For over 35 years I have had the pleasure of working with Architects, Engineers, Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects as they have used their unique perspective and skill sets in creating our built environment.
The Sioux Falls Arts Council (SFAC) Board includes members with backgrounds in law, business, human resources, arts, education, architecture and engineering. For a small non-profit we are fortunate to have such a cross section of professionals to help guide the organization. This Board make up is by design. By design, an interesting use of words to describe our Board’s make-up.
I have very limited, ok no artistic tendencies, but I have a great appreciation and passion for the arts. My goal upon joining the SFAC was to help the organization redefine itself and to improve our level of Community Awareness. In our conversations with artists a recurring theme was the need for the SFAC to continue to raise the awareness of the arts in our community. The artists were not concerned about raising the awareness of their art so much as they were in lifting the awareness and appreciation for the arts in our community.
We hired a new Executive Director-Kellen Boice in 2020. Kellen has been focused on raising the awareness of the arts in Sioux Falls. Due to our small size (one FTE and a summer intern) and vast mission, we use the following mantra as a guide in directing our efforts “Facilitate, collaborate and instigate” on behalf of the Arts in our Community. As an example we may come up with what we think is the best idea, project or initiative, but if we can not find others in our community that agree, we need to let it go. Kellen is constantly working with artists, art non-profits, and the City of Sioux Falls to find innovative ways to facilitate, collaborate and instigate for a greater awareness of the arts in our community.
In order to allow Kellen to remain focused on Raising the Awareness of the Arts in Sioux Falls the Board needed to take a more active role in Fund Development. About 20% of our funding comes from the City of Sioux Falls the remaining 80% must be raised from individual and corporate investments. In 2020 we added a Fund Development Committee to capitalize on our Board members’ connections in the community. Before I continue the conversation on our Fund Development Committee, I want to share that the great thing about being on a board is that all different types of passions are needed, where one board member may have a passion for Fund Development others will share their passion for Community Engagement, Corporate Governance, fiance or board development to name a few. All are needed to make a truly well functioning Board.
So how do we raise the needed funds to allow the SFAC the opportunity to raise the awareness of the Arts in Sioux Falls? Non-profits have used an annual event (golf outing, breakfast, dinner, auctions, etc…) to help raise funds. Our concern with this type of approach was that the organizing of such an event would take our small team away from our mission. We needed to find a fundraising method that would not only raise the required funds, but also allow our team to move our mission forward. Over the years of the Sioux Falls Arts Council’s existence a vast majority of our funding had come from small groups of very passionate individuals in our community. Our level of corporate support was fairly limited.
Our approach has been to not only maintain and grow our relationships with individuals that have and continue to invest in our mission, but to also put a renewed emphasis on telling our story to the business community. And what a story we have to share, an Artist Directory that has grown from 1 (2020) to over 190 (2022), over 230 Art Micro Grant Application (__ Grants awarded in 2022), creation of a Juror panel, unique Calls for Art, assisting the City with the 10th Street Parking Ramp Mural project, collaborations with the Washington Pavilion on showing emerging Artists in the Schultz Gallery.
The reception that we have received from the business community has been impressive. In 2019 we had 4 business partners in 2021 we had 19 and we are on our way to growing that business engagement in 2022. Not only have these conversations with the business community strengthened our financial base, it has also allowed us the opportunity to plant seeds for future corporate engagement in the arts and the Sioux Falls Arts Council.
My final item for your consideration. Design/Planning professionals have unique perspectives and the results of this perspective are showcased every day within their profession. I have witnessed first hand the impact that your unique perspective can have in guiding a non-profit as a valued Board member. Please consider lending your talents to a non-profit organization that fits your passion. Your input and insight will be valued and you will make a difference. Take care.
MICHAEL JAMISON was born and raised in Sioux Falls. His family includes Roxann his wife of 32 years two grown children Brent and Sara, and a grandson Henry who has redefined him as a “Grandpa.” Mike graduated from Lake Area Tech in 1980 and began his first career with The Spitznagel Partners (TSP) in 1981. While working at TSP he attended Augustana College, Sioux Falls College and South Dakota State University in preparation for passing the required testing to become a Registered Professional Electrical Engineer. Mike retired from TSP in 2018 and began his second career in January of 2019 with Puetz Corp a Design-Build, Construction Management firm with office in Mitchell, Pierre and Sioux Falls. Over the years Mike has been actively engaged with a number of community non-profit organizations including: Make-A-Wish, Junior Achievement, Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science, South Dakota Achieve (LifeScape), Lutheran Social Services, Sioux Falls Arts Council, City of Sioux Falls Visual Arts Commission, Chamber of Commerce Community Appeals Committee and Dow Rummel Village.