Note to folks going to the annual Americans for the Arts Convention in Nashville – Ian and Talia will both be present, and presenting: Talia at Making Arts Education More Equitable and Available to Everyone and the Lightning Workshops during the Arts Education Preconference; and Ian at Creating a Culture of Learning at Your Organization and the Expert Roundtables. Come say hi!
ART AND THE GOVERNMENT
- This is pretty much the most creative cultural tourism gambit ever.
- The Michigan House approved a plan to contribute $195 million in state money to the “grand bargain” to save the Detroit Institute of Arts from the city’s creditors; this money would join the $366 million pledged by foundations, $100 million pledged by the museum itself, and possible funding from union groups. Some creditors still reject the deal, although the judge overseeing the proceedings has refused their request to remove and appraise every painting in the collection.
- “National and local governments don’t take decisions about arts funding based on evidence, however convincing it is.” The Guardian argues that our only hope for better public funding is to create “the kind of solid public support that makes cuts politically dangerous or, even better, unthinkable” through closer ties to local communities.
- Score one victory for the arts lobby: after a vigorous campaign by organizations such as the League of American Orchestras, the Obama administration has carved out an exception for musical instruments in its new ivory regulations.
- Meanwhile, the FCC is accepting public comments on its latest proposed net neutrality rules, which would seem to allow internet providers to strike deals with content sites for faster service – deals akin to those that already exist with tech companies like Netflix, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Given the Commission’s recent flip-flopping, there’s no telling where this will lead, and we may not know until after the next election. One thing we do know: the idea of America itself is at stake.
- Peter Handler will be the new executive director of the Reva and David Logan Foundation, sponsor of the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. Handler is currently the program director at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.
- Moy Eng, former director of both the Hewlett Foundation Performing Arts Program and Palo Alto’s Community School of Music and Arts, has been announced as the first executive director of the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), a real estate services provider for artists and arts organizations.
- John Horn, of the Los Angeles Times, will be the new host for an arts an entertainment program on KPCC, Southern California Public Radio.
IN THE FIELD
- Just a year after losing its highly respected director Deborah Cullinan to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco’s Intersection for the Arts has just announced a major restructuring that will result in the closure of several programs and the layoffs of key staff. And NPR is cancelling “Tell Me More,” a little-heard daily talk show aimed at minority audiences, and eliminating 28 jobs. The National Association of Black Journalists blames lackluster promotion efforts.
- The San Diego Opera lives! But along with a full 2015 season, the company has announced layoffs including 13 full-time staff. And now the auditor is calling.
- New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is planning to gut-renovate its modern and contemporary wing to make room for a major gift of Cubist paintings and potentially create a new entrance from Central Park. Is this another case of museum hubris?
- The plan to dissolve the Corcoran Gallery of Art has been finalized, with the collection going to the National Gallery of Art and other museums it chooses and the building and design school going to George Washington University.
- When you think of St. Louis, do you think of jazz? A $10 million expansion to Jazz St. Louis—to be called the Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz—hopes to make the two synonymous, establishing St. Louis as one of the top hubs for jazz in the world.
- Lower Manhattan is home to a new performing arts school. Thanks to three years of significant growth, Pace University’s performing arts program will become a school within Pace’s liberal arts college.
- Thanks to the lobbying efforts of Jonathan Safran Foer on behalf of all of those without enough to read, Chipotle cups will now be adorned with short texts by literary luminaries. Not everyone is enthusiastic.
- Those Colorado Symphony mile-high marijuana concerts are now invitation-only, due to an overlooked regulation banning toking up in public. The Denver Post’s music critic went and got blasted – I mean, had a blast.
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS
- AT&T announced that it intends to buy DirecTV. The “media chessboard is moving more than it has in the past decade,” with Comcast’s February purchase of Time Warner cable and Sprint’s overtures to T-Mobile…
- … and reports that Apple is planning a major new foray into streaming music with an acquisition of Beats Audio and of co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, though something is holding up the deal.
- Nearly four years after announcing a name change, a new mission, and a new grantmaking strategy focused on impact, Cincinnati’s ArtsWave (formerly the Fine Arts Fund) seems to be seeing results. The united arts fund raised a record $12 million for its annual campaign this year, helped catalyze last year’s creation of a new multidisciplinary arts festival drawing national attention, and is starting to form strategic partnerships with non-arts funders. Retiring CEO Mary McCullough-Hudson deserves a lot of credit for seeing this transformation through.
- The Hewlett Foundation’s Fay Twersky defends the decision to end the Nonprofit Marketplace Initiative as data-driven in the face of William Schambra’s accusation that a leadership change was the primary driver. Let’s hope this public debate doesn’t dissuade grantmakers from following Hewlett’s lead on transparency.
- The Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund has announced a new capitalization program, including its largest-ever grant of $200,000 to the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center. The Fund created the program in response to research showing that even many of the city’s strongest arts groups were constrained by having only three months of financial cushion.
- Is it time for foundations to embrace partisan politics instead of trying to remain above the fray? Writers for the Stanford Social Innovation Review think so. “Partisan conflict is not an external factor that advocates can work around,” they write. “It is the defining axis of American politics today, and funders must be unafraid to reckon with it.”
- The expansion of the Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge – a promise to give away at least half of one’s fortune – to include billionaires from around the world raises questions about different cultural attitudes toward philanthropy (in China, public or transparent giving is eschewed) and about the relative merits of the Big Philanthropy model vs the more distributed community foundation model of giving.
- Arts entrepreneurship aficionados, look out: Barry’s Blog has a stellar lineup, uh, lined up for a weeklong blogathon on the topic starting…today!
- The National Academy of Sciences has hard numbers that show students learn better through hands-on activities than through lectures – at least when it comes to the sciences.
- Philanthropy Northwest reports on a year-long peer-learning project on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts involving 10 foundation CEOs in the region.
- Corporate giving is up again, according to the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy’s annual tally.
- South Arts has released two research reports on arts education in the South. The first, a survey of nearly a third of all principals in the region, found among other things that Southern students have less access to visual arts and music than other American students but greater access to dance – with significant variation among Southern states. The second, case studies of nine strong arts education programs, found that the successful schools cultivated a shared vision of the arts, incorporated the arts into the core curriculum driven by state and national standards, and exposed students to working artists.
- Bringing the ability to make snazzy charts and tables to the masses, evaluators Stephanie Evergreen and Ann K. Emery have developed a data visualization checklist for the graphically challenged among us.
- In case you ever wondered about the correlation between per capita consumption of cheese and the number of people who die by becoming tangled in their bedsheets, Tyler Vigen has you covered.