ART AND THE GOVERNMENT
- Seems that New York City’s recent bill forcing schools to report out on the availability of arts education in its schools comes not a moment too soon: an audit from the state comptroller found that roughly half of seniors graduated from high school without having met arts education requirements.
- Denver is out with a bold new seven-year cultural plan, “Imagine 2020.” Among other things, it seeks to “increase the visibility of local and creative talent” by inventorying and ranking the availability of the arts in all neighborhoods, and supporting micro-art projects that can create new gathering spaces across the city.
- A federal court has ordered Google to remove the infamous “Innocence of Muslims” film from YouTube after an actress who appears on screen for only five seconds – and was told she was appearing in an adventure movie – asserted that posting the film against her wishes violates her copyright in her performance. The injunction is preliminary; Google is appealing.
- Continuing its run of recruiting university presidents to serve as its leader, the Smithsonian will add Cornell’s President, David J. Skorton, to that list when he takes over the position of in July 2015.
- Rebecca Blunk is stepping down as Executive Director of the New England Foundation for the Arts after ten years in the position and three decades at the organization. Liz Lerman reflects enthusiastically on her leadership.
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS
- The two latest articles to document artists’ struggle to make ends meet, even once they are established: on writers in London and artists in New York City.
- Hooray for practicing what you preach: the Hewlett Foundation takes stock of the two strategies of its Effective Philanthropy program – and announces that it will wind down and replace the one that the evidence suggests wasn’t working.
- Aditi Kapil from Minneapolis’s Mixed Blood Theater Company unpacks lessons from the company’s free ticket initiative, such as the idea that infrastructure costs make “free cheaper than cheap.” And thanks to to a new grant, all visitors to the Wilma Theater can now enjoy $25 tickets during the first four weeks of a show’s run. The newly flattened price structure will be in place for three years.
IN THE FIELD
- The Future of Music Coalition has been quizzing musicians on their knowledge of current copyright law, and the results are mixed, suggesting “there remains widespread confusion about the difference between musical composition and sound recordings” and musicians are generally unaware of “the changes in the digital landscape that have altered the way that money flows back to creators.”
- After managing to squeeze twelve years out of what was intended to be a three-year program, the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program ended with its final fellows last November.
- Getty Images has released 35 million photos to be used freely for non-commercial purposes, bowing to widespread, often ignorant infringement of its images. There are a few catches: the interface is clunkier than for paying customers, Getty can track usage data, and they reserve the right to put ads in the embedded image viewer. Now that we’ve liberated images and music, are books and movies next?
- Yes, data-driven decisions can come from cocktail napkins: Nina Simon offers a nifty example of how a simple measure of “success” can help draw comparisons across programs.
- The new performing arts center planned for the World Trade Center site, in the works for over a decade, faces an uphill battle to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for construction with former mayor and big-ticket arts champion Michael Bloomberg no longer in office. The project will have to compete with several recently-opened theater spaces of similar size as well as the nearby 9/11 Memorial & Museum.
- An example-driven look at how grantmakers are building innovation into their programs to tackle large social problems in Stanford Social Innovation Review pairs well with this examination by four Boston Consulting Group strategists of what nurtures the “evolvability” of big companies like Google and Netflix. Meanwhile, Andrew Taylor poaches more lessons from the for-profit world by examining what the “Minimum Viable Product” familiar to tech start-ups might mean for the arts.
- March 20 was both the first day of spring and the UN’s International Day of Happiness, co-sponsored this year by Grammy winner Pharrell Williams. The designation of the day was inspired in part by Bhutan’s embrace of Gross National Happiness as a critical indicator of the country’s health. Culture is one of the pillars of GNH, so Createquity readers have special reason to celebrate.
- The Future of Digital Longform Project is out with a whopper of a report on how “long” (i.e. 5,000+-word) pieces of nonfiction are evolving, what “designing a story” can mean, and how and if writers can hope to make money from these efforts.
- Digital platforms continue to creep into the edusphere, with the College Board announcing a plan to (finally) counter the overpriced SAT-prep industry via a partnership with Khan Academy, and EdX, the only major non-profit MOOC provider, expanding its list of course partners to include NGOs and nonprofits ranging from the Smithsonian to the IMF.
- Egads! First we learn we can’t always trust research; then we learn we can’t always trust the research that tells us not to trust research.
- The UK’s cultural sector’s hiring practices unfairly stifle diversity, a report from Creative and Cultural Skills finds. CCS calls out a widespread preference for unpaid workers and a tendency to hire people already known to existing employees as particular problems.
- A new report from the National Center for Arts Research has found that well under half of directors of the nation’s largest art museum directors are female, and they earn roughly three-quarters the salaries of their male counterparts.
- Southern California’s “creative industries” are booming with roughly 1 of 7 jobs in the Los Angeles area tied to the creative sector, according to the 2013 Otis Report on the Creative Economy. However, the relationship between the report and the fiscal health of the arts sector — and the economic stability of artists in the region — is murky.
- The international art and antique market, meanwhile, is almost back to pre-recession levels. The uptick, however, is more due to the rising cost of artwork rather than an increased number of sales, suggesting a continued and worrisome creep toward a “winner take all” economy.
- The Brookings Institute tried out a badass new research methodology — a “survey with placebo” — in a recent attempt to measure the impact of advocacy organizations on the passage of school choice legislation. The method is one of several new and intriguing practices in advocacy evaluation.