Where we are.
We are united in hope and healing.
On behalf of the CultureWorks community, in Houston and in Philadelphia, we share our hope for safe passage through the storm and our support for recovery and renewal.
Many of our friends and colleagues in the cultural community will need direct assistance and aid in the aftermath of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey. We believe that those of us dedicated to making, honoring, and preserving culture are endowed with two tremendous antidotes to adversity - relentless creative spirit and tremendous generosity. Art, after all, is a gift given freely and without solicitation.
Creative vision -- to see possibility where others do not -- centers our resilience and animates our support of each other at this time. These moments of trial bring out the finest in our community: leading, helping, problem solving, and giving of ourselves in the service of others. Together, we will always find a way to flourish, regardless of the challenges ahead.
Though we are postponing our work on the ground in Houston for September -- recovery, reflection, and reconstruction, are in order -- we will continue to forge ahead in the background with the development of CultureWorks Greater Houston. As always, we will keep you apprised of developments and stand ready to help whenever you reach out for assistance.
Beyond our work for CultureWorks, our team is participating in a regional effort with key funders, civic partners, and our peer services organizations to develop and focus recovery resources for the Greater Houston region's cultural community.
Yours in support,
Marc Melcher, President
Shannon Buggs, Chief Commons Director
As of February 2017 we have begun our work toward opening the doors of CultureWorks Greater Houston. Our next steps in the process are:
Confirm a Founding Member group for CultureWorks Greater Houston.
Secure a sufficient base of philanthropic capital to start our implementation timeline.
The CultureWorks business model is cooperative in nature, with members paying for “shares” or discrete units of resources (i.e., hours of professional time or time in our space). As such, we do not need to raise ongoing contributed subsidy (grants and donations) to support our services. Our model relies on the earned revenue shares of our members. This design ensures that we do not compete with our members for contributed revenues.
We will, however, rely on contributed “philanthropic capital” to get our new office in Houston up and running. Costs include one-time start-up costs, as well as a period of operating subsidy that is necessary until we have sufficient membership and activity to support the resources of the office through normal income.
We estimate that it will take between 12 and 24 months for us to open our doors in Houston, with core Track 1 and Track 2 resources up and running within 12 months. The clock will start when we have secured enough philanthropic capital to begin implementation work and may be placed on a more aggressive timeline, resources permitting. We will announce here when we have achieved our minimum threshold of capital to get started.
How we got here.
Between June and December 2016 we conducted research on the needs and desires of the Greater Houston cultural community. We also spoke at length with the leadership of peer arts and culture service organizations. A local independent consultant, Deborah Moffett was also engaged to provide an outside view of cultural capacity building needs and service provider ecology in Houston.
An open advisory group, the Houston Cultural Capacity Building Consortium, which encompasses more than 100 participants, has supported this research and discernment work. The group is open to artists, organizations leaders (staff and board), and anyone else with interest in the health of the cultural community. The Consortium has met a total of four times to discuss our findings, and will continue to support the work of the arts service community moving forward. The final reports from both CultureWorks and Ms. Moffett will be posted here, once they have been approved by our funders.
We are grateful for the generous support of the Houston Endowment, The Anchorage Foundation of Texas and Brad Bucher in our work to date. We deeply appreciate the warm and welcoming spirit of Houston as we continue to learn about the tremendous breadth and depth of its cultural community.
Here’s to the road ahead.