ART AND THE GOVERNMENT

MUSICAL CHAIRS

  • After nearly 30 years as CEO of National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Jonathan Katz is set to make his exit soon.
  • Margit Rankin has resigned as Executive Director of Washington State’s Artist Trust. The Trust plans to “focus on internal efficiencies and statewide reach before hiring [her] replacement.”
  • Carolina Garcia Jayaram was recently appointed the new CEO of United States Artists, and will be taking the Los Angeles-based organization back with her to Chicago.
  • Miguel M. Salinas, formerly Program Director at the Adobe Foundation, is moving into the newly-created position of Program Officer for Local Grantmaking at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. His portfolio will include arts funding for Northern California’s Monterey County and surrounding region.
  • Ken Cole of the National Guild for Community Arts Education will be taking over the role of Vice President of Learning and Leadership Development with the League of American Orchestras.

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS

IN THE FIELD

BIG IDEAS

RESEARCH CORNER

  • The state of the nonprofit sector is pretty grim, according to the Nonprofit Finance Fund: more than half of surveyed organizations reported they were unable to meet demand for their services, and are operating with three months or less of cash on hand. You can dig into arts-specific data using this interactive tool. Some nuggets: only about a third of arts nonprofits reporting an inability to meet demand, and arts orgs are significantly less likely to regularly collect data long-term data on impact than the nonprofit sector as a whole.
  • A new NEA analysis of monthly census data reveals that the unemployment rate for artists continued to drop slightly in 2013 (7.1% vs 7.3% in 2012) and has recovered considerably from its Great Recession peak of 9.5% – though it remains much higher than the 2006 low of 3.6%. Two interesting sidebars: 1) Some findings about those for whom the arts are a secondary job, including the fact that 20% are teachers in their day jobs – and 20% are artists in a different capacity. 2) Although artists are classed as professionals, their 2013 overall unemployment rate was much closer to the total population’s (6.6%) than to other professionals’ (3.6%).
  • This handy infographic breaks down the differences between US and UK philanthropy. The gold for sheer size goes the US, where the average person gives almost three times as much and the non-profit sector represents almost seven times as large a share of GDP, but the authors caution their fellow Brits against imitation in the full paper.
  • Nifty data crunching suggests that films passing the Bechdel Test — a standard, albeit depressing, measure of gender bias — are actually a much better return on investment than Hollywood execs claim.
  • Think there’s no way to judge creativity? Think again: new research suggests that people can be trained to accurately identify “subcomponents” of creativity. Interestingly, the control group  didn’t deem the same works “creative” as the group that received the training. Control group members did, however, tend to identify the same works as other control group subjects, implying they were all reacting to another, unknown component of the art.
  • Speaking of assessing creativity, education leaders who bemoan American students’ consistent “underperformance” relative to counterparts in other countries may have a glimmer of hope: the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) conducted its first test of creative problem solving and found that American students did much better than they did on standard reading, math, and science tests. The bad news? They still trailed students from several countries like Singapore and Australia, both of which happen to put heavy emphasis on arts education. Hint, hint…