The Art of Planning

Art museums operate much like ducks on a pond—effortlessly gliding along on the surface while paddling furiously underneath. Most visitors to art museums see only tranquil galleries that are the end result of behind-the-scenes, unglamorous work. But to reach that Zen-like external state requires years of thoughtful planning and careful allocation of resources.

The OKCMOA Staff and Board leadership are currently engaged in a planning effort to shape the vision and direction of the Museum. While “strategic planning” does not conjure the romance of tsarist treasures or Impressionist masterpieces, it is vital to bringing such exhibitions to life. A thoughtful and deliberate planning process provides the intellectual architecture and the inspiration to dramatically transform a cultural organization.

By natural disposition, I am a planner. While not all my plans have come to fruition—as a boy, my dream was to be a great Egyptologist, the Howard Carter of my generation—more often than not, I’ve found prudent planning has paid its rewards.

Since January, Maureen Robinson—a colleague with whom I’ve worked on several occasions—has guided us through our planning efforts by gathering thoughts and insights from Staff, Board, and civic leaders. And, we have sought the opinions of our members, families who participate in our programs, and film patrons.

Several critical planning elements have already been completed. For the past year, our Education Division has been working on a new plan to redefine how we serve our diverse audiences. Their efforts led to a new Division of Learning and Engagement. Similarly, the Curatorial Division has been working on defining the unique curatorial voice of the Museum and shaping our collecting strategies for the future.

We expect to have our strategic plan complete by mid-fall. We’re discussing the need for a deeper and richer visitor experience, a renewed commitment to building the permanent collection, and the necessity of significant investment in the Museum for future generations.

I look forward to sharing our exciting vision for the Museum with you. In the meantime, we’ll keep paddling.