The buying and selling of art – especially contemporary art – has been in the news a lot lately. In May, Christie’s sold over $1 billion of art in just three days. Rival Sotheby’s did well too; its 63 lots of contemporary American art sold for an average of over $6 million each, totaling over $380 million.
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In the world of memes, mashups, popups and flash mobs, is there still a place for the traditional cultural arts? A panel convened to discuss that for Campbell & Company’s recent webinar, The Future of the Arts: Strategies for Sustainability. Joining the discussion were Robert Alpaugh, Senior Consultant at Campbell & Company; Carroll Joynes, Co-Founder and Director of the Cultural Policy Center, Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago; and Ben Cameron, Program Director of the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
In the May-June edition of the American Associations of Museums' (AAM) MUSEUM, author Carl G. Hamm, Deputy Director, Development and External Affairs at Saint Louis Art Museum, and immediate past chair, AAM DAM, discusses the high turnover rate among museums' chief development officers and the lack of quality chief development officer candidates.
According to a recent study conducted by a national consulting firm, the top development post at more than 25 percent of the art museums holding membership in the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) were either vacant or in the process of being hired. Additionally, the survey revealed that the average tenure of a chief development officer with an organization is 18 to 24 months. As a result, the development position in museums is becoming a "short-term enterprise rather than a strategic institution function".
Mr. Hamm sees various reasons causing this issue. Most important among them:
- Projects for speedy fund generation as apposed to a long-term sustainable philanthropic-driven program development.
- Unrealistic expectation of raising a big sum of funds in a short time frame.
- Exclusion of accomplished mid-level professionals in grant writing, event management, gift officers, planned giving specialists, membership managers, and campaign managers from the organization’s overall budgeting discussions.
Possible solutions voiced among the leading industry minds include:
- Differentiation between programs designed to generate fast cash and those philanthropic relationships that sustain organizations in the long term.
- A better understanding of the role philanthropy plays in the life of the organization.
- Willingness to generate earned revenues in a more innovative and entrepreneurial way.
- Establishment of realistic expectations from the new chief development officer to produce successful programs.
- Inclusion of mid-level talent into the discussions about the ongoing matters of the organization.
- Encouragement of the continuous professional growth among aspiring professionals.
For questions about how to retain your top talent, contact Marian Alexander DeBerry.
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