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How To Get What You Want From Creative People
Episode 27

How To Get What You Want From Creative People

CI to Eye with Bonnie Siegler

This episode is hosted by Erik Gensler.

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Erik and Bonnie discuss how arts administrators can better work with creative people to get the output they want for their organizations.

Erik Gensler: Well, Bonnie, thank you so much for being here.

Bonnie Siegler: Thank you for having me.

Erik Gensler: I love your book, “Dear Client: This Book Will Teach You How to Get What You Want from Creative People, Sincerely, Bonnie Siegler.” What inspired you to write the book?

Bonnie Siegler: Well, I’ve had my company for 25 years and, you know, just so many projects start out where we’re in love with each other. By we, I mean the designers and the client are in love. Everything’s great, it’s going great, and then the same kinds of problems come up, which just get in the way of having a great experience, a great final product. And, I know there are lots of books for designers about how to work with clients. Like, teaching us how to change our behavior so we can better serve clients, but, you know, it’s a two-way street, and there were no books that taught clients how to work with designers. It’s really just a universal “how to work with other people” book, but through my lens as a designer. I figured all these people and all these experiences that my colleagues have had with difficult, what we call, “difficult clients.” It’s not ’cause they’re bad people. They just might not know how to work with creative people, or what our sort of view on things is and, and our way of doing things, or also like the care and feeding of designers, which is what I thought of calling it at one point. Because, it’s pretty simple, it’s pretty much about being nice.

Bonnie Siegler: And respectful.

Erik Gensler: One of my favorite quotes from the book is right from the opening, mean to you, or suspicious, that it’s, you know, whatever, you’re taking too much time, it’s gonna cost them too much money, if that’s their overwhelming attitude, then the idea of, you know, thinking about their project while you’re in the shower or walking the dog is just less likely to happen. And, that’s the best part, is you never know when a good idea is gonna come. Or when you think, “You know what, I know a better way to do that.” And giving it that 300 percent, you need that good relationship. If someone’s mean to you, you’re not thinking, “How can I make them happier.”

Bonnie Siegler: You’re thinking, “Why are they so mean to me?”

Erik Gensler: It’s not always about being mean, it’s just not knowing the language. Yeah.

Bonnie Siegler: Yeah, I’m using that as a catchall for making you unhappy, perhaps.

Erik Gensler: You quote Jon Stewart, who attributed his success of “The Daily Show” to “a clarity of vision, but a flexibility of process.” Wondering about how that relates to working with creatives.

Bonnie Siegler: Oh, I was really blown away by that quote, because they were sort of asking him about, “It’s worked so well over so many years and with lots of different writers coming in and going.” But the idea that they’re, you know, it’s like the creative brief essentially was good and strong, and it didn’t waiver. But, how you achieve it could change based on who was there or what ideas came up and that’s exactly what we need, is like a clear vision, we know what our goals are. We all agree on what the goals are. But, you know, there are a million different ways to get there, and a million different possible solutions. I mean, that’s the thing that’s hard for, I think, some people who aren’t in the creative field is, there’s no, you know, one solution. It’s completely subjective. If you love it, that’s the right solution.

Erik Gensler: You have a chapter that’s called, “Deciding Who Will Decide.” In which, you say, “Vision is not a group activity, and the group inevitably interferes with the possibility of greatness.” I’d love for you to talk about that quote, and what you’d recommend for organizations that really want to be collaborative, but also productive.

Bonnie Siegler: Everyone’s been in a million meetings, and if there’s, you know, with too many people in the room, and if everyone is equal in that meeting, nobody, there’s no opportunity for one person to be the visionary and have the big idea or push the big idea through. And when you’re responding to something like design, and there’s 20 different voices, you will never please everybody all the time. So, things get chipped away at, until it’s generic enough that nobody can object to it. So, it’s just, it’s no way to come up, to have a vision. I mean, the way really amazing things happen, the things that people are always envious of, is because one person drove it. One person had a strong idea, and the ability working with people above them and below them to see it through. So it’s not that they’re doing it alone, necessarily, but there’s clearly a person, a human with a mind driving that vision. It’s the same, it’s the clarity of vision thing on the other side.

Erik Gensler: So you’re really recommending, early on in a project, to just be clear about who the, that person is.

