South Dakota Arts Council - Strategic Planning

Council’s Strategic Planning

Every three to five years the South Dakota Arts Council (SDAC) takes time to cast a new vision and establish new goals for the development of a comprehensive state arts plan. In 2016 and 2017 SDAC, in conjunction with statewide nonprofit arts service and advocacy organization Arts South Dakota, conducted strategic planning activities, all of which are detailed below. SDAC is pleased to share its latest strategic plan, guiding its operations to serve the statewide arts community through 2021:

The South Dakota Arts Council worked in partnership with statewide arts service and advocacy nonprofit Arts South Dakota to gather public input for development of respective strategic plans. Dr. Craig Dreeszen, former director of the University of Massachusetts Arts Extension Service, consulted in the joint planning venture and provided advice in structuring public input meetings as well as survey design.
Public Meetings, Small Groups, Surveys, and Conversations: A variety of methods were employed during the planning process for soliciting public input. Meetings were publicized through email, mailings, media releases, social media, and on websites. A constituent survey was distributed via email, social media, and table-top invitations at arts events. About 1,000 people participated.

  • In March 2016 SDAC brought together 30 arts leaders in Sioux Falls for the first of two Arts Inclusion Roundtable meetings; a second meeting including 25 participants was convened in Rapid City in August 2016. The purpose of these roundtables was to start a conversation about what equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the arts means, and it quickly became clear these concepts are critical in South Dakota.
  • The then-new executive directors of SDAC and Arts SD visited several communities in 2016 to meet local artists, arts and community leaders, and interested residents and discuss the state of the arts at the community level. Together they visited eight communities and individually several more, covering nearly every region of the state and directly reaching well over a hundred constituents in the process.
  • With guidance from SDAC and Arts SD, planning consultant Dreeszen developed an online constituent survey that was distributed during the winter of 2017. SDAC and ASD sent 1,445 email invitations to a constituent list of SDAC grantees, artists, arts leaders, educators, students, legislators, and arts advocates. The 471 surveys that were completed represent a 33-percent response rate, and survey respondents were well distributed across the state and between urban and rural areas. The survey results fairly represent South Dakota arts constituents and are a useful guide to developing plans and policy, according to the consultant. Slightly more than half the respondents identified themselves as artists, followed by arts-interested citizens, educators, business owners or managers, and volunteers, staff, and/or board members of arts or cultural organizations. Survey results were sent to Council members in June 2017 and discussed at the July SDAC board meeting.
  • From late April through mid-May of 2017, regional arts planning meetings were convened in nine communities, achieving significant geographic diversity across the state. The meetings attracted 278 participants, representing a mix of arts organization staff and board members, artists, educators, business leaders, local officials, parents, and students. The meetings were facilitated by a third-party representative using a generally consistent set of discussion questions; SDAC staff took notes and summarized each meeting. Planning consultant Dreeszen synthesized all public input into a single summary report, which was presented to Council members for consideration in July 2017.
  • In an effort to directly engage American Indians in the planning process, SDAC worked with the directors of The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School and Cheyenne River Youth Project to plan for regional arts meetings on both the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River reservations, the latter of which also offered an opportunity to directly engage American Indian youth.
  • Continuous planning discussions were held with other state agencies, including with key representatives from the Department of Tourism, Department of Education, S.D. State Historical Society, Department of Corrections, S.D. Public Broadcasting, and the S.D. Humanities Council.
  • A final in-depth strategic planning session was held with SDAC’s board members in July 2017. The meeting was structured around a discussion of what SDAC can do to improve its support of artists and arts organizations as well as an exercise in exploring “big ideas.” The new strategic plan’s mission, vision statements, public values, goals, and strategies were based on an assessment of input from all information-gathering sources as well as recommendations by Council members.  

We thank all of you who participated in the survey, regional planning gatherings, and leadership meetings. Your input was essential to our planning process and we deeply appreciate and value your time!
Research and Reports by Craig Dreeszen, Ph. D. Dreeszen & Associates