It’s been a while!


  • Bob Lynch reports out on the recent activities of the US Travel & Tourism Advisory Board.
  • Americans for the Arts was out in force at the Republican national convention, organizing a panel with a Mesa mayor who skipped his own election to be there (he was running unopposed), former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, and, uh, “jazz musician” Bernie Williams.
  • Future of Music Coalition legal intern Joseph Silver looks into how the first sale doctrine, which affords consumers the right to lend or resell copyrighted works they lawfully purchase, is adapting to the digital age.
  • Shannon Litzenberger reflects on her two years as the first ever Metcalf Arts Policy Fellow and describes five models for fundraising and “friendraising” for the arts from the US, Canada, and Australia.
  • The Economist hosted a weeklong debate on the topic of “Should government fund the arts?” Such debates pop up at least once a year (I participated in one in May), but this one is notable for its distinctively English flavor and also for a guest appearance by Adam Huttler on day 4.
  • Jo Mangan has a substantive report from the first-ever International Culture Summit in Edinburgh.
  • Did you know that the mayor of Reykjavik, Iceland is a comedian? As in, a real comedian, not a career politician who does some stand-up on the side?


  • RIP Louise Nippert, heiress (by marriage) of Proctor & Gamble fortune who gave many millions of dollars to the arts in the Cincinnati region over her lifetime.
  • Congratulations to Jennifer Ford Reedy, the new president of the Minnesota-based Bush Foundation (no relation to the two US Presidents). Reedy had been chief of staff and vice president of strategy for Minnesota Philanthropy Partners.
  • …and to Carolyn Ramo, new executive director of Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue.
  • Sadly, arts philanthropy has lost a rising young star in Deepa Gupta, who jumps from program officer for the MacArthur Foundation to director of education initiatives and strategy for the Boeing Company in Chicago. Great news for Deepa, though, and perhaps there will be opportunities for her to be a voice for the arts in her new role.


  • Boston’s public television station WGBH has acquired Public Radio International, which produces Ira Glass’s “This American Life” among other programs.
  • It’s apparently contract renegotiation season, and the orchestra world is absolutely filled with stories of hardball negotiations between musicians and management. Witness: the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, previously lionized in these pixels for its innovative marketing, slapped musicians with a proposal for 57%-67% cuts (subsequently moderated); the Indianapolis Symphony proposes to cut wages by 45%; the Minnesota Orchestra might be headed for a lockout after offering musicians a 34% cut; San Antonio is on the brink; Philadelphia may be out of bankruptcy, but is not out of the woods. Meanwhile, perhaps inspired by their teacher compatriots, the Chicago Symphony musicians went on strike for three days even though they were offered an increase in base pay in their new contract, because it came with a corresponding increase in health care costs. The CSO players are among the best-compensated in the country. And even museum workers are getting into the act, with employees of San Francisco’s DeYoung Museum and Legion of Honor trotting out the ol’ inflatable rat in front of the grounds. Diane Ragsdale wants to know why can’t we all just get along? Well, I like this approach: the Atlanta Symphony musicians said sure, we’ll take a pay cut, as long as you administrators take one too. And here’s a novel idea: the Milwaukee Symphony just hired its principal trumpeter – and union representative – as its new chief executive.
  • For-profit NYC rock venue takes to crowdfunding site, builds audience, avoids bankruptcy. Indie bookstore in Palo Alto converts to hybrid corporate form, raises nearly $1 million. (part 1part 2part 3) Are artists and nonprofits about to get a whole lot of fundraising competition from well-loved businesses that can no longer pay the bills?



  • Here’s some more reaction to the new research report on cultural facilities, “Set in Stone,” from Joe Patti (and again) and Janet Brown.
  • Keith Sawyer has another (very lucid) take on last week’s NEA “How Art Works” convening and the accompanying system map.


  • Starting next year in Kansas City, Google will offer super high speed internet for about what you’re paying Time Warner or Comcast – and basic internet for free.
  • I’m sometimes characterized as a “numbers guy” in the arts, but the reality is that I rarely find myself performing mathematical operations more complex than arithmetic. That being the case, I can get on board with this:

    ”Why do 50 percent (probably closer to 70%) of engineering and science practitioners seldom, if ever, use mathematics above the elementary algebra/trigonometry level in their practice?” If algebra is the limit for most engineering and science professionals, why does a typical citizen need algebra? As Hacker says, much more useful than algebra is quantitative literacy: being able to estimate, judge the reasonableness of numbers, and thereby detect bullshit. Our world offers plenty of practice.

    …and here’s more from Dr. Mahan, on long division:

    I’ll illustrate with an actual example of division. For my environmental-protection lawsuit, now in the Massachusetts Supreme Court, I needed to divide 142,500 by 4655. Here is the long-division calculation, my first use of the method in 30 years: [snip] The calculation took me a few minutes with paper and pencil, some of the time to reconstruct the algorithm details and to get the bookkeeping straight — even though I already knew the answer quite accurately. I knew the answer because I had already applied a more enjoyable method: skillful lying.