The NYC launch party for 20UNDER40 is taking place at Bar 13 (13th and University near Union Square) on Monday, December 13 from 6:30-8:30pm. Fractured Atlas is co-hosting. See you there?

News and announcements

Readings and research

  • The NEA’s research department has released a trio of documents of relevance to its initiatives and focus on “creative placemaking.” The first is a white paper by Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa that reviews literature on the role of the arts and creative industries in promoting livability and economic development outcomes in local communities; identifies common themes in successful efforts to use the arts to transform neighborhoods and cities; and presents 15 in-depth case studies to illustrate those themes in action. Here’s Markusen presenting the report at the recent National Council on the Arts meeting. The second is a set of notes from the agency’s convening this past June on defining metrics for livability. And finally, the Endowment has published a research report examining the unique role of outdoor arts festivals in attracting nontraditional audiences and defining the character of a place. (The last one definitely features the best cover photo of any NEA research report past or present.)
  • The International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies is working on an international database of cultural policy profiles. It will be based on the Council of Europe’s Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, available here.
  • UNESCO has been active lately. The international agency for culture has released a summary of its email discussion and symposium on the intriguing topic of “funding culture, managing the risk.” Not sure how new this is, but this is a pretty rad index of cultural industry mapping reports and studies organized by region of the world.
  • Animating Democracy has a new research study out mapping the grantmaking landscape for the arts and social change. And AD’s co-founder, Barbara Shaffer Bacon, has written a lovely eulogy for the sadly defunct Community Arts Network, whose trove of resources on community arts is luckily still available in archive form here.
  • Rebecca Novick has a very interesting article on the travails of midsize theater organizations in the Theatre Bay Area magazine.
  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has published a wide-ranging report on the technology needs and usage patterns of the performing arts field, conducted by Callahan Consulting for the Arts.
  • Melanie Beene, head of Community Initiatives, writes about how fiscal sponsorship is maturing as a field in the Grantmakers in the Arts Reader. (If you haven’t already discovered it, the GIA Reader is a great resource for arts policy and funding material, with freely available archives going back over 10 years.)
  • Americans for the Arts has published the results of a 2009 survey of 554 self-identifying emerging leaders in the arts. The entire report is only available to AFTA members, but the executive summary as well as this blog post on the subject by the report’s author, Stephanie Evans, are open to the public.

Interviews and Conversations

Adventures in advocacy

  • Is this idea so crazy it’s brilliant? Barry Hessenius argues that arts organizations should join local Chambers of Commerce en masse, thereby forcing the business community (and the Republican party) to pay attention. Key graph:

    There are some 10,000 nonprofit arts organizations in California. If 20% of those arts organizations were to join their local Chambers of Commerce (dues are modest and local chapters welcome arts organizations) and get involved on the statewide committees and move up the ranks to chair some of those efforts – thus moving up the ranks of the organization – in just a couple of years the arts could constitute a formidable bloc within the state Chamber – and in so doing we could begin to seriously impact the policies and positions the Chamber takes. If 40% of all the arts organization would join their local chambers, and work into postions of authority, we could virtually take over the whole structure by 2016.  That’s only five years from now.

  • Leonard Jacobs passes along the news that NYS Arts, the main arts advocacy vehicle in the Empire State, is closing down.
  • The CBC reports that some prominent artists and administrators in Canada are now backpedaling from an economically-focused arts advocacy strategy. What’s interesting about it is that Kevin Stolarick, who has worked with and for Richard Florida for over a decade, is quoted extensively in the article saying that framing the arts in terms of their economic impact has been a “trap.” Florida, of course, is the great popularizer of this line of thinking, although his focus is much wider than the nonprofit arts specifically.

And so on…

  • Another wise post from Brigid Slipka. To paraphrase: if you want to increase high-impact giving, trying to convince the average donor to do their own research is a losing battle. Your audience, instead, should be the gatekeepers to givers: ministers, corporate giving managers (who organize employee donation drives to specific charities), and the like.
  • Very good sentences: “when Americans insist on total liberty against external molestation, it motivates both good responses and bad ones.  It supports a libertarian desire for freedom against government abuse, but the same sentiments generate a lot of anti-liberal policies when it comes to immigration, foreign policy, torture, rendition, attitudes toward Muslims, executive power, and most generally treatment of “others.”  An insistence on zero molestation, zero risk, isn’t as pro-liberty as it appears in the isolated context of pat-downs.  It leads us to impose a lot of costs on others, usually without thinking much about their rights.” – Tyler Cowen @ Marginal Revolution
  • Academics like to rag on Wikipedia, but a new pilot initiative will make updating and improving the quality of pages part of college students’ required coursework. The democratization of who gets to be an expert continues apace.
  • Visualization fun with the budget here and here.
  • Guy Yedwab asks, could art survive without alcohol?
  • Thank you for the mention. Also like the reorganization of Around the Horn into categories!