Public Value Breakout Sessions
NASAA Fall Leadership Institute, Orlando, Florida
November 12 and 13, 2004
Welcome: Jonathan Katz (Executive Director, NASAA)
Presenters: Tim Hedgepeth (Executive Director, MS)
Mollie Lakin-Hayes (Assistant Director, AZ)
Arni Fishbaugh (Executive Director, MT)
Cinda Holt (Business Development Specialist, MT)
Respondents: Representative Suzanne Kosmas (FL)
Representative Nancy Detert (FL)
The State Arts Partnership for Cultural Participation Creating Public Value
(START) is a public-private initiative between state [Mark Moore, Kennedy School of
Government, Harvard University]
arts agencies and the Wallace Foundation. In 2001,
Wallace awarded grants totaling $8.7 million to 13 Understanding Participation: Public Value
state arts agencies to develop their knowledge and [Arizona Commission on the Arts]
capacities in two key areas: arts participation and
An Introduction to Creating and
public value. Recognizing Public Value for the Arts
[California Arts Council]
The public value work of START has grown from a Building Arts Participation in Rural
Harvard curriculum that examines how government America: The Montana Story
[Montana Arts Council]
agencies can be responsive to their authorizing
environments and can align their standards, missions Clusters of Creativity: Innovation and
Growth in Montana
and operations to the delivery of public benefits. With [Montana Arts Council]
Mark Moore leading a faculty team from Harvard’s
Kennedy School of Government, START states have
been integrating public value principles into their
planning, program design, case-making and decision-
Three strategic dimensions of the state arts agency’s environment:
• the authorizing environment (those who control resources and perceptions, providing
legitimacy and support)
• public value (benefits to and effects on the public, why what we do is beneficial; where
our mission lives)
• operating environment (capacities, resources and partners)
Public value is a multi-layered and kinetic concept. No “one size fits all” approach will work.
Creating and articulating our public value changes within our environment.
Public value affects everything that SAAs do: planning, program design, service delivery, case
making and relationship building. It is a framework that includes, but is not limited to, advocacy
and lobbying. In case-making work, be sure to differentiate between advocacy (presenting
information, making a case) and lobbying (attempting to influence legislation).
MONTANA ARTS COUNCIL CASE STUDY
The Montana Arts Council’s primary constituent is the public. The focus has shifted away from
providing “services” to providing value.
Public value to Montana = A principle, ideal, service or product that is intrinsically valuable to
state citizens and therefore is desirable and worthy of state investment.
Montana has identified key players in their authorizing environment—which consists of
legislators, the governor, and economic development and tourism leaders—and developed
strategies for personal relationship-building and listening.
A tool was created that consisted of a series of questions, which became the basis for a two-part
“listening tour.” This tour was the first of two planned meetings conducted by council members
and/or key staff. Once the priorities of the authorizer were established, then a follow-up meeting
was planned to directly address those priorities. The second “listening tour” was conducted as a
team of three:
• A person with a connection to the authorizer
• A person with the facts
• A person with a compelling story
From the tour, a series of themes emerged. One was that entrepreneurship is a shared value
between the arts sector and our authorizers. (Concern about our existence leads to becoming
creative entrepreneurs, which is how the arts world has always operated.) Another was about the
need for language that made explicit the public benefits of our work. The arts council
subsequently began to communicate in stories rather than facts, and developed a plan based
around public value, highlighting the importance of building relationships and using language
that emphasizes the connections between the work of the arts council and the needs/values of
authorizers and citizens. For instance:
• Grants are now expressed as “investments”
• Grantees are considered partners in building public value and are called “service
• Operating support “supports the arts portion of the business sector”
• Arts education is “training our leaders for tomorrow”
The long-term goal is to brand the state as “Montana, the Land of Creativity.”
Public Value Breakout Sessions, page 2
• A “Creative Economic Development” initiative has been embraced by the governor.
Creative industry “clusters” incorporating arts organizations and artists have been
• There is more respect and understanding among legislators about the arts.
• There are calmer and more cohesive relationships and environments.
• Grantees are now partners in creating public value. For example, grantees will be
required to meet face-to-face with their legislators and when possible their congressional
representatives, to inform them of the public value of their funding. Grantees are required
to file a report on the meeting as part of their final report (and in lieu of a program
narrative report) to the state arts agency describing what they did politically to engage
their legislator. Five activities are required to cover their local and statewide
representation. If the grantees don’t meet this expectation, they may become ineligible for
future funding. The idea is to thank the legislators and communicate the value of the art
to the community, directly from the arts provider.
• A report (organized thematically around legislators’ answers to questions on the listening
tour) documents how the agency is building arts participation statewide.
• A study revealing the economic impact of individual artists is underway.
Additional Strategies and Tips:
• Successful public managers need to spend half their time reinforcing the value of what
they do (Mark Moore).
• Create meaning and relevancy in everything you do.
• Repeat yourself incessantly. People forget what they hear; people change and rotate out
of positions; there are always new ears to hear what you have to say.
• Create occasions to communicate with authorizers when you don’t want anything.
• Ask authorizers’ opinion on issues when you don’t want anything.
• Integrate key people from the authorizing environment into planning.
• Create partnerships between the state arts agency and the legislature. Involve legislators
in panels, especially the “feel-good” panels, and especially involve chief foes and most
• Know how your agency is perceived. A catalyst for Montana’s work was commissioning
a study of 1,000 participants, more than half of whom did not see the value of the arts or
the arts council in Montana.
• The legislative session is probably the least valuable time to have conversations with
• Note the strong connection between fundraising and advocacy. There is a lot of fear
involved because people don’t want to hear “no.” Don’t fear the end (i.e., the “no”), but
instead break down activities into small and achievable steps. Rather than trying to get
$25,000, first make a phone call, then set a meeting, then make a lunch date, etc.
Public Value Breakout Sessions, page 3
ADVOCACY REFLECTIONS FROM LEGISLATIVE GUESTS
• SAAs are the “keepers of the good perks.” Invite legislators to arts events and give them
an inside view of voter/citizen involvement. Build their experience base and their
personal connections to the arts.
• An emotional appeal is important. Legislators hear a lot of sad cases, so SAAs should
“paint a picture” and demonstrate why the arts are important.
• Legislators want to hear first and foremost from the voters in their districts. State arts
agencies are just conduits.
• Find the industries that may be best at advocating for or representing their interests to
lawmakers, such as power companies and telecommunications.
KEY DISCUSSION THEMES & TAKE-AWAYS
• Many of these ideas are not new, but having a common and organized framework for
them lets us be more strategic in how we apply the concepts.
• What SAAs do is often less important than what impact we have.
• SAAs are changing the way we talk about the arts. Instead of saying “arts education,” we
say “we are training the thinkers of tomorrow.”
• We are listening differently, in order to have a more responsive awareness.
• With increased responsiveness comes increased accountability; both potentially put the
SAA in more control of its situation.
• We are interacting with different partners in order to have broader conversations that
have greater relevance.
• We are acknowledging the power of art itself so it does not lose its place in what we do—
the challenge is in expanding our definition.
• It is a continual process of education, improving our ability to communicate and
becoming effective learners.
• Find whatever entry point is right for your state. There is no blanket formula. The main
idea is to build relationships and tell your story.
• Emphasize the public as the SAA constituency, not just the artists and the arts
organizations. Artists and arts organizations are partners in serving the public.
• We need to identify what SAAs and NASAA as a learning community can do to advance
Public Value Breakout Sessions, page 4