The fall of 2016 at the KMA was busy as usual, packed with exhibitions, educational programs, classes, films, concerts, and special events like the Knoxville Garden Club’s amazing art and flower show. The museum attracted record number of visitors (more than 7,000 in October alone) as KMA staff, volunteers, trustees, and other stakeholders were hard at work hammering out a new strategic vision for the museum, taking advantage of an extended period of growth and stability to dream and plan for what’s next for the KMA. Working with a wide range of stakeholders–staff, volunteers, KMA Guild leadership, and the Board of Trustees—the past few months have been a time for reflection and institutional self-examination. We have asked stakeholders to imagine the best possible future for the museum and they responded with enthusiasm and thoughtful feedback.
We are still in the final stages of refining new strategic goals, but their broad outlines have been approved by the Board of Trustees and the details will be finalized within the next few months. The goals enumerated below grow out of the museum’s success in cementing its role as the preeminent home of the rich and distinctive visual culture of our region, and the dialogue with national and international cultural developments. In the course of this process of self-examination, we learned some key truths that are entwined within the goals outlined below. First, there is power in making personal and authentic connections. Although we approach the art experience each through our own lens, the KMA can and should weave a rich tapestry of storytelling into its work. Bringing art and artists to life with rich narratives enlivens the museum experience and engages our audiences. Second, we have clarified the need to grow our annual operating budget. Third, and perhaps most important, we must continue our commitment to inclusion and diversity in all that we do.
Following are six broad strategic goals that will ensure the best possible future for the museum if we:
–engage diverse audiences in the legacy of East Tennessee’s rich visual culture by acquiring, conserving, exhibiting, and interpreting outstanding works of significance to our mission
–concentrate educational efforts on opportunities to build emotional and knowledge-based affinity for the KMA and its collection by highlighting the legacy and voices of the artists and works that we represent
–maintain the KMA building and its property in ways that best steward its assets while also considering the needs and interests of a diverse visitor base
–focus the KMA’s marketing on a compelling message and strong visual elements that reach a diverse audience
–expand our relationship-building approach to fundraising with a focus on acquiring and retaining a strong donor base through the strategic use of staff and board resources
–recruit and retain an active, engaged, and diverse board of trustees dedicated to the fulfillment of the museum’s mission
Board committees and staff are hard at work right now, developing detailed action plans to support each of these strategic goals over the next three years.