MUSICAL CHAIRS

  • Judilee Reed, formerly the executive director of Leveraging Investments in Creativity, joins the Surdna Foundation as director of its Thriving Cultures program. With Reed’s departure, LINC – which was designed from its inception in 2003 as a ten-year program – begins the process of counting down the clock. I suspect it’s no accident that the funder collaborative that makes up ArtPlace, which shares many of its participating foundations with LINC, is gearing up just as LINC is winding down.
  • Helena Fruscio is the new Creative Economy Industry Director for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, replacing Jason Schupbach, who had become Design Director for the National Endowment for the Arts last year. Fruscio was formerly director of Berkshire Creative; you can read an interview with her here.

ON PHILANTHROPY

  • Lucy Bernholz points us to a database of online giving marketplaces. And explains why asking philanthropists to fund core public services (like roads and bridges) is a very bad idea.
  • This Q&A with ArtPlace director Carol Coletta represents the clearest explication of that initiative’s goals and strategies that I’ve yet seen. Kudos to Regina Mahone for asking some good questions.
  • Hey, remember the $3 million program-related investment that Artspace got from the Ford Foundation? Well, that’s nothing compared to the $24 million in tax credits it just landed for its PS109 project with El Barrio in East Harlem, New York City. And how’s this for impact?

    While named above, one last shout out to ArtPlace, which provided the final philanthropic investment before our tax credit application was reviewed.  Without ArtPlace’s timely and significant support, our application would almost certainly have been denied.  As such, it is also fair to say that ArtPlace’s [$1 million] investment was essential to securing an additional $24 million investment in the arts.

  • What? A private foundation actually asking its constituents what its program strategy should be?

CONFERENCES AND TALKS

RESEARCH CORNER

  • Cleveland’s Community Partnership for Arts and Culture has released an economic impact study on the local music industry.
  • The NEA has a new research report out on artist workforce statistics.
  • Whoa! The Gates Foundation is funding the Pew Research Center to conduct a new three-year study on public libraries to the tune of $1.4 million. That’s some expensive research!
  • I liked these lists of “intrinsic” benefits of arts education from Elliott Eisner, Lois Hetland, and Ellen Winner, via Americans for the Arts’s Kristen Engebretsen. One that I don’t see fully articulated on either list is the ability to question the assumptions and frames of conventional thinking. I became deeply aware of this during my experience in business school, where most of my classmates did not have a meaningful background or experience in the arts. While they could run rings around me creating discounted cash flow statements, I often sensed a discomfort around ambiguity and alternative frames.
  • Great blog post from GiveWell demonstrating how labor-intensive evaluating impact (even without engaging in any primary data collection) truly is. The implication being, of course, that “rating agencies” that don’t put in this kind of time aren’t truly measuring impact.

IN THE FIELD

  • Rosetta Thurman has a thoughtful series about four types of nonprofit leaders we need now. Meet the True Believer, the Ruthless Innovator, the Ambassador of Diversity, and the Courageous Advocate. Rosetta also has a sharp new blog theme to complement her sharp intellect.
  • On the Art Works blog, Scott Provancher shares some of the background behind the new local crowdfunding platform, Power2Give, that his Arts & Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenberg has developed.
  • National Arts Strategies has been on fire lately. Fresh off the first meeting of its 100 CEOs, the capacity building organization released, in collaboration with the Getty Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University, this list of 21 must-reads for arts managers covering topics like leadership, strategy, and organizational culture. Any first-time executive director should definitely take these home. And even better, earlier this month NAS announced that its Business of Arts and Culture seminars will be name-your-price starting in 2012, with National Arts Strategies covering any shortfall in program costs.
  • Speaking of all-but-free leadership training programs for arts professionals, the Rockwood Leadership Institute is looking for applicants for its Fellowship for Leaders in Arts and Culture. Hurry up – nominations close November 2!
  • Michael Kaiser brings up a good point in discussions of culturally specific organizations:

    Individual donors are the bedrock of American arts funding, giving more than 60% of the money received by arts organizations. Yet the average African American, Latino, Asian American or Native American arts organization receives less than 10% of its funding from individual donors.

    To me, this is more evidence that structural inequities in our society are at the root of inequities in cultural budgets. During one of the sessions I attended at GIA, Eugene Rodriguez from Los Cenzontles spoke of how difficult it was to cultivate individual donors for his Latino cultural center serving San Pablo, CA. What with the vast disparities in wealth between white households and black and Latino households, culturally specific organizations have had to either make do with fewer resources or rely on the generosity of white people (or foundations controlled by white people) in order to get by. It’s hard to see how that changes without more wealth creation in communities of color.

  • Can’t stop listening to/watching the treasure trove of jazz performance videos from the avant scene in New York City featured on Search & Restore’s new website. This is music that’s always deserved a wider audience but, for so long, has lacked the institutional support or grander vision to make it happen. Props to S&R’s Adam Schatz for taking things a step in the right direction.