Succeeding at Complex Partnerships

Friday, June 14, 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Increasingly, complex partnerships with varied stakeholders are the key to community and student success and support for arts and culture. How can artists, arts organizations, and agencies better prepare for such complicated interactions and attain positive outcomes for all?

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore how agencies, arts groups, and artists can work with other non-arts entities to more effectively support communities.
  2. Hear specific examples of how separate players, with different vocabularies and ways of working, have succeeded in partnering.
  3. Talk through the important components of partnership, including open dialogue, research, expectations, and evaluation.


Debra Garcia y Griego
Cabinet Secretary
New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Debra Garcia y Griego is the Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. In this capacity, she brings more than 20 years of cultural public policy experience to the stewardship of eight museums, nine historic sites and properties, arts, historic preservation, archaeology and library programs. Prior to her appointment, she was the Executive Director of the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission where she was responsible for implementing the City’s support of arts and cultural affairs such as funding of local nonprofit arts organizations, operation of the Community Gallery, the Art in Public Places program and the City’s international affairs. Previous work experience includes Museum Campus Chicago (a multi-institutional cross-collaboration and –marketing initiative consisting of the John G. Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum of Natural History and the Chicago Park District), Chicago a cappella, the Southwest Theater and Dance Festival, and the University of New Mexico Department of Theater and Dance. Garcia y Griego serves as an at-large member of the Board of Directors for Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. She holds a Master of Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art History from the University of New Mexico.

Helen Eaton
Chief Executive Officer
Settlement Music School
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Helen S. Eaton was named one of the Top 30 Innovators in 2016 by Musical America Worldwide, and was recently featured in the CEO interview chapter of Dual Transformation published by Harvard Business Review Press for her work in building systems of innovation at a legacy institution.  Since her arrival, Settlement has increased its financial aid to students—more than $2.6 million each year; launched a comprehensive community engagement effort that has resulted in dozens of partnerships across the city; and initiated significant new programming, receiving major local and national funding.  Settlement is honored to partner with nine music organizations in a city-wide collective impact initiative called the PMAY Artists’ Initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support students from underrepresented communities in becoming professional classical musicians.  In 2018 Settlement was named one of the top 10 music charities in the country working to preserve and expand music education and access to the musical arts by Charity Navigator blog.  Prior to joining Settlement, Helen was President of Chicago Children’s Choir and the Dean of Programs at the Merit School of Music in Chicago.