• The NEA has unveiled a new four-point plan for its arts education program, and Kristen Engebretsen has the details.
  • Yo-Yo Ma gave this year’s Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at Arts Advocacy Day, and you can watch the video here.
  • Fascinating account of the Norwegian jazz scene and how government funding for the arts, at its best, can create an environment rich in experimentation and possibility: “Ambitious ideas aren’t crushed under the weight of impracticality before they can grow and take shape.”
  • Wise words from Charlie Jensen about the many forms of arts advocacy:

    While it’s true that responding to threats to arts and culture funding, unfavorable legislation, or moves to otherwise impede our ability to serve our communities is a true emergency, it is about 5% of work we need done. Let me say it again: it’s a critical 5%. But it’s 5%. The real work of advocacy—to extend the metaphor, the verses of our song—is already happening, every day, in each of our organizations. It’s happening on Facebook and Twitter, when your staff answer phones, when the curtains go up or the lights come down or the performers take their places or the doors open or the first words are sung or spoken. It’s happening when your patron or audience member has a positive interaction with a member of your staff.


  • Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation president Thomas C. Layton is retiring after serving at the helm for 38 years. Stacie Ma’a, a fresh face at only 14 years of service, will replace him. The Gerbode Foundation supports the arts and other causes in the San Francisco Bay Area and Hawaii.
  • The Foundation Center is expanding Lisa Philp’s Stategic Philanthropy team, hiring Viviana Bianchi as director of partnerships and Jen Bokoff (a self-described “data nerd”) as director of GrantCraft.


  • RIP Gainesville (GA) Symphony Orchestra.
  • Did you know that some hotels have artist in residence programs? Britain’s Telegraph offers a round-up; they range from the earnest (two months of free space for artists selected by peer panel at the Gershwin Hotel in New York) to the self-congratulatory (fashion illustrator David Downton painting celebrities at Claridge’s in London).
  • In an op-ed for the New York Times, Authors Guild president Scott Turow chronicles the industry disruption that has buffeted professional authors thanks to the advent of ebooks and digital technology more generally. It’s strikingly similar to the story of the music industry.
  • Is Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood (recipient of an ArtPlace grant) an example of creative placemaking run amok?


  • Bill Gates does an Ask Me Anything (AMA) over at Reddit.
  • Just when I thought the academic publishing model couldn’t be any more perverted, I learn that they charge authors like Michael Rushton (who already contribute their work without payment or royalties) nearly $3000 for the “privilege” of making their articles available in an open-access journal. Holy crap!
  • Wow, no one can say Colleen Dilenschneider isn’t audacious. The Gen Y social media and museum marketing consultant reveals that she has made “a few five-figure gifts this year, as well as several four-figure and three-figure gifts” but recounts an array of frustrating experiences she’s had dealing with the organizations who have been the recipients of her largesse. A worthwhile, if slightly maddening, read.


  • DC’s National Building Museum is hosting a series of programs under the banner of “Culture as Catalyst.” The museum’s Scott Kratz and Martin Moeller provide background for the series and video of the first two sessions at this ArtsBlog post.
  • In a long post for the Atlantic, Derek Thompson considers New Orleans’s attempt to reinvent itself as America’s next great innovation hub. His comments about the grand experiment in public education made possible by Katrina’s destruction may be of particular interest to arts educators.
  • Fascinating article on BuzzFeed, a website best known for hyper-shareable content like “The 40 Best Animal Cuddlers of All Time” but which also features a crack political and investigative reporting team led by former POLITICO blogger Ben Smith. Founded by Jonah Peretti (who was previously responsible for much of The Huffington Post’s success as well as the infamous, Buzzfeed eschews the usual banner ads and subscription fees in favor of viral advertorials that are all but indistinguishable from the virtual candy normally on offer. It is news source and ad agency in one, and doesn’t apologize for blending the two. It’s undeniably a new model for supporting journalism, but can it work? One clue might be found in this paragraph:

    Peretti rejects the notion that the news operation he has built is, as he has put it, “a hood ornament to lend the site prestige.” It was a business calculation that, somewhat to his surprise, pushed BuzzFeed in the same old-media editorial direction he once chafed at during his time at the Huffington Post. Journalism has clickable appeal on Twitter and brings the kind of readers preferred by premium advertisers. He likes to say that journalism works best on social networks with “scoops and quality reporting,” not aggregation. But the head of BuzzFeed’s data-science department frankly told me that the company has found it to be extremely difficult to make a news item go viral.


  • Christine Harris

    Hi, Ian –

    A comment about hotel artists-in-residence. The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee has the most outstanding program I have seen. They have an artist and narrator-in-residence program. Both are year-long, with a visible studio on premise, and terrific year-long support.
    Check it out –