nextSteps is a website that serves as a one-stop shop where artists and administrators can go for reliable business resources. Meant to be a roadmap and resource to help artists thrive, the site will be adapted on an ongoing basis to meet the ever-changing needs of our arts community. For the first time, users will have access to resources provided by Pentacle and its partner organizations all in one place.
With over 44 years of experience, Pentacle is a trusted partner in our community, and now we want to give artists everywhere access to our knowledge and resources. We are committed to making nextSteps accessible in all ways — geographically, via internet from anywhere in the world; financially, for artists and entities of any budget size; and ADA compliant for people of all abilities. For the first time, an artist in a rural community in the Midwest can have access to touring advice from our Booking department; or a newly emerging artist who can’t afford our Fiscal Admin services can have an expert help them get started on Quickbooks.
Pentacle is also using nextSteps to create a space to be innovative administratively. We are continually developing new components of nextSteps like Live Chat, our new donor/ticket processing software, and a Community Forum, which don't currently exist in the field. This digital platform will allow us to connect with artists in new ways, give them access to the knowledge we have gained over the years, and help them adapt to the new reality of the arts field during COVID and beyond.
The Origins of nextSteps
nextSteps started from our ART (Administrative Resource Team) research project, collecting data from sixteen artists in the capacity-building and comparison cohorts to learn how we can best help artists strengthen their infrastructure and achieve their goals. nextSteps builds upon this research and furthers it with an accessible platform open to constituents of all sizes, artistic interests, locations, and points of development.
When nextSteps launches, all the components of the site will be completely FREE. We want to encourage users to test it out, and give us feedback. We will be tracking certain things behind the scenes, to see where visitors are spending most of their time, and what topics are trending on the site. We will also embed short forms throughout the site to ask for feedback. This will help us evolve the site and the resources to be most useful for the field. Eventually some of the components of the site will have a small price tag to use, but the artist resources on the site will always be FREE.
The impact of COVID has already changed our thinking about how nextSteps can function in the new arts and business landscape. With the cancellation of live arts events, we are creating a virtual programming resource section of nextSteps to help artists plan and create their own virtual performances and events. COVID has also caused many artists to move out of New York and other cities. Being able to stay connected with artists wherever they are, is more important now than ever. Prior to COVID, we were concerned with trying to replicate an in-person experience on nextSteps, but now we are thinking about how to empower artists to use these digital resources in a way that could complement the in-person experience in the future.
Pentacle’s nextSteps is supported, in part, by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Pentacle receives private support for nextSteps from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, The Howard Gilman Foundation, New York Community Trust, and The Booth Ferris Foundation.