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By Angela Tahti, Consultant

With support from the California Arts Council Organizational Development Grant, Amador County Arts Council (AmadorArts) worked with a consultant to complete a Strategic Planning Process from June 2019 through May 2020. Our goal was to create a new Strategic Plan for the next three years. In addition to making actionable goals and strategies for the future, our hope was to address program management, policies, board development, and outreach.

In January 2019 at the annual board retreat, preliminary research began with a program review to map program sustainability and impact. After video conferencing with stakeholders and staff, a daylong, on-site, facilitated workshop included the Board of Directors, staff, and contractors on June 6, 2019. The group celebrated the successes of the prior strategic plan, reviewed goals and requirements of the State Local Partnership Program and AmadorArts’ mission; analyzed strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges; discussed cultural equity, access and inclusion; unpacked implicit bias, and envisioned the future.

Two shorter planning sessions covered legal responsibilities of the board, board agreements, and conflict of interest policies. The need to update bylaws for compliance was discussed as was representation of county demographics. Members self-selected one of three pilot board committees: Governance, Internal, or External. Two, long in-person sessions involved input from diverse citizen stakeholders.

By fall, burn-out of long-standing, dedicated board members, unchecked term-limits, restructuring challenges, a dynamic new executive director; and the transition from an volunteer-managed operation to staffed, led to a gradual exodus of the former guard. In cooperation with the executive director, three stalwart board members served as transition team to bridge the seating of a new board.

At the January 10, 2020 board retreat, the planning process was reset, new board members had orientation and officers were elected. Chairs for each committee were appointed. Teams began in earnest to develop strategic objectives and actions and met again in person in February.

COVID-19 could not stop the new board and its determined staff. Thanks to the Disaster Preparedness Initiative from California Arts Council, AmadorArts was able to quickly pivot and convene monthly board and committee meetings via Zoom. Staff worked from home to provide the public an array of at-home arts education, Creative Respite, and modified programs. As second responders, AmadorArts has kept the public well-informed and creatively engaged.

Board committees Zoomed monthly to prepare a living strategic plan. A 45-minute planning session followed March, April, and May online board meetings. A public survey was launched digitally in April. Results inform future focus.

The process and goals have been documented in the “AmadorArts Roadmap for Creative Impact” and recorded in an accessible spreadsheet-database hybrid via the cloud-based service, Airtable. This updated strategic plan, includes a Tribal Lands Acknowledgement, Racial Equity Statement, and Equitability Decision Making Tool, and will be adopted and released to the public by the Amador County Arts Council Board of Directors in June, 2020.

Everyone has a home in the Arts with AmadorArts!

AmadorArts Board of Directors in January 2020


This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Find out more at


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