Can Museums Serve Distinct Groups While Also Building a Cohesive Community?

Social Bridging Is Challenging for Arts Organizations and Patrons, But It's Good for Both

Like many organizations, my museum, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, struggles with two conflicting goals.

The museum should be for everyone in our community.

But it’s impossible to do a great job being for everyone. We’re more successful when we target particular communities or audiences and design experiences for them.

How do you reconcile the desire to be inclusive with the practical imperative to target? In the past, I’ve subscribed to the theory that an organization should target many different groups and types of people to serve a constellation …

Audience Engagement Is Not Community Engagement. We Need More of the Latter.

Arts Organizations Should Build Relationships That Aim for Mutual Benefit

Engagement is an important word in the nonprofit arts industry, often paired (at a minimum) with arts, audience, and community. Over the last decade, “engagement” has very nearly become worn …

American Culture’s Unlikely Debt to a British Scientist

A Fortuitous Influx of Cash Launched the Smithsonian’s Earliest Art Collection

In 1835, through an unlikely turn of events, the young United States became the beneficiary of the estate of one James Smithson, a British scientist of considerable means who had …

Coyote as Clown, Cowboy, and Creator

Artist Harry Fonseca Transformed the Native American Folk Figure Into a Commentary on 20th Century Culture

In 2006, during the last few months of his life, the artist Harry Fonseca often spent Sundays in his Santa Fe studio with the curator Patsy Phillips. His ability to …