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Program and organizational improvement happens at In Progress by applying  a continuous process of applied assessment.  By reflecting on data trends, staff and partner recommendations, and qualitative analysis of key products, staff are able to  identify best practices and areas for targeted improvement.  Below are listed results from our 2015 year of programming.

Data Findings

In 2015, In Progress worked in 9 unique communities throughout the state of Minnesota.  Exhibits, workshops and creative production opportunities reached an estimated 34,339 persons - an all time record for our work.  Of those numbers, we achieved the following breakdown:

  • 26,149     Exhibits & Screenings
  •   8,190     Creative Making & Learning Opportunities (direct services)

The % of people reached geographically was as follows:

  • 23%  Front Avenue Studio
  • 14% Twin Cities metro area
  • 63 % greater Minnesota 

98% of those we worked with were persons of color.  with an ethnic breakdown as follows:

  • 18% Asian
  • 37% African/African American
  •  2% Caucasian 
  • 10% Latino
  • 16% Native American

Additionally:

  • 91% were from low-income and poor households, and 
  • 62% were age 18 or under

Strengths

Formal observation of program activities, mixed with partner and contractor feedback have identified a number of successes for In Progress including:

  • Increase in the quality of artwork produced through the Fresh Voices Program.  We believe this is due to a consistent rate of return (65%) of past participants in the program, that has led to increased artistic proficiency, higher levels of community engagement; and the development of critical thinking skills.  A small increase in funding also allowed for one additional week of mentorship.
  • Increase in the use of studio 213's music studio.  This is due to a few key volunteers and youth musicians that have been utilizing the studio and drawing in their network of musicians.
  • Introduction of professional development opportunities for emerging artists.  
  • Growing family and neighborhood engagement for studio activities.  This increase is due to 1) youth interns identified from within the immediate are of the studio 2) increase in family oriented activities.
  • New marketing strategies have garnered positive public attention and  feedback.  There is now greater alignment between social media, web, and printed materials.
  • Re-establishment of school partnerships with greater Minnesota tribal schools.  New funding sources supporting this initiative 

Weaknesses

Formal observation of program activities, mixed with partner and contractor written summaries have identified a series of programming improvements for 2014:

  • Quantity and quality of artwork - specifically related to Studio 213, can improve.  Currently, work reflects an introductory understanding of the artforms.
  • There is a lack of meaningful engagement of families in the north end neighborhood.
  • Tribal school partnerships are underfunded in relationship to identified need
  • There is a lack of discipline with contract artists and interns.  There are concerns regarding timeliness, quality and quantity of product creation, and ability to accurately document and archive created products.
  • Funding does not currently meet demand for services, sacrificing in many cases quality of programming.
  • Infrastructure does not allow for quality communication and supervision.
  • General operating expenses of 8% of the budget in 2013, is not adequately meeting the needs of the organization.  
  • There was a noticeable decrease in In Progress's national presence in 2013, due to less time spent on festival entries.
  • Lack of ongoing communication with foundation representatives.
  • Elimination of funding for tribal based programs brought the end of two long-term partnerships for In Progress

Recommendations for Change

In Progress staff will focus on taking the following steps to further strengthen In Progress programming:

  • Greater dedication and focus from all artistic staff to improve the quality and quantity of artwork produced through In Progress programs;
  • Establish a pilot program in the north end neighborhood dedicated to increasing meaningful community engagement;
  • Increase programming efforts with tribal communities in greater Minnesota;
  • Increase general operating revenues in order to strengthen core infrastructure;
  • Dedicate more time to staff training, quality volunteerism, and ongoing communication;
  • continue to improve continuous evaluation process and train all staff in process;
  • Improve public interaction through informal visits with neighborhood partners and funders.
  • identify core professional services that will lend itself towards capacity building in 2015.
  • complete strategic planning process;
  • refine evaluation process;
  • implement organizational work plan.

 

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