In 2004, ARTWorks for Kids goal was to advocate for increased public funding for the arts. The research showed, however, that political and economic conditions were not right for such a major push, so the coalition decided to focus instead on building the capacity of member organizations to identify and engage major donors.
The ARTWorks coalition hoped that when its work turned to advocacy for public funding, individual donors would leverage their social capital and connections to policymakers.
“Thank you for your relentless reminder that together we can move mountains.”
Executive Director, Raw Art Works
What We Learned
There were challenges to building a cohesive, sustainable, effective coalition, and we gleaned valuable insight from the process:
- Coalitions are cost-effective; the benefits and relationships continue well beyond grant cycles.
- Better leadership of individual organizations
- Creative youth development and artistic practices build trust among organizations, which results in:
- A stronger youth arts sector
- Increased support for youth arts programs
- We are stronger when we work together
Adopt/Adapt in Your Community
Most agree that you can get more done working collaboratively than on your own. Significant advances in society have (almost) never been accomplished by a single individual, no matter how gifted or well-resourced. But partnerships can be hard, particularly when people come to the table with a variety of interests, goals, and fears.
We hope our experience building the ARTWorks coalition, coupled with the workshop ideas and other resources compiled here, will help youth arts leaders and funders in communities nation-wide build their own coalitions to secure sustainable support for youth arts.
“ARTWorks made us think about how we could look at the landscape, and not just figure out how we individually are going to navigate it, but figure out how we are going to change it.”
Former Executive Producer, Actors’ Shakespeare Project