ART AND THE GOVERNMENT

  • The dreaded sequester began Friday, affecting all federal accounts including that of the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA will lose 5% of its budget, which works out to about $7.3 million. Grants and administration will be reduced by the same percentage. The reductions only apply through March 27, however, which is the date through which the federal government is currently funded. Congress has yet to pass a budget for Fiscal Year 2013, which we’re already almost halfway through. Let’s hear it for democracy!
  • John Paul Titlow predicts that 3D printing will be the next big copyright battlefield – and the lines aren’t necessarily drawn where you think. (Here’s more from Public Knowledge.)
  • “It’s true that without exposure to the arts, it’s difficult to develop an interest in them. But it’s also true that many of the people who had, say, music education back in the 1960s and 1970s are the same people who are not going to orchestra concerts today. Some arts organizations will have to confront the fact that their audiences are declining because of an irrevocable shift in the culture, rather than simply a lack of education.” Anne Midgette explores the recent resurgence of arts education in our nation’s schools. Here is more.

MUSICAL CHAIRS

  • The Kresge Foundation has named Ariel Simon to the new position of chief strategy officer and deputy to the president. Simon formerly worked as a senior consultant in McKinsey’s social sector practice.

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS

  • Poncho, a Seattle public charity that raised money for the arts through galas and other special events, is closing its doors and donating its remaining assets to the Seattle Foundation.
  • Interesting: in recent years, needy communities in the United States are receiving millions of dollars in aid from an unlikely source – the United Arab Emirates.

IN THE FIELD

  • Should museums be looking outside the traditional pipeline for their management talent?
  • Congratulations to Inocente, the first Kickstarter-funded movie to win an Oscar (for Best Documentary Short).
  • Howard Sherman draws very appropriate attention to the lack of consistency in labeling the arts and culture in newspaper listings.
  • The Met Opera, long criticized for astronomical ticket prices, is actually lowering them for next year – and not as an “accessibility” measure. Attendance is down, and leadership wonders if the opera’s much-ballyhooed cinema simulcasts are partly to blame.

BIG IDEAS

  • I think local programming is one of the more underexplored areas of community engagement for establishment arts institutions – especially outside of major artist meccas like New York and LA. Oregon Arts Watch’s Brett Campbell considers.
  • William Deresiewicz reconsiders the is-food-art debate – he had originally come out strongly in the “no” camp, and got, uh, creamed for it.

CONFERENCES AND TALKS

  • The NEA’s Jen Hughes reports on a new white paper and symposium covering the emerging field of design for social impact.
  • Keith Sawyer shares notes from a small conference on copyright and patent reform to which he was invited to contribute perspectives on creativity.

RESEARCH CORNER

  • The Wall Street Journal performs an analysis of US Department of Education data, finds that “median debt loads at schools specializing in art, music and design average $21,576.” This compares to $19,445 for liberal arts colleges and $18,100 for research universities.
  • Americans for the Arts is putting out a new ebook series on arts education.
  • The IRS will more frequently publish data on which nonprofits have lost tax-exempt status.
  • Now that everyone’s talking about walkability, more and more competitors to Walk Score are popping up. We already heard about Walk Appeal, a mostly theoretical innovation by urbanist Steve Mouzon. Now comes Walkonomics, created by Adam Davies, which uses an eight-factor index to judge walkability. The Atlantic Cities’s Sarah Goodyear has a review.
  • Keith Sawyer reviews Bruce Nussbaum’s new book, Creative Intelligence.
  • Can’t wait for this Barry’s Blogathon on arts research and data featuring some of the leading establishment names in the field.
  • Nesta’s Hasan Bakshi explains the UK creative industry classification scheme and a fascinating critique that his organizations developed of the existing classifications. This is a dense read as blog posts go, but Sunil Iyengar helpfully puts it into simpler terms. The whole thing is essential if you do any kind of creative economy or creative industry work, but here are a couple of key quotes:

    “The annual DCMS Creative Industries Economic Estimates have shown that Gross Value Added (GVA) in [advertising, architecture, art and antiques, computer games, crafts, design, designer fashion, film, music, performing arts, publishing, software, and television and radio] has in recent years grown at twice the rate of other sectors, helping to raise their profile with policymakers.”

    After conducting sensitivity analyses and other validity checks, Nesta not only can locate those industries which employ creative workers at disproportionately high rates, it can also show how most creative workers are employed in non-creative industries.

    Importantly, our analysis also shows that there are serious misallocations in the DCMS classifications; this includes a definite group of industries, which DCMS does not currently treat as creative, but which have exceptionally high creative intensities, including ‘Computer programming activities’ (62.01) and ‘Computer consultancy activities’ (62.02), which between them account for over 400,000 people.