Nag, nag, nag. So, Mr. Big Shot, how do you make a perfect nonprofit arts organization?

There is no perfect nonprofit organization of any kind.  All nonprofits are experiments in righting some crucial societal wrong.

For the arts, that wrong is ignorance.  It is complacence.  It is the invisibility of the big picture.  The visual and performing arts bring us beauty, power, and intellect.  The opposite of all those words, of course, is nothingness.

Art is never for art’s sake because it is condescending to anthropomorphize it.

When great nonprofit arts organizations look at their core ambitions and value, they view their work as an innovative tool toward the betterment of society.

Commercial arts organizations’ goals begin and end with profits.  Mediocre arts nonprofits goals are measured by their art.  Great arts organizations’ goals involve righting the crucial societal wrong.

Final note:  Great nonprofits don’t consider self-survival a worthy mission.  Mediocre ones do.


3 responses

  1. ” Great arts organizations’ goals involve righting the crucial societal wrong.” I could not disagree more. Arts orgs provide a platform for the expression of ideas and concepts…they are not social service agencies per se.
    W. Moreno , Board Chair, LACE, Los Angeles.


  2. Carolyn C Cole | Reply

    Hello, I am having trouble with the concept of large NforP arts-orgs not considering self-survival a worthy mission vs mediocre arts orgs who can thinking of nothing more. Two issues: large arts-orgs worry plenty about failing just as “mediocre” ones do. And your usage of the description of arts orgs lesser in scope or even “quality”, which is what I’m assuming you mean with your choice of descriptive, pushes assumption that an arts org smaller than a large arts org is not worthy of existence. That is an unacceptable assumption and one I hope I’m misconstruing in your expose´.


    1. Re-read the post. My point is the opposite of what you suggest I wrote. Self-survival is not a worthy mission of any charitable organization, large or small. In fact, it is the larger organizations that have drifted more than the smaller (steering a battleship is more arduous than steering a canoe). And it the larger failing organizations that vacuum financial resources from the community to the detriment of the smaller organizations, most of which are doing more targeted, better work.


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