Bonnie Siegler: I mean, on the client side, often times, there’s four or five people who are deciding. But again, compromise happens when there are four or five people deciding. Also nobody then, has the responsibility of being the decider, so they take that role less seriously if they’re just 20 percent of the equation. But if they’re a hundred percent of the equation, if it’s really on them, that’s a huge responsibility. And the gravitas that goes with that responsibility, you know, that’s great. Everybody loves having responsibility. Who doesn’t want that, really? But it’s sort of an out when there’s five of you.

Erik Gensler: You say in the book that RFPs are off-putting. I’m curious to hear about how so, and what you recommend instead. It’s usually, like, ten pages to fill out. I mean, the big thing is: the person who’s filling it out is not the creative person, and the person who’s reading it is not the person making the decision. what really matters, especially in a creative environment is, is it a good fit? Will we work together well? How do we communicate with each other? Do you understand what I’m saying? Do I understand what you’re saying? And the stuff on an RFP, there’s, everything is gray. Like, the example I give is, you know, we could have, often times they say, “List the team of people that are, will be working on it and their experience.” Well, maybe we just hired someone right out of college. They’re unbelievably amazing and have no experience. You wouldn’t know that from reading an RFP and that’s your loss. I find, you’re just always coming back to the people.

Bonnie Siegler: Always. Well with, especially with creativity, again, that’s where it doesn’t necessarily overlap with every field. But with creativity, it is about the people.

Erik Gensler: Absolutely. I think with almost every organization and culture, it’s really about the people.

Bonnie Siegler: You’re right (laughs)

Erik Gensler: So I’m gonna mention a few, are you, do you call them chapters, or that you could go through the book not in order. Like, so each one is a discrete thought. I mean if, you could, it is semi-chronological through the life of a project, but I also like the idea that you could just open it anywhere like good bathroom reading. Yeah, that’s great. (laughs) Or coffee table book.

Bonnie Siegler: Yes.

Erik Gensler: Let’s start with this one. Tell me the problem, not the solution.

Bonnie Siegler: Well that’s, I mean, this is a huge thing for, for both sides because, so if we’re, we have a problem to solve, and a client says, you know, “I want it to be” or, the example I give is, I think, then the client says, “Well you know what, I think you should make it yellow.” They’ve just given the solution. If they tell you the problem, like, I wish it were sunnier, then there’s like a million different things we can do. And that’s where we put our creative hats on and go through, maybe it should, you know, maybe we should literally put a sun in it, or maybe the whole thing needs to go to cool colors instead of warm colors, or maybe, like there’s a million different possible solutions. But if you tell us to make it yellow, you’ve just, you’ve just put a road block in front of any new possibilities, better possibilities. You know, maybe the right solution is to make it yellow, but if you say, “Make it sunnier,” we’ll come to that ourselves. So, you want the benefit of our exploration, rather than cutting us off, you know, at the pass, or whatever the expression is.

Erik Gensler: That’s right. Yeah. Right, so almost thinking it of, a lot of this is about, engaging you for your exploration.

Bonnie Siegler: Yeah, definitely. What we love to do.

Bonnie Siegler: And to cut us off like that really gets in the way of you getting the best solution.

Erik Gensler: Another one is, “Introduce Everyone At the Meeting.”

Bonnie Siegler: (laughs) Well, if you’ve been to meetings with 20 people at the table, especially design presentations, and there’s a million people at the table, you have no idea who anyone is, except for maybe the two people who you’ve already met with. So you can’t, when the discussion part happens, you can’t gauge whose opinion matters. Like, I totally get inclusivity, and I actually love when lots of people come and discuss things. But, if we don’t know who the people are and what their roles are, we’re not sure whether we should really engage with someone about something they bring up, or you know, maybe it’s the intern, who they wanted to have a voice, but they don’t really know anything ’cause they started yesterday so we don’t really have to spend too much time on that. But it’s almost impossible to know how to conduct that meeting if you don’t know who the people you’re meeting with are.

Erik Gensler: Absolutely. “Be Upfront About Money.”

Bonnie Siegler: Well, money is, of course, a huge issue. a lot of times people say, “We, we have no idea what our budget is, just none, no clue. We just haven’t done that yet.” And then if you say, “Well, it’ll cost ten dollars,” they’ll say, “Oh, that’s way too much for our budget.”

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Bonnie Siegler: And, and that’s just a huge waste of time, because then, it just confuses everything and it gets you off on the wrong foot. I totally get everyone wants to spend as little money as possible. I want to spend as little money as possible. So, just being honest about it, maybe we can’t do the job, maybe it’s so little money we, but why not just get that over with really quickly, before we do this dance where you’re hoping we’re gonna guess less than what you actually have, which we won’t do.

