A Beginning…

The title of the blog is no mystery to most arts people. The periennial effort of most arts organizations is to get butts in the seats–people attending your event.

As mentioned in the “what’s this all about section,” I am an out of work theatre management person seeking to keep his skills relevant, etc. (Though I certainly plan to continue with this project once I become gainfully employed again.) I do a lot of reading already and visit http://www.artsjournal.com/ regularly to keep up on the state of the arts all over the country and world. I avidly read many of the blogs there, including Terry Teachout’s About Last Night and Andrew Taylor’s The Artful Manager.

It is actually Mr. Taylor’s writings that inspired me, in part, to start this blog. I really enjoy a great deal of what I read in his blog and give it a lot of thought. A good deal of what he mentions is theoretical about how things should be done and how concepts that weren’t necessarily created in regard to the arts have implications for the arts.

It all fires my imagination and I try to figure out how I might apply these things in any of the arts organizations I have worked at or may work at in time. Honestly, my first impulse is to email Mr. Taylor and run my thoughts by him. However, he has an Arts Adminstration Program to run and I am sure it wouldn’t be long before he started taking out restraining orders.

So thanks to my internet provider, I remain in Mr. Taylor’s good graces and have an outlet for my thoughts. My real aim is to get some well considered feedback from other folks out there. Some things I will mention in the course of the blog, others I will place in another section as a practical resource of ideas that worked (or didn’t work, but might work for someone else).

My thought is that most arts managers are often too busy thinking about keeping the organization and budget afloat that they don’t have a lot of time to individually do strategic thinking about the future of the organization. When they do recognize that there is a need for change, they often don’t have the luxury of time to think about new approaches and instead fall back on slight variations of what they have done before.

By providing a place where the contributions of many arts managers may be listed and easily accessed, I hope to simulate a sort of communal strategic thinking that will enable people to make a wider variety of choices. If you have a day open to generate new solutions, this may be a place to come find options you may never have devised in a day so that you can spend that day assessing your choices. The danger is that it will become a place to find a quick fix to a problem in order to free up that hypothetical day to deal with other things instead of utilizing it as resource of options due long contemplation and consideration.

As of this writing, that section is empty and these fears and hopes premature. I hope to add some content shortly. If anyone has some ideas, stories to share, or feedback on what you see here, I would like to hear from you at buttsintheseats@mindspring.com

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


2 thoughts on “A Beginning…”

  1. Time Flies

    Somehow it escaped me that my entry on February 23 marked the one year anniversary of my blog. Hopefully I have been generally informative and entertaining in that period. (Here is the first entry from way back when) It has…


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