Share Your Ideas with Kennedy Heights Arts Center

KHAC-Finalist

Our adaptive challenge

Because grants and charitable contributions are limited and cannot solely support our growing operating costs, and our commitment to inclusivity precludes us from charging admission or collecting program fees from all participants, Kennedy Heights Arts Center will therefore create new, sustainable ways of earning revenue through social enterprise.

Read more about the big thinking, deep questioning, and visions for the future in Kennedy Heights Arts Center’s project.

We ask the crowd:

  1. What successful arts-based social enterprises – a business operated by a nonprofit with the dual purpose of generating income and creating social and cultural value – have you seen in your area and why do you think they are successful?
  2. How might Kennedy Heights Arts Center leverage its unique assets to create socially valuable products or services that also generate a profit? (Our assets include: a new 2,500 sq. ft. multi-purpose space, a historic mansion, an art gallery, a consignment art shop, 2 acres of landscaped grounds and garden, art studios and classrooms, a photography darkroom, relationships with local artists, qualified art instructors, talented students, strong cadre of volunteers, and experience starting a community art center from the ground up and expertise in community arts.)

How will your responses help us move forward in tackling our adaptive challenge?

Your responses and contributions will inform the work of a committee currently in place that is focused on developing our plans for the new satellite facility. Committee members include KHAC staff and board members, an architect, attorney with expertise in real estate law, a realtor, and two artists. This committee will eagerly read and respond to ideas presented by the “crowd,” assess and review these ideas, build upon them, do more research as needed, and incorporate them into our planning.

Share your responses with us (or “up-vote” ideas you like) in the comments section below.

About
Serving more than 3,500 people annually, Kennedy Heights Arts Center offers rotating art exhibitions and arts education programs for youth and adults, among other outreach programs and community events. As a community-based art center, KHAC has a special focus on Kennedy Heights and the surrounding neighborhoods.

  • Trey McIntyre

    It looks like you have a great number of potentially income generating assets. Great! Love the focus of you becoming less reliant on individual donors. I would be curious as to what your infrastructure looks like right now in terms of the management of these assets. It is astounding the hours what seems like a simple space rental can eat up. Especially in the beginning. You want to make sure that the time, financial and human resource that belongs to your mission does not get diverted to the function of generating income for this mission, only to end up funding that generation of income. I think that can be a major pitfall for non-profits on this very path when the path becomes successful. Easy to get in the business of something else before you realize it’s happened. Might be interesting to find the offering of these assets in a cohesive way so that as a community resource, it is easily identifiable, instead of a menu of disparate resources. I think that would make your messaging clearer and easier and would make you a go-to for what you offer. One course of action would be working on getting bodies in the door to create a hip, relevant gathering space with your new multipurpose space. An annual benefit concert featuring local celebrities, with a gallery of their artist-in-residence’s work? Happy hour singles mingle with art? I think your events could really use some creative innovation that speaks to who you are and makes you a destination. If you could bridge the your historical niche with the NOW, your community can feel connected to the value you bring.

    • Kennedy Heights Arts Center

      We are a small organization so your concerns about the time and resources that will need to be devoted to a social enterprise and the risk of this diverting resources from our mission-based work is very relevant. As you suggest, we are seeking to identify income-earning products/services that complement and connect with our other arts-based services. Using our assets to create distinctive opportunities for social gathering is one stream of thought we’ve been considering.

  • arlenegoldbard

    I’d suggest looking beyond the U.S. for useful answers here. In Europe, I’ve seen cultural centers that leap the divide between “the arts” and the rest of life by giving local people something they really want, something that acts as a bridge. For example, I encountered one organization that had a coin laundry/coffee bar right next to performance and exhibition facilities. Young parents could do their laundry and socialize while kids were in workshops, and that evolved into offering workshops
    for the (mostly) mothers as well.