Erik Gensler: Right, no I love the example you have in the book about the, the young designer who put, thought he put 5,000 dollars in the proposal, they said yes, well why don’t you tell the story? (laughs)

Bonnie Siegler: No, no. You’re doing it perfectly.

Erik Gensler: So, okay. So, the young designer submits this proposal, to which he thought he made it 5,000 dollars, ’cause he wasn’t sure what the budget was, and the client said yes, and so he went back and reviewed the proposal, and realized that he had actually put an extra zero and it was 50,000 dollars, so the client agreed to 50,000 dollars.

Bonnie Siegler: Yes.

Erik Gensler: Yeah.

Bonnie Siegler: So but, why, that’s just the, so absurd. I mean, lucky guy, but it’s so absurd because if people had just been open and upfront, even a range. I mean, often times projects have so many components to them, like maybe, I tell you what, we can do the first third for this much money, and then maybe you need to go somewhere else for the, you know, whatever. There’s lots of ways to negotiate once you’re speaking the same language, once you know what the terms are. And everyone has a budget. I don’t care what they say.

Erik Gensler: (laughs) “Cut Out the Middle Man.”

Bonnie Siegler: Well that’s mostly about, sort of the way agencies tend to work, which is, there’s a client coordinator, there’s somebody who translates what the client wants to the creative team. I mean, I’m not saying they shouldn’t exist or anything, but, and, and I don’t have to have every single conversation. But there has to be a few big conversations that are directly between these two people with no translation. And that, the rep or the account person can be there too. And then they can continue, ’cause there’s so many conversations that take place, and it, it is nice to not have to have every single one, but the rep can’t take the place of that dialogue between the client, the person who’s making the ultimate decision, and the designer.

Erik Gensler: “I Notice/I Wonder.”

Bonnie Siegler: “I Notice/I Wonder” is just a guide to a possible way to respond to a, a presentation, and actually, this is one that definitely works with anybody who’s showing you something, and you have no idea how to respond, either because you hate it or because you just don’t know what you think yet, you need time to mull it over. And yet the person who’s presented it to you, obviously, is nervous, or, you know, everyone’s neurotic. Nobody is not neurotic. Everyone’s insecure and they’re waiting for your word, your words of wisdom. So one easy way to do it is to just say, is to start with saying, talking about literally what you see: “I notice this is really long. You spent a lot of time on this.” Or something like that. Which is actually useful feedback, like you get to know what the person notices. Like, it’s not nothing to understand what they notice. I know it seems like stating the obvious, but it’s not. Any response is useful. So then you, so once you get through an “I notice” statement, you can move to an “I wonder” statement if you do have some potential criticism instead of saying, “Make it yellow,” you can say “I wonder what it would look like if it were sunnier. I wonder what … ” And just by prefacing with “I wonder,” by not saying, “Do this,” will change the way the person you’re speaking to, whether it be, like, an accountant or a contractor or whatever, will respond to what you say. Just that simple change in language.

Erik Gensler: My executive coach says when you’re giving somebody feedback, you say, “I have observed.” I notice, I wonder.

Bonnie Siegler: It doesn’t literally have to be “I notice, I wonder,” but there is something to that idea of, this is what I see, and this is how I’m thinking, rather than this sucks and this is what I need you to do next.

Erik Gensler: Right, and the opportunity cost of what you’re not doing,

Bonnie Siegler: Exactly.

Erik Gensler: While you’re finding that file and sending it.

Bonnie Siegler: Exactly.

Erik Gensler: Yeah. I love the “Don’t Say This, Say That” chapter. So, for example, don’t say-

Bonnie Siegler: It’s so funny, we debated this so much. It’s called “Don’t Say That, Say This,” but we couldn’t decide whether it should be “Don’t Say This, Say That”.

Erik Gensler: (laughs) Right.

Bonnie Siegler: No, no, no. We, it’s fine. It’s literally the reason we debated it was, we were like, “Which is more natural?” And now I know we got it wrong. (laughs)

Erik Gensler: (laughs) Well, for me. What you’re not supposed to say is, “What do you charge for a logo?” What perhaps is, is more ideal?

Bonnie Siegler: “Here’s what we were looking for, and here’s our ideal timeline. Please come back to us with a proposal.” Which is totally reasonable, but I get calls where the very first question I’m asked is “What do you charge for a logo,” like it’s something I have on my shelf for $49.99 and I’ll just sell it to you. I mean, there’s so many variables including, you know how many people, like depending on the size of the company. If it’s a big corporation, there will be many many many many rounds of presenting to different constituencies, and stake-holders, and incorporating feedback, and et cetera, et cetera. If it’s your neighbor who, you know, is opening a hair salon or something, it’ll be a really different experience, so there’s no set fee for anything. and so the idea of saying, “What do you charge for a logo,” eliminates all the nuances of the work that we actually do.

