ART AND THE GOVERNMENT

MUSICAL CHAIRS

  • 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

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.”

BIG IDEAS

  • 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.

RESEARCH CORNER