(Assembled collaboratively by the Createquity editorial team)

ART AND THE GOVERNMENT

  • The US Bureau of Economic Analysis, following new international standards, has adjusted the official method for calculating GDP to “include the amount of money business invest in … intellectual property.” This involves some tough calls: development costs for hit TV shows with potential for syndication and even greeting cards count, but journalism and blogs are deemed perishable. Some commentators interpret this as refreshing and official recognition of the economic value of creative productions.
  • Back in April, Createquity explored what might happen if the federal tax deduction for charitable contributions went the way of the dodo. At the federal level, the debate rages on, but various states – including Hawaii, Minnesota and Kansas – have recently decided against capping charitable deductions within their states, citing negative impact on the nonprofit sector.
  • Across the pond, it looks like economic arguments for the arts are becoming increasingly influential. Britain’s Culture Secretary preserved most of the UK’s £450m-plus culture budget in part by highlighting the arts’ role in driving economic growth. Not everyone is on board though: the Scottish Secretary of Culture responded by reminding Scots of this fall’s referendum on independence and declaring that Scotland “doesn’t measure the worth of culture and heritage solely in pounds and pence.” (Bonus: this recent post recaps the rise of “Art Works” justifications for subsidy in the US.)
  • Why it’s important to pay attention to policy: an arts educator is California is “shocked” to learn his state requires the arts to be taught in schools. (Psst: so do forty-four others.)

MUSICAL CHAIRS

  • Darren Walker, currently a vice president of the Ford Foundation, has been named the foundation’s next president. His portfolio as VP covered arts & culture, and he was instrumental in the formation of the ArtPlace creative placemaking funder collaboration.
  • Nate Silver, founder of FiveThirtyEight.Com and intellectual crush of data geeks everywhere, is leaving the New York Times for ESPN. Good news for baseball fans, bad news for political wonks, though Silver will continue to cover elections via ABC News.
  • Don Rosenberg, longtime music critic for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, has been laid off along with 49 other employees of the paper.

BIG IDEAS

  • Americans for the Arts has launched a new project to study America’s 600+ “Cultural Districts,” updating their 1998 Cultural Districts Handbook. As part of the kickoff, they hosted a blog salon last week.
  • Are organizations that eschew dynamic pricing “punishing [their] staff[s] in the service of an ideal the community may not be aware of“?
  • FSG is launching a Next Generation Evaluation project. An initial post summarizes three long-held assumptions about evaluation and three “game-changing approaches” that could challenge them: Developmental Evaluation, Shared Measurement, and Big Data.
  • With the backing of the Haas, Hewlett, and Packard Foundations, Shiree Teng has launched ImpactRising.org, a website designed “to help bring a level of standards to the consulting industry, to raise the quality of social sector consulting, and to to have some measure of accountability.” It includes tools and resources for organizations working with consultants and for consultants themselves.
  • A scientist-turned-artist reflects on the differences between the two cultures.

    From funding levels (‘I write grant applications for research and it’s like taking an arts grant and adding a couple of zeros’) and the culture of peer review (‘It’s all about surviving the gauntlet of people trying to tear your ideas apart – that doesn’t happen with an arts audience’), to scrutinising outcomes (‘In science, they really care about the outcome of their funding – I don’t get the same impression in the arts’), institutionally, science and the arts are still very far apart.

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS

  • We know the Common Core State Standards aren’t cheap; states across the country are scrambling to figure out how much the newer, “smarter” tests will cost them. But beyond that, the Common Core is also prompting some borderline-creepy partnerships between for-profit and nonprofit educational entities. Beginning in 2014, the American Council of Education, which administers the GED, is joining forces with textbook giant Pearson. The upside? The GED is getting re-written to align with Common Core. The bad news? The cost of taking the GED will almost double. Way to reduce barriers to a high school diploma, guys.
  • Hyperallergic has a helpful summary of five approaches artists have taken in attempts to guarantee fair wages and benefits. And while he doesn’t explicitly mention artists, Adam Davidson uses the example of a wannabe-hair-metal-rock-star-turned-accounting-“cliff jumper” to illustrate how hard it is to determine the financial value of ideas.
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies announced in June a $15m, 3-year grant to 5 major cultural institutions to support the development of mobile apps. The Guggenheim recently released its free, Bloomberg-funded app; others will follow through the end of 2014.

IN THE FIELD

  • Is this the future of professional conferences? The ever-intrepid Nina Simon recently hosted seventy-five designers, museum professionals and artists in the Santa Cruz Museum of Art for a 2.5 day “camp” for participants to “take a risk” in creating exhibits. Beyond sounding super fun, the experiment generated reflection about what “taking a risk” even means in a museum environment.
  • Abe Flores (recent winner of Americans for the Arts’s Emerging Leader Award) shares his thoughts on the distressing lack of racial diversity among respondents to AFTA’s recent report on salaries in local arts agencies.
  • While the fate of Detroit’s art collection is still up in the air, the Wall Street Journal offers two arguments for keeping the works where they are, and the director of the Detroit Institute of Arts insists it’s too soon to panic.
  • Jon Silpayamanant writes about what declining attendance at sporting events – and the measures teams have taken to preserve revenues – can tell us about the similar problems faces by live performances in the arts.
  • Meanwhile, demand for classical music on Pandora (and iTunes) has been growing – and outperforming the company’s expectations based on market share. But lest we get too excited about our digital saviors, Spotify – the streaming service that musicians love to hate – is hardly rolling in cash; those pitiful payments to artists offset nearly all of its equally-pitiful revenues.
  • Allan Kozinn chronicles the “sea change” in music conservatories as courses are added in the business of music, covering the use of digital technologies, the art of networking, and how to build a personal brand as part of a career.

RESEARCH CORNER

  • This puts a twist on arguments touting the economic impact of the arts: new research from the Corporation for National and Community Service indicates people who volunteer their time with organizations have a 27 percent greater chance of finding employment, with the link strongest for those who traditionally have the hardest time finding work. Per the NEA’s Director of Research and Analysis, “If volunteerism is indeed a pathway to employment, then arts organizations, venues, and activities could be hotbeds for this crucial transition.”
  • The chance that a child will earn her way into a higher class than her parents’ varies considerably across major American cities – her odds are better in New York or several California cities than in, say, Ohio. The driving forces seem to be not higher tax credits for the poor or taxes on the rich, but greater geographic integration of the poor and middle class, more stable families, stronger K-12 education, and higher civic engagement.
  • Researchers in Ireland have found that listening to music from different cultures may prompt you to “denigrate outsiders” if the music sounds particularly unconventional to you, and conclude that “attempts to celebrate and share diversity may have the reverse effect.” Isn’t that also an argument for exposing children to lots of different kinds of music, all the time?
  • Market research by IMPACTS into visitor-serving organizations like zoos, symphonies, and museums suggests that overall satisfaction is driven much more by the “entertainment experience” than the “educational experience” – entertainment is four times as important to visitors. (The linked piece does not define “entertainment,” so it is possible that really fun education may fare better.)
  • Any idea how much you’d have to pay the Rolling Stones to cover “Brown Sugar” on your debut album? According to preliminary results from a new set of music-and-copyright quizzes hosted online by the Future of Music Coalition, fewer than a quarter of respondents can tell you – though we don’t know how many of them are aspiring musicians. Or Mick Jagger.

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