I was lucky enough attend two stops on the Art of Relevance book tour: once at the Chicago Navy Pier in October 2016, and then again when my company Museum Hack hosted her New York City book launch event.
Nina provided me with a copy of her slides. I’ve added my own unedited raw notes below some of them!
- This book as a journey to figure out how we, as institutions and people, consider relevance. To our audience and to ourselves.
- History: Nina runs the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.
- It’s a success story turnaround by all accounts. She is responsible for it.
- When she started 5 years ago, $16,000 in the bank and $33,000 in unpaid bills.
- The board was talking about closing the doors.
- A crisis of relevance.
- More people knew that it used to be a jail, than that it was a museum.
- Everyone in town wondered, “What happens in that building?”
- Find, spark, share, and preserve ideas and stories.
- Bonding and bridging across differences in their community. And for individuals to feel empowered to share creative and civic voices.
- One-page theory of change, their impact statement: Our community grows stronger and more connected.
- Reflection about who are these people, and why are they coming?
- What’s relevant to them now?
- What is relevance?
- At this point, Nina asked the audience: Who here likes bacon? I raised my hand, as well as many others.
- Then Nina said, “I am a vegetarian.” (That got some laughs.)
- Looking at this picture of bacon really makes me want some bacon right now.
- Nina told the story about how she tried to convince people for a long time to give up meat, but eventually stopped because it wasn’t working.
- Until the story came out about “BACON CAUSES CANCER.”
- Why do some people vote, and others do not vote?
- Because voting doesn’t seem relevant to them.
- Yosi, marketer formerly working for Toyota, joined the team of Barack Obama to help get young people of color to turn out and vote.
- Shepard Fairey story about the HOPE campaign. “Success in giving outsiders a reason to come and vote.”
- Outsiders aren’t ignoring not because they don’t know. They are ignoring because it doesn’t feel relevant.
- “Some of my greatest heroes are inside/outside people.”
- Nina gave the example of the oldest National Park Service ranger, Betty, pictured above.
- “When I wear my uniform on the streets, I am announcing to people of color a career path that I didn’t know was available to me until I was in my 80s.”
- She’s using her uniform as a kind of key to invite people in.
- Another hero in the National Park Service: Cam, as the first community organizer. How do they transform the appearance of rangers to be more welcoming?
- Community-first design: steam punk knitters, etc.
- The hardest work isn’t interacting with this audience and asking them questions, the hardest work is: will we do this work?
- ROOMS AND DOORS: “When I was writing this book, I was constantly looking for the metaphor for what this means.”
- Some museums have big, imposing doors.
- Other cultural organizations have doors like for hotels, with a different door for many different groups.
- But this isn’t so bad when compared to the “fake doors.”
- Example of Dragon Festival weekend, where Chinese families are invited one weekend, and then not welcome the next.
My Nina Simon Cool Videos:
- [VIDEO] Bikini Bootcamp, me and Nina went to Tulum Mexico
- [VIDEO] Hardcore Mudd Run with Nina Simon wow that was fun
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