We’re winding down what’s turned out to be a very eventful year at Createquity. Next week will feature some exciting announcements and changes, but in the meantime, this week’s posts will look back: at what we’ve learned, what we’ve said, and what the hell happened! Happy holidays and best wishes for 2010 for all who have taken the time to read my blatherings on a regular or not-so-regular basis. It’s been great to have you along for the ride.

  • Sad news: the President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Peggy Amsterdam, has passed away at the age of 60 after a long battle with illness. She had led the GPCA since 2000. I never met or spoke to Amsterdam, but based on everything I know and have heard about her organization, I can only conclude that she was one of the arts’ most effective and forward-thinking leaders, hands down. It’s a terrible loss for Philadelphia’s and Pennsylvania’s arts communities.
  • The Chase Community Giving initiative, which announced its finalists a couple of weeks ago, has run into a bit of a shitstorm with the nonprofits it’s trying to help out. What once looked like a promising model for crowdsourcing philanthropy ran aground when Chase apparently forgot it was running a contest, not a grant program, and arbitrarily decided to change the rules in the middle of the game, disqualifying a couple of top vote-getters (a marijuana advocacy group and an anti-abortion outfit) that were too political for its tastes. Beth Kanter has been all over this story. Meanwhile, PepsiCo has decided that in lieu of buying Super Bowl ads this year, it’s going to give a crapload of money to charity instead – and like Chase, they’re going with the popular vote. Beth hopes they’ll learn from Chase’s mistakes – and, in a testament to how powerful social media has become, Pepsi responds in the comments.
  • This theater diversity conversation just keeps getting more and more interesting. Scott Walters turned some heads with a (serious) proposal to introduce chance into the curation process, and 99 Seats posts an anonymous (but genuine-sounding) insider account of how that curation process actually works. Meanwhile, Guy Yedwab is starting to get into the act with a whole series of posts over at CultureFuture.
  • A few more reactions to the NEA’s Survey of Public Participation in the Arts continue to trickle in. Greg Sandow followed up on his original take with a debunking of the apparent myth that the French classical audience is significantly younger than ours. And the LA Times‘s Mike Boehm continues to show why he’s one of the best arts journalists out there by unearthing this gem deep in the guts of the report: as bad as things are getting for the arts audience, they’re nothing compared to the plight of movie theaters and sports events, which have seen attendance dwindle more than twice and nearly four times as much, respectively, since 1982. It seems the proper conversation is not about the future of the arts per se but rather of outside-the-home entertainment in general.
  • Speaking of data, the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) is out with some new charts on regional arts nonprofits and their budgets. This is one of the first efforts I’ve seen to collect information on “embedded” organizations (i.e., arts programs that are part of non-arts organizations, like university presenters) and – hallelujah! – unincorporated groups. Check it out here.
  • Oops: looks like we’ve been overestimating classical radio listenership by a little over 10% this whole time – interestingly, because people don’t like to admit they’re not listening to it.
  • Technology in the Arts’s Corwin Christie has a great NAMP Conference reflection focusing on the need for experimentation. Yes, please! Here’s one new idea: a coupon site that activates deals when enough people sign up for them, via smArts & Culture.
  • I don’t know what it is about Fractured Atlas and metaphors, but here goes: Andrew Taylor, who participated in the first ATHENA Tix community planning session, muses on the proper metaphor for ticket-buying. (Do check out the first link – the level of detail included once you click past the first level is amazing.) And Adam Forest Huttler uses his “open source generation” metaphor to point us to this Google Blog discussion of the meaning of “open.” Oh, and Taylor also throws some thoughts around about the “intention economy“: a vision of a world in which the marketing is done by the consumers rather than the companies. Hello weekend reading list.
  • Don’t miss Barry Hessenius’s extensive exit interview with Moy Eng, the now former director of the Hewlett Foundation’s Performing Arts Program (and, briefly, my boss). Or his recap of arts field predictions from the past five years.
  • Now that it looks like I’m going to be in Providence for a little while longer, I’ve taken some time to start getting to know the arts scene here. Turns out there’s a lot going on beneath the surface. Thankfully, Providence is one of the best-documented cities to appear in Jay Corless and Sali Sasaki’s Cities x Design project; local luminaries Lynne McCormack, Andy Cutler, and Clay Rockefeller can all be heard from in the videos. Check it out!
  • And if that’s not enough local arts scene geekdom for you, there’s a new book coming out soon that will look at Portland (OR)’s creative industries in depth: Brew to Bikes: Portland’s Artisan Economy.
  • Creative class theory in a nutshell?

    I think that perhaps the most important [economic] trend of the past thirty years is the increased importance of cognitive skills relative to physical labor.

  • New York City may have the cool new taxicab cone art, but New York (the state) is last in a national study looking at happiness, as a whole rash of red states take up the top slots. I’ve read before that conservatives are happier than liberals, so perhaps this isn’t surprising. (Apparently rationalizing away income inequality is the key to bliss. Don’t look at me, that’s what the link says!)
  • At least the libs have a sense of humor. Via the Clyde Fitch Report, the Pig Iron Theatre Company is trying to make fundraising hay out of having been singled out by John McCain and Tom Coburn for receiving “silly” government spending – you know, pork. (Har, har. Get it? Pig Iron? Pork? Okay, not that funny.)
  • Well played (sung?), Chanticleer.