ART AND THE GOVERNMENT

  • Mike Boehm has more on the important role California’s soon-to-be-defunct community redevelopment agencies have had in shaping Los Angeles’s cultural development.
  • Gene Takagi provides this extremely helpful dispatch from a session on new “hybrid” legal forms such as the Benefit Corporation and L3C.
  • Culture360 has published a helpful twopart history and analysis of cultural policy in South Korea.

MUSICAL CHAIRS

BIG THOUGHT

  • I’ve been thinking about transparency a lot lately. It’s harder than it looks, but here are two recent examples I find admirable from two organizations that have been committed to transparency from the beginning. First, the open embrace on the part of the Center for Effective Philanthropy of ways it can improve its flagship product, the Grantee Perception Reports. And second, a fairly devastating report from GiveWell on the progress of its #1 charity recommendation from 2010, VillageReach (to which I was one of many donors). The latter seems especially dicey at first, but GiveWell goes out of its way to praise VillageReach’s continued commitment to collecting and reporting data on its activities and adds, “we always prefer discouraging observations to no observations.”
  • Lisa Bernholz lauds David Sasaki of the Omidyar Network for committing to blogging about every grant he makes. But Omidyar still lags behind on other transparency standards, as Glasspockets points out.
  • You’re going to be reading a lot more about the term “Collective Impact” this year, I predict. Nonprofit consultants FSG, who coined the term last year in an article for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, write about their choice not to trademark the name.
  • Michael Eisen, co-founder of the open access publisher PLoS (Public Library of Science), opines on why the academic publishing model hinders scientific progress. (And yes, research on the impact of the arts, lest we forget, counts as science.)
  • Check out these fun videos of “culture warriors in their native habitat” discussing Harvard Business School case studies, courtesy of Fractured Atlas Deputy Director Tim Cynova.

BIG MONEY

  • The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation looks to become a major new player in visual arts philanthropy.
  • NYC arts institutions will receive $100 million from Brooke Astor’s estate.
  • It turns out that a portion of ArtPlace’s funding, which comes from a handful of major arts foundations, is restricted geographically to the areas that those foundations serve, leading to a disproportionate focus in some regions vs. others. While this revelation won’t be a shock for those who know the foundations in question – Knight, for example, has a particularly idiosyncratic geographic reach arising from the Knight family’s historical connections to newspapers in specific markets – it’s not going to be much comfort to the applicants who faced higher odds because of it, and reveals the challenges of relying on a patchwork of arts funders to create a truly national agenda.

IN THE FIELD

  • Cute advertising conceit for a symphony concert plays on desperate fundraising campaigns.
  • Is the Colorado Symphony following through on its supposedly transformative business plan? Inquiring minds want to know.
  • The SAG-AFTRA merger is finally complete.
  • I always appreciate interviews with artists in which they are candid about their economic circumstances and how they make money (or don’t). Jen Dziura has a nice one with musician Kim Boekbinder in the Grindstone.
  • Barry Hessenius has a good interview with Doug Borwick, president of the Association of Arts Administration Educators.

RESEARCH CORNER

  • The NEA is out with a new study from arts education researcher James Catterall finding that at-risk youth with “arts-rich” educational experiences outperform their peers on various metrics of success. Almost simultaneously, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released updated numbers from its Fast Response Survey System covering K-12 arts education, a congressionally mandated study. Sunil Iyengar offers a first read of the result; Janet Brown expresses some skepticism at the numbers.
  • The Pennsylvania-based Education Policy and Research Center has a report out providing arts education policy recommendations for state leaders.
  • Survey fatigue is a real and growing problem for researchers who want to get information directly from customers, audience members or stakeholders.