Arts Extension Service cited for 'Best Practices'

September 2010
The Arts Extension Service has been spotlighted by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies' (NASAA) in its bulletin of best practices for a new customer relationship management training targeting local arts agencies in Connecticut's Peer Advisor Network. The program is featured in its "state to state: showcasing state arts agency ingenuity" feature in NASAA Notes. AES director Maren Brown originated and delivered the training.

The Arts Extension Service originated its Peer Advisor Network training over 20 years ago to teach professional arts managers how to advise their counterparts in other cultural organizations. The program develops paraprofessional consultants in response to the increasing need for management assistance services with declining financial resources. Peer advisors are professional managers who are usually not professional consultants, helping other managers in similar organizations. For example, the managing director of a symphony may, after the training, advise her counterpart in a community chorus. The program is intended to complement rather than replace the need for professional management consulting. The program continues to be taught by Peer Advising Network originator, Craig Dreeszen, who is also a former director of AES.

This year, AES worked with the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, the state arts agency in Connecticut, to develop a new system for administering this statewide program using a web-based customer relationship management system. AES director Maren Brown designed and taught a series of training programs on the subject to local arts agencies working in five regional arts agencies throughout the state of Connecticut. The program has led to significant improvements in the administration and management of the program, and several other state arts agencies have expressed interest in the new system.

Brown also recently conducted an evaluation training for arts managers in Raleigh, No.Carolina on behalf of the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake Counties, and at the annual retreat of state arts agency community development coordinators in Baltimore. The AES training provides arts managers with the information they need to better evaluate the effectiveness of their programs.

More Information contact the Arts Extension Service or call 413-545-2360.