Compiled by Talia Gibas, Daniel Reid, Lindsey Cosgrove, Jena Lee, and Ian David Moss 



  • Kris Tucker, Executive Director of the Washington State Arts Commission, has announced that she will step down in January. She has held the position since 1999; her successor will be chosen by the Governor following a search process led by the Commission.
  • At Cincinnati-based ArtsWave, longtime president and CEO Mary McCullough-Hudson will step down next August. As part of a standing succession plan, current Chief Operating Officer Alecia Kintner is expected to become President and COO.
  • The Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City has chosen a new executive director to succeed founder David Hughes: Julie Gordon Dalgleish took up the post this month.


  • Why we need a GiveWell for the arts: bioethics professor Peter Singer applauds “effective altruism” or evidence-based grantmaking, and, in the process, slams the idea of donating to an art museum. The article has provoked several responses from Adam Huttler, Janet Brown, Laura Zucker, and Linda Essig. Before we get tangled in semantics (isn’t “effectiveness” beside the point of true altruism?) GiveWell thoughtfully unpacks what the term means to them.
  • Nonprofit executives both in and outside of the arts, meanwhile, aren’t putting much faith in data-driven strategies. According to a poll by Infogroup Nonprofit Solutions, executives consider “using data and analytics to drive strategy”  by far and away their least important nonprofit fundraising practice.
  • The second batch of guests at the much-anticipated Arts Dinner-Vention Project  — Kristin Thomson, Salvador Acevado, Devon Smith, Lex Leifheit, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Meiyin Wang — weigh in on what a “new movement around the arts” would look like.
  • Kerry Lengel explores the challenges and opportunities present in the battle for relevance and ticket sales for arts presenters in Arizona, and everywhere really.
  • Think tanks in DC have increasingly focused on advancing a pre-existing agenda, raising funds, and political advocacy. Is there still a place for objective research in policy decisions? We’d like to think so.


  • Three trustees of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation claim the foundation owes them at least $60m; foundation staff asks, “What are they thinking?” Florida courts will decide.
  • Amid the controversies over how little musicians are paid from streaming services, Doug Wolk takes a big-picture look at the revenue flows of sites like Spotify and Pandora to explain who is and isn’t getting paid by whom, and whether it really matters.
  • Maryland’s Forum Theater, in an attempt to make its work more accessible, is allowing audience members to determine the price of their tickets next season. The strategy may prove to be wishful thinking, but raises the question of whether it’s more effective to ask audiences to “pay what they can” or to “pay what they each think a performance was worth.”


  • Amid national discussion surrounding recent lawsuits by unpaid interns, Fractured Atlas’s Jason Tseng offers concise takes on the history, legality, and possible future models for internships in the arts.
  • Another Fractured Atlas staffer, Tim Cynova, interviewed 26 top professional leaders over the past several months about what it takes to attract and retain stellar staff members. He shares their responses in a video compilation here and will be releasing videos of each interview on his #StellarStaff website over the next month.
  • Book lovers sound off on the Justice Department’s recent suit against Apple and publishing companies for conspiring to raise e-book prices. Meanwhile, independent bricks-and-mortar booksellers appear to be back on the upswing.
  • Good news for cinephiles outside New York and LA: you may no longer need to invest in home theaters. A new website called Gathr allows users to band together to bring independent films to theaters across the country with a Kickstarter-like crowdsourcing engine.
  • Bad news for cinephiles outside: drive-in theaters across the country are imperiled by the need to invest in expensive new digital projectors. Honda will save a few based on online votes; some theater operators are turning to the internet on their own to stay in business.
  • Non-news for cinephiles: the general public is more complimentary of films than professional critics. How much more? The New York Times has a nifty analysis of Rotten Tomatoes scores from critics versus average moviegoers over the last ten years.


  • Look out, Rick Perry: the Cultural Data Project is coming to Texas.
  • The Nonprofit Finance Fund and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation have released two reports on their Leading for the Future experiment, which granted $1m in “change capital” to 10 leading arts organization to improve their capitalization. The summary report highlights factors that contributed to or limited success (stable finances and a well-informed board help; a major recession does not); the more interesting case studies of each organization offers detailed information on how they defined and evaluated success.
  • NewMusicBox’s Rob Deemer follows up on our recent item about the NEA’s artist workforce research to argue that there should be a separate occupational category for composers. Meanwhile, the NEA has a new research report out on industrial design. The sector is large, growing, and apparently very versatile: nearly 40 percent of people named in design patents are also named in utility patents, implying they have a penchant for invention.
  • A new report on the music industry in Nashville finds that the city has by far the highest number of music industry jobs per capita and the second-highest average salary after LA. This handy infographic breaks it down.
  • If you’re looking to get up to speed on everything important that’s been written on the arts and Big Data so far, here’s where to start. Chris also has a review of “Counting What Counts: What Big Data Can Do for the Cultural Sector.”
  • Hey, thanks for flagging up my big data-related posts. Much appreciated.