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Kenan_Env_Scan_Analysis_2

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					   The Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts
    of the North Carolina School of the Arts




                  Environmental Scan Analysis




                                 November 3, 2003




                                   Consultant: Susan R. Leonard

3779 Vest Mill Road, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27103 • 336-768-5466 • susan@martinfrankel.com
                                                               Kenan Institute for the Arts
                                                             Environmental Scan Analysis
                                                                                    Page 2




                            Kenan Institute for the Arts of the NCSA
                                Environmental Scan Analysis

The Kenan Institute for the Arts has successfully supported the arts community since 1994. With
new leadership, the Institute desires to better align its work with the goals and purpose of the
North Carolina School of the Arts (NCSA). For this reason, an in depth examination of the
organization’s mission and vision through a strategic planning process was initiated. In
preparation for the strategic planning process with the Program Advisory Board, an
environmental scan was conducted. This process has several purposes: 1) to assess the views of
professionals in the arts regarding the present and future direction of the arts; 2) to broaden
awareness of the Kenan Institute for the Arts; and 3) to touch key constituencies of the Institute.

The environmental scan involved data gathering from various constituencies of the Institute:
artists, arts professionals, NCSA faculty and students, Program Advisory Board members, and
representatives of other arts funding organizations and conservatories. Individuals were asked to
respond to several questions designed to elicit a broad range of current views on creativity and its
enhancement in the arts. Some questions were answered in writing. Others were answered in
group or individual interviews, face to face or by telephone. Interviews were conducted between
September 22nd and October 27th, 2003. The questions included:

      What’s the buzz? What is cutting edge in your field?

      What would you do artistically if you had the money (no strings)?

      What is important in training artists other than the standard curriculum?

      Other than money, what factors impede the creative development of your field?

      What else enhances the creative environment? What are the catalysts for creativity?

      What recent artistic event moved you most? Why?

      What was your Ah-ha moment with the arts?

      What caused you to know you were passionate about the arts?

The themes that emerged from the participants’ answers are summarized in this document and
divided into two sections: 1) Enhancing the Arts in General and 2) Enhancing the School of the
Arts in Particular. This division emerged from the content of the interviews and is not meant to
endorse a division. It merely describes a division suggested by participants’ responses.



                                                                        Martin/Frankel Associates
                                                                 Kenan Institute for the Arts
                                                               Environmental Scan Analysis
                                                                                      Page 3




Enhancing the Arts in General

Dynamic Tensions

The arts exist and must thrive in the dynamic tension between apparent opposites: reality and
creativity; stimulation and solitude; technical proficiency and originality; and market and
aesthetic. These tensions form key crucibles for the creative process. To varying degrees, the
tensions may be resolved at one point in time simply to be re-energized at another.

There is a dynamic tension between reality and creativity. The demands of reality (how to
survive, pay the bills, feed oneself) seem to conflict with the desire to create art unfettered.
Employment, funding demands, and even educational requirements seem to press upon some
artists and may be experienced as interfering with or restricting creativity. Paradoxically,
creativity (as well as drive and devotion to ones’ art) is necessary to create within the constraints
and restrictions of reality.

There is a dynamic tension between stimulation and solitude. Stimulation, exposure to other
activities and other’s art, is deemed essential in enhancing creativity. Solitude, the time for
contemplation and reflection, is also seen as a necessary component of the creative endeavor.
Striking a balance between sufficient stimulation and the opportunity for solitude is a key
challenge for artists. Opportunities for both are desirable.

There is a dynamic tension between technical proficiency and originality. There is a need for
technical proficiency, rigorous technical skill development (this was seen as part of the standard
curriculum). Paradoxically, what is new and what moves the arts forward appears to come from
outside the artistic mainstream and the academy. Both rigorous schooling in technique and the
opportunity to move outside the standard skill set in a discipline is necessary to the development
of the art and the artist.

There is a dynamic tension between the market and aesthetic. Market demands, engaging
popular culture and creating what will sell, can conflict with perceptions of aesthetic rigor,
history of the art form, and what may be deemed elitism. Across the arts, there appear to be
movements toward and away from the market’s demands and toward and away from the
traditional views of the art form. There seems to be a pendulum swing between the two poles of
the tensions as various art and art forms gain popularity or lose it. There may be the opportunity
for balance between these tensions.

The amelioration or resolution of these tensions did not seem to be either a realistic option or
generally desirable. Some contribution to maintain the balance between the tensions seemed the
most efficacious way to address the impact and enhance the value of these dynamic tensions.




                                                                         Martin/Frankel Associates
                                                                Kenan Institute for the Arts
                                                              Environmental Scan Analysis
                                                                                     Page 4




New Directions

Responses were highly discipline specific to the question: “What’s the buzz? What is cutting
edge in your field?” While not as discipline specific, the responses to the question: “What
recent artistic event moved you most? Why?” also elicited observations about what new
directions the arts appear to be taking. They included the need for cross discipline collaboration,
a blending of the old and the new styles, a return to historical roots, and the advent of cross
cultural influences within various art forms. Overall this could be categorized as diversity.

