Analysis of Activities of the Duluth Art Institute

The Duluth Art Institute (DAI) should be about cultivating the fine arts and artists in our region. Every program should be examined as to how well it does this. For example

Exhibits

Traveling exhibit - cultivating the arts: minimal, helping regional artists: none (Poor Use of money)

One man exhibit - cultivating the arts: medium, helping regional artists: one

Small Group Show - cultivating the arts: medium, helping regional artists: size of the group

Juried Small Group Show cultivating the arts: medium high, helping regional artists: size of the group + rejected applicants

Large Group Shows -  cultivating the arts, medium: low, helping regional artists: size of the group

Large Juried Group Shows -  cultivating the arts: medium high, helping regional artists: size of the group + rejected applicants

Other programs

Artist lectures - cultivating the arts: high, helping regional artists: medium-low

Shock of the new - cultivating the arts: medium, helping regional artists: low

Exhibitions tied into other events - cultivating the arts: medium , helping regional artists: medium-low

Springboard for the Arts - cultivating the arts: low,  helping regional artists: low (metro-centric)

Childrens Classes - cultivating the arts: high,  helping regional artists: low

Adult Classes - cultivating the arts: medium,  helping regional artists; medium-low

(The lecture format which all of these programs use are not very efficient for communicating ideas and do little to foster two- way communication.)

Important issues:

Website - Crucial for broadcasting changing information, need to be phone friendly.

Twitter - broadcasting information and communication with members (will be more important in the future)

Facebook - medium good  for broadcasting info and  good for communication with members

email - members email blast will be more important than mail in the future

google forms - crucial for querying our membership for their opinion.

Mailings - probably good to do quarterly but should be color.

Cards - I question the utility but someone must like them.

Signs guiding people to the galleries - please, please, please http://duluthartists.org/DAI1.html

(Look at the map guide to where the galleries are on the website)

Very Important Issues

Weavers and Potters - they are tied to the DAI because their machinery is housed by the DAI. These groups should play a more important role in the day to day operations of the DAI. They are the artists that (with some reluctance) depend on the DAI.

These proposed programs in addition to cultivating the arts and regional artists would strengthen  the work of the DAI with the community and improve its brand.

Proposed art leasing program - cultivating the arts: high, helping regional artists: high http://duluthartists.org/DAIleasing.html

Proposed modified CSA - cultivating the arts: high, helping regional artists: high http://duluthartists.org/DAIcsa.html

Proposed Fundraiser Contract - cultivating the arts: high, helping regional artists: high http://duluthartists.org/DAIfundraiser.html

Proposed City Artist Royalty - cultivating the arts: high, helping regional artists: high http://duluthartists.org/DAIroyalty.html

Proposed Artist in the Window - cultivating the arts: medium high, helping regional artists: medium http://duluthartists.org/DAIwindows.html

The DAI really should be very careful when it charges artists for its services.  These are often the weakest economic players in the room. The goal of the DAI should be to connect regional artist to economic value wherever possible. The DAI also should not be afraid of reaching out to their membership for help and ideas - an engaged membership is a sign of a vital organization.

Comparison of Missions

The Duluth Art Institute's stated mission is:

"The Duluth Art Institute enriches daily life with dynamic, innovative arts programming that upholds excellence and promotes active community participation."

There is no mention of art, artist, or member in this mission statement. It is paternalistic in its sense that the organization will enrich, uphold excellence, and promote participation to the community. Right now the DAI is following this mission statement pretty well and it is slowly dying. It is dying because it has no sense of its constituency. There is no way to grow or assess how well the organization is meeting its mission goal.

Compare to the Duluth Playhouse Mission:

"The mission of the Duluth Playhouse is to offer exceptional entertainment, training, and performance opportunities in theater arts that may inspire, challenge, and engage the region we serve."

It is clear that a huge component of their primary mission is dedicated to regional theater artists. They can simply count the number of actors impacted, the number of performances, the size of their audiences to know how well they are performing with respect to their Mission

I would strongly suggest that the DAI change its mission statement to include phrases that contain the words artist, arts, and members. That the DAI should step into the role of responding to their membership:  know who the members are, listen to them to find out their needs,  respond to those needs. The DAI could then measure itself with respect to the growth of their members both in size and in capability.

The Duluth Art Institute should ask two questions of every program that they promote

1) Does it impact their members positively?

2) Do the artists/members get paid for their effort?

If the answer to these two questions are "no",  the DAI should seriously look at  not going forward with the program.

The DAI should probably not be here to bring "arts programming" to Duluth. The DAI should be here to cultivate the art being created in this region and provide a structure to help artists develop their skills and talents.