How Art Works: the I’m-late-for-work version

This is a short version of my full addition to the Arts Policy Library. With “How Art Works: The National Endowment for the Arts’ Five-Year Research Agenda,” the National Endowment for the Arts is getting proactive. Acknowledging that the NEA’s research efforts have been mostly descriptive in the past, “How Art Works” is intended toRead More

Arts Policy Library: How Art Works

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(For a brief summary of this article, check out “How Art Works: the I’m-late-for-work version.”) With “How Art Works: The National Endowment for the Arts’ Five-Year Research Agenda,” the National Endowment for the Arts is getting proactive. Acknowledging that the NEA’s research efforts have been mostly descriptive in the past, “How Art Works” is intendedRead More

The Virtues and Pitfalls of Open Contests

An interesting back and forth on “contest philanthropy” took place recently in the pixel-pages of Stanford Social Innovation Review between Mayur Patel, the wunderkind VP of Strategy and Assessment for the Knight Foundation, and Kevin Starr, managing director of the Mulago Foundation. Patel started things off in July with a blog post on six reasonsRead More

Solving the Underpants Gnomes Problem: Towards an Evidence-Based Arts Policy

That’s the title of a talk I presented via the University of Chicago’s Cultural Policy Center on November 14, 2012. It’s long, but I think it’s one of the more significant things I’ve done recently and hope you’ll check it out if you have some time. The actual lecture portion of the talk occupies the firstRead More

Around the horn: Livestrong edition

ART AND THE GOVERNMENT The Los Angeles Times, via music critic Mark Swed, revives the Secretary of Culture talk, this time nominating Peter Sellars and Leon Botstein for the job. It’s an earnest appeal for an idea worthy of consideration, but if it was a political nonstarter four years ago, it’s hard to see how itRead More

Around the horn: Four more years edition

ART AND THE GOVERNMENT As you know, there was an election last week, and Barack Obama won it. Thankfully this means that Barry Hessenius’s worst fears about the NEA likely won’t be realized, but Barry does have some useful advocacy advice that is worth a read regardless of the outcome. Ted Johnson has a helpful pre-electionRead More

In Defense of Logic Models

Laura Zabel's Faith in Humanity

Last month, my post Creative Placemaking Has an Outcomes Problem generated a lot of discussion about creative placemaking and grantmaking strategy, much of it really great. If you haven’t had a chance, please check out these thoughtful and substantive responses by—just to name a few—Richard Layman, Niels Strandskov, Seth Beattie, Lance Olson, Andrew Taylor, DianeRead More