    U.S.-based arts organizations seeking earned income focus often on
    income-generating activities that bring people from outside the neighborhood.
    That’s fine, but it doesn’t really build local relationships or cultural infrastructure. So I would ask whether there are immediate needs in the Kennedy Heights community that could earn some income for the Arts Center while generating what might be called opportunistic programming. Take the laundry/coffee bar example. Likely impacts would include making the Arts Center a focal point for community social life even among those who don’t see themselves as interested in art. As comfort and familiarity grew, arts programs could evolve. Imagine those young mothers working with a theater artist to make a play about their lives, for instance, or a photo/text exhibit that shares their stories.

    Because I don’t know your community firsthand, I can’t guess what’s missing and wanted by local residents, what people would pay for if it were close to hand. But the underlying principle is pretty universal. We’re having to undo a legacy that sequestered what major institutions recognize as “the arts” from other cultural activities. It’s a heavy burden. How many people who love music or write poems or adore dancing answer no when asked, “Are you involved in the arts?” That’s because too often, the embedded snobbery of arts-institutional life emits a distant and alienating aura. So the principle I’d suggest is considering how to bring people close by offering something they can really use. Good luck!

    • Kennedy Heights Arts Center

      Thank you for sharing this great perspective. I see how providing needed services for area residents could not only create earned revenue but help us engage more people in our arts-based programming as well, by helping form that initial connection – getting them in the door. As an organization with a mission of building community, we are always struggling with how we engage people who think “the arts” are not for them.

      Coincidentally, we did think of operating a laundromat as a social enterprise when a nearby one was changing ownership last year. But they did re-open as a laundromat and seems to serve the area well.

  • Bren

    Creative Center for Reuse. Solicit donations from individuals and business of their unwanted art supplies, and materials that can be utilized for creative project. Establish a center that sells these items. Helps community to go green by keeping useful materials out of landfills

    • Kennedy Heights Arts Center

      This sounds like an interesting project. Where have you seen it successful?

      • Jeff Dey

        I did find this project in Eugene, Oregon, which is doing something like this – http://www.materials-exchange.org/

        • Kennedy Heights Arts Center

          Cool! Thanks.

          • Jan

            You could look at the Building Value model for harvesting of building materials and hardware. It trains for job readiness in the trades of contracting, business practices, retailing.

  • Bren

    Utilize the skills of volunteers to create a training center for youths or homeowners. Teach them a trade, i.e. home repair, wallpapering etc, for a fee, paid by the individual or by sponsorship. Use the actual homes belonging to low income families in need of repairs for training projects. Benefits are three fold, provide training for young people, beautify the city, provide income to the center. I know of organizations of retired white collar professionals that assist individuals on a volunteer basis, why not blue collar?

  • Tyler Cross

    Here are a few arts-based social enterprise ideas:

    – Kennedy Heights house tour and charge a fee to attend.

    – Pop up art galleries around the city that display Kennedy Heights Art Center or Artist work in empty or under utilized spaces. Collect a percentage of the sales.

    – Kennedy Heights architecture/history tour and charge a fee to attend.

    – Host authors, film makers, or story tellers for lectures, discussions, speeches on art and cultural issues. Charge admission or collect percentage of book, film sales.

    – Hold a film festival or music festival on art center property and charge admission.

    – Partner with local school or college to run an Etsy.com shop that sells both KH art center artwork and products and artwork from the students. This would give the students exposure and experience running a business and the profits could be shared.

    – Hold a vintage fair, sustainable goods fair, or homemade goods fair on the property. Charge for booths and admission.

    – Host an artist discover your career possibilities day on the property where students from the area can learn how artists practice their craft and earn a living doing what they love. Art schools from across the country could pay a fee to set up booths to provide information to aspiring art students. This venue would inspire art students to pursue their dreams and give them access to information on how to carry it out.

    – Open a music recording studio for the community to support up and coming artists. Charge a discounted rate to use the space.

    – Offer discounted office space to local art entrepreneurial ventures where they can develop their ideas and start their art based businesses. Business can share ideas and help each other get started. This would be an art business incubator where experts (businessmen, lawyers, accountants, artists, etc) from the community can give advice. Examples of this (not necessarily art related) include Cintrifuse and Hamilton County Business Center.

