Special Announcement June 2021

Cat 1 square

June 16, 2021

Kjipuktuk/Halifax, NS – It is with bittersweet sentiment that Strategic Arts Management announces the departure of Dr. Cat MacKeigan, our Director of External Operations since 2014.

Cat (they/them) is moving on from SAM to assume the role of Executive Director of Theatre Nova Scotia. The remaining staff and board members could not be more thrilled for Cat and their exciting new position. While a loss for our own organization, it is certainly a win for theatre in the province! Read the Theatre NS announcement here.

Those who came to know Cat during their time with SAM know them to be a passionate, knowledgeable, and highly capable administrator and leader. There is no doubt they will bring that same passion and commitment to their work at TNS and help the organization and sector navigate the return of live performing arts following COVID-19 shutdowns. TNS could not be in better hands!

“I speak for all of us when I say how grateful we are for the incredible dedication, tenacity, professionalism and vision Cat has brought to SAM over the years. Personally, I have never known SAM without Cat, and I know how much colleagues, Bruce, Erin, and Karen will miss them – as will we all. We are so delighted for Cat and excited to see how they will grow and transform Theatre Nova Scotia over the years to come!” says SAM Board Chair, Martine Durier-Copp.

Cat will be transitioning out of their role at SAM over the coming weeks, with full-departure planned for mid-July 2021. The SAM Board will meet and determine next steps for staffing in the coming weeks.

“As I depart from my role of Director – External Relations from SAM, I think about the achievements we have had over my six years with the organization. During this time, I’ve contributed to the development of the non-profit, the people involved, and Nova Scotia’s arts sector – precisely as the SAM mandate directs – and I am grateful for these opportunities. SAM’s multidisciplinary provincial scope and business model are unique to the organization and have been wonderful to work within. I know firsthand SAM is a valuable resource for our professional arts community, and the people in it are doing important work. I have enjoyed getting to know these folks and consider them not only colleagues but friends. Though I will miss my time at SAM, I will be just down the hall in my new role as the Executive Director at Theatre Nova Scotia. I am confident there are great things to come for our arts sector, and SAM will continue to be a vital support in those activities.”

We are so proud of Cat and look forward to the great things they will accomplish in their new role with TNS. Please join us in congratulating them on this exciting appointment!

Meet the Board: Martine Durier-Copp

Martine Durier-Copp | SAM Board Chair

Dr. Martine Durier-Copp is multi-lingual academic administrator currently serving as the Acting Vice President, Academic and Research at NSCAD University. She also serves as a member of the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council. Martine is a passionate arts champion and practitioner. She is the Artistic Director of Flamenco en Rouge (a long-time SAM Client). We are so lucky and thankful to have Martine’s brilliance, enthusiasm, and kindness at our Board table.

How did you come to be connected with SAM?

Prior to joining the board, I had heard of the wonderful work being done by SAM, of course. So when I was invited by then Chair, Nancy Morgan, to join the board, I couldn’t refuse! I am so fortunate to be current Chair, inspired by a very dynamic and committed Board and a staff powerhouse!

What has been your favourite arts/culture experience?

As artistic director/dancer/choreographer of Flamenco en Rouge, my favourite arts/culture experience has been my annual (until 2021!) trip to Southern Spain (Jerez de la Frontera – the capital of flamenco!) to completely immerse myself in the flamenco culture for a month every year. These four weeks are a totally immersive experience of daily classes, practice sessions, attendance at performances, both formal (in theatres and tablaos – flamenco taverns) and informal (at peñas, or flamenco clubs, or at local flamencos’ homes), as well as research at the Centro andaluz del flamenco ( the most complete flamenco library and videography centre in the world).

I have been making this annual trip for close to twenty years, and it is truly restorative from a creative, spiritual, mental and physical health perspective, as I walk the beautiful streets and beaches of Andalucía, breathing in the beauty, history and culture!

You can catch Martine and the rest of the members of Flamenco en Rouge at Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 this coming December!

What is your favourite SAM memory?

