About the time I launched Floricane, my strategic planning business, I found myself sitting around a table with some folks from The Hodges Partnership (THP) brainstorming new community conversation ideas centered around Morton's the Steakhouse, which is a client of THP.
In short order, we'd come up with a nugget of an idea -- five or six people around a table, discussing issues of the day. We also surfaced three topics that seemed broad, but interesting -- sports in Richmond, arts and culture, and the nonprofit community.
We had no budget to go along with our ideas, so we improvised our way through the first event, which was held in April and focused on sports in Richmond.
We started with an idea of trying to partner with public television to make it a live broadcast -- five cultural figures engaged in a hearty discussion over steak, crabcakes and asparagus. Done well, it could be something straight out of TBN. Budgets and time got in the way.
What we ended up doing was utilizing Twitter and live blogging and audio recording as a way to promote the event and create a space where the public could participate -- listen in, read along, add their comments, submit their questions.
It was a moderate success.
Next Tuesday, July 21, we go back to the table:
Large or small, contemporary or classical, Richmond’s cultural institutions share many of the same issues and challenges. Just how are the arts in Richmond confronting such difficult economic times? On July 21, Morton’s The Steakhouse will bring together five local experts for the second in a series of community conversations, “Arts in Richmond: Culture at the Crossroads.”
The Evening at Morton’s discussion series brings together Richmond-area authorities to opine on a range of issues over dinner. The arts discussion participants include:
The conversation will be “live-blogged” by John Sarvay, a local blogger and founding principal of Floricane, LLC, and moderated by Josh Dare, a principal with The Hodges Partnership, a Richmond-based public relations firm. While the actual dinner at the restaurant is private, Richmonders can participate in the discussion and ask questions to the participants here on the Evening at Morton’s blog. The blog feed will go live at 6 p.m. on July 21. The conversation also will be audio recorded and made available on this site following the event.
- Janine Bell, founding president and artistic director, Elegba Folklore Society
- David Fisk, executive director, Richmond Symphony
- Ana Ines King, founder and artistic director, Latin Ballet of Virginia
- Harry Kollatz, columnist/staff writer, Richmond Magazine, and co-founder of the Firehouse Theatre Project
- Christina Newton, founder and director, Curated Culture
THP has launched a Facebook event page for the second Evening at Morton's event, where you can register, get updates and be reminded about the event before it starts and after it concludes. Unfortunately, this is a virtual event -- you can enjoy it from the comfort of your laptop, but not from the dining room at Morton's. The live blogged portion (that I'll be manning) can be seen either at the Evening at Morton's website or at Buttermilk & Molasses starting at 6:00 -- and you can submit questions directly at that time.
Jonah Holland will be live tweeting with the hash tag #steakchat.
In the fall, we'll be back with another Evening at Morton's event focused on how the nonprofit community in Richmond is growing, struggling and reinventing itself.