ART AND THE GOVERNMENT

  • Two new Presidential cabinet nominees, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, have pro-arts backgrounds according to Americans for the Arts’s Bob Lynch.
  • The Atlanta Regional Commission is one of the only metropolitan planning organizations and one of the largest communities to date to attempt to bring the arts and creative industries under one roof. Greg Burbidge wonders how best to find common ground among the interests of entities as diverse as video game designers, history museums, and dance collectives.
  • Kudos to Hyperallergic’s Mostafa Haddaya for picking up this very odd job announcement from the unlikeliest of places:

    The Department of Homeland Security, a federal agency with a projected 2014 budget of just under $60 billion, would like to retain an experienced arts administrator for its “Loaned Executive Program.” The proposed position offers a salary range of “$0.00 to $0.00 / Without Compensation” and is

    [A] special opportunity (unpaid) that provides top executive-level talent from the private sector an opportunity to share their expertise with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to fill special, discrete needs.

MUSICAL CHAIRS

  • The founding CEO of the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Harriet Ivey, is retiring after 15 years at the helm. The Trust makes grants to arts organizations in Indianapolis and Phoenix.
  • Tom Kaiden is moving on after 12 years at the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance (including three as President) to take a position at the Arlington Alexandria (VA) Convention and Visitors Association.
  • The National Endowment for the Arts’s Director of Literature, Ira Silverberg, is leaving the agency to return to New York. Silverberg had been a literary agent before joining the Endowment.
  • Keith Sawyer, my favorite creativity and innovation blogger, is moving to Chapel Hill, NC to take a professorship in the University of North Carolina’s School of Education.

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS

  • Guidestar, Charity Navigator, and BBB Wise Giving Alliance have joined together to combat the Overhead Myth – the idea (promulgated over the years by some of these same organizations, particularly Charity Navigator) that a nonprofit’s impact is somehow tied to the percentage of money it spends on its programs. The wide adoption of this construct has had all sorts of perverse unintended consequences in the sector, from non-transparent accounting to unsustainable management practices. Related commentary from Paul BrestKjerstin Erickson and (unintentionally) Janet Brown.

BIG IDEAS

  • Wise words from Michael Rushton, in a post ostensibly about VIP tickets at amusement parks:

    I don’t feel an intuitive sense of being wronged when someone has the spending power and the desire to buy $50 bottles of olive oil, $5,000 suits, $100,000 cars. None of those purchases affect me. But if someone uses their spending power to gain position at my expense, then I object. This is at the root of complaints about the role of money in campaign financing: funds are spent by individuals and corporations wishing to advance their political agenda at the expense of other political claims. It is why we think there is something wrong with an industry that serves to collect millions of dollars preparing students to do well on their SATs: such efforts are purely designed for parents who want their children to have a better position, necessarily at the expense of others, for a chance at the limited spaces available at elite colleges. Fighting for position in these cases is worse than a zero-sum game, it’s actually a negative-sum game as resources are expended not for any increase in valuable goods, but simply to re-arrange who is at the front of the queue, either in politics or higher education.

  • Sad I missed this new talk from the reliably brilliant Nina Simon, delivered at this year’s Theatre Communications Group conference in Dallas. Lots to chew on here, but what strikes me most is the combination of aggressive risk-taking and hyper-focused strategic thinking – an approach with such clear upsides and yet a frightening one for many in our field, I think.

IN THE FIELD

RESEARCH CORNER

  • The NEA has released new data on artist employment, updating its Artists in the Workforce study from 2005. In addition to summary findings, numerous tables are available for exploration.
  • So people don’t always read to the end of articles – what else is new? But this is:

    Even more dispiriting is the relationship between scrolling and sharing. Schwartz’s data suggest that lots of people are tweeting out links to articles they haven’t fully read. If you see someone recommending a story online, you shouldn’t assume that he has read the thing he’s sharing.

    That is the truth. I have to laugh sometimes at what kinds of things are said about Createquity articles on Twitter, like when Tegan Kehoe’s skeptical review of “The Artistic Dividend” two weeks ago was hailed as (a) an analysis of a brand-new study [it was published a decade ago] and (b) good news for arts advocates.