Erik Gensler: “We can’t pay that much but it’ll be great exposure.” What should clients say instead?

Bonnie Siegler: Oh, well that’s-

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Bonnie Siegler: That’s a real, that’s a real common one. So, what they should say is, “This is how much we can pay, and we hope that works for you.” I mean, think of like, so somebody has, you know, an arts organization has like no money, and they call you and say, “Look, we have ten dollars, but, you know, it’ll be really good for you.” Or, somebody says, “We love your work. We think you would be perfect for it. But we under, but just we know we have very little money. We really hope you’ll do it, but we only have ten dollars.”

Bonnie Siegler: Two totally different ways to present it.

Bonnie Siegler: So, one I’m likely to say yes to, one I’m likely to say no to.

Erik Gensler: I think I really love this book because, we’re never taught this. And as professionals, throughout our life, at some point we’re gonna have to work with a creative, or a consultant, or someone, business at age 30. I didn’t know. My contract was built on mistakes I made. Yours too.

Erik Gensler: Yeah, same.

Bonnie Siegler: So, but that’s-

Erik Gensler: The whole business was built on mistakes I made.

Bonnie Siegler: I know.

Bonnie Siegler: Exactly. But, and I mean I’m, I’m sure that’s sort of normal, but it would have been nice to have some guidance in design school, okay, graduate school maybe. So, I’ve been doing this workshop with graduate students where they end up pairing up, and one of them is the designer for one, and a client for someone else. And so they have to be in that role as a client without dictating too much, without art-directing their designer, but communicating their needs. Just, which gives them some perspective on the other side.

Erik Gensler: So, where do you personally look for inspiration?

Bonnie Siegler: I love walking the city. I mean, it’s ever-changing and always amazing, but I do go through books. I mean, I mostly look at art books probably, not, because I’m not ever really looking for design solutions. I’m more just looking to, like, tickle my brain. Like there could be a total detail in the corner of a painting that gives me a thought, so it’s more just about, it’s like a, a workout for my brain. So probably, like, big art monographs are where I go.

Erik Gensler: How did you get Seth Godin to write about you in his email? (laughs)

Bonnie Siegler: (laughs) Is that where you found out about it?

Erik Gensler: Yeah.

Bonnie Siegler: I love Seth. He’s been amazing. He also met with my son and told him not to go to college, which- Which he’s not doing. He’s not going to college.

Erik Gensler: Wow.

Bonnie Siegler: My 17-year-old. Seth said it, and then other people said it afterwards, so we decided to go with it. He’s an online entrepreneur.

Erik Gensler: I hear Seth talk about it all the time.

Bonnie Siegler: So-

Erik Gensler: On his podcast, and he writes about it in his alt MBA and-

Bonnie Siegler: So he yeah, so he was a big influence on my son’s decision. but, I, we’ve known each other for a really long time. He wrote a…when we first started our company, we had a website that just said, you know, that we were a design studio, and that if you were interested, call us. It didn’t have any work on it, and he wrote about it in one of his books and we didn’t know him at the time. And all of these people were calling us, “I read about you in Seth Godin’s book.” We were like, “what?” It was like in Purple Cow or something a really long time ago. And so then we met him and were so grateful that he appreciated our website, and we became friends, I guess since then. I told him that I was thinking about doing this, and he said he just loved the idea, and so he, I’ve been sending him, you know when I had the galley, I sent it to him. He’s just been amazing.

Erik Gensler: He’s very generous, yeah.

Bonnie Siegler: I love him.

Erik Gensler: He keynoted, so, eight years ago, I had this idea that I wanted to start a conference for arts marketers, and I think I had the idea in August, and I thought it would be a great idea to have the conference in October, and I also, I was like, “Who should keynote this conference? Seth Godin.” I emailed him and he wrote back within, like 30 seconds, and said, “Call me.” And I was like “Oh my god.” It was like a movie star, ’cause I was a huge fan of “Permission Marketing,” and Purple cow when he said that I could call him, he said, well I do keynote conferences, and here’s the price. And I said, “Well, that’s more money than we’re gonna collect in the entire thing, but thank, thank you so much.” He was like “No, no, no.” He was like, “Make me an offer. My wife and my mother love the arts and I love what you’re doing, I love what you’re thinking.” And he said, and so, I hung up, we hung up the phone and I emailed him and said, “I will get you house seats to five Broadway shows, whatever you want. Would you, you know, do the conference?” And like, within 30 seconds he wrote back and said, “Yes, absolutely.” So, he keynoted our first conference, there were 50 people there, for free. (laughs).

