• Sadly, this is what passes for a victory in arts funding these days: the NEA survived the 2012 budget appropriations process with only a 6% cut from last year. This represents full funding of President Obama’s request; yes, that’s right folks, our fearless leader demonstrated his steadfast support of the arts this year by proposing a $9 million cut to a budget that his own handpicked agency head has already described as “pathetic.” The arts in education budget from the Department of Education survived, despite a proposal by the administration to consolidate the program. Other federal cultural agencies, such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Smithsonian, saw their funding hold steady or increase slightly.
  • Grantmakers in the Arts is launching a new Arts Education Funders’ Coalition that “will work with an education policy firm in Washington DC to develop opportunities and policies that will enhance arts education at the federal level.”
  • A bill has been introduced in Congress that would impose a new royalty in the amount of 7% of any sales of artwork over $10,000 by living artists or other works not yet in the public domain. The royalty would apply to sales at auction houses and the proceeds would be split evenly between the artist (or his or her heirs) and a new federally-administered fund that will help museums purchase works by living artists. To date, I’ve mostly read arguments against the proposed legislation, some of which are more compelling than others, but I still think the best reason to oppose it is that it seems most likely to help established names at the expense of emerging artists.
  • The passage of a constitutional amendment in Minnesota tripling the state’s arts funding was heralded at the time as unmitigated good news. But since then, the additional funds have brought their own set of headaches with them.
  • Jan Brennan writes about Denver’s newly merged cultural affairs agency, Arts & Venues Denver.


  • More on the recently-announced €1.8 billion “Creative Europe” funding program.
  • Emilya Cachapero reports on the aftereffects of Palestine’s entry into UNESCO, and the United States’ legislatively-mandated decision to stop funding the agency as a retaliatory action. The funding cut amounts to $35 million annually, or 22% of UNESCO’s budget.


  • The director of the program that awards the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grants, Daniel Socolow, is set to retire.
  • Daniel Kertzner, arts program officer for the Rhode Island Foundation, has been promoted to Vice President of Grant Programs for the community foundation.
  • The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance has a new executive director, Jeannie Howe. Former director Buck Jabaily is leaving to become co-founder of Baltimore Open Theatre, which sounds pretty cool.
  • Also in Baltimore, Ben Stone is the new executive director of the city’s Station North cultural district.
  • Theatre Bay Area has a new managing director, Dana Harrison, who formerly played a key role in managing the Burning Man festival.


  • The Fayetteville (NC) Museum of Art is shutting down.
  • The contract dispute between the New York City Opera and its musicians is getting ugly.
  • With Occupy Wall Street in the rear view mirror, the local musicians’ union in New York City is reviving its Justice for Jazz Artists campaign, which I reported on back in 2009. Two years later, the union has not met with any success in convincing owners of the major jazz clubs in NYC to honor verbal agreements to pass the proceeds from a tax break (which was passed five years ago with lobbying help from the clubs in question) to a musicians’ pension fund.




  • Judith H. Dobrzynski reports on the new Art & Finance Report from Deloitte Luxembourg and ArtTactic.


  • Andrew Taylor points us to a cool story about the role that South African taxi cab drivers played in curating music consumption in the 1990s.
  • Off-topic, but…it’s ludicrous that the penny is still around. I remember calls for them to disappear back when I was a teenager. Can we get some movement on this, finally?
  • I named Craige Hoover’s one of the top 5 new arts blogs in 2010, and the thanks I get is that he disappears for over a year. Luckily, he’s back, hopefully for good this time.