    • Kennedy Heights Arts Center

      Great ideas – both for possible revenue-generating activities and also arts programming we might offer. Thanks!

  • Melissa Dibble

    You probably are aware of, but just in case you are not….do you know of Springboard for the Arts’ CSA subscription? No – not Community Supported Agriculture, but Artists! One subscribes not knowing exactly what you will get in your “art box” each month. And, following on the many ideas below, what a wonderful way for your community members to get to know each other by having to pick up their art box each month and mingle with each other and your amazing artists and teachers. I would sign up in a heartbeat – even not living in Cincy! Check out Springboard at: http://www.springboardforthearts.org/community-supported-art-csa/

    The concept underneath this arts CSA is the key – getting your various communities to be in support of the artists making art through an organization that invites each of us to be involved with each other through artistic expression. I’ll happily support that with my dollars, my amazement and my gratitude, and I bet many others would as well!

    • Kennedy Heights Arts Center

      We have heard about the concept of an arts CSA before, but its great to have a model program to look at. What a great way to support artists and bring value to community members. Thanks for sharing!

  • Guest

    Here are a few arts-based social enterprise ideas:

    – Kennedy Heights house tour and charge a fee to attend.

    – Pop up art galleries around the city that display Kennedy Heights Art
    Center or Artist work in empty or under utilized spaces. Collect a
    percentage of the sales.

    – Kennedy Heights architecture/history tour and charge a fee to attend.

    – Host authors, film makers, or story tellers for lectures, discussions,
    speeches on art and cultural issues. Charge admission or collect
    percentage of book, film sales.

    – Hold a film festival or music festival on art center property and charge admission.

    – Partner with local school, college to run an Etsy.com shop that sells both KH art center artwork and products and artwork from the students. This would give the students exposure and experience running a business and the profits could be shared.

    – Hold a vintage fair, sustainable goods fair, or homemade goods fair on the property. Charge for booths and admission.

    – Host an artist discover your career possibilities day on the property where students from the area can learn how artist practice their craft and earn a living doing what they love. Art schools from across the country could set up booths to provide information to aspiring art students. This venue would inspire art students to pursue their dreams and give them access to information on how to carry it out.

    – Offer a music recording studio space at a discounted rate to support up and coming local artists.

    – Offer discounted office space to art business entrepreneurs who are starting a new venture. They can meet with experts and other start ups to get advice and launch successfully. Centrifuse is an example of local start-up incubator.

    • Tyler Cross

      I accidentally posted this message twice :) Feel free to remove this one since it is already posted below.

  • Pingback: Kennedy Heights Art Center Social Enterprise Ideas | Tyler Cross()

  • bren

    Part of the plan for the Creative Center for Reuse, includes artists creating functional and decorative art from the discards, that then would be sale it the shop. There would also be the possibility of classes for which we could charge a fee

  • timothy j gold

    You could sponsor a Wine and or beer tasting event as a annual event, plenty of new local libation companies out there. For art on the walls, we have three separate gallery rooms and each room will be devoted to a particular famous artist. We ask the guild artists to recreate some of these artists best known pieces and sell them all for $50.00 each, regardless of size and all the money goes to the center/guild. We could also have a member in costume and character of each artist roaming the event.

    We could do a FreshArt event like at the Berhinger Crawford Museum in Devou Park.

