I’m writing from sunny Providence, RI, where I’ll be based for the rest of the summer while I work on some projects and continue the search for a permanent landing spot. In other housekeeping news, Createquity is getting ready to move permanently to createquity.com, with a snazzy new design and blogging platform (WordPress). We’re working to make the transition as smooth as possible for subscribers and casual visitors alike, but if there’s anything you need to do I’ll be sure to let you know.
Meanwhile, here’s the roundup:
- Via the indefatigable Kira Campo, this report from the new-to-me Art & Seek blog covering Dana Gioia’s Arts and Culture panel at the Aspen Ideas Festival is worth a read.
- A Createquity reader tipped me off to an interesting article about Portland’s arts scene. Seems that living in a lower-cost environment has its downside: namely that the artists don’t make any money either.
Cortright, who’s been one of the city’s most ardent economic champions, says the issue is partly existential: not everyone is guaranteed a way of life. On a practical level, the increase in arts professionals has raised arts activity but hasn’t necessarily elevated the standard of living. It’s made the search for dollars and attention more competitive.
“We love this city and its quirkiness,” Cortright says. “But the local market is not large enough or challenging enough, so you have to expand. You have to work outside Portland, maybe even outside the United States, if you want to grow or show that you are world class.”
A lot to think about there in terms of the way artists’ winner-take-all markets interact with geography and location.
- Add New Jersey to the list of states facing drastically reduced funding from their arts councils, stimulus money or no. At last check, Pennsylvania and Michigan were still hanging in the balance.
- Corwin Christie, whose blogging at Technology in the Arts I am really coming to admire, has a wonderfully lucid post up about the consequences of not bringing the arts into the larger conversation.
- Peter Dobrin at the Philadelphia Inquirer says that the blind audition process for orchestra spots might not be so blind after all, and posits that African-American players suffer as a result.
- I found this interesting in light of recent discussions of arts-related instrumental benefits: a new study out of the UK shows the so-called “Mozart effect” manifesting itself primarily in a certain population: right-handed non-musicians. According to the researchers, musicians already process spatial exercises differently from non-musicians, and are therefore immune to the effect (presumably because they’ve already reaped the benefits from it). Of course, as Judith H. Dobrzynski explores, not all arts research is good research. Clyde Fitch Report has more on that story here.
- Starbucks is experimenting with anti-branding: “stealth” coffee shops that look and feel like homegrown operations. This is either incredibly evil or absolute genius, depending on your perspective. Or possibly both. In any case, more evidence that local, authentic differentiation/style/identity is good business. (h/t Selena Juneau-Vogel)
- Last spring, I wrote:
I’ve…been taking a course called Media Economics and Financing Journalism, taught by a member of the family that used to own the Boston Globe. As the semester has progressed, I’ve slowly become convinced that newspapers are in almost the exact same boat as symphony orchestras. […] If we can agree that journalism does provide an indispensable public good, in the form of in-depth, factual information not available anywhere else, I can’t help but see it gravitating toward a contributed income model in the coming years.
A little over a year later, sure enough, one of the two parties bidding to buy the Boston Globe is talking about “a ‘civic approach’ that would involve a nonprofit foundation to help fund and run the news operation.” The other, incidentally, is the guy who taught that course.
- This week’s BLOGGER ON FIRE award goes to Sean Stannard-Stockton for a double series of thought-provoking posts: the first on the role that intuition should and does play in philanthropy (here and here), and the second on the distinction between high-performance and high-impact nonprofits (here and here). In the middle, he even found time to spread this awesome video of Bobby McFerrin getting a crowd to sing in unison pentatonic scale without any verbal instructions.
- A group on facebook claims that a library-themed Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor would be “tasty awesome.”