ART AND THE GOVERNMENT
- Americans for the Arts hosted a blog salon last month on the Common Core State Standards (“the next big thing in education”) and what they mean for arts education. I particularly enjoyed former colleague Richard Kessler’s “Steal This Blog” entry.
- Quite interesting analysis from Barry Hessenius of possible future directions for local arts agencies.
- Burning Man is in danger of losing its longtime home due to new county regulations seemingly aimed at pushing the arts festival out, including prohibiting nudity. The county had previously hit Burning Man with an $800,000 bill for police services, a nearly fivefold increase over last year.
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports on the two candidates for President and their positions on issues of concern to nonprofits.
- B Corporations, those hybrid entities that pursue both profit and social purpose, have apparently become wrapped up in a Tea Party conspiracy theory. Because they are mentioned in a United Nations report ominously (to conservatives) titled “Agenda 21,” legislation to create B Corporations in North Carolina was recently stonewalled.
- The government of Turkey is pursuing a particularly aggressive campaign to recover its antiquities from museums around the world.
IN THE FIELD
- The New Jersey Center for the Performing Arts is the anchor attraction for a new residential development in economically challenged Newark called One Theater Square. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is cited as a model.
- The Pacific Standard Time art festival in Los Angeles, organized by the Getty Foundation, was a big success in terms of drawing national media attention to LA and its 20th-century artists. But in terms of driving attendance to the participating museums? Not so much.
- The Baltimore Symphony’s “Rusty Musicians” program has become a poster child of sorts for institutional programs that welcome adult audience members as participants. The New York Times‘s Dan Wakin embedded himself among the amateur musicians over the summer, and offers an entertaining account of the experience.
- Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge CEO Derek Gordon passed away last month at the age of 57.
- Very interesting: Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok of the Marginal Revolution blog, after talking up the coming sea change in online education, are getting in on the act with their own resource entitled MRUniversity; their first course covers developmental economics. Cowen and Tabarrok are themselves professors at the bricks-and-mortar George Mason University.
- Is it already backlash time for collective impact? Silicon Valley Community Foundation CEO Emmet Carson plays the devil’s advocate; FSG’s Emily Gorin Malenfant offers a defense.
- Roberto Bedoya has an important critique of creative placemaking in a new online journal entitled Arts in a Changing America published by former LINC collaborator Maribel Alvarez. Bedoya argues that in their zeal to refashion America’s communities, creative placemaking advocates have ignored “history, critical racial theory, and [the] politics…of belonging and dis-belonging” at the expense of economic development and urban planning technocracy. On the one hand, I think Bedoya’s right to call attention to the creative placemaking movement’s tendency at times to blithely dismiss hot-button cultural tensions like gentrification and social inequality. It’s something I’ve noticed and commented upon here as well, though only in passing so far. At the same time, I don’t want creative placemaking to get bogged down in academic “discourses” that delight in problematizing status-quo practices without, in my estimation, offering much in the way of practical solutions. As much as I agree with aspects of Bedoya’s critique, I found myself wishing by the end of it that I had a better sense for what kinds of arts grantmaking or programming practices promote his desired sense of belonging.
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS
- The Warhol Foundation is planning to sell off its collection of the artist’s work, boosting its endowment by nearly half.
- David Byrne’s new book offers a “radically transparent” view into the economics of the music industry, through his own experiences.
- It turns out that one of New York City’s most significant institutional funders of the arts, arguably, is one you’ve likely never heard of. Arts Brookfield is the cultural programming and presentation arm of Brookfield Office Properties, managers of several high-profile buildings including the World Financial Center. Run by Deborah Simon, Arts Brookfield spends $1 million directly presenting performances and exhibitions in the public spaces of its properties each year. The article includes this money quote: “Brookfield executives say that for them art is an investment in the core business that pays off in a better class of tenants and higher rents.” In an ironic twist, Brookfield Office Properties is perhaps better known to artists as the owners of Zuccotti Park, made famous as the staging ground of the Occupy Wall Street protests. OWS and Brookfield tussled in the press and the courts for months last year as the latter tried to evict protesters from their de facto headquarters. Perhaps strangest of all is to see Judd Greenstein, a ringleader of the Occupy Musicians offshoot of OWS (and friend of this blog), quoted in the Times article singing the praises of Brookfield now that he is curating a concert series for them: “’They have been really open-minded and flexible….You can talk to them about the power of an idea, and that’s really liberating.” Sometimes the world is very weird.
- Kudos to the Foundation Center for coming clean about published mistakes in recent research about multiyear giving patterns.
- One of the tragic consequences of our field’s fragmented funding infrastructure is that support for the arts tends to be concentrated in large urban metros. While especially apparent in funding for art projects themselves, it applies equally to research about the arts, which means that creative activities in rural areas fly even further under the radar than they would otherwise. A new project called the “Rural Arts and Culture Map” aims to do something about this by crowdsourcing stories, media, and video testimonials about art in the boonies.
- A panoply of established leaders in the arts share the wisdom they have learned over the years. A highly personal and at times touching collection of lessons.