Brooklyn Museum

Brooklyn Museum – by Flickr user Wally Gobetz, Creative Commons license

Following in the footsteps of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New Haven, in 2015, New York City will begin issuing municipal identification cards to undocumented immigrants, with an arts-oriented twist. Much like those seen in other cities, New York’s program will allow access to critical services, such as opening a bank account, visiting a medical clinic, and renting an apartment. Based in the idea that the cultural treasures of the Big Apple ought to be available to all, the ID card will also provide free or discounted memberships at 33 of New York’s leading institutions, including the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Museum, and MoMA PS1. The cards will be available to any city resident over the age of 14, and thus offer a way for anyone who feels they cannot afford arts and culture — not simply undocumented residents — to participate.

Grantmakers in the Arts Claims a Major Lobbying Success: At the end of August, the Obama Administration announced a $250 million “preschool development” grant competition, part of its efforts to improve preschool access for children below the poverty line. Grantmakers in the Arts’s Arts Education Funders Coalition (AEFC) helped ensure that program participants will receive the same arts exposure as students in the Head Start program. With the arts included as a key “approach to learning,” arts agencies have an opportunity to help design their states’ proposals, work with preschools to select curricula, and augment program offerings at preschools looking to meet the grant’s requirements.

Symphonies and Labor: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Locked Out: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians have been locked out for over a month in a labor dispute, with healthcare benefits and the size of the orchestra itself at stake. An earlier, three-week lockout in 2012, fundraising difficulties, and low government support compared to other cities compound the problems, with the current season canceled through at least November 8. Four weeks into the lockout, CEO and President Stanley Romanstein resigned. Terry Neal, board member and former executive at Coca-Cola, will take the helm until a permanent replacement is found.

Corcoran Gallery of Art Merges with National Gallery and George Washington University: A D.C. judge recently approved the merger of the Corcoran Gallery of Art with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University (GWU), which will effectively dissolve the Corcoran in a $2 billion deal. Once the oldest privately-supported art museum in the United States, the Corcoran has long struggled against mounting debts, tens of millions in renovations, and a shrinking endowment, and most recently, a lawsuit against the merger. As a result of the merger, approximately 150 staff will likely face layoffs, the National Gallery will absorb most of the Corcoran’s collections, and GWU will take over its College of Arts and Design, offering jobs to all of its full-time faculty.

New Research on Wellbeing & the Arts: The U.K’s All-Party Parlimentary Group for Wellbeing Economics has come out with a major new report on the intersection of arts funding and the wellbeing of the general public. The result of a year-long inquiry and titled “Wellbeing in Four Policy Areas,” the report contains two major findings: first, active participation in the arts has a much greater impact on overall wellbeing than serving as a passive audience member; and second, arts participation has a much larger effect on disadvantaged communities than wealthier, resource-rich areas. The effect on policymaking in the U.K. could be quite notable, as the the report asks arts funders to evaluate the wellbeing impacts of grants to organizations and employ this data to justify government spending.


  • The James Irvine Foundation announced Don Howard as the new president and CEO.
  • Jim McDonald was named the deputy director and director of programs at Grantmakers in the Arts.
  • San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley has announced that he will retire after a 44-year career in opera in 2016.
  • Artist Trust has hired Shannon Roach Halberstadt as its new executive director.
  • Mayor Martin J. Walsh has named Julie Burros as the new chief of arts and culture for the city of Boston. Burros was formerly head of cultural planning for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
  • The National Endowment for the Arts is looking for a program analyst. Salary: $89-138K, posted September 23, closes October 7.
  • The Cleveland Metropolitan School District seeks an arts policy-focused plan manager and partnership manager. Posted August 28, no closing date.
  • The Center for Effective Philanthropy is in the market for a research manager in its Cambridge, MA office. Posted August 27, no closing date.


  • The NEA has launched its “Exploring Our Town” site, a set of online case studies highlighting its signature creative placemaking program.
  • More evidence for the power of young brains on art: a new study in the Journal of Neuroscience provides the first direct evidence that long-term engagement in community music programs enhance the neural processing of speech in at-risk children.
  • The Nonprofit Finance Fund released its 2014 State of the Arts & Culture Sector brochure: even as organizations continue to expand and innovate with programs, many remain financially unstable.
  • The James Irvine Foundation continues its interest in improving arts participation with a Helicon Collaborative report on the characteristics of organizations that successfully engage diverse audiences.
  • Portland’s Regional Arts and Culture Council proves that engaging diverse audiences isn’t just a California thing with its own report.
  • In a progress report, Grantmakers in the Arts investigates how funders are using capitalization principles to strengthen cultural organizations’ fiscal health.