Bonnie Siegler: That’s amazing!

Erik Gensler: For house seats, which he never took. And I actually emailed him and said, “Please take the house seats.” Never did. Well, he’s coming back this year, eight years later, and we’re actually legitimately paying him to keynote our, now bigger, conference.

Bonnie Siegler: Congratulations. I’ll take his house seats.

Erik Gensler: Okay. (laughing) We can, I have I can try to help. (laughs)

Bonnie Siegler: (laughs) Yeah, he’s amazing.

Erik Gensler: Yeah.

Bonnie Siegler: He really is incredible.

Erik Gensler: And to have his, stamp of approval and, and that email he sent on your behalf was lovely, and I could totally see why he likes this book. So …

Bonnie Siegler: He said he had, he had an idea to write a similar book, like ten years ago, called How to Make Love to Your Graphic Designer.

Erik Gensler: (laughs) That’s funny.

Bonnie Siegler: Or something like that. But he didn’t do it, luckily (laughing). Luckily for me.

Erik Gensler: Yeah. that’s great. What’s something you’ve learned in the last year or so that’s been profound in how you work or think?

Bonnie Siegler: I have another book out too, called “Signs of Resistance,” which is a visual history of protest in America, which I’ll show you. Because of my job as a graphic designer, we’re, like, invisible partners with everybody. No matter how much of a project is, like, all my head, and my thinking, and my writing, I’m invisible. It’s not mine and the person whose it is, goes out and shows it proudly, which makes me very happy. But now I have these two books that are actually mine, and it’s been really intense. It’s lie a whole different universe, and at first I was uncomfortable with it. Like, but where’s the person who’s gonna be talking about it? Like where are they? Oh, it’s me. it’s a really weird, I designed a book call “You Can’t Spell America Without Me” for Alec Baldwin and Kurt Andersen. It was a Trump parody memoir. And there was a joke I wanted to put in the book, which I didn’t get to put in the book. But then when I was doing my book, the same opportunity came up, “Signs of Resistance,” and I put it in. And I didn’t even have to show anyone.

Erik Gensler: Right. (laughs)

Bonnie Siegler: I just got to put it in. And it was glorious. So, that was really excellent.

Erik Gensler: What’s something that you’re really good at, and what’s something you’re currently working on improving?

Bonnie Siegler: I think I’m good at when people lay out a situation, I can boil it down really well to the most important part, which is part of the problem-solving thing. I’m really good at cutting through all the noise and finding the most important aspect, the gem, inside. Something I’m working on improving, I think just the regular stuff, being a better person; being considerate of other people; thinking about what the other person is going through, and experiencing and how that influence it, rather than just getting frustrated or annoyed with somebody, I think about where they’re coming from and why. Pretty normal human things.

Erik Gensler: Which is what so much of this book is.

Bonnie Siegler: Yeah. I mean it’s, it’s I wrote a, like, thing in the beginning, because it’s not like everybody should do this perfectly all the time. There’s no way for that to happen, but if you can consider some of these things some of the time- Then it’ll be great, it’ll be better. Which is really all we can do.

Erik Gensler: You have three quotes on the opening page. One is by Steve Jobs, one is Paul Rand, and the, the third is Mr. Rogers, “There are three ways to ultimate success. The first is to be kind, the second way is to be kind, and the third way is to be kind.” I’ve never seen that before.

Bonnie Siegler: And, you know, who knew Mr. Rogers would be having such a resurgence. I mean, I, he was, you know, my guy when I was a kid. And when I went to school in Pittsburgh, which was at QED, which was where Mr. Rogers was, so I actually got to walk around the Neighborhood of Make-Believe,

Erik Gensler: Aww.

Bonnie Siegler: And meet the puppets and it was really a fantasy. So, I’ve always had a thing for Mr. Rogers.

Erik Gensler: That’s great. That’s awesome you got to quote him. what inspired the visual identity of the book?

