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.

MUSICAL CHAIRS

  • 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

IN THE FIELD

BIG IDEAS

  • 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.”

RESEARCH CORNER

  • 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.