Arts and culture is a core aspect of what it means to be human. Through art, we can build bonds, share stories and come together around creative expression. And yet, despite these benefits, arts and culture is constantly on the defensive. When time is short and money is tight, arts and culture budgets are often the first to go. Nationally, attendance at benchmark cultural activities like theatre and ballet is down and the arts are generally considered a “nicety” rather than a necessity.
With that in mind, Metropolitan Group partnered with Arts Midwest three years ago to launch Creating Connection, an initiative to advance arts and culture as a recognized, valued and expected part of everyday life. In 2014, we underwent an extensive research phase to identify how the arts interact with our lives. Based on these research findings, we created multiple tools and resources, including the Creating Connection Message Guide, which identifies key benefits and other information to help arts and culture organizations activate and engage their audiences. All of these resources are available for free on the Creating Connection website.
Last year, MG travelled to multiple cities across the State of Oregon and worked with seven amazing arts and culture organizations. This year, we are continuing to share our findings and tools with the Oregon arts community. In the coming weeks, we are hosting four day-long trainings in Klamath Falls, The Dalles, Salem, and Astoria on Creating Connection. These trainings offer key insights that will help make creative expression accessible to larger and more diverse audiences. We also are working with six new arts and culture organizations across the state, offering hands-on technical assistance with messaging and programming practices. The full list of Oregon arts organizations we’ve partnered with include:
- Four Rivers Cultural Center (Ontario, OR)
- Museum at Warm Springs (Madras, OR)
- Oregon Symphony (Portland, OR)
- Milagro (Portland, OR)
- Pendleton Center for the Arts (Pendleton, OR)
- Tamástslikt Cultural Institute (Pendleton, OR)
We encourage you to check out our website to learn more about Creating Connection and download our tools and resources. Also, please follow us on social media to keep in touch with us as we continue to make creative expression an integral and expected part of everyday life. Together, through Creating Connection, we can help grow and sustain arts and culture for years to come.