ART AND THE GOVERNMENT
- In a major victory for New York’s arts education advocates, Mayor Bloomberg signed a bill requiring the city’s department of education to report on the availability and accessibility of arts education in each of its schools. This annual report will make public the degree to which schools meet current instructional requirements in music, dance, theater, and visual art. This wasn’t an aberration for Bloomberg, whose legacy after three terms as mayor includes an impressive record of support for the arts.
- Meanwhile, arts groups prepare to woo his successor, Bill de Blasio, who has followed national precedent and failed so far to appoint a new Commissioner of Cultural Affairs. Some speculate – or simply hope – that he will apply his populist spirit to the culture sector.
- Reversing an earlier position, the United States Copyright Office now recommends that visual artists receive a portion of profits when their work is resold. Congress hasn’t taken up resale royalties for visual artists since 2011, when a bill sponsored by Representative Jerrold Nadler failed to gain traction.
- ‘Tis the season of Top Ten Lists, and The Future of Music Coalition has a comprehensive roundup of 2013’s music and technology policy developments, including Congress’s ongoing review of the Copyright Act, a changing of the guard at the FCC, and the looming court decision in the momentous net neutrality case between the FCC and Verizon.
- Construction for major government-supported art facilities in Abu Dhabi — including sparkly new Guggenheim and Louvre campuses — is booming on the backs of migrant workers from Pakistan and Bangladesh, many of whom had to pay a recruitment fee to work on the projects and now toil under atrocious conditions. The International Trade Union Confederation is urging western museums to step in, and a coalition of artists and activists has formed to support the workers.
- Steven Tepper, research director of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) and associate director of Vanderbilt’s Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy, is the new dean of Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS
- George Zimmerman is once again in the media spotlight for selling a painting he made on eBay. The patriotically themed piece sold for $100,099.99, prompting outrage from some and a web-sale response by artist Michael D’Auntuono. In a move the artist calls “hypocritical,” D’Auntuono’s attempt to sell his response piece, and donate part of the proceeds to a charity advocating for crime victims, was censored by the auction website for violation of eBay guidelines.
- Acknowledging that less than 5 percent of its grants for repertory development have gone to women over the last quarter century, Opera America is launching a grant program targeting female composers.
IN THE FIELD
- Is Facebook’s new donate button “good, bad, or ugly” for nonprofits? Beth Kanter argues it does more harm than good, and rallies for a Facebook Ad Grants program similar to Google’s.
- In its quest to make culture “the spirit and soul of the nation,” China opened more than 450 museums in the last year alone, bringing the total number in the country to nearly 4,000.
- Did you finish 1984? New all-you-can-read book services are compiling data on not just what we read but also how quickly we do it, how long we linger over which passages, and whether we finish specific books. (Turns out people are more eager to learn how biographies end than business books.)
- Mara Walker, chief operating officer for Americans for the Arts, reports on her experience as the only American participant at this year’s International Arts Leadership Roundtable, organized by the Hong Kong Art Development Council.
- You’ve Cott Mail readers offered bold predictions for the arts in 2014: ballet will relocate to London, we’ll all stop saying “outreach” (but do it more in our communities), and new artist-led theater collectives will rise up to seize the means of cultural production, among other prophecies.
- The Wall Street Journal’s Terry Teachout, meanwhile, predicts audiences’ growing “on-demand” mentality will continue to spell trouble for nonprofit theater companies, and urges them to embrace and market the “intimacy [of the] small scale, handmade art form.”
- In an interview with Barry Hessenius, WESTAF Executive Director Anthony Radich unpacks his longstanding call to “reimagine” state arts agencies (i.e., embrace more flexible staff structures and find ways to get “free from the negative undertow of state restrictions while retaining that still-important connection to the state government”) and offers insight on the future of state support for the arts.
- Providence, RI has acknowledged how much the city’s future depends on its four main nonprofit higher-ed institutions: Rhode Island School of Design, Brown University, Johnson & Wales, and Providence College. Financially reliant on an industry that isn’t requited to pay local taxes, the city of Providence has negotiated an attempted economic revitalization plan that has the schools make sizable contributions to the city in exchange for sweetened deals on land usage and campus expansion.
- Createquity’s own Talia Gibas lays out three different conceptions educators, artists, and advocates draw on when they talk about “STEAM” as the intersection of the arts with science, technology, engineering, and math. She argues that art may primarily represent aesthetics and design, curiosity, or creativity, and that there are important differences among the three.
- The Foundation Center’s annual “Key Facts on U.S. Foundations” report is out in time for the New Year. Giving is on the rise: the approximately 82,000 foundations in the U.S. gave $45.9 billion in 2010, $49.0 billion in 2011, and an estimated $50.9 billion in 2012. The report also breaks down the largest grants by the largest foundations for 2011 by issue, geography, and a host of other dimensions, revealing among other things that the top 1% of recipients captured half of these grant dollars.
- The McKnight Foundation has released its findings in a study it conducted, with help from the Center for the Study of Art & Community, on artists supported by its fellowship program since its establishment in 1982. The study asked artists six questions that gave them an opportunity to “reflect on the environment, conditions, and motivations that affect their work.”