One of my favourite SAM memories was the consultation project we undertook as a Board this past fall – reaching out to our clients and consultants – and learning about their experiences under Covid and how SAM had helped them navigate through troubled and complex waters.
 

Why do you feel the arts are important to society? A self-taken image of Martine wearing a voluminous blue velvet scarf with water and some small boats in the background.

The arts are the lifeline of society – how society sees and expresses itself –  they also constitute a critical socio-economic component of our culture – through the creative economy.  I have had the good fortune of having had a culturally and artistically rich and diverse life since childhood, as my Mother was a painter, and I grew up surrounded by her passionate canvases,   through my studies of music and musicology, attendance at concerts and performances, and through my own dance practice. The arts have nourished me and sustained me!!

What are your hopes for SAM’s future?

My vision for SAM involves it playing an essential role in the reconstruction of the arts post-COVID, in providing artists with skills, know-how and resources to rebuild their practices, audiences, and regain the confidence and momentum to move forward.

Want to meet more of the fabulous folks behind SAM? 

Subscribe to our monthly SAM Roundup to get Board Member Spotlights directly in your inbox!

How do I plan for my arts organization during the pandemic?

How do I plan for my arts organization during the pandemic?

Updated: May 2021 

Here we are – over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic – once again in lockdown. If there’s one thing the past year has taught us, it’s that everything can change in an instant and planning is nearly impossible. All you can do is make your best guesses, listen to the best guesses of those around you and then go from there.  

Here are our best guesses: 

Learn about scenario planning

At a time like this it’s impossible to know when our sector will return to ‘regular’ operations, what that will even look like, and how long it will last. With a combination of uncertainties like that, naturally stress, anxiety, and a loss of control are common feelings running rampant in the arts sector. To help mitigate the feeling of helplessness and remember that despite how grim things may feel now, this too shall pass, give scenario planning a try.

Scenario planning is a cousin to strategic planning, however it’s much more broad and flexible (as in, no hard three- or five-year timelines). In a nutshell, scenario planning invites organizations to forecast possible outcomes of current events (based in present-day fact) and consider how those scenarios may impact the organization – both positively and negatively.

AEA Consulting and the Wallace Foundation in the USA have completed a useful overview and a free toolkit to help get you started (and even if you don’t do the whole exercise, it’s still pretty calming and inspiring to read about the many ways in which this pandemic may be changing the arts industry for the better).

Now may be a great time to focus on development work. 

It’s just not possible right now to pack spaces with lots of patrons. So, depending on your situation, now may not be the right moment to invest your time and money into live performances that just won’t be able to turn a profit. Instead, invest your valuable time and effort into developing long term projects that you’ve never been able to focus on… until now! 

UPDATE: If your activities were impacted by the April 2021 shutdowns, check to see if you’re eligible for small business support from the provincial government, such as the Small Business Impact Grant Part 3.

There is less money to go around.

It might feel a bit obvious at this point, but the expectation should be that over the next few years, the earned revenue side of things, including grants and donations, will be impacted, maybe even by a lot. People, organizations and governments will have less money to give for the next little while the economy recovers. So take some small solace in that everybody is in a similar boat, and we all need to adjust our expectations and rethink our strategies – together. 

For more informationcheck out our page of COVID-19 resources for artists – updated for May 2021.

If you want to gather people together - be prepared to adapt.

While all patron-organization relationships are unique in their own way, statistically speaking they are all similar enough that you can get a pretty good estimate of how your audience is feeling without spending a bunch of time and staff hours on running your own survey. Check out these national audience survey results and/or reach out to your local colleagues who have run feedback surveys already to get useful data you can use to make your decisions.

ALSO: provided it’s permissible to gather in person, make sure you have a COVID-19 Safety and Prevention plan that adheres to the provincial sector-specific guidelines for live arts and cultural events.

Step back and reflect on how you want to connect with your audience.

