(This is the first Around the Horn to be put together by one of the Createquity Writing Fellows, Hayley Roberts. Enjoy! -IDM)

Government Policy and the Arts

  • Gladstone Payton details the sequester’s effects on the governmental agencies that provide funding for the arts.
  • Will New Jersey pass legislation requiring cultural and sporting events to only issue e-tickets? Many of the state’s smaller arts institutions hope not.
  • There is a movement brewing to get arts education included in the federal education budget, headed by two Congressmen from Illinois and Oregon, respectively. Oregon has already pioneered this work by proposing funding in the state budget to “to support partnerships between schools, arts organizations and businesses to increase opportunities for students in grades 6–12 to connect with creative industries.”
  • The City of New York is refusing to pay into the pension funds of a number of cultural institutions based in the city due to suspicion of fraud.

Market Research, Data Analysis, and Cultural Organizations

  • Chad Bauman details his experience with data analysis and market research during a transitional period at the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. The specific recommendations provided by detailed market research and analysis helped the theater through a risky period of transition.
  • There have been a few articles recently about how much personal data is collected and put up for sale, often without our knowledge.
  • Again, market research demonstrates that museums and cultural institutions should be careful about making assumptions about their audience, especially in the context of the major demographic changes in the United States.
  • Adam Thurman’s TedXBroadway talk offers an interesting look at how to think about marketing in a more innovative way that can yield effective results.
  • Western social science researchers are becoming more attuned to the fact that their cultural bias greatly skews the outcomes of their research.

Culture and Economic Development

  • Measuring the impact of the arts or the contribution of the cultural sector to local and national economies has grown in popularity lately. UNESCO recently released a study which reviews the different methodologies various countries use to determine how much culture contributes to economic development.

Changes in New Models of Arts Funding

  • The number of Kickstarter projects being started has slowed down, according to a report from NextMarket Insights. Is this a sign that artists and practitioners feel that the risk of crowdsourced funding is not as reliable as previously thought? Or are entrepreneurs being more selective about which projects they choose to fund in this manner? This week’s massive response to the Veronica Mars movie would suggest the latter. Conversely, in an interview with the NEA Arts magazine, the creators of Kickstarter discuss how the internet and start-ups like Kickstarter have changed the idea of audience and creative place.
  • For some musicians, the dream of sustaining themselves by allowing fans to pay what they want for music has proved to be exactly that–a dream. The reason why may be not be that surprising (hint: it involves streaming services like Spotify).

Shake-ups in Philanthropy, Media

  • The past month had some changes in management across the philanthropic and arts sectors: the Grey Lady has a new Arts & Culture editor with a long history of music journalism experience;  the president of the Ford Foundation, Luis Ubiñas, has announced he will step down in September; and the McKnight Foundation’s arts program officer Laura Zimmermann has also resigned.
  • Pittsburgh, PA’s McCune Foundation plans to spend down approximately $343 million by 2029. The Foundation plans to do so in part by making “transformative multimillion-dollar grants that strengthen the broader community.”

Food for Thought

  • The argument that music education can lead to other academic benefits for students is strongly challenged by journalist Lydia Denworth.
  • The Wall Street Journal takes a long look at the burgeoning relationship between Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs and the art world. Previously separated by geography and ideology, it appears that the new tech elite are following the example of their Wall Street colleagues and are getting more involved in the art world by establishing connections to galleries and museums. Have readers in the San Francisco-area noticed a shift in the culture of your local cultural institutions due to the tech boom?