Ruthie Cobb from the Area Arts Round Table Collaboration Committee recently sent me this update about that committee's September meeting. She asked that readers pay special attention to this section:
This event was the first in a series of workshops planned by AART's Collaboration Committee. Response from the participants was positive and most expressed a desire to keep the conversation going. Future workshops are planned to focus on connecting the arts with area businesses and with communities in McLean County.
Here's what else Ruthie had to share:
"The Area Arts Round Table (AART) hosted a workshop for area artists to explore ideas for collaborating with each other and to lay a foundation for future activities. A group of 50 people representing visual arts, dance, theatre, music, and literary arts attended the two-hour event held September 12 at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. The workshop, entitled “Getting Our Arts Together,” also drew educators, administrators and board members from local arts-related organizations, as well as representatives from Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan Universities and Heartland Community College.
"AART facilitator Judy Brown began with a brief introduction to the art of collaboration, followed by comments from several members of the arts community who are already involved in a variety of collaborative ventures. Joel Aalberts, performing arts director for the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, described how his venue works with area schools and the Children’s Discovery Museum to offer multi-stop, one-day field trips. The BCPA has also combined efforts with the Bloomington-Normal Jaycees to host an outdoor concert and a fundraising event.
"Candace Summers, educator at the McLean County Museum of History, discussed the Museum’s collaboration with Evergreen Cemetery and the Illinois Voices Theatre company for the annual Cemetery Walk. Summers also noted that special exhibits at the Museum offer opportunities for partnering with the McLean County Arts Center and a poetry group. Tri-Valley Junior High School students research and create displays about various elements of local and state history that are exhibited at the Museum each year.
"Eaton Gallery owners Herb and Pamala Eaton described their long-running collaboration with other artists who have studios and galleries in Downtown Bloomington. The Around the Corner Art Walk has allowed the public to learn more about the local arts scene, and the artists have gained experience facilitating the annual event. The Gallery has also hosted New Route Theatre’s 'One Shot Deal' theatrical productions once a month since last February.
"Details about the McLean County Dance Association’s collaborative efforts were presented by Judy Brown. Students in McLean County school districts benefit from the dance group’s interactive performances. The organization also takes dance to audiences in area daycare centers, retirement centers, and the McLean County Arts Center.
"Workshop participants were then given time to get acquainted and brainstorm ideas for potential collaboration. Discussion groups were arranged to include perspectives from all artistic disciplines, as well as local educational institutions and arts organizations. Representatives from each group summarized the ideas and concerns. Among the many ideas discussed were ways to offer more public and school outreach opportunities, the inclusion of live music in more theatrical productions, development of standardized agreements for use by collaborators, and the desirability of establishing an arts information clearinghouse. The last item is already on the AART 'to-do' list. Joann Goetzinger of the AART Communication Committee noted that an extensive survey is being prepared to collect detailed information about area arts and venues. The searchable database will be available on an AART website that is also being developed.
"This event was the first in a series of workshops planned by AART's Collaboration Committee. Response from the participants was positive and most expressed a desire to keep the conversation going. Future workshops are planned to focus on connecting the arts with area businesses and with communities in McLean County.
"The Area Arts Round Table is a non-profit organization based at the McLean County Arts Center in Bloomington. Members seek to stimulate arts participation by encouraging cooperation and building leadership in the arts community, and promoting a positive image for the arts as an essential part of the central Illinois culture. For more information about the Area Arts Round Table, contact Doug Johnson at (309) 829-0011."
Collaboration and cooperation as a way of creating critical mass to get all the individual organizations and artists noticed was one of the main themes of last May's "One State Together in the Arts" conference held at the Normal Marriott.