BUSINESS VOLUNTEERS FOR THE ARTS® UP CLOSE: ANDREA CODY
Houston Arts Alliance
Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) has benefited from the loyal commitment of many volunteers and understands the significant impact volunteering can have on the sustainability of any organization. Through the Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA) program, HAA provides skills-based volunteers to assist arts and culture organizations in completing high-level projects.
In Part II of Dance Houston’s BVA Close Up, Director Andrea Cody shares her experience and the benefits of working with arts administration consultant Terri Golas.
Read Dance Houston’s Close Up Part I here.
1. How did Dance Houston become involved in HAA’s Business Volunteers for the Arts® program as a recipient of services?
We applied for the program and interviewed with the BVA program manager Carolyn Hays. The process involved three interviews--one written, one with Carolyn, and one with Carolyn and Terri Golas who, at the time, was a prospective BVA match for us. During these interviews, we identified our organization's primary need for a strategic plan. Terri seemed to have all the right experience as well as a refreshing amount of enthusiasm for helping us devise a plan. We were thrilled it was a match and began working together in April of 2014.
2. How did/do BVA volunteers participate in Dance Houston and what kind of support did/do you receive?
For a period of six months, Terri led our strategic planning process. She conducted her own interviews with key figures in the arts community to develop a sense for what the perception of our organization was from the "outside". She also met regularly with our organization's leadership and conducted interactive workshops that identified our strengths and weaknesses as well as our short-term and long-term goals. From there, she outlined our goals in a clear and organized five-year plan. She guided us in thinking about how we could implement the plan and keep it updated in the future.
3. How do you feel BVA volunteers have impacted Dance Houston?
The process of creating the plan helped our artistic leaders and board of directors create a long-term vision for the organization. We redefined our eleven-year old mission from "to increase dance appreciation in Houston" to "to advance dance as an art form and an instrument to serve the community". This mission more clearly reflects the values that we all hold dear--both excelling as artists and giving back to our communities by sharing the gift of dance. The plan itself is a useful, relevant, and inspirational document. We use it regularly as a guide for programming and fundraising initiatives.
4. What can organizations and volunteers gain from participating in the BVA program?
We could not be more grateful for the consulting services the BVA program provided Dance Houston. We received so much wisdom from an experienced professional who is deeply invested in the arts. Our leadership has bonded more and is more confident in pursuing the goals that we established together as a result of being a part of this program.
5. Describe a “win” you experienced with Dance Houston, and how you think the involvement of a BVA volunteer helped lead to this “win.”
The strategic plan was enthusiastically approved and adopted by our Board of Directors in September of 2014. Everyone felt confident that it represented our plans and goals for building a successful future for Dance Houston. The planning process was transformative and invigorating for our entire organization. We have gone on to self-produce a season of highly artistic programming involving multi-disciplinary collaborations to audiences of over 10,000 people. We owe this great experience to the BVA program for identifying our need for a strategic plan and matching us with a professional who delivered.
For more information on how to request or become a skills-based volunteer through HAA’s Business Volunteers for the Arts® program, visit us at houstonartsalliance.com.