ART AND THE GOVERNMENT
- In a reversal, the FCC has drafted new net neutrality rules that critics claim are unworthy of the name: they would allow broadband companies to provide a “fast lane” for content providers willing to pay a “commercially reasonable” fee. The FCC’s public comment period opens on May 15. Related: if the Comcast-Time Warner merger is approved, “the combined company’s footprint will pass over 60% of US broadband households.”
- A belated tax tip for artists: emigrate to Mexico. Or, for those committed to staying in the US of A, consider launching a worker cooperative as a means of upping income while maintaining time for artistic pursuits. For those on the collector side, there’s always lending your new purchases to a museum in Oregon, Delaware or New Hampshire first.
- Several record companies have filed suit in New York against Pandora to secure royalties under state law for the use of recordings made before 1972, which are not protected by federal copyright. Sirius was targeted by a similar lawsuit last fall.
- Classical musicians may now have a harder time leaving and re-entering the United States thanks to a ban on ivory meant to protect African elephants.
- Grant Oliphant, former Pittsburgh Foundation leader, will begin a new role as president at Heinz Endowments this June.
- Also in June, the Canada Council for the Arts will welcome its new CEO and president Simon Brault. Brault was previously vice-chair of Canada Council’s board before moving to the National Theatre School Montreal, and will serve in his new position for a five-year term.
- Michael Kaiser, a man who wears many hats, will add another one in co-chairman of IMG Artists, which will also involve managing a new cooperation between IMG Artists and DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland.
- Jonathan Fanton, former president of the MacArthur Foundation and of the New School, has been named President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Former president Leslie Cohen Berlowitz resigned last July in the wake of a scandal over her compensation and qualifications.
- Lorin Dunlop will join the M. J. Murdoch Charitable trust this June as Program Director. Most recently, Dunlop was responsible for public safety grant programs of the Oregon Criminal Justice System.
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS
- PonoMusic, a new high-def digital audio business, raised $6.2 million on Kickstarter to become the third-best-funded project in the site’s history. Neil Young, who started Pono to provide a higher-quality alternative to current digital formats, set the initial goal at $800,000.
- Yet another contender is trying to elbow its way into the crowdfunding game: Crowdrise, a new(ish) platform dedicated exclusively to nonprofits, just received an additional $23 million in financing.
- The Walter & Elise Haas Fund, working together with the Foundation Center and Mission Minded, has developed an open-source, free solution that any grantmaking entity can use to make its grantmaking data searchable, publishable, sharable, and fully accessible. You can see “Open hGrant for WordPress” in action on the Haas site.
IN THE FIELD
- The San Diego Opera has outlined a new fundraising strategy to avert closure and announced a meeting on Monday of its 850-person membership. It’s been a bumpy ride: half of the 58-member board has resigned; a new chair, Carol Lazier, has taken over and personally pledged $1m to save the organization; general and artistic director Ian Campbell has been placed on indefinite leave; and protests by unions and members have added financial and legal complications. The opera’s plan includes a new $1m crowdfunding campaign with a deadline of May 19; it is actually only one of several San Diego cultural institutions that have been shuttered or are imperiled.
- A closer look at the end of the Trey McIntyre Project.
- A bid by a group of philanthropic organizations to buy out Pittsburgh’s failed August Wilson Center for African American Culture was dropped, with the foundations claiming a preference on the part of the Center’s court-appointed receiver for a commercial developer.
- New York City is facing a sudden rash of failing institutions. The Incubator Arts Project is closing, citing — you guessed it — difficulties raising revenue. The Brecht Forum, a Marxist educational and cultural space, is buckling under the weight of a lawsuit for back rent. And Manhattan’s legendary Canal Street art supply store Pearl Paint has shut its doors and is mourned.
- Is an arts-centric Coursera in our future? Barry Hessenius decries the state of professional development in arts administration and calls for a virtual “one stop shop” of on-demand courses, articles, and networking/mentoring opportunities.
- A handful of arts organizations have been experimenting with a lesser-known organizational structure called the “disregarded entity,” which may offer non-profits a more flexible alternative to independence on the one hand and fiscal sponsorship on the other.
- In The Foundation Review, authors Gary Cunningham, Marcia Avner, and Romilda Justilian of the Northwest Area Foundation note declining philanthropic investment in communities of color and make a pointed call for foundation leaders to commit to reducing racial inequality. And across the pond, British comedian Lenny Henry is leading an effort to secure better representation for minorities on the BBC.
- National Arts Strategies’s Sunny Widmann suggests arts organizations create their own Skunk Works® divisions — originally conceived by Lockheed Martin and not as stinky as the name suggests — to nurture innovate programs and practices.
- We hear a lot about the intersection between creative placemaking and gentrification, but is dealing with it just a matter of saying hi to your neighbor and identifying your privileges? At The Atlantic Cities, Daniel Hertz suggests that if we really care about gentrification, we should be paying a lot more attention to housing policy.
- Global inequality of wealth is at a 100-year high, with the infamous 1% owning half of the planet’s wealth, according to a hot new book by French economist Thomas Piketty. One consequence: “professionals have now been priced out of the [art] market and it’s shifted more toward investment bankers.”
- Barry Hessenius is looking for the next set of big ideas – and the people behind them – with another edition of the Arts Dinner-vention. Nominations are due May 15.
- A music psychologist found that introducing random repetition into a piece of music makes it more appealing – and makes people think it was more likely to have been composed by a human being.
- Research suggests literary fiction can help short-circuit ethnic stereotypes.
- A new paper examines the intersections of the arts and health via case studies from Cleveland on interventions including art therapy and the artistic design of healthcare facilities.
- The NEA is out with a new report on the Education Leaders Institute Alumni Summit, a five-year effort on the part of the NEA to strengthen arts education policies at the state level. The Endowment’s Arts Education director Ayanna Hudson discusses the report in the context of the agency’s new strategy.
- A new center at Stanford will focus on meta-research in the medical sciences and examine how much publication bias — which raises questions about all research fields, including the arts — really is a problem.
- The Pew Research Center has published a new report on demographic and generational trends in America. The findings themselves are what you might expect – our population is aging, becoming more diverse, and moving away from religion; immigration and interracial marriage are on the rise; and Democrats and Republicans are at odds – but the presentation brings these and other trends to life.
- Seen any good movies at the theater lately? Probably not, according to new data on film reception by month of release as aggregated by Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. The numbers show that the summer and holiday seasons have the best pickings. Don’t believe it? You can play around with the data yourself.