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The Sustainability Project

"It's not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change." - Charles Darwin

Surviving to ThrivingIf the last few years have taught us anything, it is to question what we thought we knew about financial sustainability. Will short-term solutions produce long-term sustainability? Are indicators of permanence – such as endowments and property ownership – signs of maturity or inhibitors? And is bigger really better?

Over 2010-2011, the Alliance of Artists Communities set out to explore the question, "What is organizational sustainability, and how might it apply to artist residencies?" With generous support from The Kresge Foundation, we conducted research into the capacity, challenges, and successful practices of artist residency centers. The resulting report – "Surviving to Thriving: Sustaining Artist Residencies" – features information and examples from 157 organizations on funding, personnel, governance, programming, property, environment, and priorities. "Surviving to Thriving" also includes case studies of four very different artist residency centers – 18th Street Arts Center (Santa Monica, CA), Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha, NE), Escape to Create (Seaside, FL), and Hedgebrook (Whidbey Island, WA) – conducted by the Urban Institute, with principal investigator Maria Rosario Jackson.

This report is an attempt to capture a snapshot of a thousand living organism, a collection of individual stories and statistics that celebrate the richness of our differences while still offering the possibility of shared lessons. And this report is just a beginning – an invitation to our colleagues to explore together how the organizations we steward can do more than just survive, but truly thrive.

Download a PDF of the report (28 mb) or purchase print copies from our online Bookstore



Publication details:

published by Alliance of Artists Communities
May 2012
100 pages
Project manager: Caitlin Strokosch | Alliance of Artists Communities

Maria Rosario Jackson | Urban Institute
Florence Kabwasa-Green | Urban Institute
Diane Levy | Urban Institute
Alix Refshauge | Alliance of Artists Communities
Caitlin Strokosch | Alliance of Artists Communities
Lori Wood | Fes Medina

Maria Rosario Jackson | Urban Institute
Florence Kabwasa-Green | Urban Institute
Diane Levy | Urban Institute
Caitlin Strokosch | Alliance of Artists Communities
Carla Wahnon | Alliance of Artists Communities

Ted Berger | The Joan Mitchell Foundation
Suzanne Fetscher | McColl Center for Visual Art
Brad Kik | Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design

Lisa Augustin | user experience specialist
Flannery Patton | Alliance of Artists Communities
Maria Rosario Jackson | Urban Institute
Caitlin Strokosch | Alliance of Artists Communities
Jassen Strokosch | Platform Public Affairs
Lori Wood | Fes Medina
Funded by: