The best metaphor for an organization is a human body: each part has its distinct character; each part makes its particular contribution; and they all need to communicate and collaborate to ensure the well-being of the whole organism. Many consultants regard organizations as machines, as collections of parts. They specialize in Board development or workplace relationships, program design or communications. But when it comes to organizational development, planning, and problem-solving, an organic, integral approach is best. Instead of walling off the parts of an organization, reinforcing the tendency to retreat into silos or compartments, treating the organization as a whole creates synergies, improves relationships, and helps align people in common purpose.
Arlene’s consulting work covers the full range of organizational challenges and opportunities. She combines the methods and awareness of an artist with long and deep experience with organizations of all types. Her help is sought to refresh organizations’ sense of purpose and mission, to tell organizations’ stories to the world in new and powerful ways, to face life-cycle challenges such as transitions in leadership, to inspire creativity in new program design, and to train staff members and leaders in the skills that bring pleasure and excitement into the workplace. See her C.V. for a partial list of consultations.
In her three-day visit to Philadelphia, Arlene was able to bring together a disparate group of people involved with community arts throughout the city—community leaders, artists, students, university faculty and administrators—and help to move us toward a common vision and strategies for cooperative work. With generosity, wisdom, and a wealth of practical knowledge, she listened, spoke, and mediated among all of us, tireless in her embrace of the whole community. Arlene embodies compassionate and powerful leadership as a community cultural worker.— Billy Yalowitz, Associate Professor and Co-director,
Arts in Community Program, Tyler School of Art,
Temple University, Philadelphia
As part of the Mural Arts Program’s 25th anniversary, we brought Arlene Goldbard to Philadelphia because we knew she was an eloquent and passionate advocate for the power of the arts as vehicles for reconciliation, reflection and renewal. She brought us news of the extraordinary meeting she had helped organize at the White House and a plan to ensure that culture plays a central role in America’s recovery. She clearly inspired her public audience about the potential of her plan, but when she conducted workshops with our program staff and artists about what it means to work responsibly and authentically in community settings, her life’s work as an artist, journalist, citizen and activist resonated deeply with our public art practitioners.
Her wisdom has quickly become part of our reflective process at Mural Arts—in how we think about our personal and organizational accountability; in how we recognize the value of dissent and confrontation to create art of meaning and value, and we think about public art as a reflection of the quality and depth of our civic dialogue.—Jane Golden, Executive Director,
City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program,