ART AND THE GOVERNMENT

  • Glenn Beck is at it again: the right-wing broadcaster recently attacked the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture along with the Imagining America initiative on his Internet show, The Blaze. Far from a government agency, the USDAC is a “citizen-powered” art project that hasn’t received any public funding to date. Not one to be deterred by facts, Beck claims the two groups are “America’s newest propaganda machine” attempting to “rewrite our history.”
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art has signed a new lease with the city of New York that clarifies the museum is allowed to charge a suggested admissions fee, and added fees for special exhibitions. A lawsuit filed earlier this year alleged that the Met’s previous lease with the city required the museum to be free to the public five days a week.
  • Cultural policy researchers in England are crying foul over Arts Council England’s “long-standing bias” toward organizations based in London, which receive a whopping 82% of funding, and asking it be redistributed proportionally to the population across the country.
  • A number of theaters in upstate New York are concerned about the possible opening of several casinos in the area and the potential impact on booking major performers and retaining audiences. The advocacy group Upstate Theaters for a Fair Game is seeking protections from the state to “‘establish a fair and reasonable partnership” between the casinos and the local market.

IN THE FIELD

  • The Museum of Modern Art sure is committed to staying on top of digital trends in education: it jumped on the MOOC train early, and now has a new partnership with Khan Academy.
  • Two Latino theater companies in New York, Pregones Theater and the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, are getting set to merge with the help of Time Warner and the Ford Foundation. The two performing ensembles will retain their original names under the new organization, but will share resources.
  • The Theater for a New Audience has moved into its first permanent home after spending the last 34 years producing shows in a variety of rented spaces around Manhattan. City planners view the completion of the newly constructed theater as “the capstone” to a downtown Brooklyn cultural district long in the making.
  • What’s going on with the Brooklyn Philharmonic? The NYC-area orchestra made a splash back in 2011 with a daring programming strategy focused on marrying classical music with other more widely popular genres as well as local composers and artists. But all the positive press and attention the new direction received apparently wasn’t enough to stanch the organization’s financial bleeding.
  • While the debate rages on over whether Spotify is good or bad for musicians, YouTube muscles in on its territory by planning a subscription service that would give users on-demand, ad-free access to music videos on their mobile phones.
  • Musicians of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra recently voted to break from their local union chapter of the American Federation of Musicians in an unprecedented industry move. The decision was reportedly motivated in part by the “understanding that to be successful as an orchestra in the future, [they] need more flexibility, they need to be nimble, and…unions sometimes get in the way of that.”

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS

BIG IDEAS

RESEARCH CORNER

  • The National Endowment for the Arts is offering a $30,000 prize for an interactive application that will “make the rich content of the 2012 [Survey of Public Participation in the Arts] more accessible to the public through a series of interactive, visually appealing, and easy-to-use data visualization tools.” Submissions are due February 3.
  • A new study by On the Move examines how European cities support “cultural mobility” – the ease with which artists and cultural professionals engage outside their home region.
  • In an effort to increase both convenience and access to data on the nonprofit sector, major players Guidestar and the Foundation Center have entered into a strategic partnership meant to “support the field in new and innovative ways.”
  • The Whole Schools Initiative in Mississippi reports that 5,000+ students participating in an arts integration program performed significantly better on fourth and fifth grade state assessments than their peers.
  • For its Arts, Culture and Audiences week, the American Evaluation Association highlighted assessment practices in arts education with a series of blog posts stressing that assessments can be “hands-on, active learning experiences for students.”
  • York University and the National Ballet School in Toronto are partnering to conduct a pilot study with the hopes of providing scientific evidence of the positive mental and physical effects of dance on people with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Grantmakers in the Arts’s ongoing research into support for individual artists has generated a crop of admirably detailed case studies of how a nonprofit grantmaker, state agency, private foundation, and family foundation select recipients for their awards to individuals.