A new mission and new strategic plan for HMA

Hickory Museum of Art has had a formal strategic plan fostered by its Board at least since 1991, when HMA was granted its first prestigious national accreditation ranking from the American Association of Museums after a meticulous three-year-process. That plan has been revised, re-thought, expanded and updated several times since then, chiefly by successive HMA Boards and staff. The end-date of the most recent version as well as the approach of HMA's 75th Anniversary year spurred an ambitious ten month re-visit and re-thinking; and the resulting new plan was unveiled at HMA's Annual Meeting at the end of June 2018.

Some of HMA's 2017/18 Board and staff urging participation in HMA's Annual Fund.

Some of HMA's 2017/18 Board and staff urging participation in HMA's Annual Fund.

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As in 1988, a local professional consultant was engaged in 2017 to lead the planning process and to produce a new plan. This time around, however, the process also included structured interviews with a range of people having a stake in HMA, beginning with staff and Board and extending into the broader Hickory community, basically asking everyone "what do YOU think that the museum should be about?" The practices of other art museums inside and outside North Carolina were also taken into account. The first draft of a new plan was then subjected to several rounds of review and revision by staff and Board members, before being unanimously approved by the Board at its June 20, 2018 meeting.

The new plan, as all good strategic plans do, provides the operational structure, specifics and goals for achieving the mission. One significant focus is financial, because without a well-managed financial structure, obviously even the very best intentions cannot be achieved. Another important focus is the continuation and widening of both local and far-reaching collaborations as the core tool for the broadening and strengthening of HMA's presence in and contribution to the community it serves.

HMA's new mission: To bring people together and inspire creativity through the power of art.

HMA staff collaboratively posed for HMA's 2017 holiday card.

HMA staff collaboratively posed for HMA's 2017 holiday card.

The plan itself is introduced by HMA's mission, vision, six core values, position, and unique story as an institution. The plan is then organized for day-to-day implementation and measurements into four cross-departmental categories, Operational Health, Art, Community, and Financial Growth, that all hinge on the formal alignment of the staff's long-standing love of collaboration into an integrated business plan.

HMA's Executive Director Jon Carfagno expands on HMA's new mission in his introduction to the 2018-2021 plan,

Great art unlocks new conversations and ways of seeing the world. At a time that demands rapid fire ideas and solutions to increasingly complex problems, we believe that the museum should be a stage for all people to connect with one another, share their experiences, and learn together. We are certain that our community grows stronger every single time that happens.

For more particulars of HMA's 2018-2021 Strategic Plan, just download the whole thing, pretty color pictures and lots of substance too.

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This post is #6 of the 75 stories to celebrate HMA's 75 years. All images are from HMA's files.

Post by Karin Borei, HMA Project Coordinator, writer and editor as needed, and HMA blogger since our blog's inception in March 2015.