Two local non-profits focused on the local arts community are now sharing a digital media specialist and photographer in an effort to expand the reach and mission of both organizations.
R.I.S.E. (Responsive Initiatives for Social Empowerment) Chattanooga, a nonprofit organization focused on community education, performance, and arts and cultural preservation, is sharing the services of employee Ben Banks with SoundCorp, a nonprofit focused on promoting professionalism in the local music community,
"We have worked with them in the past and arts organizations have been talking about shared resources for some time, but I said, 'Why not shared staff?" said Shane Morrow, executive director of R.I.S.E.
SoundCorps Executive Director Stratton Tingle said the idea was immediately hailed by his board, "and the community, I think."
Both Tingle and Morrow said the idea has benefits that go beyond just being financially sound. Such a position at either non-profit would typically be a part-time position, but under this plan, the person can make twice what he would otherwise make.
"Which means maybe we can keep creatives here working, but more importantly it means the people we are working with have the benefit of networking with the people at SoundCorps," Morrow said. "We want them to have hands-on experiences with us walking alongside them and this increases those opportunities."
Tingle echoed those sentiments and said, "One of big things that is an added benefit is increasing our ability to reach communities that we are were not reaching before. There is a natural overlap that was not happening before.
"Plus, we both now have a shared employee who is hearing about things that are going on that we would not otherwise hear about."
Both said it is important for members of the local arts community to see the big picture and to realize everyone benefits if everyone works together for the betterment of all.
"This also goes to addressing some of the small thinking we see pop up in our arts community sometimes where we feel like we are competing for the same dollars or the audiences. This alleviates some of that tunnel vision I hope," Tingle said.
Banks is the first and only person in the new shared employee program, but both Tingle and Morrow said they hope to take advantage of new opportunities once renovation work is completed on the old East Baptist Church of Christ off Glass Street that R.I.S.E. recently purchased is completed.
"It's 15,000 square feet and we bought the land around it also, so the plan is for a venue and rental space," Morrow said.
Tingle said he is hoping to expand some of his programming, such as Bandwidth, which works to increase access to the training and technology in professional-grade live streaming, by utilizing the space in the future.
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.