Brown University Arts Literacy Project STRATEGIC PLANNING LIFELONG LEARNING THROUGH ART Providence, RI. 2006.

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MVPA has helped Brown University on a number of projects through the years, including advising it on the program for what is now the Granoff Center for Creative Arts and the renovation of the historic Rites & Reason Theatre. But perhaps the most unusual assignment was the development of a strategic plan in 2005-6 for the University’s Arts Literacy Project, a hugely influential center charged with exploring the theoretical and practical use of performing arts in developing literacy and other academic skills, particularly in disadvantaged populations. ALP was in a position familiar to many founder-led organizations: its work closely reflected the research interests of its creator, there was no clear succession plan in place, the initial research phase of the work had largely been finished, the work of the original mission would be complete within a year or two, and funding was becoming increasingly competitive.

There were many possibilities: one was to reorganize outside the University as an independent service organization, another to redirect research activity to areas of interest to new faculty members. MVPA was charged with guiding ALP’s leadership through an analysis of the options and to develop recommendations for the best strategy, which hadn’t been anticipated by any of the project’s leaders but was in end adopted unanimously. A difficult project requiring both precise analytical skills and exceptional sensitivity to the needs of both the organization itself and its individual leaders.

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