Don’t forget about the Createquity Fellowship deadline coming up this Friday!

ART AND THE GOVERNMENT

  • The value of the creative sector to the U.S. economy? Half a trillion dollars. The value of the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s official inclusion of our sector in its GDP analysis? Priceless. Responses from the field have been mixed. Some are celebrating how full the glass is: the creative sector, led by Hollywood, advertising, and television, accounted for 3.2% of the economy – more than tourism (2.8%) – and employed 2 million workers. Others have focused on the top half of the glass: the recession hit our sector especially hard and to lasting effect, and the bulk of the economic value is from advertising, with relatively little from “independent artists and performing arts.” Still others question the value of glasses entirely: embracing economic measurements of the arts could undermine aesthetic arguments for their necessity – though Createquity’s Jena Lee recently suggested otherwise.
  • In the latest installment of the Detroit Institute of Arts saga, museum leaders have joined closed-door negotiations with several of the nation’s largest private foundations, both local and national, to protect the beleaguered institution by raising a whopping $500 million for the city’s underwater municipal pensions. Sources say they could be close to a deal. Meanwhile, efforts to raise private funds to spin the museum off from the city got a boost from biotech millionaire Paul Schaap, who has pledged $5m.
  • The Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundation has released a policy paper detailing several strategies for mayors and local government to support cultural entrepreneurship.
  • A new report published by old friend Shannon Litzenberger intends to “ignite a conversation about addressing the existing logjam in arts funding in [Canada].”
  • Arts Council England wants the the field to “transform itself into a low-carbon, sustainable and resilient sector” — so much so that it requires environmental reporting of its grantees, and is out with a summary of the first year of that effort.
  • The Seattle Department of Cultural Affairs is offering $10,000 for an action plan on a Cultural Development Certification — intended to be the arts’ parallel to the LEED designation. Proposals are due January 22.

MUSICAL CHAIRS

  • Deborah Rutter, President of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will succeed Michael Kaiser as President of the Kennedy Center in DC, with potential implications for classical music programming.  This leaves a number of important vacancies at the capital’s cultural institutions, including the Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn, the Corcoran, the board of the Kennedy Center itself – oh, right, and both the NEH and NEA.
  • Detroit’s Michigan Opera Theatre has found its first President and CEO: Wayne S. Brown, current director of music and opera at the National Endowment for the Arts. David DiChiera, the Theatre’s founder and general manager, will transition to serving as artistic director beginning January 1. Brown’s departure continues a recent exodus of top NEA officials, including the directors of Theatre & Musical Theatre, Literature, and Public Affairs/Chief of Staff.
  • John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design and prominent advocate of “STEAM” education, is leaving his post at the end of the semester to join a venture capitol firm and consult for eBay – right as eBay announces plans to follow Amazon’s footsteps and launch an online art marketplace.

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS

IN THE FIELD

  • Louisiana ArtWorks, a lavish $25 million art studio construction-project-turned-fiasco that has stood nearly empty since its completion, is up for auction. On top of the $600,000 yearly mortgage left to New Orleans taxpayers, more than $15 million state and federal funds had been sunk into the project.
  • A new 300-student charter school for the arts is set to open on the site of a former department store in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
  • In the rare positive story from Motown, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is back in the black after a lengthy and debilitating musicians’ strike three years ago. Meanwhile, musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra, having spent the last year locked out in a labor dispute, are going rogue by applying for a 501(c)(3) and organizing their own concert series.
  • Philadelphia has been adjusting to the shifting priorities of three major local arts funders, and Peter Dobrin details the ramifications and changes in a three-part series.
  • The History Colorado Center takes “visitor tracking” to a new level with a “business intelligence” system that integrates and mines data from all areas of the museum, including “who is visiting, whether they’re members or donors, whether they’re coming as families or in adult pairs or alone, and from where… Whether those visitors eat in the café or shop in the store, what they ate and what they bought.” Not creepy at all…

BIG IDEAS

  • With the National Endowment for the Arts gearing up to announce new collective impact funding for arts education next month, now’s a great time to brush up on what collective impact is – and while you’re at it, dig into this new series on measuring backbone organizations’ success.
  • Beth Kanter unpacks the developmental evaluation strand of last month’s Next Generation Evaluation conference and offers some insight on its relationship to social change initiative and nonprofit practice.
  • The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is partnering with Google, Accenture and other for-profit companies to launch an art and technology lab that will “will award grants and make museum facilities available to help artists explore new boundaries in art and science.” Elsewhere in LA, though, the public school system’s efforts to equip classrooms with iPads seem to be suffering from One-Laptop-Per-Child-like problems, which one pundit blames on “innovation fatigue.”
  • Real-estate developers are increasingly cultivating artists and designers as tenants in low-rent neighborhoods who will help transform the area, raise the rents, and eventually move out. One developer calls the process “gentlefication.”
  • Now this is a different kind of conference report: Arts & Ideas has created a gorgeous interactive document of The Art of Placemaking conference hosted last month in Providence, RI by the folks at WaterFire.

RESEARCH CORNER

  • Dallas’s National Center for Arts Research has released its inaugural report on the health of America’s arts and cultural organizations. The report includes the average performance of organizations in eight indices and an examination of what drives organizations, and introduces the concept of high performance and intangible performance indicators (KIPIs). NCAR is working with IBM to create a online dashboard for organizations to access their own KIPIs.
  • Roland Kushner, co-author of Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Index, looks at the relationship between private sector giving and arts index scores between 2000 and 2011. He finds a correlation beyond charitable contributions to the arts increasing the vitality of the sector, arguing that “charitable giving and engagement in the arts may emanate from the same instincts, values, and attitudes.”
  • Americans love libraries! Nearly half of adults have visited a library in the past year, and fully 90% believe their community would be adversely affected if the local branch closed, according to a Pew study.
  • A new study from Germany suggests that the relationship between studying music and improved academic performance may be causal: when researchers controlled for differences such as parental background, student musicians still out-performed their peers on cognitive tests – especially verbal ones.
  • Some interesting findings have been reported by psychologists studying the effects of first-person shooter games. They surmise that players who enjoy these immersive and violent games are satisfying an innate desire for control and split-second decision making that is rarely achievable in today’s society. Video games also got some support from a new study out of Israel’s Center for Educational Technology.
  • Korea-Finland Connection, a collaboration between Korean Arts Management and Dance Info Finland, has published an evaluation of its three-year program intended to create long-term  relationships between Finnish and Korean artists and organizations in the performing arts.
  • Half of Equity members in Britain earned less than $8,200 in the last year, according to the union’s latest survey.  Additionally, “95.8% said they had never been pressurised to appear nude at a casting.”