• Advancing informed, imaginative and purposeful action in the cultural sector


Past Work


Elementz, Cincinnati, OH
Elementz provides Cincinnati’s inner city youth with hip hop-based arts programs that inspire and engage, while also developing leadership and building community. AdvisArts worked with Elementz stakeholders to develop a strategic plan to move the organization forward from its start-up phase to a period of increased stability and impact. A coached planning framework was used to align Elementz’ powerful grassroots community with its commitment to leadership development with inner city youth.
Kirkland Arts Center, Kirkland, WA
Kirkland Arts Center (KAC), one of the region’s oldest community art schools with a gallery presenting contemporary art exhibitions, worked with AdvisArts to develop a bold new vision for the future. Based on the momentum built by the visioning process, AdvisArts facilitated a thorough Assessment Plan for KAC, working with Board and staff members. Additional work has included Board Retreat facilitation for KAC and executive coaching.
Kirkland Arts Center



4Culture Planning Task Force
4Culture marked the fifth year of the organization’s transition from the King County’s Office of Cultural Resources to a Public Development Authority (PDA) in 2007 and AdvisArts facilitated a Board of Directors’ retreat that evaluated this change. AdvisArts then worked with a 4Culture Planning Task Force of Board and staff to follow up on issues identified at the retreat. The Task Force focus was to assess the relationship between 4Culture’s four Advisory Committees (Arts, Heritage, Historic Preservation and Public Art), its Board of Directors, and staff to maximize the considerable depth of resources and expertise across the organization in service of its mission.

AdvisArts facilitated in-depth meetings with each of Advisory Committees to complement the information gathered through the Board retreat. Areas were defined for further development based on findings from these meetings and discussions with the Task Force. A Report on Structures, Roles and Communication of the 4Culture Board and Advisory Committees addressed these areas through four recommendations accompanied by draft documents and suggested strategies to serve as tools for next steps. This included a core values statement, reconfiguration of the Board and Advisory Committee liaison roles; development of materials to create common knowledge across and beyond the organization; and enhance internal communication.

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center Citizen Task Force, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Seattle Parks and Recreation requested that a Citizen Task Force consider how to best sustain Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center as a vital asset to the greater Seattle area community. AdvisArts worked with the Task Force to complete its investigation and report, which was undertaken with the support of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. The Task Force included individuals with expertise in the performing arts, community development, funding and management, and reflecting the African American community who recommended changes to the existing business and management model in the context of programs, services, and business practices at comparable organizations in the region and beyond. Recommendations and proposed actions for effective program delivery to a diverse community were developed by the Task Force including management of the facility, governance, funding and staffing.
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center

Native Alaska Arts Marketing Handbook, Alaska State Council on the Arts
The Alaska State Council on the Arts is committed to improving opportunities for Alaska Native artists to produce their traditional arts, and to receive recognition and financial support for that work. We worked with arts and cultural leaders to develop and publish Alaska Native Arts Marketing: A Handbook for Expanding Audiences and Markets for Your Art, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. This publication, distributed by the Alaska State Council on the Arts, includes information on standard business practices for artists, worksheets for developing individual materials, and resources of particular relevance to Native and Alaska artists and has been translated into Russian.
Alaska State Council on the Arts

CREATION Project, Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas, Seattle
The Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas inspires new thoughts and challenges assumptions about African-American culture through programming such as speakers, performances, and youth programs. In 2006 and 2007, AdvisArts worked with CD Forum staff on a plan and inaugural year evaluation for a program providing professional development to emerging African-American performing artists who are based in Seattle and in the formative stages of their careers. The CREATION Project, supported by the NEA, provides professional skills development workshops and training, peer-to-peer learning, and financial and technical support for the development of new work for presentation in a spring showcase.
Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas



Washington State Arts Commission’s City Partner Activities with Wallace Arts Participation
Leadership Initiative
AdvisArts provided research for the Washington State Arts Commission (WSAC) on the work of entities serving as City Partners in five cities for the Wallace Foundation’s Arts Participation Leadership Initiative (APLI) between 2006 and 2010. This research formed the basis for AdvisArts’ evaluation of options and opportunities for WSAC to strengthen its role as City Partner for Seattle, delivering services to the nine Seattle Wallace Excellence Awardees, and stretching the impact of the Wallace initiative broadly to other arts organizations in the region. The focus of the APLI effort in Washington State is building participation among youth, young adults and diverse populations, and expanding access through new technology.
Washington State Arts Commission:
Arts Participation Leadership Initiative

Graceful Exit: Thoughts on End-of-Life Issues for Arts Organizations, Grantmakers in the Arts
Conversations with arts funders and organization staff members reveal fundamental and distinct dynamics regarding life span and life cycle issues for arts organizations, with the economic recession adding additional factors. Claudia Bach, AdvisArts principal, was asked by Grantmakers in the Arts to research current topics regarding closure of arts organizations and to identify a checklist of issues related to closure. How can an organization best explore potential closure, and proceed with intentionality and grace if it has crossed the decision threshold? Graceful Exit: Thoughts on End-of-Life Issues for Arts Organizations, published in fall 2009 GIA Reader, examines current practices and the insights of leading arts funders.
Grantmakers in the Arts

Artist Trust’s Artists and the Economy Survey
Artist Trust wanted to take the pulse of the Washington state artist community and to consider what programmatic solutions Artist Trust and others might offer in response to the economic downturn. In spring 2009 nearly 700 artists responded to an online survey developed by Artist Trust. The survey was not designed to collect data for quantitative analysis; rather, it started as a way to gather an informal snapshot of the situation. AdvisArts principal Claudia Bach was asked to review and analyze the narrative responses, resulting in the article, Fear and Anxiety, or Resilience and Creativity, for the summer 2009 issue of Grantmakers in the Arts Reader.
Artist Trust

ROOTS Project, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, Seattle
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center (LHPAC) provides programming to serve diverse Seattle-area audiences, with a special emphasis on the African-American community. In 2003, LHPAC began the two-year ROOTS Project, which focused on audience development and community dialogue, funded by the Washington State Arts Commission through a grant from the Wallace Arts Participation Initiative. AdvisArts conducted community surveys, dialogue groups and interviews and provided LHPAC with analysis and recommendations to effectively respond to its current and potential participants.
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center