ART AND THE GOVERNMENT – DOMESTIC

  • A professor’s quest to overturn a portion of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that placed certain foreign works back under copyright after they had already entered the public domain appears to have reached an end.
  • The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is thinking about trying out social impact bonds.
  • Looks like there were some shenanigans behind the construction of the High Line, NYC’s well-known elevated park. Reminiscent of James Gray’s The Yards, if anyone saw that movie.

ART AND THE GOVERNMENT – INTERNATIONAL

ALL ABOUT PHILANTHROPY

  • GiveWell details how charity regulations in various countries make donating to top-rated international charities more difficult than it should be.
  • The Craigslist Foundation is shutting down.
  • Most foundation leaders have trouble converting evaluation results into “meaningful insights.”

IN THE FIELD

  • More on Opera Boston’s sudden demise late last year.
  • Bye bye Detroit Children’s Museum.
  • Yikes! longtime conductor, author, and inspirational TED talker Benjamin Zander was let go by the New England Conservatory this month over a cover-up involving a videographer who was a convicted sex offender, as NEC clearly wanted no part of any Joe Paterno/Jerry Sandusky redux.
  • LA Opera joins those trying out the dynamic pricing route.
  • Interesting new curator time share model being pioneered by the Detroit Institute of Art and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
  • When the IRS dumped hundreds of thousands of organizations from the nonprofit rolls last year, people hardly batted an eye – mostly because they assumed those organizations (who had failed to file required forms for three years in a row) were either no longer active or not accomplishing any good if they were. Yet my cultural asset mapping work has suggested that at least some of those organizations who had their tax-exempt status stripped were real and continuing to provide public programs. Thomas A. Kelley provides one such example in this account of an African American community center that is fighting to get its nonprofit status back.
  • Jerome Weeks notes the difficulty that Dallas-area arts organizations are having with recruiting top leadership talent, and correctly follows the breadcrumbs to the lack of attractive opportunities for earlier-stage arts professionals:

    Jose Bowen says one reason the pickings remain thin is that the starting jobs for arts management graduates generally don’t pay well. And the punishing costs of college don’t help, either. Bowen is dean of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. It’s one of the few that offers a double master’s degree in arts management – in the arts and business administration.

    Bowen: “Our students graduate and are immediately faced with a choice. Come work for Goldman and make more money or go work for a nonprofit and make less money. And when you have loans, right out of school? That’s a hard choice to make.”

    It’s really very simple, people. If senior leaders with demonstrated records of accomplishment don’t want the job, it’s time to consider either senior leaders without demonstrated records of accomplishment, or junior leaders who haven’t had a chance to demonstrate accomplishment yet. If arts professionals below the leadership ranks are never given an opportunity to take initiative, manage people, or own projects in their roles, they’re never going to be in a position to fill those positions effectively, after the person who did so for so long is gone. And that’s assuming they stick around on low salaries waiting for their big break. Something to think about.

BIG IDEAS

  • I’ve been wondering for a while about the effect on the bottom line that election season must have for struggling traditional media companies – especially in the wake of the Citizens United decision. Well, Dave Copeland takes that thought further and notes how well-positioned online audience gatekeepers – such as Google – are to benefit from campaign ads.
  • ArtsJournal hosted one of its blog debates last week called Lead or Follow, featuring Diane Ragsdale, Michael Kaiser, and others.  Doug McLennan continues to experiment with the form of these fora, and though I don’t think he’s quite nailed the perfect formula yet, the process is fascinating to watch. As background to this conversation, the Wallace Foundation published 54 stories of audience engagement arising from its Wallace Excellence Awards grant program from the previous decade, as well as four more in-depth case studies on its own site.
  • Is your brain constantly bloated because it’s trying to take in too much information? Maybe you should go on an information diet! Beth Kanter reviews what looks to be an important book for folks like me who are constantly trying to drink from the fire hose.

RESEARCH CORNER

  • Add a feather to Randy Cohen’s cap: the Americans for the Arts researcher’s National Arts Index project has inspired an imitator across the pond, the UK Arts Index. (h/t Mark Robinson)
  • Kickstarter is out with its annual project stats. Kickstarter projects attracted nearly $100 million in pledges in 2011! Also of note, the number of high-volume donors (people who contribute to hundreds of projects a year and presumably seek them out as a kind of hobby) is growing.
  • Nonprofit Finance Fund is conducting its fourth annual survey of nonprofits, analyzing how they are responding to and recovering from the financial crisis. The survey is anonymous and takes 10-15 minutes to fill out, and they’re looking for as many respondents as possible. They are taking responses through February 15 and you can participate here.
  • Look out, American Red Cross! GiveWell is on the warpath to get you to release your evaluation of your own organization’s relief efforts in Haiti.

ETC.

  • We haven’t had any silly links in Around the Horn for a while. Well, that’s about to change