ART AND THE GOVERNMENT
- Joan Mondale, wife of former Vice President Walter Mondale and known to many as “Joan of Art” for her arts advocacy efforts, passed away February 3.
- After April 6, cracking jokes in the UK will become a little easier. A new UK regulation allows for the use of parts of original copyrighted material if used for parody, caricature, or pastiche.
- Over at ARTSblog, Ciara McKeown argues municipalities are commissioning too many permanent public art pieces, and suggests public art programs “generate goals that are not defined as permanent or temporary, but that are about people and experiences.”
- Well, this is one way to make it as a DIY band: Canadian electro-industrial rockers Skinny Puppy have invoiced the Pentagon for $666,000 for the unauthorized use of their music during interrogations at Guantanamo.
- Confused about the ins and outs of all those visual art lawsuits of the past few years? Daniel Grant has a detailed overview over at Hyperallergic.
- Geoffrey Canada, the charismatic face of one of the most ambitious and widely watched education and anti-poverty initiatives in the country, is leaving the Harlem Children’s Zone after two decades at its helm. He will be succeeded by Anne Williams-Isom, the organization’s current Chief Operating Officer.
- The William Penn Foundation has found its new leader: Peter J. Degnan, Vice Dean of Finance and Administration at the Wharton School. The foundation’s new structure (his title is “managing director”) will allow him to “focus on aligning interconnected organizational functions, including strategic grantmaking, knowledge-building, and community engagement.”
- Ron Ragin will jump coasts from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to become the first arts program officer for the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.
- The National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University recently appointed Kate D. Levin, former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, as its first fellow. As part of role, Levin will be responsible for raising the center’s visibility and providing input on its research. Levin will continue in her new position with Bloomberg Associates, a consulting firm founded by the former Mayor that advises local governments around the world.
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS
- The Artist Pension Trust controls some 40,000 works of contemporary art as part of a risk-pooling retirement plan for the artists themselves. As it begins to sell some of them off in its tenth year, dealers express concern about the effect on the market – and others question whether the plan can possibly make money.
- Arts funders, take note: the New York-based F.B. Heron Foundation has ceased requiring its grantees to submit reports, moving instead to a “outside, cooperative data warehouse” to provide real-time information. It’s also transformed its structure and operations to maximally integrate investing with grantmaking. President Clara Miller’s annual letter describes the nuts and bolts of the foundation’s ambition to maximize the social return from every dollar in its corpus.
- Foundation transparency is all the rage this month. It emerged as a major theme in a recent arts funders’ convening on failure hosted by NYC’s The Field. GrantCraft published a new guide with tips for funders interested increasing the transparency of their day to day work. And the new site Inside Philanthropy targets potential grantees with eye-catching headlines (“Find Out How You Can Get $10,000 From the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation”), and offers subscribers insight into individual program officers’ giving preferences. It also exposes staff email directories and allows anonymous Yelp-style reviews.
IN THE FIELD
- The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) has been hard at work drafting new national arts standards for K-12 classrooms. These standards are rad for a number of reasons, most importantly 1) because they are aligned to the Common Core, and 2) they bring us into the 21st century by including media arts as a distinct discipline. A final draft of the standards is up for final public review through February 28; get on over and check them out.
- The New England Foundation for the Arts has launched a new directory mapping artists, “creative businesses” and cultural nonprofits across six states.
- Following an encouraging trend started last year, issues of race and diversity continue to spur conversation, with HowlRound devoting a week of blog posts to asking whether or not “a white person can write, adapt, direct, or perform stories from a different culture or race.” Meanwhile, new studies on how perceptions of an individual’s race change over time underscore race as a social construct.
- Even better than talk, though, is action, and there’s good news on that front: Detroit’s Sphinx Organization and management agency IMG Artists have a budding partnership aimed at creating greater diversity among classical musicians while broadening audiences for classical music. Stay tuned for the first trial run at this summer’s Napa Valley Festival del Sole where the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra will perform.
- We’ve mulled whether computers can generate art, but a related question is whether computer programmers are artists when they dabble in code. A novelist makes an eloquent case that they are.
- Been a while since your last nerdgasm? Read up on social physics, which explores how ideas flow, evolve, and (we hope!) improve within communities — and asks whether “our hyperconnected world may be moving toward a state in which there is too much idea flow.”
- Following up on the first-ever official count of the arts’ contribution to the GDP, the NEA has released more detailed estimates for individual industries, including a breakout of performing arts groups by tax-exempt status. (Most of the $526 million added by dance comes from non-profits; most of $407 million from circuses is pure capitalism.)
- Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) released a study claiming that, contrary to the insinuations of Republican lawmakers, NEA doesn’t simply represent a “wealth transfer” from poorer to wealthier citizens. Michael Rushton, however, argues that the study doesn’t succeed in the argument because it looks at wealth at the level of the community, preventing firm conclusions about the wealth of individual attendees of NEA-sponsored arts. The comments on Rushton’s article contain a lively methodological debate if you like that sort of thing. In other news, NCAR officially launched its inaugural report (originally reported by Createquity back in December) on the health of U.S. arts and cultural organizations; the event was webcast by HowlRound TV.
- A new study from the College Art Association shows that visual arts professionals – scholars, curators, publishers – don’t understand fair use, and they avoid or abandon projects because of it. The CAA is working toward a Code of Best Practices for Fair Use to assuage the anxiety; such a code proved helpful to documentary filmmakers.
- Anyone who works with schools should carve out a few hours to play with this: DonorsChoose.org, which in 13 years has allowed teachers to raise more than $220 million in funding for their classrooms, is making its 20+ million project records on proposed and successful projects available via a free, interactive data analysis tool.
- Are too many of our research and evaluation efforts in the arts theoretical rather than directly applicable to practice? Nina Simon thinks so, and the comments from Peter Linett, Jay Greene, Carlos Manjarrez and others are worth checking out as well.