Disciplined improvisation – learning to create something original within the parameters of existing convention – is a foundation for creative inquiry and a call to action for 21st Century Curators:
As arts groups look more deeply into their communities for legitimacy and creative material, they will require artistic leaders (i.e., curators) with different skill sets. Curators will be called upon not only to select and organize arts programs, but to diagnose need in their communities, seek out new and unusual settings for their work, forge partnerships with a wide array of disparate stakeholders, and, in some cases, cede a certain amount of artistic control in order to gain broader impact.
The need for arts-based interdisciplinary thinking is not just an academic mandate. Shifting patterns of cultural tastes are deconstructing long-held definitions of art forms. As culture becomes more and more of a mash-up of genres and forms, the public has become more interested in artistic work that crosses boundaries (e.g., Cirque do Soleil). This is a wonderful but scary opportunity for arts groups, especially multi-disciplinary presenters, who must now consider breaking free of organizational and disciplinary silos and grow more comfortable programming cross-genre and inter-disciplinary work.
The Hop at Dartmouth learned how to be more explicit with communication strategies, both with the visiting artists and with their public messaging about the initiative. During the Hop’s mid-point assessment, partners encouraged them to be bolder about the programmatic connections within Class Divide. Once the Hop explained their rationale behind the involvement of certain artists and guests, it became clearer to participants that there was intentionality behind all facets of the project. It was noted that the Class Divide logo was an important signifier for many partners as well.
Faculty meeting/discussion of central hub role of Dartmouth’s presenter and summary of working with multiple faculty/community partners to increase impact: