• The carnage continues for state arts agencies: now Arizona is on the chopping block, as the Arizona Commission on the Arts faces another 25% loss from a state appropriation that already declined by more than half last year. Worse, the state has enacted a “sweep” of a $10 million endowment fund that was supposed to provide a continuous revenue stream to the agency. Leonard Jacobs has more on the sorry story of state arts councils – apparently Georgia is also looking at a 50% cut this year after already losing ground the last couple of years, and Utah lost (a comparatively moderate) 18.1% from its appropriation last year. One thing I wonder – and worry – about is whether the current toxic political climate, combined with the way the arts have become politicized in the last year, will lead to an increasing disparity in the per capita funding level between red states and blue states. Last year, it didn’t seem to go that way (arts cuts seemed to track much more strongly with, say, the rate of unemployment in a state), but who knows what this year will bring.
  • All content is vulnerable: annual sales of karaoke machines and software have plunged 80% since 2002. Video games (such as Rock Band), online streaming services, and digital piracy are being fingered for the blame. As in other contexts, people are seeming to gravitate toward the convenience of home more than the excitement of the live (or, in this case, “live”) experience. But how robust are the video games and the online streaming services instead? Suzanne Lainson, who has been on this case for a while over at Brands Plus Music, considers the dangers of hypercompetition, where conditions are not just competitive within an industry but the barriers to switching industries are low too.
  • Some good news: EmcArts’s Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts is back, with three more rounds planned for 2010-11. Hat tip to Andy.
  • The NEA has released a new research note called Come As You Are: Informal Arts Participation in Urban and Rural Communities. The research note is an analysis of the 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, focusing on geographic differences in arts participation. The note finds that while attendance at professional performing arts events, museums, and galleries is significantly higher in urban areas, people participate in “informal” arts at similar rates. This suggests that there’s no intrinsic difference between rural and urban populations in terms of interest in the arts, and lends support to the supply-side, “if you build it, they will come” philosophy in the arts (assuming if “it” doesn’t already exist in the area in question).
  • Congrats to Springboard for the Arts’s Laura Zabel, who was named one of the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal‘s “40 Under Forty.” (How ’bout them apples, Edward Clapp? They’ve got twice as many under 40’s as you!) Laura posted an excellent summary of what the new healthcare reform bill means for artists this week on SpringBlog. And speaking of healthcare, Isaac Butler rightly points out that the new bill is “a far far greater act of supporting the arts than anything that Obama will be able to accomplish in terms of increasing NEA funding.”
  • The first recipients of the inaugural month of the Pepsi Refresh contest have been announced, and Createquity commenter Kevin Erickson’s All Ages Movement Project is among the winners in the $50,000 category. Other arts and culture winners included The Foundry for Art Design + Culture, Glenmont Elementary School for a swing-dance project, and Homespun, a new retail store in Indiana selling homemade goods.
  • Emerging leaders aren’t just for the arts: the Kellogg Foundation has invested $100 million of its endowment in an “Emerging Manager” portfolio, focusing on small, newer investment managers and firms owned by women, minorities, and employees.
  • Want to put nonprofits through the ringer just like the hardass charity evaluators at GiveWell? Here, they’ll give you a step-by-step guide.
  • Alex Tabarrok breaks down statistical significance. Short version: the models rarely are precise enough to mean what people say they mean.
  • Maryann Devine considers the cultural etiquette of arts flash mob videos.
  • Here are some good networking tips for artists.