ArtsLab brings arts capacity building to Iowa

Art Labs

Despite blizzard conditions, the leadership teams of 25 Iowa-based arts organizations gathered in Des Moines on April 26 to build the capacity of Iowa arts. The intrepid group was joined by eight ArtsLab mentors, including HunterSage Founder Anne Hunter, for three days of intense learning and collaboration. 

The ArtsLab retreat kicked off a seven-month peer cohort aimed at building capacity, leadership, strategy and community for Iowa arts and cultural organizations. The program was underwitten by the Iowa Arts Council

ArtsLab participants spent three days doing a deep dive into strategic thinking, beginning with Simon Sinek's admonition to "start with why." Other sessions addressed the components of a healthy business model, how to identify competitive advantage, the hedgehog concept from Good to Great and the Public Sectors, and the impact of changing demographics and hidden bias on mission. Hunter facilitated a half-day session on relevancy and relationships. 

Reflecting ArtsLab's interactive approach to learning, participants created leadership life maps, contituency maps and research plans, strategic roadmaps and strategy screens. They also took time to explore the rich cultural landscape of Des Moines, including a tour of Moberg Gallery.      

"These retreats are opportunities to create understanding about the unique environments, communities, organizations, and individuals that are the fabric of Midwest arts and culture," said ArtsLab Program Director Erin Brueggemann.

ArtsLab is a signature program ot Arts Midwest


Anne Hunter