Friday, February 26, 2010

The Fine Arts Fund Refuses To Have a Public Dialogue

After trying to engage in a discussion about supporting the arts throughout Greater Cincinnati, the Fine Arts Fund has told me personally they have no intentions of having a public discussion with me.

I've been informed, by phone, the Fine Arts Fund is not interested in participating in any of my blog discussions and refuses to respond to any Twitter queries in public.

Being an advocate for the arts is about inviting more people to the a public table.


caltraveler said...

Certainly makes me think twice about supporting the FAF. I mean, if they want support from the public, they should put themselves out there with the public.

Unknown said...

kathy, is there a specific topic that you want to discuss with them? i am not awfully familiar with their organization.

Me said...

Specifically, I am concerned they reject a public discussion about the arts. The only people at their table are people who pay for a seat.

When I tried to engage in a discussion on Twitter by asking a basic question about how the FAF may be able to better support smaller art organizations by offering either training in social networking or have the FAF practice strategic social networking for all of the smaller art organizations (the larger ones "the big eight" have people to do this), they seem astounded I would front of everyone.

When I put the question out there in public, their response was posted, they would never have such a discussion with me publicly. They said I should have contacted them privately with such a question.

They don't seem to accept art as a subject for a public discussion.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the Fine Arts Fund's primary function to raise money? I'd rather see their staff focused on raising money than dedicating a staff person to train small arts orgs on how to use social media, which is pretty easy to figure out for oneself. And, I hardly think Twitter is the best place for a real discussion of anything. Can you really have a good dialogue that is based on swapping 150-character statements?

Me said...

I agree training may not be necessary for Twitter, but introducing and encouraging our local arts organizations to use it or providing resources to do so is more critical than you may think.

Yes, the "only 140-character" comment is a fun one to make, but the truth is every single major art organization in the world is on Twitter and you know what? They are all engaged in a pretty fruitful international discussion about the arts. It is absolutely destructive to the local arts, artists, and art organizations to not be part of this discussion.

If the FAF wants to present itself as a group supporting the arts, the first place it should start is engaging in a global discussion. Failure to support interest to remain safely cloistered is nothing but harmful to the arts.

Everyone knows that art is not created in a vacuum. Even Margie Waller will tell you art is everywhere, but if the FAF doesn't support our local art organization's participation in this international discussion, then they don't support the arts.

Anonymous said...

Was it Ronald Reagan who said "I paid for this microphone" in some NH primary debate.

apparently that is the attitude of the folks who divide up the FAF pie.

A.C. Frabetti said...

Because of their role in the community here, no non-profit can raise a hand to challenge them. It would mean being at risk of not being funded. Is it truly necessary to have a FAF? Are the finances fairly distrubted? (I have heard complaints from the KY side.) Would we be bette off with or without them? It is a big topic and I am glad you are giving it your strong voice.

Unknown said...

This is where interest and information is shared. I can't imagine why you wouldn't participate. Isn't art suppose to be in the forefront of these movements? If not,then maybe the art isn't what it used to be. I lovwe the arts and think it should be shared!

Genevieve Stephenson said...

I've had no problems with communicating with the FAF - they've always been very willing to answer any questions I've had in the past. Perhaps they just don't want to be associated with monikers with a negative connotation such as "snob." But not answering questions privately doesn't make sense to me since they always respond to me.

Me said...

They have no problem talking privately to me. The issue is their refusal to take on the issues in a public forum.

Unknown said...

As a person that runs a small arts organization, I made the comment at an Ohio Arts Council strategic planning session that I could sure use some training on utilizing social media. The funny thing is, it has been the work that the Fine Arts Fund has done (specifically Margy Waller’s work) in social media that has been my inspiration in realizing the power of this relatively new medium! The Fine Arts Fund does great work. Our arts organization has benefited from many programs that they provide specifically for smaller organizations (other than funding).
By the way, it was really nice meeting you at the OAC session, Kathy! I am glad to know about your site, and the work you do for the arts!

Me said...

Julie, your question was what encouraged me to ask this question here and on Twitter. I do think it is funny...not humorous, but odd that the FAF has a pretty strong presence on Twitter (Facebook, blogging, Flickr or Tumblr)yet has not found a way to make sure you and your arts org to use social media.

The FAF obviously knows the power of social media. Again, it is the sharing of this power that is the heart of my issue with the FAF. This is just another example of how the FAF wishes to maintain control of the local discussion.

Cincinnati Public Relations said...


Jackie Reau from Game Day Communications here.

I found your blog via a Google Alert on social media and Cincinnati and am intrigued by the comments here.

I would like to clear up some misunderstandings.

Over the past year, I have presented four different presentations on social media to large and small arts organizations in our region. All of these were hosted by the Fine Arts Fund and I provided my time at no charge.

So what type of discussion are you looking to have with the Fine Arts Fund?

Thanks in advance for your reply.


Me said...

Hello Jackie, I'm not looking to have a specific discussion at all. I simply asked the question about the FAF's work to help small art orgs to use social networking. I asked the questions in an open forum (on Twitter).

Receiving my public queries as rude (because they were public and not made via a private phone call or email), the response from someone at the FAF was quite simply, "I will not have this discussion with you in public."

So my general question is why not engage in the public discussion? If the FAF is in fact helping our small organizations to use social networking, why do't they simply say so?