Sunday, April 24, 2011

Work

It seems like my only answer, lately, when people ask what I've been doing has been "work." To which people often respond "I'm never really sure what you do." So I thought it would add clarity to get it all written down:

- Regular clients: I have five regular clients — Circus Juventas, Open Eye Figure Theatre, the MN State Council of SEIU, the Mental Health Association of MN, and the Macalester-Groveland Community Council. For each of these organizations, I go in 1-2 time a week for a few hours at a time, generally solving their business management needs. This ranges from the basic needs, like accounting, budgets and payroll, to audit prep, to human resources, to all kinds of things like solving sales tax exemption, clearing up invoices, correcting wrong invoices, insurance needs, workers comp audits, and the like.

- Strategic planning: I'm currently working with the Rosemount Area Arts Council, the Arts Consortium of Carver County, and the Dakota County Arts Collaborative to set up strategic plans for these burgeoning community-based arts organizations. It's really fun work, tapping into my twin passions of arts and community. I'm very surprised at how different each organization is, proving that there is no one standard approach.

- Evaluation: As well as the focus groups and other evaluation I am doing for the community groups above, I am in the process of coordinating a set of focus groups and other evaluation techniques for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. Working with MRAC and the people in the focus groups has also been interesting and informative.

- Tour booking: I've been working with Theatre of Fools to book a tour of their vaudeville shows throughout Minnesota, as part of a MSAB grant (plus I've been working with them on some front of house and social media). This has been the hardest nut to crack, since even with Legacy Fund monies, outstate performing arts venues are still often as cash-strapped as their metro-area counterparts. So if you're running a performance venue in Minnesota, let's talk — I have a great, mostly-subsidized show to bring you!

- Fundraising: I've been working with Nimbus Theatre on a capital campaign for their new space. They've amazed me by turning a vacant, unheated warehouse into a cozy theatre in six weeks in time for their first show of the season, and are about to open The Year of Magical Thinking with Barbra Berlovitz next week.

- Grant panels: I'm currently sitting on two grant panels, so have spent most of my reading time in the past several weeks reading grants. This can be especially tricky because you can't read too many in a row without your mind turning into mush.

- Preservation: Tom Zahn (Thomas R. Zahn and Associates; I'm often the Associate) and I have recently finished up several projects, and are currently bidding on several more. Bids take as long as project work often does, since they usually need to be fully researched, but no one pays you to bid! Plus, as president of SARP I'm working on a lot of (unpaid) preservation work, including the upcoming Garden Stroll.

So when I say "work," it's really what I mean. I love what I do, but after looking at that list I have to get out and have some fun — suggest something to me! Conversely, I am always looking for new projects, so hit me up...

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