Sustainability is Neither Reaching for Relevance nor Selling Out. It’s More Important than That.

Ginsu

The art of sustainability in arts charities is akin to performing a balance beam routine on a Ginsu knife.  You can sacrifice mission for dollars or dollars for mission, but even if you maintain a perfect balance, there will still be substantial blood on both sides.

We talk way too much about relevance in the arts. The tag in the back of the shirt is relevant for a description of content and washing instructions, but the design of the shirt can reveal personal characteristics of the wearer. Let’s aim higher. How about “integral”?

Integral arts charities are those that are so entwined with other charities that they become essential to the health of the community. “Integral” obviates this useless discussion of relevance and moves us to the more useful question:

How do the arts make communities thrive?

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