There are so many people out there who are finding with new and exciting ways to present their work. Try getting inspired by the work of those in your area to get ideas if you are feeling a bit stuck. You could also try collaborating with artists in different fields, presenting your work online, investing in your social media, or asking your online community to contribute to a collective project. 

Nova Scotia needs its artists, so keep reaching out and the community will respond.  

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#SAMspotlight on Kinetic Studio

#SAMspotlight on Kinetic Studio

#SAMSPOTLIGHT #THESAMBLOG

This episode of the #SAMspotlight series features Liliona Quarmyne, the Artistic Director of Kinetic Studio, a non-profit organization dedicated to the creation, development and presentation of contemporary dance. Liliona shares with us how Kinetic strives to adapt to the needs of dance artists – especially during a global pandemic – and how they are working to grow the representation and diversity of artists in Nova Scotia’s contemporary dance sector.

See more from the #SAMspotlight series.

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“More than ever our priority is around building spaces in the dance world for new, more diverse voices.”

Learn more about Kinetic Studio by visiting their website.

~~~

This short video was filmed on the east coast of Canada in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. This is a part of Mi’kma’ki, the unceded and unsurrendered land of the Mi’kmaq People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship,” which Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) people first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with the surrender of lands and resources but recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations. 

Please learn about the treaties across Turtle Island and in your area at https://native-land.ca/  

~~~ 

Music Credit:

Shizuka by AERØHEAD | https://soundcloud.com/aerohead
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…

Snowfall by Scott Buckley | https://soundcloud.com/scottbuckley​
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com​
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…

After The Rain by Vlad Gluschenko | https://soundcloud.com/vgl9
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…

~~

Video by SAM Content Creation Intern Adriana Loewen

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What comes first when I’m starting a business plan?

What comes first when I start planning for my business?

#Businessplanningbasics #thesamblog

So you’ve decided to kick your dream up a notch and start working on a business plan. You open the blank document, your fingers are on the keyboard… now what?  
Here’s what SAM has to say:  

Start with figuring out your revenue sources…

First things first, you need to know the reasonable places where you can get revenue. Generally, in arts organizations, there is revenue from ticket sales, program advertising, registration fees, that kind of thing. But don’t forget about the other less glamorous side of things, like asking for money with grant proposals and fundraising. When you are starting out, you generally can’t afford to skip on one of your possible sources of revenue. So focus up – finding out your revenue sources tells you where to put your efforts so that you can take off.  

… then figure out how much revenue is realistic in the first few years… 

Next, you’ve got to look at the numbers and find out what’s a realistic revenue target. And you have to do your research first. So rather than kind of just saying, well, we’ll sell $10,000 worth of tickets, it is far more worthwhile to go to similar companies and figure out how much money they generate through ticket sales and other revenue sources. So grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and ask those with a bit more experience what you should be expecting before you write down a random number.  

… and then move on to project planning. 

The first two steps were all about getting your foundations right, and making sure your expectations are realistic. Don’t be so pessimistic that you don’t even try to build your dream business, but keep your early goals manageable so you can achieve them and gain momentum. Then, from that solid foundation, you can see which projects to start with and where you should be investing your time, money and effort.  

It may feel counterintuitive to build in this way. You have this idea for your organization’s first project and all you want to do is make the project work, no matter the cost… but hold on. Consider taking it slow. Consider working up to your ultimate dream project over a few years. Why? Because then you can work up your organization’s resources and connections so that your project (and your organization) makes a bigger impact. 

Plan and build with intention. And if you start to struggle with your strategic plan, you know who to call. (hint: it’s us!)

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Cat MacKeigan, PhD

General Info

Additional Expertise

Areas of Consultation

More About Cat

Cat MacKeigan is active behind the scenes in the arts and cultural sector and the 2SLGBTQ+ community in Nova Scotia. With over 15 years of experience working within and reporting on cultural policy, government-cultural relations, and innovations in economic development through the arts, Cat brings a novel perspective and queer voice to conversations around arts management, public policy, and institutional relations. Their cultural research and management practice bridges the gap between artistic practice and public policy interest. 

