What do you most appreciate about In Progress? What strengths, achievements and values make In Progress an attractive investment?
They have a strong grassroots orientation around youth and media engagement. Always been accessible and work with kids who don’t always have access.
The environment that they provide is welcoming and flexible. Kind of a pipeline for opportunities to engage artists. They embrace the notion of teaching artists. Integration with more traditional art forms like story telling. Relationship between technology and storytelling.
They are artist-run. I don’t see that very much anymore
They support ideas around expression and providing voice to kids of color. First voice perspective.
What makes In Progress unique in your eyes? How does In Progress stand out from other arts or youth development programs from your perspective?
Kind of at a critical point. They have used a contract structure to operate. That is unique. To be competitive they may need to formalize their infrastructure.
There is a wide variety of arts orgs and pretty many work with media. In Progress brings a different perspective. Their look at storytelling is unique. They are about the artistic process. Others are about workforce development
As you look into the next few years, what funding and community trends might have an impact on In Progress?
Arts: hard to say. Many primary funders have gone away. Funding from the State Arts Board is likely to be stable for the next several years.
Look at funders that support multi-disciplinary effort. Positioning the organization as a youth development org may be helpful.
How do they prepare themselves for capacity building projects? Like Arts Lab within Arts Midwest which has funding by a consortium of funders. Be prepared to participate in a 3 year process. What would it take to apply for this? Technical assistance, statewide, social change kind of focus. How could In Progress be proactive in their planning?
We increasingly look to orgs that meet the accountability standards of the Charities Review Council. Make sure you meet the Charity Review Council baseline.
We like them because they serve our youth.
What do you hope to see In Progress do more of in the future?
In Progress is just beginning to build its administrative capacity, so it seems they need time and space to develop their leadership team
Their outreach seems to be limited in its capacity. Many of the same faces appear, and it feels somewhat like a small family where everyone knows each other. This, however, is also their strength: they build deep, intentional relationships with the young artists with whom they work. But there may be room to reach out to more youth who may not think to come in the door.
While their social media presence is robust and active, their web site could communicate better the weekly schedule of events as well as the annual calendar of events
What other advice do you have for In Progress about staying vital into the future?
Taking advantage of the technical assistance opportunities available through Youthprise. I can make sure they get included. They may want to use this as a strategy with other funders. That they are doing this extra work related to evaluation speaks highly of them.
Deepen the relationship with David Kim. They are pretty competitive in our challenge grants.
Get on the radar of other funders. New program arts person at McKnight (Arleta). Sharon Demark at St. Paul Foundation.
If they see themselves as a pipeline for emerging artists – that’s a good position. Individual artists can do campaigns under the umbrella of Springboard for the Arts. They are struggling with the pipeline. Jerome Foundation too.
If they want to meet with me (Rudy) before they apply next year – I’d be glad to. I will be more intentional about going by and seeing the storefront, too.