ART AND THE GOVERNMENT
- The National Endowment for the Arts has shared a draft of its strategic plan for FY14-18, and in what I believe may be a first, is inviting public comment on it via SurveyMonkey. Ah, these modern times we live in. Now let’s just hope House Republicans don’t succeed in slashing its budget by 49%.
- A new report from the Wagner School of Public Service at NYU and the Center for an Urban Future details 15 policy innovations for cities that are “novel, proven and scalable.” While no arts-specific innovations made the list, one of the ideas is a type of “digital badging” program found in Philadelphia, Providence and Chicago that “allow[s] students both inside the K-12 system and outside to earn credentials for skills they learn in a wide variety of educational settings, from digital tools workshops at public libraries to art classes at museums.”
- The City of Buffalo is at risk of losing over $1 million worth of donated musical instruments if it follows through with cuts to music programs in its schools.
- The City of New York has taken over management of the financially troubled South Street Seaport Museum.
- The McKnight Foundation has hired Arleta Little as arts program officer, replacing Laura Zimmermann. If she’s looking for advice on how to settle into her new role, she can check out this completely awesome video Laura made as a goodbye kiss to her old employer.
- After 25 years in various positions at the Ford Foundation, philanthropy data nut and friend of the blog Kyle Reis is now Senior Director of Global Data Services at TechSoup. Here he is writing about the Foundation Center’s Reporting Commitment.
IN THE FIELD
- Doug Borwick offers a range of thoughts from the Americans for the Arts Convention.
- So long Codaex, a European classical music distributor.
- A new national network of Latino theater companies has formed in Southern California. Service organizations will note with interest that a Theatre Communications Group conference was the forum that provided the initial push.
- In very sad news, Rick Lester, founding CEO of arts marketing consultancy TRG Arts, passed away suddenly last weekend while participating in a bike ride for charity. TRG, which is notable for its management of nearly two dozen community arts patron databases across the country, has a memorial page up with a myriad of touching tributes from colleagues past and present.
- The NEA’s Jason Schupbach reflects on the Our Town program now that its third round of grants has been announced.
- The Internet is democratizing all sorts of things, not just the arts. Here, the Atlantic reports on the rise of citizen cartography.
- Rather than trying (or refusing) to do more with less, why not use the challenge as an opportunity to explore constructive partnerships?
- Two more than worthwhile perspectives on the past and future of online marketing, from Seth Godin and Adam Thurman.
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS
- Attention study-at-home MBA candidates: the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s Phil Buchanan points us to a motherlode of Stanford philanthropy case studies made available for free recently via Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen’s ProjectU. CEP also has some tips for communicating with grantees.
- Rick Noguchi of the Irvine Foundation offers an inside look into grant deliberations and explains how the foundation made some of its decisions in the most recent round of the Exploring Engagement Fund.
- Streaming music services in general, and Spotify in particular, have come under increasing criticism from musicians for their ultra-low royalty payout rates. Most recently, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and several associates decided to pull their music from the site in protest. But is Spotify actually undercutting music piracy rather than album sales? As usual, the folks at Future of Music Coalition have turned in the most thoughtful analysis we’ve yet seen on this issue.
- Thinking about starting a crowdfunding project and not sure how to figure out the budgeting? You might want to try Taylor Davidson’s financial modeling template in Excel.
- A new report from Americans for the Arts details the mostly modest salaries of local arts agency employees. But who says you can’t get rich being an arts administrator? Indeed, the NEA’s Sunil Iyengar has a long post on income inequality in the arts, and the idea that it may be portending changes in the economy as a whole. And Diane Ragsdale considers the interesting question of whether being paid too much “crowds out” one’s existing intrinsic motivation to work.
- Can we make a dent in poverty just by teaching parents how to parent better? A long-term study from Jamaica suggests maybe so. Meanwhile, the achievement gap between rich kids and poor kids is now twice as large as that between black children and white children. The cause of poor performance by poor students? No one’s quite figured it out yet, but it’s not bad teachers, nor is it moms on crack. (Seriously – a 23-year longitudinal study in Philadelphia has revealed that being born to poverty affects kids’ cognitive development far more than whether or not their mothers were on crack while pregnant. Think about that one for a bit.) Here’s a map of poverty and race in America.
- Boston’s Charles River is finally swimmable again - a concrete example of a data-driven policy success. (And it took nearly two decades to make it happen.)
- Congratulations to Andrew Taylor on a full decade of his blog, the Artful Manager. That is quite a milestone in this space! Andrew had it going on pretty much light years before any of us.
- Ben Huh, the head of I Can Has Cheezburger (better known as the home of LOLcats), on “bad art”:
[W]e are entering an age where there is very little in the way between an idea and an expression online, and that means more and more people are participating in ways of expressing themselves. What we do is encourage that artistic expression even if we don’t recognize their creations as “fine art.”
Human beings have this incredible desire to connect and express themselves and that is what is filling up our time on the Internet, and I don’t think that is bad. It is actually a wonderful thing.