The results from our focus groups in November gave us a clear idea of what kind of arts agency is needed in Marin County. We thought it would be prudent to spend some time researching other arts agencies in California and across the country to see if we could find similar models. We wanted to find out what worked best (and worst) for these other organizations. Hopefully we will be able to build on their successes and avoid their pitfalls.
We took a close look at 12 different arts organizations. They ranged from government agencies to nonprofits. Many were started by grassroots efforts, while others are offshoots of government agencies, or special projects of foundations. Their missions are all variations on a theme: to support and promote the arts in their local community. Their programs and services ran the gamut from online calendars and directories, to grant making, education programs, public art programs, arts festivals and tours and more. Their annual budgets ranged from $100K to over $1 million. Not surprisingly, their income sources were typically some combination of earned income, contributions and grants from foundations.
After reviewing the broad spectrum of what a local arts agency can be, we began to think about what would be best in Marin. Where should we start, and what should we grow towards?
The obvious starting point is to launch an online arts calendar & directory for all arts and culture in Marin. An "arts portal" was a cornerstone of many of the organizations that we researched and embodied the values of inclusiveness, support and promotion that we have already adopted.
Our next steps will be to do more research to find the best calendar & directory solution for marinarts.org. Stay posted!