ART AND THE GOVERNMENT

  • And, we try again: as expected, the FCC is proposing new net neutrality rules. They are similar to the previous rules, which were recently invalidated by a federal court, but depend on a different legal rationale. Those who are concerned the rules (old and new) do not go far enough to protect content creators they have their chance to persuade the Commission – the public comment period has just opened.
  • Even as the Detroit Institute of Arts contemplates privatization, the private Corcoran Gallery of Art in DC is planning to cede most of its collection of 17,000 artworks to the National Gallery of Art and other museums across the country. The move, following years of financial crisis, would also see the Corcoran’s building and College of Art and Design taken over by George Washington University.

MUSICAL CHAIRS

  • The Marin Community Foundation has named Larry Best to the business-card-bending position of Program Director for Arts & Culture, and Social Justice & Interfaith Understanding. His predecessor, Shirin Vakharia, has become Program Director for Community Health and Aging.

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS

  • The Boston-based Barr Foundation has joined the ArtPlace America coalition, bringing 2014 commitments to $28 million – just in time for Artplace’s announcement of this round’s finalists.
  • Continuing the trend toward transparency in artist earnings, cellist Zoë Keating has shared a breakdown of all her income from music sales and streams in 2013. Of the $75,341 she made, 92% was from sales; a single track bought on iTunes was worth 160 Spotify streams, which was in turn worth seven YouTube streams.

IN THE FIELD

  • Heads up to the country folk: a new rural arts blog salon and webinar series put on by Americans for the Arts shines light on how rural communities can and have used the arts for economic growth.
  • The art world was abuzz recently with the news of an artist/vandal who destroyed a work by Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei in the middle of a museum – mimicking Ai’s own actions in photographs posted in the gallery. Are Maximo Carminero’s actions a harbinger of participatory disaster? Nina Simon weighs in on how to bring clarity to the messy transition towards museums as “living” institutions.
  • For those prone to screw up targeted marketing, NewMusicBox breaks down how not to become the Abercrombie and Fitch of music.

BIG IDEAS

  • The Dallas Museum of Art’s unusual membership program, instituted in January 2013, provides free membership to individuals willing to let the museum track their activities as they enter and explore the galleries, offering points and rewards along the way. In addition to reducing barriers to joining, it has given museum leadership valuable insight into visitor behavior. The information is then used to attract new donors. So far, it seems to have worked out well for everyone involved; is this the future of memberships?
  • In an interview, Deeksha Gaur, Director of PR and Marketing at the Woolly Mammoth Theater in DC, talks about the digital audience engagement innovations that have been called “a glimpse at the theater of the future.”
  • Grant panels meet American Idol? Back in 2013, the Arizona Commission on the Arts shook up its grantmaking by identifying and supporting arts-based entrepreneurial ventures via an “Art Tank” competition in which applicants had six-minutes to “pitch” their proposals to experts and a live audience. Executive Director Bob Booker offers interesting reflections on the process. Meanwhile, Barry Hessenius considers what might happen if arts funders acted more like venture capitalists: more active involvement with grantees beyond funding, and greater weight on leadership in evaluating proposals.
  • Writing the next great American novel? Consider finishing it on a train. Amtrak, in a move that’s left authors everywhere drooling, quietly launched a residency program that allows writers to travel its long-distance rail routes for free while working. While undoubtedly cool, the initiative has caused some to wonder whether the resident writers have an obligation, explicit or implied, to make sure Amtrak benefits from the arrangement.

CONFERENCES AND TALKS

  • Registration for “Creativity and Innovation in Public Education,” this year’s Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) Cultural Symposium, is full – but the event will be livestreamed on March 4. E-participation is free.
  • Anupama Sekhar offers a personal account of her experience at January’s 6th World Summit on Arts & Culture in Santiago, Chile.

RESEARCH CORNER

ETC.

  • Seeking an opportunity to relax, kick back, “hear and think about what is heard”? Join the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (yes, it exists) at a three-day symposium in Portugal. If you’re already of the acoustically ecological persuasion, consider submitting a presentation or artwork on anything from noise control policies to “the study of soundscapes as social and political intervention.” Proposals are due March 15.

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