AAR’s values and work are rooted in our belief that healthy and balanced arts organizations are those in which the arts professionals, using their own singular artistic processes, are the defining heart and soul of the arts organization, its work and all its relationships.
The artistic process is more than a metaphor. It is the clearest and most effective way that most arts professionals work. By its nature it is healthy and it is balanced. It can and must inform and transform every aspect of the organization’s life.
The artistic process is a unique combination of vision, creativity, intuition, and collaboration balanced with craft, technique, accountability, discipline, and use of time and resources. In a highly relative world, the artistic process is one of the few absolutes irrespective of artistic discipline, style, size, age, locale or working format. The artistic process is, without qualification or quantification, the most effective planning, problem solving, decision-making, relationship-building process available to any arts organization. It may be the most effective process available to anyone.
The artistic process is a complex multiplicity of processes. It is a consilience, literally a jumping together of beliefs, aesthetic sensibility, personal interactions and cooperation, access to and expenditure of a variety of resources—specific to each arts entity; all supporting the making and connecting of art. But to make this otherwise invisible process visible and to bring it to bear in all aspects of the arts organization and the field, arts professionals must more fully conceptualize, articulate and communicate the elements of their unique artistic process.
Arts professionals are often accused of not running their operations like a business or of not understanding the bottom line. In fact, the artistic process is an endless series of unforgiving bottom lines. An 8:00 p.m. curtain is an unforgiving bottom line. So are the production budget, available artistic team and the production schedule. Presenting art in front of an audience and critics is a particularly unforgiving bottom line.
Compared to virtually any other segment of our society, none can exceed or even match the arts’ record of on-time delivery. Nor can any other process match the rigor of the artistic process in terms of productivity, customer relationships, use of resources, integrity, collaboration, discipline, flexibility, intuition, risk and commitment to quality and creativity.