Cities, Demographics, and People

  • A while back, I pointed folks to Scarlett Swerdlow’s suggestion that the arts community get involved in non-arts advocacy in order to forge alliances with key partners in other sectors. Well, here’s an opportunity to do just that: the Livable Communities Act, which would grant $4 billion to communities for comprehensive planning, faces an uncertain future according to Next American City…and if that money did go forward, there’s a good chance some of it might find its way to the arts.
  • Richard Florida on cities with the highest growth in college degrees per square mile over the past decade.
  • And yes, it’s true: everyone wants to live in a special place.

On the Chopping Block

  • The Honolulu Symphony: liquidated, joining the still-small ranks of high-profile nonprofits felled by the recession. A basket case apparently, but still, the death of an orchestra is no small thing.
  • The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, which has lost 29 employees since October. (via GIA News)
  • The Washington State Arts Commission: Governor Christine Gregoire has proposed elimination of the state arts agency as its own entity and reducing state funding of the arts to a bare-bones $250,000. Looks like we’ll have yet another “save the arts!” campaign on our hands this year.
  • The Arts Council of Northern Ireland will see its appropriation decline by £4.2 million over the next four years.
  • Booooo! NYC Transit is ditching the Train of Thought program (successor to Poetry in Motion) in favor of ads touting service improvements, because there’s “not enough space” for both.

Back from the Dead

  • Michael Rushton’s fantabulous Arts Admin blog. Thank goodness! Now don’t you run off and leave us again, y’hear?
  • The Local Community Radio Act finally passed Congress after 10 years of advocacy work by Future of Music Coalition. Mazel tov!

End-of-Year Reminiscences and Prognostications

  • Philanthropy futurist Lucy Bernholz offers 10 predictions for the next decade.
  • Tim Berners-Lee (the founder of the World Wide Web) claims that data analysis is the future of journalism. I can’t disagree…particularly since I believe that stories and data are two names for the same thing.
  • TCG’s Gus Schulenberg provides a helpful wrap-up of several studies, reports, and articles examining online social engagement in the context of theater or beyond.
  • Henry Peyrebrune, guest writing at Adaptistration, shares a brief history of orchestra funding in the United States.
  • Jim Undercofler offers 10 “work items” for 2011 for the field on his blog, State of the Art. Here’s the first.
  • Rosetta Thurman wonders if we’ll see a new generation of nonprofit organizations in 2011 and provides summaries of two publications and resources on the subject.
  • Assets for Artists hilariously recaps the top 10 arts stories you probably didn’t miss in 2010.

New Research & Analysis

  • Check out this cool new research report from WolfBrown, Helicon Collaborative, and the East Bay Community and San Francisco Foundations on the motivations of arts donors. Lots of good stuff in the summary, but I was particularly struck by this tidbit:

    In comparison to donors to mid-size and large cultural institutions, donors to artists and artists’ projects are more likely to be:

    • Artists themselves (professional or amateur)
    • Young adults or mid-life (18-54), without children, and of diverse cultural backgrounds
    • Interested in social justice and environmentalism
    • Interested in diversity of cultures and points of view
    • Giving less than $5,000 annually to all charitable causes
    • Interested in supporting small projects rather than sustaining institutions
  • Here was a useful rainy day project from the Clyde Fitch Report: a rundown of the social media presence of the 56 members of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. More like this please!

‘Twas the Season of Flashmobs

  • So, apparently the Thing To Do now if you’re an arts organization is to organize a “spontaneous” bursting into song or dance at a local mall or other public place in close proximity to Christmas. Marcia Adair (aka the Ominicient Mussel) did the yeoman’s work of gathering a bunch of them into one place over at Culture Monster.
  • One of said flashmob performances ended up garnering 25.7 million views on YouTube! (update: now up to 29.2 million!)
  • And in one case, the secret got out too soon, forcing the closure of an entire mall! (more video candy in the post)


  • GreatNonprofits is recapping their Arts Appreciation campaign to rate nonprofits in the arts and culture arena. Feel free to hand out some stars to the organizations that you appreciated most in 2010. (via Barry’s Blog)
  • Beth Kanter engaged in a pretty badass campaign to get Apple to change its policy regarding charitable donations via the iPhone. She teased the company for weeks with big photos of Android phones on her blog and managed to get a New York Times story out of it. Apple appears to be standing firm, however.
  • Does knowledge capital depreciate? Interesting concept from Marginal Revolution.
  • Alastair Macaulay revels in the glory of Nutcrackers around the nation. Now if only such a broadly shared experience across communities could be possible with a living artist’s work…
  • Hmmmm. re flashmobs…..
    I quite fancy the idea of an impromptu concert in my local town centre, get it filmed, put it on YouTube…?
    Sounds good to me!

  • Ian — Glad to see you liked the faux arts headlines. Thanks for this mention and for the tweet last week. By the way, did you notice that The Onion did its own full-on spoof article this week on the Spider-Man situation? Pretty funny.