Nonprofit Performance 360 Issue 12
multi-colored open logo and changed the name to the Academy Center of the Arts, because a center is a gathering place, where people congregate and form community. That sounded more accessible and less confusing. The Good, the Bad, and the Bumpy It’s challenging bringing multiple groups and organizations together for a $30 million renovation. If we focus on what we are trying to achieve and make sure the goal is clear, we may differ on how we’ll get there, but we can find a place where we all land and find ties to one another. Collective power makes collaboration so effective, and leaders must check our egos at the door for the greater common good. The energy around Lynchburg and the pride around this center is substantial. Still, the realities of running the organization, and the choices we have to make, can’t always make everyone’s wishes come true. But the more people who are on the bus, the better off we’ll be. Some days were tougher than others. One benefit is that I had a fantastic board president who got the board and everybody else online, so I never felt alone.There were a lot of individuals involved and I felt an obligation to do my part for this larger organization. City leaders led our capital campaign, our construction committee,
and the $9 million in tax credits. A lot of our energy was an obligation to the team, and that got me out of the car when I sat pondering in the parking lot on tough mornings. I was asked to provide a vision of what the organization was about and what it was meant to do. Fortunately, no one told me what I couldn’t do while I contemplated what our different constituencies needed It’s crucial to have a board that interfaces and is supportive as you are bringing in external partnerships, collaborations, and community efforts. I view them as my boss, but also as an extension of our overall team. We need to keep them engaged, involved, and caring about what we’re doing. The completion of the historic theatre is a major milestone, so we’re now strategically shifting the board’s focus to a new set of goals and objectives for moving forward. The board is also a litmus test for our community.Our board reflects a wide range of constituents, so we have a group that can give us proper feedback as to how we are doing and how effective we are. We’ve had success, but it’s a work in progress. Outside partnerships regularly come into play. Our board is a networked group of and what that meant. An Engaged Board
individuals, so it’s common to find new relationships and collaborations through them. We also run things heavily through committee, and that is where most of the board activity happens. Our board members have projects that are specifically theirs and keep them focused and engaged. Evolution We discuss how we are evolving from year to year, or responding to the environment, which will inevitably change. How can we reflect what the community needs and values? In the past, a public arts center like ours would curate what we believed the community should receive. Out of social or cultural obligation, they would have come to the facility to see this thing, because we said it was important. That relationship doesn’t exist anymore. We still have an obligation to provide cultural experiences for our community. But at times, we introduce them to new things. We need to be responsive to what the community wants and needs. Some of that requires empowering the community itself. We really struggled in the first year to gain a diverse audience. We tried to provide programming that we thought the black community in Lynchburg wanted to see, but we didn’t know what that was.
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