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A Few Words from Debbie
The Art of Community Partnerships

Coming from a theatre background, my work has always revolved around forming strong partnerships and collaborative initiatives. Everyone in theatre has a job to do – artistic and technical direction, music, scenery, costuming, publicity, stage management, actors, producers, lighting and sound, house managers, box office, and the list goes on. On opening night, if all have contributed their knowledge, wisdom and talents at 110% to the overall vision, listened to each other and created together rather than in silo's, then something spectacular is achieved and everyone knows it – especially the audience. Producing something with partners and forming good and lasting relationships always, always leads to something greater than the sum of its parts. And while that is true in almost all theatre experiences, it is also true at the Arts Council. 

About six months ago, a young woman by the name of Tracy Simon, WHTV – MY18 sales team leader asked us to meet – she had an idea for the Arts Council and wanted to propose it to us. Always willing to listen to a new idea, we met, and her vibrant and bubbly personality were the first things to convince us that she would be a life-long friend of the Arts Council. Her proposal was a simple win-win for each of us – give more exposure to the Arts Council through a new medium and give MY18 more visibility within the arts community and recognition by their viewers of their unfailing commitment to the arts.   

She proposed a partnership with the Arts Council that would allow us to create a series of public service announcements that would place short 60-second messages that aligned to our mission front and center on their local TV station. It would be our job to gather individuals who could relay that message and bring them in for filming – MY18 in turn would create the finished piece (we called it the puzzle) and air them at specific intervals each week.   

Our first PSA on arts education aired on MY18 a few weeks ago and we are thrilled with the results. We filmed over an hour's worth of interviews (about 6 adults and 6 youth) and in 60 seconds they captured the passionate messages that were delivered that morning. We are now working on the next arts education PSA that will showcase the youth who were filmed that morning and their words are just as inspiring.  

Without their talented crew, the Arts Council would have floundered at putting this puzzle together – it was overwhelming, but I guess that is why we are considered partners. Our work continues and our advocacy messages are being directed at an even larger audience than we had ever anticipated. Working with the staff of MY18 has been a wonderful, eye-opening and creative experience. We are so grateful for Tracy and Kristine Melser, MY18 station manager, for all their hard work and for making the first call! Thank you for being our partner! Thank you for making us all look so spectacular!  We are truly appreciative.               

Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director