they explain. It’s what they know. Why change? If what you are used to doing isn’t working anymore, maybe it is time for a change. You can’t expect different results by doing the same thing. Albert Einstein, one of the most brilliant minds of all times pointed this out. I see organizations claim they don’t have the money to try something new, but they put their money into the same old, same old. This to me means they do have the money, but they haven’t figured out that they can use their money differently to get different results.
As I mentioned to my grant writer friend, I am attempting to patiently wait until all the fear, ego, and status quo excuses have run their course. I am hopeful for the day when artists and arts organizations will be ready and open for success and ready and open to audience development!
Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”