ART AND THE GOVERNMENT
- The even playing field that is the Internet might be about to tilt in the favor of the powerful, in this case AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and the like. Net neutrality is in the hands of the DC Circuit Court.
- The National Initiative on Arts & the Military has released a new advocacy white paper on arts and health in the military context, just as the NEA has announced that it will expand its Creative Arts Therapy Program through a new three-month pilot at the Department of Defense’s Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.
- Ralph Remington is stepping down as the NEA’s Theater/Musical Theater Director to become the western regional director and assistant executive director at Actors Equity Association. He had been at the NEA since 2010.
- Los Angeles has a new mayor, and will soon have a new head of cultural affairs. Olga Garay-English, who served as Executive Director of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs since 2007, announced she is stepping down January 4.
- Kenneth Foster, former Executive Director of the Yerba Buena Center for Arts, has kicked off his tenure leading the new Arts Leadership Program at the University of Southern California and offers some words of wisdom on how funders can best serve the performing community, and why “best practices” aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
- Continuing a string of recent layoffs of classical-music radio staff, Houston’s KUHA has cleaned house. The station claims that the move will actually lead to more coverage of local arts groups.
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS
- Consider arts crowdfunding thoroughly kickstarted. Crowdfunding raised more than half a billion dollars for the performing and recording arts last year, almost 20% of the total money raised for all purposes through crowdfunding platforms, according to industry research. Lucy Bernholz is interested in investigating the small but increasing role U.S. foundations seem to be playing in driving this trend.
- Risë Wilson, the new Director of Philanthropy at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, makes the case – and offers a model – for arts grants as risk capital in an interview about the Foundation’s SEED grant program.
- Like many other downtowns, Philly’s is booming these days. But residential developer Carl Dranoff attributes the revitalization of the South Broad Street area to the Avenue of the Arts project, and insists that “anyone who says it would have happened anyway has a very short memory.”
IN THE FIELD
- In his coverage of last month’s 2013 Future of Music Summit for the Chicago Tribune, Greg Kot describes a frustrated yet resolved music industry, “Music is generating a ridiculous amount of money, none of it flowing to the people who create it.” Check out the write-ups from day one and day two.
- Nina Simon responds to the backlash that her novel programming at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History has generated in recent months locally and, to a lesser extent, nationally. The contention is that encouraging active participation so strongly erodes the traditional museum environment of quiet contemplation, distracting the MAH from its historical charge. Simon argues that the new approach allows for both kinds of experiences, while “balancing priorities, embracing creative tension, including diverse voices, and staying true to our mission.”
- The ambitious Sustain Arts project aims to bring the wonders of Big Data to the cultural sector over the next three years, ultimately strengthening the nation’s cultural infrastructure. The first wave of work is happening now in the San Francisco and Detroit regions; Marc Vogl, Bay Area Field Director of the initiative, explains what he’s up to and how Bay Area folks can get involved.
- New Bonfils Stanton Foundation president Gary Steuer weighs in on the “is ‘innovation’ a nefarious buzz-word” debate (which is really the ongoing argument over how funders find the sweet spot of nurturing, not hindering, their grantees) and provides other thoughtful comments on the recent National Innovation Summit for Arts + Culture. (All 27 talks from the Summit, by the way, are now available online.)
- Google has launched Helpouts, a service that provides live on-demand chatting with experts in fields ranging from the arts to cooking and electronics. Udi Manber, VP of engineering, believes Helpouts will offer users a more “precise” mode of online learning.
- WolfBrown is out with a multi-pronged report on how to engage college students in the performing arts. It includes case studies of best practices and a survey of student attitudes toward the performing arts across seven different schools.
- The Wallace Foundation has released new research on the challenges of after-school arts programs in low-income urban neighborhoods. The study draws on hundreds of interviews with young people, their families, program leaders and others to provide some answers, including ten principles for developing effective programming.
- More evidence that art therapy helps patients with Alzheimer’s.
- Elizabeth Merritt reviews a new report from European consultancy Arup on Museums in a Digital Age.
- The U.S. may be out of UNESCO, but the work continues: the international cultural agency and the United Nations Development Program have just released a Special Edition of the United Nations Creative Economy Report concluding that world trade of creative goods and services more than doubled from 2002 to 2011, to $624 billion. Unlike the 2008 and 2010 editions, many of the case studies and recommendations this time around focus on the role of culture in sustainable development at the local level, especially in poorer countries.
- So many charts, so little time! The Foundation Center has launched the eminently clickable Foundation Stats, where you can find “the answer to almost every basic statistical question about the collective work of U.S. Foundations.” Emphasis on the “basic” here, but as an added bonus the data is open and free. Meanwhile, A new report from the Foundation Center, Media Impact Funders, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation shows that foundations are stepping up in a big way to support traditional media organizations struggling to adjust to the digital age.
- As cultural asset mapping projects continue to gain popularity, this quick overview of where to get spatial data, and what you can do with it, is particularly timely. And speaking of cultural asset mapping, Philadelphia’s massive CultureBlocks initiative is barely six months out of the gate and there is already an academic paper on it.