Ask an Expert Webinar: "How is Your (Orchestra's) Health?"

Join Zannie Voss, director of SMU’s National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) for this great online learning opportunity!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018, at 11 am PT
"How's Your (Orchestra's) Health?"

  • What is the current financial and organizational health of symphony orchestras in California compared with those across the U.S.?
  • How can we use data to help us monitor and improve our financial and organizational health?

You care about your organization’s health. So do we. That is why SMU’s National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) has created a free, online diagnostic tool, the NCAR KIPI (Key Intangible Performance Indicator) Dashboard, which allows you to see how your organization compares to organizations like yours nationally on a variety of financial and operating performance indices. NCAR Director Zannie Voss, and SMU MA/MBA Candidate Andrew Reynolds, will share trend analysis for symphony orchestras in California, and will walk you through the Dashboard to demonstrate how it can be used to assess and advance your organization’s health.

Click here to register.

New ACSO Website and Database Coming Soon

We are pleased to announce that ACSO will be transitioning to a brand new, more user-friendly website and integrated membership database next month. What does this mean for you?

You will continue to be able to access all the features and information currently found at, such as the member-only content, the job postings, conference and program registration, the monthly concert listings, and online membership renewal. Plus, the new website will not only be more aesthetically pleasing and contemporary in look and feel, but it will also be mobile-responsive, so you can connect with us easily from your tablets and smart phones.

You will also be better able to manage your ACSO membership because all dues-paying members, whether you are part of a member organization or you are an individual member, will be set up with a unique profile with a username and password that you can use to log in to check on your membership status, renew your membership, update your contact information, manage your communication preferences, and register for conference or other ACSO events. This is the first time that ACSO has been able to offer you control of your own membership profile.

Because this is a big step forward for ACSO's technology, we know there may be some initial bumps in the road as we get everyone used to the new website and membership database. But please know that we want to make this as seamless as possible and will help you set up your profiles and navigate the new website.

After we go live with the new and improved in early April, we will send out additional "how to" information to get you started, as well as conduct some orientation webinars so that you can learn all the ins and outs of our new systems. And as always, we are just a phone call or email away.

NEA Announces $355,000 in Grants to 11 ACSO Organizational Members for First Round of FY2018 Funding

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. The NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.

“The American people are recognized for their innovative spirit and these grants represent the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “I am proud of the role the National Endowment for the Arts plays in helping advance the creative capacity of the United States.”

"ACSO is proud of its members. These grants highlight an investment from the federal government and showcase the highest artistic caliber ACSO members produce for their communities," said Mitch Menchaca, ACSO executive director.

ACSO members include:

La Jolla Music Society
$10,000 La Jolla, CA
Art Works — Music
To support SummerFest, a chamber music festival.

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
$25,000 Los Angeles, CA
Art Works — Music
To support residencies with harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

Los Angeles Philharmonic
$90,000 Los Angeles, CA
Art Works — Music
To support the Schumann Cycle, a festival of concerts.

Oakland Symphony
$10,000 Oakland, CA
Art Works — Music
To support Notes from the African Diaspora, a concert performed by the Oakland Symphony.

Pacific Symphony
$30,000 Irvine, CA
Art Works — Music
To support a performance project celebrating the 80th birthday of American composer Philip Glass.

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
$10,000 San Francisco, CA
Art Works — Music
To support a music performance project.

San Diego Symphony
$20,000 San Diego, CA
Art Works — Music
To support a music festival exploring the connection of rhythm and beat in the human experience.

San Francisco Symphony
$80,000 San Francisco, CA
Art Works — Music
To support a performance project celebrating the 100th birthday anniversary of American composer Leonard Bernstein.

Santa Rosa Symphony
$10,000 Santa Rosa, CA
Challenge America
To support a concert and youth engagement activities featuring a musical guest artist.

Tucson Symphony Orchestra
$15,000 Tucson, AZ
Art Works — Arts Education
To support the Young Composers Project, a music composition program.

Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles/Heart of Los Angeles
$55,000 Los Angeles, CA
Art Works — Arts Education
To support the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles at Heart of Los Angeles (YOLA at HOLA).

Click here to learn more about all first round grants supported by the NEA.

Advocacy Alert: #SaveTheNEA

On February 12th, the President released his FY 2019 budget request. His request includes the termination of our nation's cultural grant-making agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Now is a critical moment in the process. Ask your congressional delegation for support of the NEA at least $150 million for FY 2018, and $155 million for FY 2019.

The proposed FY 2019 budget ignores the fact that Congress soundly rejected this same attempt last year to terminate the nation's cultural agencies.

To recap, Congress is still working to finish FY 2018 funding, even while FY 2019 is underway.

  • On November 20, 2017, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee fully restored the funding level for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) at $150 million each for FY 2018.
  • In July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the appropriations bill that included $145 million for the NEA and NEH.
  • Final FY 2018 funding is anticipated by March 23rd, the date current funding is set to expire, as part of the short-term funding patches Congress is passing while working to write final funding bills.

Now more than ever is the time to tell our story and make the case again and again at the federal, state, and local levels that the arts matter. Click here to take two minutes now to #SAVEtheNEA and send a unified message to Congress to restore full funding to the NEA.

*ACSO is a member of the Arts Action Fund and a partner in National Arts Advocacy Day.

Apply for the Kris Sinclair Leadership Award

ACSO is now accepting applicaitons for the 2018 Kris Sinclair Leadership Award!

The Kris Sinclair Leadership Award is given to an ACSO Organizational Member that demonstrates recent and measurable leadership initiatives by its staff and/or board in one or more of the following areas: finance, governance, staff development, audience development, education, or community engagement.

This award is made possible by the Kris Sinclair Fund for Professional Development that consists of contributions intentionally made in Kris Sinclair’s name to support professional development and technical assistance offered by the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO). Sinclair was the executive director of the Association for 31 years and provided members with technical assistance, professional development opportunities, and consultation on myriad orchestra management topics.

Applicants must be current ACSO Organizational Members at the date of the application and must remain a member in good standing throughout the award period. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 16, 2018.

Click here for more information and to apply.