Joe Patti, senior contributor

Focus Areas

Marketing, Legal Issues, Operations (backstage and front of house), Arts Presenting and Producing, Business Models, Outdoor Festivals Presenting Contemporary Indigenous Artists, Arts and Technology, Leadership in the Arts, Collaboration (between organizations, communities, artists-all permutations), Professional Development and Training, Organizational Culture, Volunteers, University Arts Environments

About

When I was a teenager if anyone had told me that I would be excited to share information about contract law, marketing, human resources, grant writing and the philosophy behind ticket pricing, I would have laughed…and laughed. But there is such a dearth of this information applicable to the needs of non-profit arts organizations that I do get excited when I see the opportunity to discuss these topics. I am currently the Director of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University. Across my career I have worked at University of Hawaii-Leeward Community College, University of Central Florida, Asolo Theater, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Appel Farm Arts and Music Center and numerous other places both defunct and funky.

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Joe Patti

Article Archive

Your Contract May Not Provide Cover From Music Covers

Copyright and intellectual properties rights are important considerations in the arts and culture industry. The industry strives to expand the awareness and exposure of creatives, but often either intentionally or inadvertently fall short when it comes to properly compensating creators. Admittedly, knowing your responsibilities when it comes to intellectual property/copyright and contracts in general can be confusing which is why they are subject of a fair number of posts on ArtsHacker. One…

The Modern Day Mission Statement, Active and On The Go

BoardSource is partnering with organizations like the Knight Foundation and National Council of Non Profits on a  initiative to get non-profits to Stand For Your Mission. While the main thrust of the effort appears to be focused on mobilizing non-profits of all types to more actively  advocate for their causes, by necessity it pushes boards to actively engage with their missions rather than treat it as a passive statement of aspirations. In…

Leveraging The Growing Influence & Inclusion Of Giving Circles

I wrote about Giving Circles on my personal blog last June, noting that the number of Giving Circles in the U.S. is growing. The appeal of this form of philanthropy is that it that the structure, criteria, participation, mission, etc are adaptable to the needs of your particular group. Inside Philanthropy has noted that the composition of Giving Circles are also more diverse than institutional funding organizations. As giving circles grow, they…

Even More Useful Info On Copyright and Intellectual Property

Even More Useful Info On Copyright And Intellectual Property

Recently the Harvard Law School’s Technology and Intellectual Property Legal Clinic recently published a really helpful guide to copyright, trademark and intellectual property rights. Now if you are thinking, “Joe, didn’t you already publish a really helpful guide to copyright, trademark and intellectual properties rights on ArtsHacker?” Why yes, I did and thank you for remembering. However, copyright can be a confusing subject for people so its helpful to get your hands…

Constructive Considerate Executive Transitions – An Example

Constructive, Considerate Executive Transitions – An Example

The importance of transition planning is a common topic of discussion for non-profits given current and anticipated retirements. A few years ago we offered a set of guidelines for planning the transition which included a pretty impressive toolkit generated by the Federal Reserve of Kansas City. However it wasn’t until recently that I came across a specific example of an exemplary transition plan that had been been put into action. Barry Hessenius…

With Great Research Comes Great Responsibility

With Great Research Comes Great Responsibility

One of the more positive developments in the last decade or so has been the increased investment in research about factors that impact arts and cultural organizations.  Even better news, in the last few years those assembling that information have started organizing the data and formatting it so that it is much easier to read and understand. The 2017 iteration of the Culture Track study we recently wrote about is one example….

Board Chairs Blaze The Trail And Set The Pace

Board Chairs Blaze The Trail And Set The Pace

Since the board of directors is ultimately responsible for the governance and direction of a non-profit organization, the role of board chair is rather crucial. Recently Non-Profit Quarterly hosted a webinar titled, “The Pivotal Role of the Nonprofit Board Chair: Beyond Meeting Facilitation” which was based on the results of Board Source’s recent Leading With Intent study. As you might imagine, the leadership the board chair exhibited set the tone for the…

(Re-Examining) Co-Leadership As An Organizational Model

(Re-Examining) Co-Leadership As An Organizational Model

Given the concerning lack of transition planning for leadership, there is increasing discussion about how general non-profits should adopt a shared leadership model, in some cases citing the example of the performing arts. In the meantime, many performing arts organizations have been moving in the opposite direction consolidating artistic and business management roles into a single person in order to save money. The performing arts model, as well as some of those…

Trust Is More Important To A Box Office Than Ticket Stock

Trust Is More Important To A Box Office Than Ticket Stock

It is often stated that front of house operations are among the most important for a performing arts entity because it is the first point of contact the general public has with the organization.  Front of House staff generally encompasses the ticket office, ushers, concessions/merchandising and activities related to them (valet parking, for example). It isn’t just a matter of public relations. Some of the front of house staff are also responsible…

What Does Your 990 Say About You

What Does Your 990 Say About You?