    Timothy J. Gold

  • Terry Lynch

    For some reason, I am reminded by your challenge of Kickstarter (.com) which is a crowd-sourced online funding mechanism for many different types of but mostly arts based projects. The website mostly serves as a clearinghouse with, I believe, a percentage of the funding going back to the host organization. I wonder if an adaptation might work for KHAC. Perhaps it would not be web-based but presented physically on campus somehow, utilizing your variety of resources. Anyway, just a seed of a thought that would need much further brainstorming. If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, google it as it’s quite a growing phenomenon.
    Another idea might be to offer your facilities as a base for ex-professional or other experienced artists who want to experiment with starting classes in their specialty. You could be an entrepreneurial “safe haven” for someone to start up a new arts enterprise on a very small scale and see if they like it/have the talent, enabling them to fail or succeed on a small scale. The model might be the small cheap art studios at Pendleton that have spawned now the successful Final Friday events. I know this concept is what Jeff Weedman from P&G is trying to do with all sorts of high-tech startups in Cincinnati (can’t remember the name of that venture.) Maybe someone should try it with the arts. Again, just a nugget of an idea here.
    Good luck.
    Terry Lynch

    • Kennedy Heights Arts Center

      Thanks for sharing your ideas,Terry. Kennedy Heights Arts Center actually just began a partnership with power2give.org, a crowd funding website supporting art projects (similar to Kickstarter). This platform was just recently launched in Cincinnati by ArtWorks. We currently have a project on power2give that we are seeking funding for and we’re finding it a great way to reach out to new supporters. Check it out here: http://power2give.org/Cincinnati/Project/Detail?projectId=1982

  • bren

    I forgot to add this detail to my Creative Center For Reuse idea: We would have artisans creating art using the reuse idea, sell their products in the shop as well, and offer classes on how to re-purpose to create useful items and art.

  • Andrew Garrison

    Hi, KHAC, You have probably heard of Project Row Houses in Houston’s Third Ward. But if not, you should investigate their history and practice. Started by a group of local artists, the first thing they did was to ask their neighborhood what they needed. The answer was to get the broken glass picked up and the junkies out of the neighborhood. SO their first project was to board up two blocks of abandoned row houses and paint a “drive-by” exhibition on the boarded up doors and windows. Now well into their second decade, Project Row Houses’ work includes five houses dedicated to exhibition b local artists as well as international “art stars,” housing for single mothers going to college, an after-school and weekend art program for kids, an annual music and arts festival, and the development of local low-cost housing. You can find out more at their website, http://projectrowhouses.org/. You can also find out more through a film my partners and I made, “Third Ward TX” at thirdwardtx.com. If you click on “Buy the Film” you get taken to a page that includes inexpensive streaming of the film.

    • Kennedy Heights Arts Center

      Wow! This organization is inspiring. I look forward to watching your film.

    • Caitlin Behle

      Covington is also doing something somewhat similar with Shotgun Row http://shotgunrow.com/ They’re rehabbing 5 houses into live/work spaces on Orchard Street in Covington.

  • emilyanneholtrop

    The KHAC is in such an interesting area, it is in the center of a cluster of diverse neighborhoods. Not knowing how you connect with PR, KH and Silverton, I cannot speak to what more you can do, but I think making yourself more known in your community would be valuable. The ideas about movie nights, a wine night, etc are interesting but not unique. I would suggest creating a really unique event that happens once a year that can only be done by the KHAC. Ask yourselves, what makes you unique, what can you do that absolutely no one else can do and build on that. Once that is decided, make a splash and make it known.

  • kh

    It is a difficult task to generate money from the arts. I would think about marketable art goods & products that are profitable. Fine art may be more fun, but artists who make more money tend to be more technical than creative. I think its good to have a balance of both but maybe you could generate some profit by offering photography & graphic design services. Since you have a darkroom, perhaps offer a low budget wedding photography session to the community. Graphic design ideas could be as simple as designing a business card or brochure and showing it to local companies.

  • Mary Lennard

    A “Practical Arts Center” could be a boon to KHAC. It could help to fill the niche that has largely been vacated by area schools that no longer offer home economics, shop classes, etc. Think about offering sewing courses, cooking, canning, woodworking, home repairs – those kinds of skills that can enhance the art of living. These classes would be valuable to teenagers and adults to pick up a new skill or refine one.

    • Kennedy Heights Arts Center

      I agree! These practical arts have largely been lost for the younger generations, but seem to be gaining popularity again. Thanks for this idea!