IDEA workshops for local arts organizations aim to foster community engagement

Many workshops held by the Arts Council of Hillsborough County target professional practices for artists. Now, the ACHC’s focus in an upcoming, free lecture-workshop series called “IDEA in Action: A Series” is on how arts leaders can foster community engagement. 
“This series is brand new. One of the benchmarks in our original strategic plan was a diversity summit to bring more attention to issues of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA). It became very clear that the first piece of this needed to be community engagement because everyone felt that an arts organization needs to be committed to the community or it would not work if there’s no foundation,” says Martine Collier, Executive Director of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County.
Doug Borwick, author of “Building Communities, Not Audiences” will be launching this series Feb. 19-20 with his clear and accessible method for showing what arts organizations need to be doing to be relevant to their communities. A keynote speech “Engage for Success” on the 19th at the Tampa Bay History Center will give way to a hands-on workshop, “Engagement: Making it Real,” on the 20th at the Entrepreneur Collaborative Center in Ybor City. Though these series are free, registration is required due to limited space.
“Board members of arts organizations really should be there to learn about this, as well as arts advocates in the community. This is a very new and different way of thinking about things: an arts organization not just focusing on the art, but the community that’s larger than self-serving,” Collier explains. “I want to see Tampa known even more for its art than it is for its sports.”
The second session of this series will be led by Osubi Craig, the Director of the Center for the Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida. Craig will provide tangible ways to engage better with the community and the pursuit of diversity from May 15-16.
“I’ve only been here for 3 years, but I don’t get a real sense that there’s been a concentration on why this should be done and how it can benefit arts organizations on so many levels, especially when it’s key to funding nowadays. We want these engagement techniques to become very organic and become part of the soul of the organization. Instead of just giving it lip service. they’re making it real,” Collier says. “We’re very excited about the talent and hope this series will continue into the next fiscal year.”
Follow this link to register for the speaker series.  Follow this link to learn more about IDEA in Action.

Read more articles by Caitlin Albritton.

Caitlin Albritton is a freelance writer based in Tampa with a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and a MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. When she's not looking at art throughout town, she can be found making it. You can keep up with her visual art on Instagram @caitlinalbritton or on her website. Visit her recent line of inlay “wearable paintings.”
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