Bonnie Siegler: You know, it was a big conundrum at first my publisher was like, “So are you gonna have samples of work in here?” And stuff like that, but it really isn’t a design book, and it’s really not for designers. I wanted it to be applicable to, you know, all different kinds of companies and marketing people especially. so, whether they do stuff for a hardware store, or, for galleries and museums, like it, it’s all the same stuff. So, I felt like the kinds of clients I have or whatever, I just, I just didn’t want to interfere. So, that was a big decision to make early on that there were no pictures in it. And then, there’s two other big things. I wanted it, it’s, you read it on three different levels. So, you can just read the titles of the chapters, and actually glean something from just the titles of the chapters, you can read the title of the chapter, and just the bolded parts, and get the essence of it, or you can read the whole book. So, I like that it was on three different levels. So, that was, these were things I went into it knowing I wanted to do. And then the palette is CMYK, which is the basis of all printing. cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. K stands for black. so, that was just, like, the, this is the foundation of a good, you know, creative relationship just like CMYK.. Just the purest, simplest facts.

Erik Gensler: Yeah, is that why there’s no page numbers?

Bonnie Siegler: There’s no page numbers because the chapters are so short, they’re very, they’re brief. There’s a lot of them, but they’re very short. And so I thought the chapter number was more, I didn’t want a chapter number and a page number.

Bonnie Siegler: For such a small book, so I decided to just go with the chapter numbers.

Erik Gensler: it’s very rare that I pick up, a business book and just love it, and send it to so many people, and, like, I immediately reached out and said, “Where can I, where can I find Bonnie to have her on the podcast?” Because I really think this book would be so helpful to all of the arts organizations out there that are often partnering with web design agencies, and consultants, and graphic designers working on rebrands, each page is you do have things bolded, but I have other things that I’ve underlined, and I just got so much out of this book.

Bonnie Siegler: I love that!

Bonnie Siegler: That makes me so happy.

Erik Gensler: This is the final question. It’s your CI to Eye moment.

Bonnie Siegler: Okay.

Erik Gensler: And, the question is if you could broadcast to the executive director’s leadership team’s staff and board of a thousand arts organizations, what advice would you provide to help them improve their businesses?

Bonnie Siegler: Wow, that’s a big question. I think being respectful and appreciative of what designers bring to any organization When you click on a website, you decide in ten seconds, or two seconds whether it’s the right place for you. You might just be like, “No, no, no. This, go away.” That’s what we’re bringing to it. We’re bringing that thing that connection with a person, and that doesn’t relate to the content on the page, necessarily. It’s the look and the feel and the emotion you get, just from that first look. We’re translating all the people, and all the thinking, and the mission, and everything into whatever the product is in the way, you know, the audience will see it. And it’s just, it’s huge, and I think people dismiss it. if you are a photographer and you take picture, if anyone wants to use that picture from forever and ever and ever, they have to come back to you, and use it. And we have no rights like that, ’cause it’s just our profession is just not respected in the same way my plea, my request, my wish is that design was respected for how much it brings to business, and especially arts businesses, where the way it looks is actually crucial.

Erik Gensler: Absolutely. Well, I can’t thank you enough for being here, and can’t underscore my enthusiasm enough for this work.

Bonnie Siegler: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Erik Gensler: Absolutely.

About Our Guests
Bonnie Siegler
Bonnie Siegler
Founder, Eight and a Half

Bonnie Siegler is the founder of the design studio Eight and a Half. She’s worked with clients including HBO, the Brooklyn Public Library, The New York Times, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. She has an immense amount to teach us about building successful relationships with creatives. She is the author of the beautiful and insightful booked called “Dear Client….This Book Will Teach You How To Get What You Want From Creative People. Sincerely, Bonnie Siegler.” As arts administrators, part of our jobs involve working with creatives and consultants and those relationships can sometimes be fraught. Lucky for us, her book is a toolkit for this very challenge.

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EP 126
Apr 16, 2024
Staging Classical Works for Today’s Audiences

What do we do when “the classics”—those canonical treasures that embody the rich traditions of our genres—start to feel outdated for today’s audiences, or even at odds with our missions?

In today’s episode, we take a close look at celebrated works from the classical Western canon that include harmful portrayals of non-Western cultures, and hear how one artist is taking action to prune and preserve the art he loves.

Decolonizing Classical Music
EP 122
Feb 20, 2024
Decolonizing Classical Music

Join us as we journey deep into the world of classical music—how we define it, how we enjoy it, and how we ensure everyone feels welcome and represented in our concert halls. This conversation is just the start of breaking down barriers to attendance and ensuring classical arts organizations connect with audiences for generations to come.

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