SAVING The ARTS We LOVE: Finding Resources When Economic and Public Support Falter

The staff of The Rickie Report has been involved in both the for-profit and the not-for-profit world.  Certainly, it is no surprise that the economics of our own area have affected changes in behavior, affiliation and support of our cultural institutions.  Recently, we met Wendy Weiler and had a frank discussion about some of these issues.  Because The Rickie Report sees challenges as new opportunities, we are pleased to share our discussion with Wendy and hope some of the local cultural and educational institutions will call her!



             Studies Show Art Audience Declining-

The Time is Now to bring back the LOVE OF ART

            Stop the doors from closing….

Art is here for a new generations



Consultant, Wendy Weiler

Consultant, Wendy Weiler


The National Endowment of the Arts began documenting participation in the arts in 1982.  An article written by 

Jacqueline Trescott, June 16, 2009, of The Washington Post, indicates,


Separate national surveys gauging youth and adult participation in the arts report that visits to art museums are declining.  

A study of nearly 4,000 eighth-grade students, part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, found dwindling field trips over the past decade. ‘The percentage of eighth-graders who reported that they visited an art museum or gallery with their classes dropped from 22 percent in 1997 to 16 percent in 2008,’ said Stuart Kerachsky, the acting commissioner for the National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the assessment.

  • The National Endowment for the Arts also released new data showing that fewer adults were choosing an art museum or a visual arts festival as a leisure-time destination.
  • From 1992 to 2001, 26 percent of adults reported that they visited such attractions, but the number for 2008 dropped to 23 percent. The decrease is small, but it may portend coming declines as the most loyal part of the museum audience ages.
  • The exception, the NEA said, was in the D.C. metropolitan area, where 40 percent of adults said they had visited a museum in 2008 — reflecting tourism and free admission at most major museums.
  • In addition, the agency noted sizable declines between 1982 and 2008 in almost every performing arts field.
  • It reported double-digit rates of decline for classical music, jazz, opera, musical theater, ballet and dramatic plays.
  • The NEA survey “shows that audiences for the arts are changing,” said Patrice Walker Powell, the acting NEA chairman. “While many now participate in arts activities available through electronic media, the number of American adults who are participating in live performing and visual arts events is declining. The findings underscore the need for more arts education to foster the next generation of both artists and arts enthusiasts.”




Dire predictions?  Looking at our local Palm Beach County cultural landscape, how many attend not-so-filled audiences of musical and theatrical events?  Do you have trouble finding a parking space at other cultural institutions and are they so filled that you wonder when might be a better, less crowded time to visit?  Wendy Weiler shares her observations, concerns and offers some solutions here in this interview.

The article written by Jacqueline Trescor, June 16, 2009, highlights a growing national problem.  Without the support of communities, individuals and the next generation of art lovers, museums and other educational/cultural institutions around the country will be forced to close their doors.  Membership numbers are down due to economic issues and the decline of art supporters.  As the Baby Boomer generation and their parents age, there needs to be a new generation that embraces and supports the public arts. 

TRR:   Given this crises,  what would you suggest as a call to action?


A strategic plan of action is necessary to draw the public back to museums and make them community friendly.   Families, seniors, singles, children and teenagers need to feel at home when they experience art.  Creating events, classes and exhibits that speak to each niche market brings them closer to wanting to be a part of this inviting circle of patrons.  

Education is crucial for the next generation to feel involved and the best way to create that bond is by building a program with the schools and early childhood centers.  This way children grow up with the love of art and don’t look at art museums as a place where only adults go to learn.  It would be a normal part of their milieu.  Some unique programs that could be developed such as parent/child events.  This would be for young children to go to the art museum during the day with a parent, while other siblings are away at school, giving special time for a child and their parent.  Special hands on exhibits and classes would give parents and their children ways to express themselves together and see the venue as a “fun” place to be.  In addition, families with different cultural values will have the ability to connect with the tradition of venerating the arts and cultures of our past. 

TRR:  There are a number of places in Palm Beach County that do offer these types of programs.


The Art Museums that have been successful understand how to maximize their facility by giving back to their community. They have developed programs that integrate art, music, dance, food and fun and sharing all of those experiences with their members/visitors. The museum then becomes transformed into a place to be involved in culture and not a place to visit once every couple of years.  It becomes a  “happening place” where corporations, Chambers of Commerce members, visitors and the public could join and make a difference by sharing the types of exhibits and programs they would like to support.


TRR: Tell our readers about your experience in this field, before your recent move to Florida



