Good evening. It’s been a while since the coffee hour and my last correspondence, but I wanted to send out a quick update to where things are with the Arts and Culture Alliance of Chatham County (ACACC).
About the time Irma was arriving, I posted to ACACC’s social media the following:
There was a fantastic turnout [to the coffee hour], and I believe there was full representation from the arts and culture industry. We had a great conversation to get things moving along to real action. The takeaways, however, were that the industry needs to leverage itself and convince our elected officials, at all levels, that arts and culture is indeed good business. SEDA, Chamber of Commerce, and other pro-business associations also need to be convinced of this too and resources allocated to the same. This is going to require a lot of education and the correcting of perceptions, but it can be done. It will just take some time. The other major takeaway was the unification of the industry and knocking down the silos for the greater good, i.e., cross-collaboration, cross-promotion, and promotion of the entire industry in and outside of the county. Finally, from the survey cards left behind, funding levels, workshop opportunities to help with capacity building, marketing, revenue diversification were of interest, as well as more educational opportunities for youth, and an industry-wide showcase festival.
Shortly afterward Kristopher Monroe wrote a great follow-up article. You can read that here: http://savannahnow.com/accent/column/2017-09-23/savartscene-arts-culture-alliance-looks-bigger-picture
The deadline has also come and gone for the 2018 Culture and Arts Investment Program. The applications are in, and the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Commissioners have reviewed the proposals. We’ll wait until later to see the results of that process and what funding the City of Savannah plans to allocate. If you were eligible and decided to not apply for funding, I’d like to hear from you. I’m collecting notes on the process to pull out later when the time is right, no attribution is needed.
Today, I’m currently working on two actions to further the ACACC cause.
First, I am in the process of crafting an inquiry to our Chatham County Commissioners regarding their projected budget for 2018 and the inclusion of two earmarked allocations for select museums. Also, I am asking whether funding can be more competitive or if County efforts would include more promotional activities in the future. This will be a long process to turn around. If you have not already noticed, they have added a new line item for museums, but there does not seem to be anything competitive about the process. Let me know if you can shed some light on the history of Chatham County and arts and culture funding.
Second, I had an excellent meeting with Michael Owens and Molly Swagler of the Tourism Leadership Council. What came out of that was the possibility of the Tourism Leadership Council forming a new Arts and Culture Committee (working title). With the expertise of the Council, this Committee would be used to leverage some of the ideas ACACC wants to pursue without reinventing the proverbial wheel.
To that end, my question for you is whether there is interest in pursuing such a Committee through the Council. What they need is a couple of things, activities they can get behind and individuals to be a member of the Council. I am not currently a member, but I would be if this Committee were formed. If you’re already a member, let me know. If you’re like me and willing to join to launch this Committee, I’d like to hear from you too. If we can reach critical mass with this, I’ll do the follow-up with the Council.
In the conversation, the activities they may be able to help with is promotional campaigns a county-wide arts and culture festival, among other ideas. There are other activities such as the advocacy for public funding that ACACC will still be needed for as well as other planned activities.
At the current rate, I’ll plan for another coffee hour or something a bit more formal late November or early December, and we can all meet up again to continue the conversation and to develop a plan of action.
Please let me know your thoughts on all this as to what you think the priorities should be and to whether you would participate in a Committee hosted by the Tourism Leadership Council. Thanks.
Last but not least please help to spread the word about the Arts and Culture Alliance of Chatham County. It’s getting people’s attention, but the more, the merrier.