Whew! I think this past month might just have been the craziest ever for me. Two research contract proposals, a final report, visits to Chicago, DC (twice), San Diego, LA, and Boston, a birthday, committee work for the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Council, editing Arts Policy Library pieces by the Createquity Writing Fellows, at least one almost-all-nighter, concert at which a band I’d supported on Kickstarter wore a costume theme that I picked out, presenting on my cultural mapping work in public for the first time (and getting quoted in the Wall Street Journal for it) – I’m getting tired just writing about it. Forgive me for not cranking out too many extended thought pieces recently…unfortunately the blog, much as I love it, doesn’t pay my rent. But to tide you over, here are some tasty links!
(By the way: I’m starting to think that I might standardize the section titles in the round-up. Any thoughts?)
ARTS AND THE GOVERNMENT
- Rhode Island is the newest state to recognize the L3C.
- Tim Mikulski reports on the activities of a new coalition that is revising the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education.
- What would a Republican campaign for higher office be without a little copyright infringement? It’s really kind of inconvenient for them that most of the karaoke klassics out there were written by hardcore liberals.
- The IRS’s list of nonprofits whose status was revoked apparently contained some errors – apparently George Washington University and the University of Michigan were included, for example. Whoops!
THE ART OF GIVING
- The Irvine Foundation has announced its new strategy for the arts focusing on audience engagement. The WolfBrown white paper written about on this blog last week is clearly a part of this. You can watch the video and join the discussion on Irvine’s website – Rocco Landesman has already kicked things off.
- Meanwhile, former San Francisco Foundation program officer John Killacky has something to say to his erstwhile colleagues in the grantmaking world.
- Hewlett Foundation President Paul Brest is back blogging, this time as a guest for Grantmakers in the Arts. In his first post, he points out that despite a major focus (and seeming agreement) within the funding community in recent years on the value of general operating support, there is little evidence of a pronounced upward trend in GOS grants. Change doesn’t come easy in the foundation world, I guess.
- Brian Newman wonders if the crowdfunding phenomenon exemplified by Kickstarter is, uh, crowding out donations from institutional funders.
- Finally, GiveWell offers a perspective on why we should expect giving effectively to be difficult.
MERGERS AND CLOSURES
- Arthouse at the Jones Center is exploring a merger with the Austin Museum of Art.
- Another orchestra down: The Seattle area’s Bellvue Philharmonic is no more after this weekend.
- Diane Ragsdale pays tribute to the now-defunct Florida Stage. The post also features a great and lengthy comment from National New Play Network Executive Director Jason Loewith.
APPOINTMENTS AND PROMOTIONS
- Lisa Philp will be the new Vice President for Strategic Philanthropy and Director of GrantCraft for the Foundation Center.
- Blogger, longtime executive director of the Center for Arts Education, and my former boss’s boss Richard Kessler will be the new Dean of Mannes College The New School for Music.
- Stellar Technology and the Arts blogger Amelia Northrup has taken on a new position as Strategic Communications Specialist at TRG Arts. Not content merely to share the news, Amelia goes out with a bang by sharing some fantastic tips for organizing your job search.
RESEARCH AND READINGS
- According to the latest Giving USA report, charitable contributions were up in 2010, but only slightly: 2.1%. The arts, however, fared better than most, seeing donations rising 4.1% after inflation. You might recall that Giving USA got some egg on its face earlier this year when evidence surfaced that its econometric models drastically underestimated the extent to which individual giving dropped during the recession. Now they say they’ve included another variable in the model that explains the drop, so this year’s estimate should (hopefully) be more trustworthy.
- With all the talk about eliminating or reducing the tax deduction donors receive for their charitable gifts, kudos to Sarah Lutman for digging into the Congressional Budget Office’s recommendations on the subject.
- Theatre Bay Area has published a report on social media use by arts organizations, authored by our friend Devon Smith of Threespot Consulting. Devon has her own account here.
ACROSS THE POND
- Going England one further, the right-wing government of The Netherlands is set to cut its arts funding by 25% and more than triple the tax on tickets to concerts. Sadly, the powers that be have chosen to let smaller arts organizations bear most of the burden – an especially heavy one since unlike here, government funding makes up the vast majority of revenue for most. Recommendations to phase in the cuts were ignored.
- Michael Kaiser reports from a trip to England (part I; part II); Michael Royce checks out the arts scene in Berlin (part I; part II; part III).
- Weirdness: a Chinese firm has contracted Albert Speer & Partner to build an exact replica of the Austrian village of Hallstatt – in Guangdong Province.
- Weirdness: Norway is apparently training its own diplomats how to explain black metal.
- Weirdness: a city in India has no municipal government – and is apparently doing pretty well. Marginal Revolution and Matt Yglesias provide interesting commentary.
BIG IDEA CORNER
- Meant to mention this last time around – National Arts Strategies is launching a cool-looking initiative designed to help CEOs become more effective leaders. Andrew Taylor provides his customary brief summary.
- Lee Streby has an extraordinary three–part exploration on what he would do if he were building an orchestra from scratch. And speaking of orchestras, Greg Sandow has been musing on how we might objectively evaluate the quality of their performances.
- Sasha Anawalt, Doug McLennan, et al. set up a five-day “pop-up newsroom” called Engine 28 last month to cover live theater convenings and events in LA. The LA Times has more.
- Dollars and sense: Assets for Artists is looking to expand beyond Massachusetts. Gary Steuer draws the line between arts education and economic development. Barry Hessenius on a different kind of arts endowment – and how we might fund it. And since I’m always a sucker for people questioning the premises behind microeconomics, here’s Justin Wolfers recounting how being a father has made him question the neoclassical model; and Seth Godin on why coordination, not competition, is the next frontier for economics.
- If you’ve ever played the mobile/tablet game Angry Birds, you know how addictive it can be. Now the company that makes Angry Birds, Rovio, is launching a totally visionary location- and accessory-based scavenger hunt in which visiting various special places in real life activates Easter egg features in the game. This is some seriously creative shit that arts marketers should be paying close attention to.