1. What do you most appreciate about In Progress? What strengths, achievements and values make In Progress an attractive investment?: The racial and cultural diversity of the artists, students and others involved. Very striking aspect of the org.
Provides opportunities for people to enter into their creative expression through media and photography that are not always open to the broadest of cultures. Really important part of it.
The high artistic and esthetic value baked into the organization from all of its DNA and history. In some cases, in orgs that have a broad mission, the artistic value can feel weak. There are really high standards for quality at In Progress. This is not my assessment of quality imposed on them. But a high mark that is set by them for the media artists.
Also. The webpage talks of low overheard and limited staff that makes the org. flexible and able to stay vital in tough economic times. That is god, but the flip side is that is happening on someone’s back. I see both sides.
2. What makes In Progress unique in your eyes? How does In Progress stand out from other arts or youth development programs from your perspective?: I’m not up to speed with what they are doing now. Not close enough to them now.
3. As you look into the next few years, what funding and community trends might have an impact on In Progress?:I think what should have an impact is the increased dollars through the Legacy amendment. Increased dollars for arts learning and arts access should be available to them. There is a lot of talk about funding decreasing. On the other hand, we have lots of dollars coming in through the Legacy funds.
Philanthropy in our state is in some cases slow to recognize the changing demographics of Minnesota. Funding is going to be catching up on that fact. Could be a plus for In Progress due to the broad base of participants.
I made a point of talking about the high production values. Not all will look at that. There is more focus on education than artistic production from many arts funders. Many will look at the education side. Less about the art and more about the education of the person making the art and of the community. In Progress could really benefit from that focus
4. What do you hope to see In Progress do more of in the future?: Emphasis on going to different parts of the state, like Crookston, etc. I think that is really creating opportunities for voices. The work on what it is like to live as a Latino in NW Minnesota can’t be done enough. Really helps people become more comfortable and also it educates (and connects them with) others. To help them communicate what it means for us and for the people who are new (or whom we have not included) to live in this community. This is really needed. To help communities understand who their neighbors are. A chance for the local Latinos to say – this is us. We are here. Artists really make the path for understanding. Hope they can do more and more. Really important. Probably a niche that is not being filled by other orgs. So important! This is important in the Twin Cities as well. But there are more opportunities here.
The legacy dollars can really support the work in other parts of the state.
5. What other advice do you have for In Progress about staying vital into the future?: What they are doing is vital. To find others to support it more is the key. Bring everyone into the fold.
It is remarkable the number of programs they are able to do on such a small budget. Looking at that…there is a value in staying small and lean. But really look carefully at what size they need to be to sustain this. They are really small and have a really huge vision.
McKnight now focuses more on supporting working artists. People with a body of work. What does it really take to support working artists in community? There could be a fit for supporting some of In Progress’ work. We do fund Juxtaposition Arts, for example. Could be similarities.