DANCE NEWS: Introducing Pentacle's nextSteps, a FREE Online Resource, Advice, and Administration Platform to Help Artists Thrive.
What artist doesn’t wish to be able to call on experts and advisors for help navigating the administrative and business aspects of the arts industry? Now Pentacle, an organization with 44 years of experience serving artists, is answering the call with its new offering, nextSteps. nextSteps’ online portal will provide a one stop shop for arts administration services including accounting and bookkeeping best practices, fundraising strategies, marketing help, and more.
Meant to be a roadmap and resource to help artists thrive, the new website will be adapted on an ongoing basis to meet the ever-changing needs of the artistic community. The site will also aggregate and share regularly updated information about residencies, grants, from other nonprofits and arts organizations.
nextSteps originated as a result of a study conducted by Pentacle's administrative research team which evaluated two groups of eight artists — one to which Pentacle offered administrative help, expert consultation, and mentorship, and another comparison group of the same size, who didn’t receive such assistance. Clarissa Soto Josephs, associate director of Pentacle, and the Pentacle team, with years of experience in the field, suspected what the results of the study might show, but the evidence gathered further underscored the necessity of quality administration to artistic success. From fiscal year 2017-2019 the group who received support grew their income by 39 percent and their number of performances by 10 percent. The comparison group’s income only increased 6 percent while their number performances decreased. Quality of life, work life balance, time to pursue creativity were also enhanced for the artists who received assistance.
About the successess of supported artists in Pentacle's study from the nextSteps website:
"Beyond the increased income and performing opportunities they attained, these artists made a profound shift in how they thought about their work and how they managed their time and career goals. We witnessed them learn to delegate their tasks to their administrators, and the transformative effect this had on their day-to-day lives. With space cleared off their plates, they were able to look ahead into the future with their ART mentors and plan big, bold artistic projects. Fundraisers were held, commissions were won, tours were booked, and new pieces were made. Sometimes working relationships and projects didn’t work out and new directions were taken. However, most importantly, these artists gained new confidence in their ability to achieve their goals through teamwork, infrastructure-building, and a clear-eyed vision of the steps to get there."
The nextSteps platform makes obtaining necessary practical support sustainable and accessible to all artists. “With nextSteps,” says Soto Josephs, “creators with varying artistic interests, locations, and points of development are just a few keystrokes away from accessing the tools and information they need to build their business or simply focus on their art. “
She is especially excited about the site’s Chat feature, where artists with a question will be able to access “real” experts (not a robots) instantly from their computer. At the moment the Chat feature is set up to discuss fiscal matters and to run for limited hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but Soto Joseph and the Pentacle team plan for the topics and hours to expand in the future.
nextSteps is a free platform for artists that includes:
RESEARCH: Where it all began. Built on the premise--and confirmed by research-that when artists have support with administrative tasks and details, they can thrive in their creative pursuits
RESOURCES: A growing encyclopedia of the most requested arts and nonprofit administration, organized by entity type and specific needs
READY-TO-GO TEMPLATES: Turn-key forms and files in easy-to-use, downloadable formats
REAL TIME ACCESS: A way to chat with experts in finance, accounting and administration.administrative
READING MATERIAL: Additional expertise from Pentacle staff and guest writers, plus specific how+toss on everything from administration to fundraising.
To learn more about nextSteps and to sign up to access all of its resources, please go to https://pentacle-nextsteps.org/.