Thank you to everyone who filled out the Createquity satisfaction survey last week. I’m still going through the results, but will have a wrap-up for you soon as well as a summary of what I’ve decided to do with what I’ve learned. In the meantime, it’s one more week of business as usual for Around the horn:
- I’m not the only one who has survey results to report. Last week, the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Council released the findings from last year’s survey of emerging leaders in the arts. (Here’s the executive summary.) Despite the high value that emerging leaders place on professional development, only 31% report that there is a line item in their organization’s budget for professional development activities – despite the fact that more than half work for an organization with a budget of $1 million or more. You don’t need Michael Kaiser to tell you that trained arts professionals are critical to organizations’ survival in a tough economy.
- Did you hear about this crazy scheme on the part of the Los Angeles mayor to rescind already-granted city funds to arts organizations so that he could give them to six hand-picked recipients instead? At least it looks like he’s backing down now.
- Another conversation that’s been going around the web lately is a debate about whether video games are art, kicked off by a Roger Ebert broadside taking the opposing position. I’ll hold off on an extended response for now, but I did enjoy this riposte by Lore Sjöberg on wired.com, in particular the following observation:
- Meant to put this in last week, but the Berkshire (MA) Creative Economy Council is part of a new strategic alliance with the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Berkshire Economic Development Corporation, and the Berkshire Convention and Visitors Bureau. This is a region that is serious about its creative economy.
- As many as one-fourth of all nonprofits could lose tax exemption in May because organizations with budgets of less than $25,000 a year are now required to file with the IRS every year. It’s not actually as bad as it sounds. There are a lot of long-dead nonprofits out there who have never filed the paperwork to make it official – one of the downsides of an organizational form designed for perpetuity in a fast-changing world. But if you know anyone who has a small nonprofit but doesn’t regularly read the internet, you might want to make sure they know about this.
- Speaking of taxes, did you know that Mexican artists can pay them in art? Michael Rushton says it’s bad policy though. For similar reasons, Holden Karnofsky makes a compelling case to donate cash to charity instead of stuff.
- Great commentary from the Council on Foundations annual conference about the lack of artists at the table in mainstream philanthropy. I couldn’t have written it better.
- Can’t wait for this feature from the Center for Effective Philanthropy on five of the best program officers in the country.
- Wow, everybody’s getting into the flashmob thing now. How long until these become passé? (And here’s another question: does an arts institution’s entry into a grassroots trend artificially hasten its demise?)
- Boo on Google for holding ArtsJournal hostage with its horrible customer service last week. As Andrew Taylor points out, if you want to control the infrastructure you gotta be willing to look after it.
- This blog, Geocities-style. (Thanks Rob!)
Ultimately, what’s generally considered True Art by academics and critics is a simple matter of the age of the creation.
0 to 25 years old: Almost nothing is true art. Certainly nothing common or popular. Art is created by a few geniuses denied popular acclaim by their own uncompromising vision.
25 to 100 years old: Not everything is art, but a lot is, even some of the popular stuff. At the time, people thought they were just enjoying something fun and entertaining, but actually they were in the presence of true brilliance.
100 to 2,000 years old: Any creative work made by anyone is worth investigation, preservation and in-depth academic criticism. Every painting, poem and rustic folk song is indicative of the ineffable zeitgeist of the cultural disposition. People were surrounded by art all the time and didn’t even realize it.
2,000 to 30,000 years old: Everything is art. Not just words and pictures, but pottery and baskets and huts. Even if they just wanted to make something to boil the tannins out of their acorns, these artists were actually participating in an age-old ritual where the creative soul and utilitarian necessity united into a singular expression of their culture’s unique viewpoint. And if they scratched a little picture into the rock that meant “stand here to watch the women bathe without them seeing you,” they were the Michelangelo of their time.