Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 12-11-2020

Publication Title

The Florida State University ProQuest Dissertations Publishing


Organizational Communication


Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business


This dissertation explores the relationship of arts administrators in isolated Appalachian communities in Kentucky and Tennessee with their respective representative state arts agencies. Using the narrative inquiry methodology, I participated in interviews with both groups of arts administrators and interpreted those findings through a conceptual framework from the field of healthcare (Feldman-Stewart & Brundage, 2008). This framework recognizes the breakdown of communication that sometimes occurs when one party (the doctor, or in this case, the state arts agency) holds the expertise and position of power, and the other party (the patient, or in my case, the small arts organization) lacks specialized knowledge but has first-hand experience facing the obstacle. This framework allowed me to identify and account for the divergent priorities of these two stakeholder groups. Participants representing the small, isolated, rural arts organization population included four community theatres. Two are located in Kentucky and two are in Tennessee. As their state agency representatives, I also included participants from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Tennessee Arts Commission. Interviews were semi-structured and included the photo-elicitation method to stimulate deep reflection and reflective storytelling. I used the philosophical structure of feminist pragmatism to negotiate the space of difference between these two primary stakeholders with the final objective to inform and advise state arts agencies regarding future resources allocated to small, rural arts organizations. In a region and a time when every art dollar is hard earned and hard to come by, arts agencies cannot afford to squander them. Every dollar must be spent wisely. If State Art Agencies and small, rural arts organizations could communicate more effectively, maybe the arts sector, as a whole, would benefit. This study aimed to establish the baseline that makes that possible.



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