Cat regularly leads and collaborates on various research projects under the umbrellas of cultural, economic, and community development. These projects include strategic planning, program evaluation, governance reorganization, grants preparation, human resources management, communication plans, organizational review, change management, and economic impact analysis. Cat also works as an arts manager, teaches courses in technical theatre, cultural policy, and government policy towards business, and keeps active in their artistic practice through production management, technical theatre, live-streaming, and producing within the performing arts. Their practical experience in the arts is directly linked to their drive for capacity building in the cultural sector and across the Queer community through values-sharing, mutual understanding, and a shared experience base with other individuals.

Cat has multiple degrees including a Bachelor of Arts (honors) in Theatre (Bishop’s University, 2005), a Master of Public Administration (Dalhousie University, 2008), and an Interdisciplinary PhD with a focus on cultural policy (Dalhousie University, 2020). They have presented their research at regional, national, and international conferences. Select notable conference invitations include the BIA Conference in Campus Künzelsau, Germany (2019), the Creative City Conference in Halifax, NS (2017), TILT City in Vancouver, BC (2015), and Metropolis (2011) in Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal.

In their interdisciplinary doctoral study at Dalhousie University, Cat opened the field of public administration to investigate the institutional and organizational structures of arts support provided by the Nova Scotia Government and associated cross-sector relationships. They introduced a critical analysis of public policy administration and the consequences of this organization for how professional artists know and do their work. Through this institutional ethnographic research, Cat uncovered and examined policy consequences that contribute to an administrative skills deficit within the professional arts sector, high levels of burnout across arts administrators, and challenges experienced by artists, cultural organizations, and governing agencies when reporting on policy outcomes. Cat also identified policy and programming recommendations to effectively address these challenges that meet both the sector and the department’s interest.

Tips for Successful Grant Writing: Part 2

Tips for Successful Grant Writing: Part 2

#grantwritingbasics #thesamblog

And we are back for part 2 of our grant writing tips (did you miss part 1? Read it here!)! These general tips were collected from our team of expert consultants, so that you can write a great grant proposal and get the results you need.  

Ask for the money you need and make a case for that amount.  

Don’t feel guilty for asking for money.  Your work is valuable, and you should ask for the money you need in order to do this work, pay everyone appropriately, and get paid yourself. 

Keep the audience in mind.  

Remember who you are speaking to. Jury members are fellow artists like you. They run organizations like you, and they have challenges like you. They want to hear your vision and your plans, and they want to believe in your project. You may even know some of them! So be positive about the community around you and try to avoid speaking negatively about others. You never know who might be reading your proposal.  

Use high quality, engaging demo work and supplementary material.  

Ensuring that your grant proposal looks professional is really important – and it isn’t just about looks and catching the attention of the jury. It is also about showing them that you are confident and professional. You want people to take your ideas seriously and believe that you can achieve your goals. And one way to communicate that is to present the whole package beautifully and with confidence. Take your material seriously and others will too! 

Ready to get going on your grant?

 SAM is here to help on every step of the way! Check out our Funding Calendar to see important deadlines from multiple funding bodies all in one place, and then take a look at our expert consultants to see who could give your application that extra boost!
 

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Now Playing: #SAMspotlight on ViBeat Dance

Now Playing: #SAMspotlight on ViBeat Dance

#SAMSPOTLIGHT #THESAMBLOG

In our latest episode of the #SAMspotlight series, we sit down with our client ViBeat Dance Studio‘s AD Darshini Shah to talk about the communicative power of dance, the company’s journey since launching in 2015, and her strong commitment to anti-bullying and teaching empathy through arts and culture.

See more from the #SAMspotlight series.

~~~

“[ViBeat] is an extension of me, Darshini Shah. It is my happy place and a welcoming environment for all ages, races, beliefs, and abilities. Dance is for everyone and instills self-confidence that not many other mediums can do.”

Learn more about ViBeat by visiting their website.