Those outside the School of the Arts were particularly explicit in stating that diversity of
experience across cultures and ethnicities was essential in the current and emerging streams of
the arts. They also noted in a variety of different ways that an historical renaissance was
underway. The growing interest in returning to historical forms make it important for artists to
have knowledge and experience of the roots of their own as well as other arts.

In general, breadth and depth of knowledge and experience were stressed as key to what is new
and developing in the arts.

Individual Creative Expression

There were a wide variety of discipline specific responses to the question: “What would you do
artistically if you had the money (no strings)?” Many included collaboration across traditional
boundaries in the arts. In general, the responses seemed to be the embodiment of the artist’s
dreams. The examples reflected the desire for the creative freedom to 1) push current definitions
in a particular art form, 2) defy conventions with in the arts community, 3) create free of
externally imposed constraints, and 4) explore possible trends in the arts. These appear to be
personal expressions of the catalysts for creativity and resolution of some dynamic tension.

Beyond the Standard Curriculum

There were several themes consistent across participants’ responses in relation to the question:
“What is important in training artists other than the standard curriculum?” What is new or
different appeared to many to be what is needed beyond what is already available to those in
training. All noted the need for exposure to various experiences. Those experiences can be
summarized as 1) exposure across disciplines (including science, history, literature, politics, and
liberal arts), 2) exposure across the arts (including going outside ones own discipline to other art
forms, artists, and uses for the arts), and 3) exposure to life experiences (including simple non-
arts related travel, work, and responsibilities).




                                                                        Martin/Frankel Associates
                                                               Kenan Institute for the Arts
                                                             Environmental Scan Analysis
                                                                                    Page 5




Both NCSA faculty and the Program Advisory Board members noted the need for exposure to
information about the business of the arts. The faculty members were more focused on how to
maneuver in the current arts world: how to get a job, how to manage between jobs, the need to
explore other careers within and outside the arts. The Program Advisory Board members and
those not associated with the School of the Arts, seemed more concerned about the imminent and
emergent changes in the nature of how the arts do business. The need is for artists, those who
are established and those in training, to be prepared to respond to a different business model in
the arts. They need to be ready to take leadership, respond to different processes, and create new
ways of managing the business of the arts.

What Creativity Requires

The question: “What else enhances the creative environment? What are the catalysts for
creativity?” elicited specific desires of artists for the development of creativity and the
maintenance of creativity. Responses to the question: “Other than money, what factors impede
the creative development of your field?” also revealed factors essential to enhancing a creative
environment and creativity.

Many expressed the desire, implicitly or explicitly, to have 1) the freedom to create (in terms of
time and money), 2) the opportunity to learn within and beyond their own discipline, and 3) an
environment in which to be stimulated by others’ art and ideas. These desires overlap with the
exposure that was deemed important in educating artists beyond the standard curriculum.
Several simply reiterated the need for exposure (and the opportunity for exposure) to other art,
artists, and life experiences. The question evoked questions about how freedom, opportunity,
and a stimulating environment could be funded. The need for money and time was assumed. A
gathering place where artists could and would gather to share and exchange creative thoughts
and ideas was lauded as an ideal.

Passion

The responses of the participants to the questions: “What was your Ah-ha moment with the
arts?” and “What caused you to know you were passionate about the arts?” revealed two groups:
1) those able to articulate pivotal moments that crystallized their passion for the arts and
becoming an artist, and 2) those for whom the passion was always there; the arts are to them as
the water is to a fish swimming in it. No distinct differences were revealed in their responses to
other questions. Some were simply aware of and able to describe key experiences that set them
on a path in the arts. Others were not, having always been immersed in the arts in one-way or
another.




                                                                       Martin/Frankel Associates
                                                                Kenan Institute for the Arts
                                                              Environmental Scan Analysis
                                                                                     Page 6




Enhancing the School of the Arts in particular

While no explicit questions were asked about enhancing the school, the association with NCSA
and renewed commitment to it by the Kenan Institute for the Arts evoked conversation
particularly among faculty and staff, that alluded to enhancing the school itself as well as the arts
in general.

Stimulation of the arts locally, nationally, and internationally was perceived as enhancing NCSA
only if the efforts were tied directly to the school, faculty, and students. Direct enhancement of
the school was seen as valuable to develop the arts in general in only a limited way. Explicit
publicizing of direct enhancements was seen as essential to enhance the reputation of the school
as an incubator for the arts.

Broader arts development endeavors and enhancements could build the reputation and
effectiveness of the school more widely. Three key areas emerged from the interviews:

        1) Enhancing community opportunities for various arts and artists, leveraging local
           resources to create a broader venue for art visibility and exchange
        2) Enhancing communication opportunities among artists and the arts, bringing artists
           from around the world to the school and the local community
        3) Enhancing collegial exchange among arts and artists around the world, cross-
           culturally and across disciplines, on campus and off


Overview and Summary

Overall, the key themes drawn from the Environmental Scan Interviews include:

   1)   Expand the exposure of artists to the world and the arts
   2)   Enhance the opportunities for collegial and creative exchange among artists
   3)   Explore cultural diversity and historical roots as opportunities for artistic development
   4)   Engage in the development of new leadership in the business of the arts
   5)   Expose the local community to a wider variety of arts experiences




                                                                         Martin/Frankel Associates

				
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