ART AND THE GOVERNMENT

  • The Future of Music Coalition has a great roundup of takeaways from a recent congressional hearing on copyright law and the technology sector. Big ones include the very different challenges posed by copyrights versus patents, and that for the most part, technology companies don’t see copyright restrictions as stifling their ability to innovate.
  • A new arts center in New York City (and the whopping $50 million in city capital funding that’s making it possible) has Mayor Bloomberg’s fingerprints all over it.
  • Reason #22 to think twice before moving into a glass house: the New York State Supreme Court has ruled that a artist was well within his First Amendment rights when he took and then exhibited photographs of his neighbors — including two small children — inside their glass-walled home from across the street. Upon recognizing their images in an advertisement for the upcoming exhibit, the neighbors had attempted to sue the artist for invasion of privacy and emotional distress.

MUSICAL CHAIRS

  • Katy Locker will join the Knight Foundation as its Detroit-based program director; she is currently VP of Programs at the Detroit-based Hudson-Webber Foundation. In an interview with former ArtPlace CEO Carol Colletta, she lists the arts as one among several “levers to continuing Detroit’s turn around.”
  • Lisa Hall will become VP for Programs at Houston Endowment. She comes from YES Prep Public Schools, where she was VP for Talent Support and General Counsel.
  • KPAC, a classical radio station in San Antonio, has cut its five local hosts to reduce costs and will use a syndicated service from Minnesota. The station has offered the hosts part-time work; so far, only one, Dierdre Saravia, has accepted.

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS

  • Newly-appointed Ford Foundation President Darren Walker offers three lessons on philanthropy: collaborate broadly, as the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation did in the Harlem Chlidren’s Zone; invest in due diligence into grantees to ensure leaders are both passionate and adequately supported by their organizations; and recognize that the kinds of metrics used to measure success in business won’t apply in many philanthropic contexts.
  • Grantmakers in the Arts continues to take a more activist stance regarding cultural equity. Earlier this summer, the entire GIA board of directors underwent two days of anti-racism training led by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. A similar two-day workshop (though led by a different group) will be offered to grantmakers attending this year’s GIA conference in October.

BIG IDEAS

  • Organized labor is declining, the nonprofit sector is expanding, and two may well meet in the middle. Employees at a homeless service nonprofit in San Francisco successfully unionized in June, signaling what might be the beginning of a broader trend.  And while unions have been getting a bad rap recently this article points out that “the mission-driven nature of nonprofits can prove to be an asset in providing an alternative model to the us-versus-them framework adopted in most private sector organizing.”
  • Angie Kim shares two great examples (both arts-related) of nonprofit membership associations, typically ill-equipped to drive sector-wide change, assuming a leadership role at the risk of alienating members or compromising revenue streams.
  • Half of Barry Hessenius’s “Dinner-vention Party” guests offer their thoughts on how the arts can address declining audience numbers and shifting participation in truly new ways. This first batch includes “briefing papers” by Laura Zabel, Kimberly Howard, Clayton Lord, Margy Waller, Tamara Alvarado, and Nina Simon.
  • What happens when video-game designers become auteurs? In the case of Thatgamecompany’s Jenova Chen, the artists reworks his art many times before releasing it to get the “emotional impact right,” his company goes bankrupt as the project runs over schedule and over budget – and the final product becomes a critical darling, breaks sales record, and wins its creator a $5.5m venture-capital investment.

IN THE FIELD

  • new movement in the architecture and design field builds on LEED certification’s environmental standards, and calls for a triple-bottom-line approach that takes social factors into account as well.
  • Amazon has launched Amazon Art, a partnership with more than 150 galleries that allows you to browse, purchase and review (or faux-review) fine art much as you would a kitchen appliance. At least one blogger isn’t impressed, noting, “Much as I admire [Amazon’s] shipping practices… why compete in a market where an awesomely speedy physical delivery network means next to nothing?” Speed might not matter here, but access to artwork—especially for people who don’t live in major urban centers – might.
  • The community-supported agriculture model is being transferred to the arts in cities including Pittsburgh, St. Paul and Flint. Most of them are visual art-specific, with at least one performing arts version as well. And they never have to worry about getting too much Swiss chard…

RESEARCH CORNER

  • The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) has updated its annual survey of arts alumni. SnaapShot 2012 presents the results in attractive infographics, and SNAAP’s 2013 annual report interprets the data. The theme of the report is inequalities among graduates of diverse backgrounds. Findings include a lack of access to networks among black and Hispanic arts alumni, which disproportionately discourages these alumni from becoming artists; and persistent pay gaps between male and female graduates.
  • The Australia Council for the Arts has released a new study of the Australian arts sector in 2012. The report is bullish: attendance at arts events is up by about 3.5%; box office across genres was up 16% (only theater box office declined); and private sector contributions held steady.
  • GlobalGiving, GuideStar, the Foundation Center, and TechSoup are collaborating to create an international registry of philanthropic entities. The project, funded by the Hewlett and Gates Foundations, will develop a system of unique identifiers and establish a database for information like the nature and location of philanthropic work.
  • A new paper from Yuan Ji, an attorney for Wilson Sonsini and recent Yale Law School graduate, examines the conversion of Burning Man from for-profit to nonprofit status.
  • Do copyright laws “make books disappear”? A researcher examines the numbers of books available in print over the last two hundred years, and finds they tend to vanish quickly, only to reappear later when they fall into public domain.
  • A new study found that undergraduates tended to like the paintings of the critically-respected 19th-century artist John Everett Millais more with repeated exposure – but they liked the work of the popular but less canonical Thomas Kinkade less the more they saw of it. This is in tension with previous research into the “mere exposure effect” that found that  familiarity just about always breeds affection, even for lesser Impressionists.