Have you read this month’s Arts Policy Library explosion yet? Remember, there are quickie versions of all three articles if you’re in a hurry.


  • Steve Gunderson is stepping down as CEO of the Council on Foundations.
  • Social justice groups are freaked out that the previously-reported departure of Gara LaMarche from Atlantic Philanthropies will mean less money for social justice.
  • Will Miller is the new President of the Wallace Foundation.
  • Luis Cancel is out as head of the San Francisco Arts Commission. There’s apparently some intrigue around this one, as Cancel was under pressure for his treatment of staff and for working too much from home – his second home, that is, in Rio de Janeiro. Vice President JD Beltran has been named interim director.
  • Congratulations to Arts Council for Long Beach Executive Director Craig Watson, who has been announced as the new director of the California Arts Council. Culture Monster has more.
  • The Joyce Foundation in Chicago has a new senior program officer for culture: Angelique Power. Power replaces Michelle T. Boone, who left earlier this year to become the new commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
  • Dave Dombrosky is no longer the executive director of the Center for Arts Management and Technology at Carnegie Mellon University, proprietors of the Technology in the Arts blog.
  • Finally, a special thanks to Grantmakers in the Arts, from whom I get most of my foundation personnel announcements. Tommer, Steve, Abigail, and Janet have seriously been doing a great job over there this year.


  • The NEA has announced the inaugural round of Our Town grants. Rocco’s signature program got an extra $1.5 million in the end despite midyear cuts to the agency, and a total of 51 awards were announced rather than the 35 originally anticipated.
  • In a new partnership with the Knight Foundation, the NEA is funding a new arts journalism challenge grant program. On the NEA’s Art Works blog, Kerry Lengel offers a post-mortem on the recent pop-up journalism experiment Engine28.
  • Unfortunately, the NEA’s funding is being chipped away at again by the committee in the House of Representatives that controls appropriations. They’re now looking at $135 million for FY2012, which would be the largest cut in 16 years. Not only that, Congresscritters are now trying to micromanage the NEA’s awards programs. There’s still time to act.
  • Finally, some good news from the states on arts agency appropriations: Ohio is looking at a 30% increase, Pennsylvania avoided a drastic cut, and in New Jersey a Republican governor actually removed budget language that would have reduced appropriations by a further 27%. ARTSBlog has the skinny, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies looks at the big picture.
  • Wise words from Think Progress’s Alyssa Rosenberg, in response to those who might think fighting for public arts funding isn’t worth the trouble: “If you’re thinking strategically about the long-term argument between progressive and conservative worldviews, it’s conceding a lot of ground to walk away from programs where government investment is small as long as we think it might still be useful.” Alyssa has been doing the yeoman’s work of looking up the arts records of each of the 2012 Republican candidates or potential candidates for President. I wish there were more of interest to report, but basically they all suck for the one-issue arts voter (of which there are, like, dozens I’m sure). If Mike Huckabee were running, it’d be a different story. Anyway, here are Alyssa’s profiles of Mitt RomneyMichele BachmannJon HuntsmanSarah PalinHerman CainTim PawlentyGary Johnson (who?), Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and good ol’ Newt Gingrich. (Speaking of Alyssa, she kindly picked up our Createquity Arts Policy Library block party and offered some commentary.)



  • Alec Baldwin takes to ARTSBlog to talk about a giving campaign from CapitalOne to support Americans for the Arts. I was impressed to read that CapitalOne is actually including an insert with the monthly statement (with him on it) to get the word out.
  • Phil Buchanan notes that foundations can’t expect grantees to measure effectiveness without help.
  • The fact that the Gates Foundation has a philanthropy program is news to me, but it’s welcome news. Gates’s Darin McKeever posts on Tactical Philanthropy about an 18-month planning process for the program as well as the directions in which it is heading (part I; part II).
  • There’s a new Awesome Foundation chapter in Seattle, and this one features Grantmakers in the Arts Deputy Director Tommer Peterson. Read all about it here; the blog is worth reading for other reasons as well.


  • Wondering what a millennial generation’s approach to dealing with our budget deficit would look like, since they’re the ones who will be most affected by it? The Roosevelt Institute and Peter G. Peterson Foundation did too, and convened a gaggle of 18- to 26-year-olds to come up with a plan (which has been scored by the Congressional Budget Office). Freakonomics has the details here; from the highlights, it sounds center-left and quite sensible.
  • Chad Bauman points out differences in how nonprofit and commercial arts organizations approach dynamic pricing.
  • Over at Technology in the Arts, Createquity Fellowship alum Crystal Wallis walks us through some examples of participatory performing arts.
  • Alex Ross finally weighs in on the NYC Opera meshugas, which seems to be getting uglier by the day. My take: I don’t know that NYCO has much choice but to move from Lincoln Center or drastically change its union contracts, given the disastrous financial situation that George Steel inherited from Gerard Mortier and Susan Baker. I have a great deal of respect for Steel, but he does seem to be losing the PR war, which is an important leadership task. I suspect it would help matters greatly if there were a clearer, longer-term artistic vision expressed than what has been shared to date – and if Steel offered to take a (temporary) pay cut.
  • Want.