If you are like most, you may view the 990 filing for your non-profit organization like you view filing your income taxes–an annoying, burdensome task best handled by an accountant. The difference is, you aren’t obligated to make your personal tax filing available for review by anyone who asks like you are with your organization’s 990. Given that the 990 filings are available online at sites like Guidestar, you aren’t even necessarily…

Bid Solicitation Process Master It To Ignore It

Bid Solicitation Process: Master It To Ignore It

When you are engaging in a significant construction or renovation project, you are going to want to solicit competing bids for the work that needs to be done. Many blueprint companies can help you handle the bid solicitation process by hosting your plans and solicitation documents on their website. There are a number of reasons why you wouldn’t want to handle this phase of the process yourself. First of all, your staff…

STOP Opening Attachments From Strangers

STOP Opening Attachments From Strangers! (And Other Hacking Prevention Tips)

The Ohio Arts Council recently presented a webinar titled “Don’t Get Hacked,” aimed at providing tips, practices, and tools that will reduce vulnerability to data theft. The presenter Ted Hattemer started out with common advice about upgrading from vulnerable operating systems like Windows Vista and XP and using anti-virus/malware software. ContentsYou Are The Weakest LinkThe Password Is Strong, But The Memory Is Weak“We Got Hacked” Plan You Are The Weakest Link Often…

Emergency Preparation Mentor Rides Into Town

Emergency Preparation Mentor Rides Into Town

Recently there was a new addition to the list of emergency preparation resources available to performing arts organizations. We have previously discussed ArtsReady which was created after Hurricane Katrina.  In January 2017 Performing Arts Readiness (PAR) was formed as a service of Lyrasis. ArtsReady is among the groups which are partnering and supporting Performing Arts Readiness, but the latter offers some resources you won’t currently find with ArtsReady.  They have a series…

Flooded Costume Shop Or Music Library Art Conservators May Be Able To Help

Flooded Costume Shop Or Music Library? Art Conservators May Be Able To Help

If you are in the performing arts and your material assets suffer damage, be it natural disaster, leaky pipes or someone eating where they shouldn’t, you might not consider visual art conservators and restorers as a solution. The fact is the work that many of the regional preservation groups do encompasses projects outside visual arts and architectural features. They are much better equipped to effect repairs and recovery to sensitive damaged materials than…

Evaluation Of The Arts By The Arts

Evaluation Of The Arts By The Arts

Arts organizations are asked to create dozens of reports every year evaluating their programs to justify the funding they receive so you probably aren’t inclined to embark on an additional self-evaluation of their own. However, the group, IETM – International network for contemporary performing arts, recently issued a self-evaluation tool kit specifically designed for arts organizations with the goal of empowering groups to take control of the evaluation narrative. IETM say that…

Download the free Basic Handbook for Ushers by Joe Patti

Basic Handbook for Ushering

One of the most important elements of the experience when attending a performing arts event is the audience interaction with the front of house staff: ushers, ticket office, concessions, merchandisers, parking attendants, etc. The experience people have with these staff members sets the tone for the entire event. A warm, efficient welcome can make mediocre performance seem better than it is but a great show can be soured five minutes after people…

Stages of Board Life Cycle

Stages of Board Life Cycle

Non-Profit Quarterly recently published a piece charting out the cyclic nature of boards of directors. If ever you have been frustrated with your board and wondered why it is acting the way it is or if you love your board and prayed the great dynamic would stay that way forever, it is worth reading the piece to better understand what is happening and where things are probably headed. In the piece, author…

Contracting Closer Look Indemnification Clause

Contracting Closer Look: Indemnification Clause

The indemnification clause is a part of a contract that is often difficult to understand.  Even after reading this post, you will still want to consult a lawyer, but you will be more aware of what to pay attention to when it comes to the indemnification clause. Even if it isn’t labeled, the language of the clause is pretty distinctive running something like “X will indemnify, defend and hold harmless…against any claims,…

dou You Know About Energy Savings Performance Contracts?

Someone Else May Pay For Your New A/C (No, Not A Donor)

If you have a large physical plant or campus of buildings and aging HVAC, lighting or water systems, you may want to consider an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC). Under this arrangement, an energy service provider handles all the financing and upfront costs for system upgrades and guarantees the savings accrued from the improvements will be sufficient to pay for the upgrades over a period of time. While the bulk of ESPCs…

Gamifying Project Planning

Gamifying Project Planning

The challenge of being creative in a non-profit environment is that you have big ideas, but few resources. So if you have a great idea for a new project or even an extension of an existing project, you might turn to friends, family, board members, volunteers, donors, etc., for help. But their time is valuable too. Even if they are willing and patient, you don’t want to waste their time. If their…

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