Arts organizations can succeed in the current challenging environment and fulfill their own special artistic missions by creating strategic collaborations. They can leverage their limited resources by allying themselves with organizations ranging from other nonprofit arts groups to community groups to businesses.
Each partner contributes its own resources and reputation—a risky but necessary component of a collaboration. Collaborations can also help arts organizations achieve goals that they cannot achieve on their own.
Kingsport Ballet’s “arts partners” come in the form of small businesses, some of them arts educators, who sublet space from the Kingsport Ballet facility and offer their services all under the same roof. Such partnerships allow for cross-promotion and hightened customer satisfaction by enabling a “one-stop-shop” approach for busy families. For instance, while one student has ballet class, his sibling can take piano lessons, and another can have a reading tutoring session.
Partnering With Our Neighbors:
Kingsport Ballet’s downtown facility puts it at the heart of lots of activity. Parents look for things to do nearby, while a child is in class at KB. That means that our families are likely to frequent nearby restaurants and shops. But more than that, our neighboring businesses are quite neighborly to one another. For instance, when Bank of Tennessee began building their regional headquarters just next door, KB students decorated the construction fence with colorful flowers made of strips of plastic tablecloths. The colorful designs helped our long-time business partner, Bank of Tennessee, to attract colorful attention to their improvements, while at the same time embracing the arts in our community. Upon completion, the bank leadership commissioned a public art project by way of a large mural in their foyer, which included not only historical figures and significant events and features of the bank, it also included a scene with the colorful flowers created by KB dancers, which once graced the construction fence – their neighborliness captured for all to see, now and in years to come.
Partnering With Other Non-Profits:
- Boys and Girls Club: KB provides free instruction to underserved students, yearly. KB provides free tickets to productions
- Columbia Classical Ballet, Dance Alive National Ballet: By partnering with other ballet companies in the Southeast, KB has been able to hire guest artists for reasonable fees, and give young professionals opportunities to perform lead roles.
- Slocumb Galleries/ETSU: By partnering with artists who show their art works at ETSU, KB is able to leverage new art displays in their facility that otherwise may only be going to another gallery or shop.
- Downtown Kingsport Association: KB is asked to perform at downtown events, participate in merchant promotion projects
- Symphony of the Mountains: Collaborative in performances, advertising swaps
- City of Kingsport’s Cultural Arts: CA sponsors KB projects, KB participates in CA projects
- Kingsport Theater Guild: Kingsport Ballet dancers perform in theater productions/KB faculty choreograph for Theater Guild productions
- The State Theater Group: KB provides rehearsal space to theater group free of charge, State Theater group provides advertising space to KB in their program books in return.
- Women’s Symphony Committee: KB provides their facility free of charge for ballroom lessons to WSC honorees on a yearly basis.
- Cindy Saadeh Fine Art: By partnering with a nearby art gallery, KB has received original ballet art (and displayed their artists’ work in return,) created opportunities for dancers to perform at a gallery (indoors and out,) received donated services to its Ballet and Bubbly fundraiser, and much more.
- Bank of Tennessee, Progress Building: KB has enjoyed the use of conference rooms in nearby businesses for their board and planning meetings.
- Urban Synergy: By trading ad space for service, KB has enjoyed donated stays at Urban Synergy’s downtown lofts for its summer intensive guest artists.
- Hibbert Davis Coffee Gallery: Trading ad space for service, KB has received donated appetizers for its yearly fundraiser, Ballet and Bubbly
- Comfort Suites: The hotel chain’s local partners has provided KB with complimentary rooms for its guest artists for several years.
- Sleepy Owl Brewing Company: This popular beer hangout has provided free space for KB to conduct Bodyflow fitness classes as a way to cross-promote their offerings.