~~~

This short video was filmed on the east coast of Canada in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. This is a part of Mi’kma’ki, the unceded and unsurrendered land of the Mi’kmaq People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship,” which Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) people first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with the surrender of lands and resources but recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations. 

Please learn about the treaties across Turtle Island and in your area at https://native-land.ca/  

~~~ 

Music Credit:

Shizuka by AERØHEAD | https://soundcloud.com/aerohead
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…

After The Rain by Vlad Gluschenko | https://soundcloud.com/vgl9
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…

~~

Video by SAM Content Creation Intern Adriana Loewen

Looking for more #SAMspotlight videos?

Follow us on your favourite social media site and be the first to know when our next video is released.

3 quick website updates for 2021

3 quick (and easy!) website updates for 2021

#artsadmintips #communicationbasics#thesamblog

We at SAM like to think of our website as our “online home” and just like a real home, it needs regular tidying and maintaining – especially after the holidays! 

Here are three quick things you can do to make sure your arts website is in tip-top shape for 2021:

1) Update the year in your copyright footer

Often overlooked and forgotten* the website copyright footer is a small but important aspect of any website – especially for a website where you’re marketing your work. A current-year footer reminds visitors that the content on your website is protected by copyright and also tells them at a glance that information on your website is current and maintained.

Don’t know what a copyright footer is? If you scroll down to the very bottom of this page, you’ll see ours which reads: © 2021 Strategic Arts Management. If you’re totally unfamiliar with copyright, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office has a great guide to copyright in Canada you can check out here.

If you don’t know how to update your website’s footer yourself, try Google-searching the name of the Content Management System (CMS) you use to maintain your website and “copyright footer” to find a tutorial (ex: WordPress copyright footer, Squarespace copyright footer). If you want to add the copyright symbol to your footer, you can copy and paste the following: ©   or type it yourself by holding Option and hitting the g-key on a Mac or holding Alt and typing 0169 on the number pad on PC.

*Seriously – if we had a nickel for every website (arts-based or not) we’ve seen with a copyright footer 2+ years out of date, we could probably offer free services for a month!

2) Take a look at your “About” and “Staff” pages

2020 changed a lot of things in the arts and the world. No doubt you/your company was affected in some way, shape, or form. Make sure your “About” page reflects the adaptations you may’ve made to weather the pandemic and ensure you direct visitors onwards from the page to other pages and/or social channels where they’re able to engage with your activities.

Tip: “About” = current. It’s what you’re doing now. If you want to talk about your history, make a new page or section where you share that information.

Knowing who’s behind the organization helps visitors connect to you/your organization in a more personal way. Making sure you have current headshots and bios is an easy way to fulfill that goal AND, as a bonus, you can re-use bios and headshots to create a “meet our staff” campaign on social media!

3) Refresh your landing page

It’s a new year, time for some new pictures! Whether you use a slider or static images, it’s nice to change things up to keep imagery current and applicable to your activities. It’s also a great chance to shine the spotlight on your most recent activities or encourage visitors to check out your social channels.

You could also explore new layout options or copy text if you have feedback/analytics data saying your current setup isn’t user-friendly.

If any of this seems outside your skillset, don’t be afraid to ask for help!

SAM has consultants who specialize in web design and development who would be happy to help you tackle tidying up your online home. Reach out today to get started.

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Colleen MacIsaac (they/them)

General Info

Artistic Disciplines

Areas of Consultation

More About Colleen

Colleen is a multi-disciplinary freelance artist based in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. Former Managing Director of 2b theatre company and Chair of the Board of the Bus Stop Theatre Co-op, Colleen is the current Artistic Producer of the Villains Theatre. Winner of the Bhayana Invisible Champion Award and the Halifax Mayor’s Award for Emerging Theatre Artist, Colleen’s work in comics has been nominated for national awards, their short animated films have featured in festivals on four continents, and they have worked as an illustrator and graphic designer for over a decade. A graduate of Emily Carr University, Colleen’s training in theatre has largely been acquired through trying things, making mistakes, and attempting to learn from those mistakes.