As one of the creators of the first privately owned convention center in the country, my background in launching and maintaining a public facility has given me a wealth of knowledge in marketing and sales strategies.  The Meadowlands Convention Center was conceived by my colleagues and I and we pitched it to Harts Mountain who then built the center.  My role was to ensure occupancy and I did so by building an aggressive marketing campaign to promoters from around the country.  We also developed in-house events and had national entertainers.  That experience and those skills have enable me to develop promising strategies to meet the needs of  the art and cultural world we’ve been discussing.  Art Museums, galleries and other attractions are just like building attendance at a convention center.  Know your market and give them what they want and build customer loyalty for renewable revenues.
TRR:  What is EduStrategies’ mission?
As founder of EduStrategies, a marketing and sales strategy consulting firm for education, our mission is to capture a larger market share for each client.  By knowing your competitors and creating your own niche market we develop a marketing plan that ties into your sales goals to ensure success.  This formula can be transformed to any industry.  Because of my passion for art and culture,  I have chosen to divert my path from education to the art world.
TRR:  If I have a venue and am interested in hearing what you have to suggest, how would we work together?
The first step is to do an evaluation of the organization’s goals and initiatives:   to see what is working and what is not. Then we would work together to create a strategic plan with milestones and deliverables.  My role could be as an out-sourced resource or I could come into the organization and take role as Director of Business Development.
TRR:  It sounds like you have a lot to offer not only to educational institutions, museums or art-related constituents.  This is a model that can be extrapolated into any business field.  Most often, artists do not see themselves as business people.  They focus on their creative energies and find consumerism difficult to deal with. The Rickie Report believes that we need to help find a balance between the two, in order to make a living at being an artist.

If you would like to learn more about turning around your art museum, gallery or art retail store then feel free to contact: Wendy Weiler – President of, phone:508-320-4710.  This consulting firm can create a road map of marketing strategies to drive membership, secure corporate partnerships and build a branding campaign to create the buzz regionally as well as nationally.


For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420


From Under the Earth to Jewelry Worthy: Intarsia and Cabachons

Once you understand how a piece of rock from the earth becomes a shiny, polished part of a piece of jewelry, you will appreciate the expertise it takes to create it.  The Rickie Report admits to being a lover of mother nature and it most awestruck when an everyday rock becomes a magnificent ring, earring, or part of a necklace.  We asked Jeff Ursillo, a past President of the Gem and Mineral Society of the Palm Beaches to share some information with us. Intarsia is a geometric design, similar to marquetry.  Check out this post to see some incredible examples!


General Meeting

January 17, 2013

7:30 PM

Please note: Starting in January, we will be meeting at the South Florida Science Museum NOT the Garden Club.  The Museum is across the street from the Garden Club.

Congratulations to the Newly Elected Officers for 2013:


Barbara Ringhiser – President
KC Foster – 1st Vice President
Jen Ursillo – 2nd Vice President
Deb Slutzky – Secretary
Marv Berkowitz – Treasurer



The Society would like to extend congratulations and thanks to the “Rockhound” Editor, Jeff Ursillo for his induction into the Eastern Federation of Mineralogical Society’s Decade Club.  This Club recognizes newsletter editors who have served their clubs for over TEN years!





TRR:   How did you get interested in being a “rock hound”?

JU:  A customer at the print shop I work at told me about a gem and mineral show that was coming up and I took the family to it as a fun “family” event. I had never been exposed to minerals before and was amazed at the colors, shapes and overall beauty of the mineral world. I was hooked!  We joined the Gem & Mineral Society at their next meeting (December 1995)


TRR:  What types of things does the Gem and Mineral Society of the Palm Beaches do  at their meetings?

JU:  A typical meeting consists of a short business meeting (15-25 minutes) a break for refreshments and then our program for the night. We have door prizes and raffle items at all the meetings. Our programs are always “hobby related”. We usually have speakers, but occasionally do demonstrations, show DVDs, and have member “Show & Sell” nights.


TRR:  What if I don’t know anything about gems or minerals but I just appreciate “mother nature” and the beautiful formations I see in rocks?
JU:  The Society is full of helpful people who are willing to share their knowledge or identify a mineral specimen.We have a large library that is available to members to withdraw books or DVDs.


TRR:  Please share how you take a natural rock and make a cabochon out of it, ready to be set as a piece of jewelry.

JU:   If I’m starting with a rough piece of material, the first step is to cut slabs about 1/4 inch thick using a diamond bladed rock saw. Once the slab is cut, an area is marked off and using a smaller diamond saw, the desired area is trimmed out to the approximate shape or “blank”.  The blank is then taken to a series of grinding wheels where it is formed to the final shape. Using a series of finer and finer sanding wheels the stone is polished to a brilliant shine.
TRR:  The Gem, Jewelry, Bead and Mineral Show is your big fundraiser.  Tell us more about how that has grown over the years.
JU:   When the show first stared in 1966 it was held is a side room at the Auditorium, also known as



the Leakee Teepee. There were seven dealers from the West Palm Beach area. As the years went on and the show became more popular, it moved out onto the main floor of the Auditorium and hosted  20 dealers. Display cases, which featured members work or collections of minerals were added to the show. A demonstration area was added where the public was introduced to the art of lapidary.

When the Auditorium was sold, the Society moved west to the South Florida Fairgrounds. The larger area allowed us to add more dealers, expand the display and demo areas. The show now features over 65 dealers, a large demonstration area and a children’s area with a Carolina style flume mine, fossil dig, geode cracking and so much more!
The Society is a great place to learn about minerals, fossils, jewelry and many related areas. We offer over 25 classes, ranging from Cabochon cutting, beadwork, wire wrapping, and chain making, to name a few.
Silver Onyx Box

Silver Onyx Box

The society is a member of the Eastern Federation of Mineralogical & Lapidary Societies Inc. and the Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Societies, Inc., which are affiliated with the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies. Our members are able to participate in activities sponsored by these organizations.


Petrified Wood

Petrified Wood


PO Box 18095, West Palm Beach, FL 33416-8095



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For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420