ART AND THE GOVERNMENT

  • Twitter, Facebook, and now the Minnesota Orchestra: everyone’s going public these days. State legislators announced a bill last week to save the troubled ensemble and gauge public support for its continuation by making it “a community-owned entity in which any individual or group could buy stock.”

MUSICAL CHAIRS

  • Robert Vagt, the President of the Heinz Endowments, has announced his resignation, not long after two staff members were fired amidst controversy over Heinz’s support for the Center for Sustainable Shale Development. Vagt himself had faced criticism for his connections to the energy industry.
  • Expanding his reach outside of the arts field, Americans for the Arts President & CEO Bob Lynch has been elected to Independent Sector’s Board of Directors.

IN THE FIELD

  • Here’s an arts organization that talks about “combining resources” and sounds like it really means it: the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company is rebranding and revamping its building as the “Cultural Corridor Theater Center,” sharing its costume and scene shops with other companies and bringing in commercial tenants to boot.
  • Fractured Atlas has launched Artful.ly, a cloud-based platform that helps artists and arts organizations sell tickets, take donations, and track their fans.
  • Hoping to replicate the success of the Met Opera, London’s Royal Opera House is simulcasting a portion of its 2013-14 season in movie theaters across the United States.
  • A new “due diligence” company has been founded to serve potential investors in art. The good news is you can hire The Art Compliance Company to verify the provenance of that Pollock you’ve been eyeing. The bad news is you may need to.
  • DePauw University is making big changes to its music school with the help of a $15 million contribution used to establish the 21st Century Musician Initiative (21CM). DePauw hopes the new program will “better meet the needs of students entering a rapidly changing music industry.”
  • Brooklyn-based community art center and co-working space 3rd Ward unexpectedly shuttered its doors last week, leaving artists and members without access to studios and supplies. Hyperallergic details its rise and fall of the financially troubled center and the sometimes “uneasy alliance between businessmen and the ‘creative communities’ they cultivate.”

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS

  • Chalk one up for data-driven grantmaking: after the First Peoples Fund issued a study showing that training in entrepreneurship and financial management makes a real difference to the economic self-sufficiency of Native artists (a category that includes nearly a third of Native people), the Northwest Area Foundation announced it will give $1m over three years to support a pilot of just this kind of intervention.
  • Consultant Marc Vogl argues that more of the millions of philanthropic dollars donated by the tech industry in the Bay Area could make it to the arts with a slight change in tack from arts organizations.
  • High demand and low supply have driven housing costs in San Francisco to extremes and sparked migration to places like Oakland. Both cities made the list of top ArtPlaces in 2013.

BIG IDEAS

  • As the vaguely Soviet-sounding National Innovation Summit for Arts & Culture gets underway in Denver (attend virtually here), the arts blogosphere is abuzz with meditations on the “i” word. Howlround hosts a three-part series on the importance of organizational innovation; Isaac Butler one-ups them with what he claims will be a four-part series questioning that importance; and Culturebot has a six-part series problematizing the “innovation agenda.”
  • Two thoughtful reflections on what could be lost as our cultural landscape is transformed by technology and commerce: Nancy Levinson on print vs digital and the fate of “serious” publishing, and Ben Davis on Big vs Small contemporary (visual) art and the fate of little galleries.
  • The bookworms at Fractured Atlas are back with a review of Mission in a Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently – And Succeeding, by Honest Tea co-founders Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff (the latter of whom happened to be Ian’s entrepreneurship professor in business school).

RESEARCH CORNER

  • The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven has published a data-driven overview of the state of the nonprofit sector in the area, compiling information from the Nonprofit Finance Fund’s State of the Sector report; the Foundation’s own giveGreater database; IRS data; and survey results.
  • Major players like JSTOR and the University of California system are starting to offer low-cost or even free access to academic articles and research.
  • Charity Navigator released findings from an in-depth study of CEO salaries at 3,929 mid- to large-sized charities around the U.S. On average, a CEO earns about $125,000 annually and Charity Navigator cautions donors to “be skeptical of charities that pay salaries hovering near or above one million dollars.”
  • If you feel like studies on the “creative economy” have been all the rage, you’re right. At least 27 reports on the topic were released between 2003 and 2012, and The National Creativity Network went ahead and analyzed them. Seems like we’re all defining the creative economy/industries in slightly different ways, and while “a case for a national data-based definition of the creative economy can begin to be constructed,” we’re more interested in focusing on our own specific regions.
  • Researchers examining an 1814 change in British copyright law have determined that extending copyright protections caused payments to authors to nearly double.
  • This nifty study on novelty in film from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York suggests that creativity in film peaked in the 1960s, following the demise of the “Big Five” studio system.
  • WolfBrown has published a summary of its four-year evaluation of a New World Symphony initiative to develop new concert formats appealing to younger, inexperienced, and more diverse classical audiences.
  • Media Impact Funders has released a new report exploring the in-house media efforts of cultural organizations and the funding that supports it. The report, Molto + Media; Digital Culture Funding, profiles nine organizations including Fractured Atlas and Sundance Institute and summarizes funding trends.
  • The Future of Music Coalition scours the NEA’s new Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (which we covered in the last edition of Around the Horn) and finds that music has avoided the declines in participation seen in other genres, with nearly a third of all adults attending a musical performance last year.
  • Speaking of FMC, a new survey suggests that artists are uninsured at twice the national average and, when they do have insurance, as six times as likely as others to pay for it themselves. All the more reason to get the exchanges working…
  • A chorale a day keeps the gerontologist away? Building on previous studies on the benefits to older people of singing in choirs – among other quality-of-life indicators, “choir membership can also reduce snoring, ease emphysema, [and] soothe irritable bowel syndrome” – the NIH is funding a five-year clinical trial in San Francisco.