Modulating the Flow

A few years back I was reflecting on a study that found arts administrators sought online data and learning opportunities that were relevant to the challenges they face. The problem, as you might imagine, is that they didn’t feel there was enough time in the day to sit down and read articles, much less seek them out. They wanted some sort of information delivery system, but didn’t quite know what those tools looked like.

At the time, I had the insight that this was the same challenge many potential audience members faced. People who may not have participated or attended arts events, upon maturing personally and financially, might desire to start becoming involved but don’t know where to learn about doing so.

At the time my suspicion was that whatever delivery system solved the arts administrators’ problem could probably be used to provide information to audiences.

But now, 6-7 years on, I am not sure a solution as arrived for either group. If anything, the situation has become even more difficult due to need to choose from among a greater proliferation of choices. There is far more information flowing from arts bloggers, forum discussion groups and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. But there are no consolidated, dependable sources of information to tap into. The individual must attempt to curate their own information.

Even though I am judicious in who I follow on Twitter and via my news reader, it is often all I can do to keep up with the flow of information coming to me. If I weren’t motivated both by a desire for professional development and material to blog about, I think I might give up on making a serious effort to stay current.

But your mileage may vary as they say. If anyone has found a method to gain the professional guidance and information they seek and not become overwhelmed by the experience, please share it.

Likewise, if you know of a good resource for audiences seeking orientation about the arts that doesn’t condescend, let me know as well.

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 ( 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. (

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 “Modulating the Flow”

  1. Perhaps we’ll see a new type of job, ‘data concierge’. Someone who provides highly curated information for a very specialized target, maybe as a blog or subscription service. Sure, that sounds like any regular blog or magazine, but this would be very selective and targeted information, with input from the client on what information was truly needed. Most of what we read now has a less than 30% ROI, considering the ads and items not relevant to our specific needs. This might be an evolution of the research assistant, becoming a freelance, specialty service.


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