Arts Council 101 – GFAC History IV

Definition: Arts Council: A service agency established to foster the health and growth of arts and cultural programming within their defined service area. All disciplines of the arts are included: Music, Dance, Literature, Theater and Visual Arts.

Greetings! For the past few years GFAC has been involved in a capacity building program called BEST (Building Equity Sustainability and Trust). BEST has assisted us in evaluating ourselves, allowing others to evaluate us, improving our technology, strategic planning and assessing our capacity to grow.

One of the recurring themes from our research is that most people have a high opinion of GFAC, but they do not fully understand our mission. We have created this column to educate our members and others who may read this publication, so you may be our ambassadors.

“When we left our herion and hero, we discovered they were harboring a deep dark secret…”

Through the strategic planning process, a community assessment identified four areas where arts programming and support were needed. Some re-affirmed those identified at the Where’s Art Conferences a decade earlier. These areas would become the recipe for the next decade of successful programming for GFAC.
1) Support for Local Artists
a. Paying professional work in their chosen fields
b. Venues to showcase their products
c. Balance of support/programs between visual and performing arts
2) Support for Local Arts Agencies
a. Continuous dialogue
b. Funding initiatives
c. Collaborations
d. Audience development
3) Arts Education
a. K-12 education programs involving professional artists
b. Summer programs for youth
4) Marketing
a. Public involvement as creators
b. Public involvement as audience
It is also significant that all Greater Flint Arts Council existing programs and services fit neatly into these four categories.

1. Support for Local Artists

GFAC re-instated their exhibiting artists series and set up a gallery in their studio space at the Capitol Theater. One of the many people who began to collaborate with GFAC was Carlos Perez, Director of Student Life at the University of Michigan-Flint. Mr. Perez and Mr. Fiedler began a program to draw attention to the Flint gallery scene and collaborated with eight agencies to create the “Tax Day Gallery Hop” on April 15, 1994. From 6pm to 9pm several thousand visitors wandered between Flint Institute of Arts, Mott Community College Fine Arts Gallery, Whaley Historical House, Left Bank Gallery, Buckham Gallery, Citizens Bank Downtown Headquarters, University of Michigan-Flint UCEN Gallery and Greater Flint Arts Council. Each location featured exhibitions, catered food and live entertainment. It was discovered that when we all open together we each served a larger audience. We also learned that by pairing the visual and performing arts we were able to increase attendance.

A new committee was formed in response to the GFAC Strategic Plan, Public Relations and Marketing. This committee, using the “Gallery Hop” as a template created ARTWALK and a marketing plan to increase gallery attendance throughout the downtown Flint area.

Keep an eye out for the August issue of Where’s Art where the GFAC story will continue.

Greg Fiedler