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Evaluation Memo #1 Spotlight: Value Statements

Early on in the grant development, the Core Team (a group of four DAM staff members working on larger picture strategy) struggled with articulating how the creatives and the DAM could measure success when so much of their work is meant to be experiemntal and fluid.  The result was a living list of value statements, principles to guide our collective approach to the grant and help with decision-making.  At this point, the DAM shares the values statements with the creatives at our first meeting and all are asked to consider how these statements may or may not apply as the process unfolds.  The hope is that with constant feedback and iteration, these statements will be a reflection of everyone involved in the grrant.

In Evaluation Memo #1 by Daryl Fischer and Mary Ellen Munley, they pulled out some interesting insights as they examined the many, many phases that the value statements went through.  Here are a few snippets, with the current iteration of value statements below.

On the subject of language:

Language lays the foundation for a project such as this, so each word was given careful consideration by the team. A comment in Track Changes asked, “Who is this document for? How is it directed, to a general or specific audience?” After reflecting on this question, a key shift was made in terms of person. (pg. 7)  And continuing on, ...the values statements encompass everyone involved in the project. That said, it was agreed that these values are geared to the project; not the institution at large. (pg. 7)

In summary:

At the end of the day, values statements are far more than well articulated, carefully ordered words on a page. As they evolve, these values will help to guide the policies, procedures, and decisions made in the course of implementing the two-year project. By continuing to refer to them, DAM staff members and creatives alike will know how to proceed when there is a question or a challenge. We, as evaluators, will use these statements as lenses for our analysis. (pg. 8)

Creative-in-Residence Program Values Statement (as of March, 2015)

How We Work

  1. Transparency is powerful. Collaboration requires deep appreciation and open communication on all levels. That means: being supportive, vulnerable, messy, unpolished, and unresolved at times. There is power in being transparent about working relationships.
  2. Experimental projects are, by nature, meant to evolve, morph, and change. Process and experience are important, not necessarily just the product.
  3. True collaboration and the mutual sharing of expertise can push how all participants work, how they inspire creativity and how they expand the notions of what a museum can be. (This applies to visitors, the DAM, and creatives.)

Why We Want to Do This Work

  1. There is power in sharing all aspects of the creative process (ideation, messiness, mistakes, iteration, reflection, etc.) to inspire creativity.
  2. Creatives + DAM + Public = social impact. Art experiences offer powerful opportunities for these types of collaborations to foster social connections and create an equalizing platform.
  3. We are part of something bigger than ourselves. Denver’s creative ecosystem is healthy, complex, and interconnected. Let’s work to strengthen our connections and up our contributions. Collaborating with local creatives produces a platform for the DAM, the creative, and visitors to connect with the greater creative ecosystem.