Altered Esthetics - Action Research Project Report

The Altered Esthetcs Action Research Project Report can be downloaded in pdf form by following the link below, or by viewing the extended entry.
Ae Action Report (pdf)

Action Research Project description

Janayah Bagurusi
Nduka Omega
Jamie Schumacher
Lindy Sexton

Altered Esthetics (AE) is a cumulative idea born from many inspirational sources. Human history, as well as the current state of the arts community is the basis for its formation. The cumulative work of artists and volunteers has created this resource. AE opened in April 2004, with “The Art of War”, featuring the work of about 15 artists. With the help of over 100 volunteers in the past four years, Altered Esthetics provides a venue where artists can create “art for art sake”. It provides a gallery where community members can view and experience art that has an importance to them because it deals with a subject- matter that interests them, art that is engaging, art that is thought-provoking, and art that can be understood. AE has hosted over 40 group exhibitions, bringing the work of over 1,000 local, national, and international artists to public view.

Altered Esthetics works to sustain the historical role of artists as a voice of society through our exhibits, events, services, workshops and programs.

Various stakeholders that have vested interests in AE, as well as the nature of their interest and power would be identified. A partial list of AE stakeholders include the board members, employees, advisory committee, curatorial interns, artists, arts exhibitors, gallery directors, residents of NE community, businesses in and around northeast arts patrons, and the general public.

The role of a nonprofit organization in the community is to “provide unique opportunities for individuals to combine their energy, talents and values for community improvement and enrichment. Nonprofits are obligated to understand their role as entities that engage and inspire individuals and communities for public benefit, and to conduct their activities with transparency, integrity and accountability.” (Minnesota Council of Nonprofits- Principles and Practices of Nonprofit Excellence) Although AE is involved in various communities, there are still some communities in Northeast that do not know who this organization is, and what it does. In order to properly fulfill AE’s role in society, she needs to continue to identify and connect with people, groups, and organizations. An action research project will help address this problem purposefully and strategically.

The Action Research Project will aim at introducing AE to a number of community resource organizations by developing new direct contacts, reaching out to some new artists or audiences and increasing diversity. We plan to do this by having an organized system/process in place for outreach, where previously there was no consistency.
Other projected outcomes of this project include nurturing awareness of other organizations/arts organizations, being a link to arts organizations and arts advocacy, diversifying audience as well as increasing NE residents’ audience and participation.

We intend to collect names and contact information of arts organizations and groups in and around the Twin-Cities and make them aware of the presence of AE and the valuable resources that AE can provide them as they pursue their artistic endeavors. We will then write letters to these organizations with the hope of reaching out to some new artists and more audience, thereby increasing diversity. As a follow-up to the letters, we plan to call/e-mail those that we sent letters to. We shall also collect and track contacts as they are made.
The group will search for new and innovative opportunities by researching the methods of other organizations, using technology, and communicating with stakeholders throughout the process. Group will challenge the process and themselves by using new technology and working in new ways, such as with an online wiki for tracking data and information and e-communication for outreach.

Keeping with the mission of the organization, the group has also decided that “creativity” should be a guiding principle to this project. The group will identify and add a creative component to any physical or digital outreach process. Though there will be a challenge in selecting what creative component to use, we believe added component of creativity will increase the effectiveness of the outreach itself.

Our group decided that reaching a goal of fifty new contacts of artists/people reached would be a realistic goal for success in this project. These contacts also include organizations, volunteers and others. We also noted that these people will be linked in a specific way – either as a volunteer, possible contact for a future show, or possible contact for upcoming artist, etc. This means that these contacts are not just a name on a list, but they are contacts that will be in some way engaged and connected with the organization

The group recognizes the limitations of the length of this project and the budget at hand. To make this project additionally useful for the organization, the group plans to outline and document our process, noting methods and components that work, and others that don't. At the end of our project, we plan to evaluate the process as a whole, using this project to identify a template for use in future outreach. Contacts made during this outreach process will also be connected and engaged with a current member of the organization, so the new connection is effective after the initial action research has been completed.

The group plans to use the following timeline as a guide throughout the process

Week of: March 3
Draft letter to send
Draft landing page for folks on site
Collect Names/Orgs
Draft report
Proof report
Proceed w/ Modules
Send possible responses to letter

Week of: March 10
Meet at the gallery on Tuesday, 5:30pm
Finalize letter to organizations
Discuss components
Post paper
Discuss landing page
Begin discussing additional survey of stakeholders.

Week of: March 17
Finalize landing page
Mail letters/email newsletter
Write script for contacting folks after the letter is sent

Week of: March 24
Call/email those we sent letters to – touch points
Collect/track contacts as they are made
Discuss presentation

Week of: March 31
Continue contacting organizations
Discuss next steps
Discuss process and what worked, what didn't
Outline presentation

Week of: April 7
Connect “connections” with other people in the organization specifically
Write outline of what we did for future use
Work on presentation

Week of: April 14
Discuss final numbers
Discuss process/connections made
Evaluate what worked, what didn't
Evaluate process overall and group to write notes for “next time.”
Finalize Presentation

Week of: April 21
Help each other proofing individual papers

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs