Recently dozens of Jacksonites responded to an anonymous survey circulated by the organizers of a creative leadership workshop. The survey posed questioned on trends, people we perceived as arts dynamos and current arts initiatives, and was submitted a couple of weeks before the workshop. The workshop was fun. The session had us exploring decision making processes and identifying leadership patterns using PlayDough, string, spaghetti, marshmallows, scissors, crayons, colored paper, tinfoil…..lots of toys, lots of laughter, energy and engagement. There was Powerpoint. I enjoyed the evening, as I think most everyone did.
Survey responders were asked if they were interested in meeting individually and privately with the workshop’s creator—I was, but ultimately I was not scheduled for an individual meet. I was offered a group meet, but I declined as I wished to keep my project private.
Survey results—trends, data, perceptions—were not referenced during the workshop. I wondered what happened to the information. I sent a query to the workshop’s leaders, and here is their paraphrased response:
“[We are] planning to compile a report based on the information…gleaned from both the surveys and from…interactions here in Jackson. [We are] also co-authoring a series of essays on creative communities and how to tailor programming for different types of communities, including rural micropolitans like ours. As soon as we have an ETA on all of those, [we’ll] let you know.”
Teton County, in its entirety, is estimated at 21,000. A micropolitan area contains an urban population core of at least 10,000, but less than 50,000. The latest census indicates the Town of Jackson’s population approaches 10,000; it’s safe to say our population fluctuates, can be seasonal and is transient. If a micropolitan area was what was important, and not all of Teton County, then the workshop was applicable. It does assume that Jackson stands apart from the rest of its own county—and our county stands apart from the rest of the state.
Whatever the survey results, in the interest of full disclosure all survey responders should have been notified that their answers may be used in the manner its organizers described to me. Published essays and research potentially raise professional profiles for the authors, and I would have preferred knowing that our input may be partially responsible. I’ve taken part in surveys and focus sessions, and they are rich in content, rewarding and often superb chances to exchange ideas and brainstorm. Until now I’ve always been aware of why I was part of a focus session or the goals of a survey.
Surveys can be an attempt to obtain free consulting services. If an idea is put into practice as a result of a survey, at the very least survey participants should be publicly credited.
Jackson Hole arts purveyor and entrepreneur John Frechette, a person I identify as one of our arts movers and shakers, will expand his hip, Western contemporary shop for the holiday season. Frechette’s MADE will open a holiday-themed store next door to Valley Books in Gaslight Alley.
“The Stocking Bar will feature some fan favorite MADE artists in a new light, as well as carry over 30 new artists’ handmade work, with a focus on the holidays and the stocking!” says Frechette. The Stocking Bar is scheduled to be open this December. www.madejacksonhole.com