I really hope not, because otherwise this site will start to become very boring. But sweet Jesus, there is so much going on this week that if I wait until Sunday to blog it all out for you I fear it will be next Sunday before I’m done. Let’s hope things start to quiet down after this, for my own sanity at any rate!
First off, lots of musical chairs among the nonprofit arts sector’s power elite this week:
- Perhaps the biggest news (though really, it’s all pretty big) is that the NEA has hired Jason Schupbach away from the Massachusetts Office of Business Development to be its new Design Director. Jason was the first person in history to hold a position in a statewide economic development office specifically oriented toward creative industries. Now, he’s going to be heading up the Mayor’s Institute on City Design grant program and the new Our Town initiative (assuming the latter gets approved by Congress), in addition to the NEA’s other design programming. Great for the NEA (though Judith Dobrzynski thinks this is a sign that the NEA is getting too “commercial”; I disagree), but one wonders what this means for the future of the position in Massachusetts. (If I were a real journalist, I would call and find out, but as it is you’ll have to be satisfied with idle speculation.)
- The Knight Foundation is creating a new nationwide arts initiative, and has promoted Dennis Scholl from Miami Program Director to lead it as Vice President. Scholl is an art collector and former lawyer and winemaker.
- Two high-profile grantmakers are actually leaving philanthropy to work at arts organizations. Claudine Brown, director of the arts and culture program for the Nathan Cummings Foundation in New York City, will become the Smithsonian’s education director in June. And John Killacky, a familiar figure for years on the West Coast as arts program officer for the San Francisco Foundation and before that head of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, is moving to (quite literally) a completely different environment to take the reins of the Flynn Performing Arts Center in Brrrrlington, Vermont.
- This one’s not a person on the move, but an organization: Grantsfire, an innovative project that developed a protocol for the automatic, real-time publication of grants data, is becoming a project of the Foundation Center. This should greatly expand the potential reach of the technology, which previously had attracted only a handful of big foundations.
Second, cool projects, data, and visualizations to geek out on:
- FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, who is pretty much my idol (seriously, it’s just not fair for someone to be that smart), has published the results of his data-based inquiry into New York’s most “livable” neighborhoods. Of course, people have seized upon the rankings, but if you actually play with the little widget they provide you’ll see that actually the top neighborhoods are separated by so little that one’s individual preferences can make quite a difference. Nate gives some additional insight on his blog. (See this post too.)
- Theatre Bay Area’s Clay Lord spills the beans on a major, nearly half-million-dollar new research initiative evaluating the intrinsic/emotional impact of theatrical performances on audiences in six cities around the country during the 2010-11 season. The research, which will be conducted by WolfBrown, builds on Alan Brown and Jennifer Novak-Leonard’s groundbreaking study of major university performing arts centers from a couple of years ago.
- Clay’s post was prompted by a new study out from across the pond that also looks at intrinsic impact on theatrical performances. This one uses pentagons to visualize data, and is therefore extra-awesome.
- Kevin Bolduc reports on the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s new Donor Perception Reports, and the first community foundation to release its results publicly: the Napa Valley Community Foundation.
- And we have another new paper from Richard Florida. Seriously, this is like one a week now. Doesn’t this guy have to teach and stuff?
- Did you know estate taxes account for only about 1% of total tax revenue in this country? I didn’t.
- A new book and slide presentation from Beth Kanter and Allison Fine.
- Devon re-imagines the social media course curriculum.
- Music royalties in various media, visualized.
Third, thought-provoking commentary as always:
- Sean at Tactical Philanthropy has organized a blog team around the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations conference. Lots of great stuff, but two particularly good ones are these from Phil Buchanan and Clara Miller.
- Gary Steuer’s fantastic wrap-up of Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill and his Mayor’s testimony before Congress. Gary also weighs in on retired Brigadier General Nolan Bivens’s testimony on the arts and national security. I love Gary’s writing; it’s so lucid and easy to follow without sacrificing any substance. Kudos!
- Amelia Northrup on how you can be an arts advocate.
- I wouldn’t be surprised if Suzanne Lainson spent 10,000 hours writing this freakin’ post, but if you’re wondering where it’s all going, here: “The 10,000 hours concept, while useful in stressing the importance of hard work to success, seems most applicable in fields where achievements are already well-defined….But for future innovations, you might be better served by drawing upon a mixture of skills that you acquired from broad-based learning. You might invent something new because you pull together ideas and skills in unusual ways rather than practicing what is well-estab[l]ished.”
- Arlene Goldbard on why community arts practitioners need to be identified as having “real” jobs in the jobs bill.
- Michael Kaiser on Baumol and Bowen’s lessons for today. (B&B is next on the list for the Arts Policy Library treatment, FYI.)
- Charles McNulty on having his committee’s recommendations overruled by the Pulitzer board.
- Does the Mideast peace process need a three-state solution?