Spent yesterday at the Chicago Cultural Center attending two seminars. The first was an introduction to the Illinois Cultural Data Project, which is a first rate online tool designed to assist companies in keeping historical programming and financial data records in order to benchmark themselves against other companies. The project is just kicking off here in Illinois after successful launches in PA, MD, NY and CA. In PA, the project helped re-establish waning government support of the arts and is looking to go national in the near future. If enough arts organization jump on board, not only will we have enough fuel to prove our vitality to said government, we should also see a growth in audience support as there is so much easily digestible information you can provide patrons to win them over on how even their smallest contributions go a long way. Telling someone how much their support is needed does not compare to showing them how it is needed, and how it has worked for other companies they know and love.
The second seminar was a tutorial on the CityArts Grant that has a three year cycle and now is the time to submit applications for 2010-12. It’s a behemoth of an application, but the tutorial made it seem like a breeze.
In the long run, it’s the individual who keeps our company running. While grants are nice, the comfort of having someone we know or who has come to see our show support our art cannot be beat. As we get further into the Data Project, we’ll show you some reports that highlight where your dollars are going and how vital everyone of you are to our continued success.