Monday, December 31, 2012

First Three Months at OSL, August Part 1: Hiring, Planning Existing Programs, Lessons

August at OSL, Part 1

Our coordinator of Education Programs leaves, and thus begins a search for a new staff person to support the Education and Artistic programs. This is an extremely time-consuming process in a mid-sized organization: drafting a job description, asking several people to weigh in, re-drafting it, getting ready to post it, realizing you don’t have the password for the sites you’d like to post to, asking for help locating those passwords, finally posting the job description, and then figuring out a system to review the dozens of applications coming in hourly.

Note to job applicants out there: make sure your materials have been proofread, by SEVERAL people. The last thing a potential employer wants to do is worry about correcting speling and grammar misstakes of an administrator whose job it is to support the work of the department as accurateley as possible. On that note, make sure you spell the name of the organization you’re applying to correctly. I can’t tell you how many “Orchestra of Saint Lukes” I saw. Finally, you may be desperate for a job, but spend at least 5 minutes on the organizations’ website so it at least appears you know something about the job you’re applying for.

Phew, I had to get that out.

Next, we launched our updated Arts Education pages on the OSL website. New photos, more accurate descriptions and organization of the programs. This is a good temporary site until we decide which new programs we’ll launch next year.

Planning Free youth concerts
When I started at OSL, I knew that Tom Cabaniss had been hired as a consultant to help plan the year’s Free Youth Concerts (known internally as CFOs –the acronym for the Children’s Free Opera concerts that long ago were the staple of the education programs- much to my total confusion for a couple weeks when I kept thinking people were referring to the Chief Financial Officer). I had worked with Tom when I was at Carnegie Hall, and knew that his suggestions would be brilliant. There had already been a decision on the table to highlight Stravinsky for the year of youth concerts, and Tom suggested Soldier’s Tale for the Fall and Pulcinella for the Spring. I thought, “sounds great!” knowing that we might go in a different direction in future years. I mean, Soldier’s Tale for young students sounded pretty provocative and totally cool. So we set off to get a minimal theatrical production off the ground, hiring a director, looking into set designers and costume designers and a cast.

Lessons learned
Looking back on plans for July, I wish I had set up more meetings with people in the community. And yet, I am aware that we still have some time and that "getting to know a community" takes awhile.

Despite my best intentions to set up a task force, I realized that some planning needed to take place before scheduling could happen in the summer, so Mark and I put aside several hours and started exploring answers to some of the bigger questions. I decided to first meet and get to know the existing Arts Ed committee, and then decide who else we needed to ask for help in designing and launching a Sistema-inspired program.

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