Don’t forget the Createquity Writing Fellowship application deadline is this Friday, August 5!


  • The State Department, though the New England Foundation for the Arts, is funding a major new cultural diplomacy program aimed at bringing foreign artists to small and midsize cities across the United States.
  • Alyssa Rosenberg apparently wasn’t done going through the arts records of the 2012 Presidential candidates; here’s her take on Barack Obama.
  • The Future of Music Coalition is really developing a top-notch policy shop within its ranks. No other arts service organization I know of is as on top of current (non-NEA-related) legislation as they are. Policy Fellow Liz Allen takes a thorough look at a proposal put forward by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) that would make streaming a work without the copyright owner’s permission a felony in certain circumstances.
  • Some big-name fashion designers are agitating for copyright protection of their works. I haven’t yet formed an opinion, but I have yet to read a commentary from outside of the fashion industry who thinks this is a good idea.
  • Judith Dobrzynski reports that the Smithsonian’s proposed budget appropriation for FY2012 has suffered little impact from the Hide/Seek controversy late last year.
  • As mentioned, the same House of Representatives budget has a 16% cut for the NEA included for next year. But at least the House defeated an amendment that would have cut an additional $10.6 million.
  • Scott Walters has been hard at work analyzing the proportion of the NEA’s recently-announced Our Town grants that went to small and rural communities. Bottom line: although there were some out-of-the-way areas that received grants (more than I personally expected to see, in fact), Scott shows both that the overall distribution is still weighted towards big cities even after population size and the number of applications from different-size communities are taken into account. A follow-up post offers some interpretations.


  • Denver has consolidated its Office of Cultural Affairs within a larger city agency, and some people are not happy about it.



  • The NEA has released a new research note looking at the proportion of the national GDP accounted for by (mostly for-profit) cultural industries including performing arts, museums, movies, music, publishing, and, uh…sports.
  • CEOs for Cities finds a clear connection between walkability and real estate values. It would be an interesting research project to disentangle the effects of walkability from arts amenities in examining their shared influence on housing prices.
  • Missed this nugget before: is it true that we’ve lost 50% of the arts journalism jobs in America over the past 5-8 years? Dennis Scholl doesn’t cite a source, but if so, wow.
  • Pew Research is out with a new study featuring some eye-popping stats about the disparity with which the recession affected different racial groups. The median wealth of whites dropped 16%, but 53% for blacks, 54% for Asians, and an astounding 66% for Hispanics. Hispanics in particular are concentrated in states where housing values dropped through the floor, meaning that much of the drop is from plummeting home equity (made worse by increasing consumer debt). Perhaps even more amazing is the disparity between whites, blacks and Hispanics in terms of current median wealth: the median white household had 19 times as much wealth as the median black household and 15 times the wealth of the median Hispanic household in 2009; by far the highest ratios recorded since 1984. And yes, Tommer, this is relevant to the arts. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it should be no great mystery why arts institutions have a hard time reaching nonwhite audiences. Sure, it’s about the content to some extent. But really, it’s about the money. (More from the Center for Social Inclusion’s Maya Wiley.)
  • Here’s some more information about the UK’s new national wellbeing measurement project. Household members will answer four questions (as part of a larger survey) about how satisfied they are with their lives generally, whether they find meaning in their activities, and how happy or anxious they felt yesterday. ReadWriteWeb’s Marshall Kirkpatrick has further commentary.


  • Barry’s Blog has another gigantic forum going on this month, this time focusing on arts education. The Hewlett Foundation’s Julie Fry is co-hosting.
  • Ron Evans does us all a favor, poring through the tweets from the Americans for the Arts Convention and picking out his personal top 50. (Part IPart II)
  • Devon Smith, not surprisingly, is all over Google+.


  • Leah Krauss is the new dance program officer for the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, after having previously served as a consultant.


  • LL

    Actually, the NEA is forced to include sports because the federal government (neither Census nor the BEA) break out “leisure” activities separately. They categorize by industry (by NAICS codes) which is why arts, sports, parks, museums, and musical performance are always presented together. Sad, but true, especially when one is trying to make the case for one industry (e.g., museums) or analyze the ROI of the arts, when clearly the picture is skewed by the sports arenas because of their price and large attendance figures.