McNay director Richard Aste recently returned from Boston, Massachusetts, where he attended Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management (SPNM) course.
This opportunity was possible because of a scholarship from the Harvard Business School Club of San Antonio (HBS Club of San Antonio). Aste is the first recipient of this notable scholarship, which seeks to better prepare the city’s non-profit leaders to serve their communities in more effective ways.
“I was in Boston for six days and I learned a lot about running a successful nonprofit in the twenty-first century,” said Aster to La Prensa. “We have to first stop and assess the playing field. We have to carefully analyze our landscape, whether it is cultural, political, social or philanthropy. Nonprofits are dependent on philanthropy and it is a wonderful model that was developed in this country over 100 years ago.”
The SPNM program is part of Harvard Business School’s Social Enterprise Initiative flagship program. Each session serves 140 plus executives from diverse non-profit backgrounds and nationalities.
The HBS Club of San Antonio’s mission is to foster camaraderie, community outreach, involvement, and education of alumni of the Harvard Business School in the greater South Texas area. Harvard Business School’s alumni have generously provided the scholarship funds with the goal of helping improve the quality of life in San Antonio.
“There are more than 200 alumni in our region and we welcome the most senior graduates as well as the younger ones,” said Arturo Burgueno, HBS Club of San Antonio president. “Participants are provided with an opportunity for networking, a chance to make new friends and the occasion to serve our community.”
Richard Aste is only the third director in the history of the McNay Art Museum, yet his philosophy of marrying artistic excellence with community impact is already leaving a mark at the McNay and San Antonio’s community at large. Since his trip, Aste has been on a mission to provide McNay visitors with the opportunity to get away from their cell phones and to dive into drawings and sculptures.
He expounded that the average attention human span is seven seconds compared to 20 minutes in the 1990s. For Aste, this is his opportunity to show his audience how to think critically by engaging in critiquing, analyzing and finding a emotional connection to the work in front of them.
“We want to bring the number up from seven seconds to 20 minutes, which is what it used to be 20 years. We can educate to the community that our world is a very diverse place, with incredibly direct point of view,” concluded Aste. “We are having trouble understanding the world through someone else’s eyes other than our own. Due to computers, social media and iPhones, we are becoming disconnected from one another in the world and it is time to bring the connection back into the museum.”
McNay Art is opened from Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.mcnayart.org