Arts, culture and history are what make our communities places in which people want to live and contribute. We view a vibrant arts and cultural community as vital to the revitalization of our town center as well as the economic development of Greenwood County. To that end, we partner with art and cultural organizations to increase awareness of and access to the arts for residents of Greenwood County.
The Art of Collaboration (click here)
The Greenwood Arts Center, Community Theatre and Museum are neighbors along Main Street, but in 2011, these three flagship arts and cultural institutions became true collaborative partners, with help from a grant from the Self Family Foundation.
The group began planning their collaboration in 2010. “We all had an idea of what we needed, and we knew we needed to collaborate,” says Bess Park, Executive and Artistic Director of the Theatre. Park, Anne Craig, Executive Director of the Arts Council, and Stacey Thompson, Museum Executive Director, identified marketing as the strongest area of need, and pooled their resources to hire a part-time marketing professional who promotes all three organizations as the heart of downtown Greenwood’s “Emerald Triangle.”
As a result, these three organizations have a shared website that is constantly up to date and now includes a combined calendar, which they regularly share with local media outlets, community websites, the chamber of commerce, nearby Lander University and other places. They maintain individual pages on Facebook and other social media outlets, including links to uptown restaurants, galleries and businesses.
They also created a first-ever shared annual report, and combined email databases to create a shared monthly email newsletter that features happenings at all three venues.
“We’re just beginning to assess the impact of this work,” says Craig. “Our next step is to evaluate how our audiences are reacting to our new messages and how they’re growing.”
The group is now working to make cross-promotion activities more deliberate. For example, a new “Go Wild Weekend” grew out of an annual Arts Center wild game dinner to raise money. This year, the theatre will screen the film “The Call of the Wild” and the Museum will feature a special exhibit, “Hunter and Hunted,” in conjunction with the dinner.
Working together has also given the trio an unexpected benefit. “Collaboration has helped shape the community’s perspective of us as mutually supportive,” explains Thompson. “It’s helped the community understand what we’re about, and given us a common voice.”
“Collaboration can take more effort initially,” adds Craig, “but it provides a valuable structure and framework that we can use to work and grow together.”