The research shows we can help.
Pentacle’s goal for the Administrative Resource Team (ART) research project has been not only to share our findings of the study with the field, but also provide the lessons learned for others to apply to their capacity-building efforts. When we looked back at Pentacle’s 40-plus-years working with performing artists, we could see that administrative support was vital to the creative process. Artists who moved from emergent to renowned had often utilized multiple services of Pentacle along their way. Although we believed in this methodology of administrative support, we had only anecdotal evidence to support our theory. With initial support from The Scherman Foundation’s Rosin Fund, and in collaboration with Hollis Headrick/Arts and Cultural Strategies, Inc., we launched ART, a study designed to test our theory and provide insights into how to better serve our community of performing artists, particularly emerging, underrepresented artists of color.
During ART, November 2016-June 2019, the New York City-based artists participating in the capacity-building cohort achieved significant gains in their artistic work, helping them move to the next level of sustainability in their professional lives. Beyond the increased income and performing opportunities they attained, these artists made a profound shift in how they thought about their work and how they managed their time and career goals. We witnessed them learn to delegate their tasks to their administrators, and the transformative effect this had on their day-to-day lives. With space cleared off their plates, they were able to look ahead into the future with their ART mentors and plan big, bold artistic projects. Fundraisers were held, commissions were won, tours were booked, and new pieces were made. Sometimes working relationships and projects didn’t work out and new directions were taken. However, most importantly, these artists gained new confidence in their ability to achieve their goals through teamwork, infrastructure-building, and a clear-eyed vision of the steps to get there.
The positive findings from our research has pleased us, but we are even more excited about the recommendations the project has generated (many from ART artists and mentors) for how we can continue our work in supporting the next generation of artists. Since our inception, Pentacle’s mission has been enabling performing artists to focus on what they do best — create art. We have done this by providing hands-on, direct administrative support and adapting to the ever-changing needs of the artists we serve. To continue our work, we will be launching an online resource in 2020 that will: build upon the lessons learned from ART, offer a constantly updated encyclopedia of knowledge and resources for sustaining an artistic career, and add live chat support from experts within the field. The goal is that this information hub will allow all artists, regardless of geographic location, financial means, or educational level access to tools they need to achieve their artistic goals.
Pentacle is deeply grateful for support from the Rockefeller Brother’s Fund Culpeper Arts and Culture Program, enabling us to launch the online resource hub. Additional thanks to The Scherman Foundation’s Rosin Fund, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts for their major support of the three-year ART research project.
Pentacle would like to acknowledge the time, thought, and expertise that Hollis Headrick of Arts and Cultural Strategies put into conceiving, designing, and executing the ART study, as well as authoring this report.
Our heartfelt thanks to the eight accomplished arts professionals who mentored the artists of the ART capacity-building cohort: Barbara Bryan, Phil Chan, Boo Froebel, Fernando Maneca, June Poster, Brian Rogers, Sarah A.O. Rosner, and Cathy Zimmerman.
A personal thanks goes to the Pentacle staff whose passion for the artists defies all expectations, and keeps this organization going.
Last but not least, Pentacle’s deepest thanks goes to the sixteen artists who gave three years of their lives and collaborated with us whole-heartedly on the ART research project. Because of their support and investment in helping to shape ART, the entire field has gained new wisdom and understanding of how to better serve this and future generations of artists.
— Mara Greenberg, Director