A Grantmakers in the Arts Racial Equity Forum: Supporting African, Latino(a), Asian, Arab and Native American (ALAANA) Organizations will take place on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia. Learn more and register to attend.
Posted on April 27, 2015 by Steve

Nonprofit Finance Fund has done its annual analysis of date from the State of the Sector Survey. Of the 5,451 nonprofits that took the survey in 2015, more than 900 identified as arts and culture organizations. These groups represented a wide range of artistic disciplines, with top responses among Museums (15%) and Theatres (13%). An in-depth Special Supplement on the Arts & Culture Sector is also available.

Posted on April 27, 2015 by Steve

From Eileen Cunniffe, writing for Nonprofit Quarterly:

“If you actually engage a place in an unlikely manner, you probably won’t forget it. It becomes yours.” So says Catherine Gudis, a professor of public history at the University of California, Riverside, and one of the founders of Play the LA River, described as a “game of urban exploration and imagination.” The game consists of a 51-card deck developed by members of Project 51, a collective of “LA River–loving artists, designers, planners, writers and educators,” that invites Angelenos to explore — and reclaim — a river that for decades was “a polluted, concrete-encased ditch,” as reported in Next City.
Posted on April 27, 2015 by Steve

An extraordinary new report Building Community Through Innovation in the Arts, written by Brett Sokol and creative directed by Gavin Strumpman, has come from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:

[U]sing initiatives like the Knight Arts Challenge to identify and empower new groups of entrepreneurially spirited artists and creative leaders has been key to transforming communities through the arts. True, some of those fresh faces will hardly fit the mold of traditional nonprofit administrators. This is exactly the point, given that much of the traditional arts establishment remains in crisis with its audience share waning.
Posted on April 23, 2015 by Steve

After several attempts over the past few years, Congress is making progress in updating the No Child Left Behind Act, also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Arts Education Funders Coalition has been advancing its systemic policy agenda for ESEA as part of the Senate and House process to move ESEA legislation. Just this past week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (Senate HELP) Committee approved their version of an ESEA rewrite on a unanimous 22 to 0 vote. The AEFC arts education agenda was well represented as part of this legislation.

Aspects related to our agenda that were included in the bill are:

  • The bill maintains a definition of core academic subjects that includes the arts. While not leveraged effectively in current law, “core academic subjects” appear in several key locations in the bill (see below).
  • The bill makes clear that Title I funds can be used for arts education. Specifically, Title I says that funds can be used for “programs, activities and courses in the core academic subjects”. As mentioned above, the term “core academic subjects” includes the arts.
  • The definition of core academic subjects appears in several other programs, thereby allowing these programs to have an arts education focus. For example, there is a new literacy program that allows for the integration of core academic subjects into literacy programing and as an approach in the definition of extended learning time for schools looking to extend the schools day.
  • The bill authorizes the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program which includes the ability to provide children in afterschool and expanded learning time programs with programs and activities in the arts.
  • The bill includes a new Safe and Healthy Students initiative that allows for grants to school districts to be used for well-rounded educational experience for students which may include the use...
Posted on April 23, 2015 by Steve

In February, Carlton Turner, executive director of Alternate ROOTS, addressed the National Theater Project on the subject of racial equity in the arts:

This is not an issue that can be fixed with a grant program or a new funding initiative. It cannot be solved with a few discipline-specific conversations on diversity. It can only be solved when a critical mass of our sector feels that this issue is important enough to shift our missions.
Posted on April 23, 2015 by Steve

From Alex Daniels, writing for The Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Two-thirds of nonprofits don’t get guidance from grant makers about how to use data to measure their performance, even though most foundation support comes with a demand that grantees evaluate their work, according to a report released Monday. Almost all of the 138 nonprofits surveyed by the Center for Effective Philanthropy collected information to gauge their performance. But 64 percent of the organizations said they did not receive any support from foundations on how to marshal the data they amass.
Posted on April 23, 2015 by Steve

Featured in the current Reader, excerpts from a presentation on activating public space that Roberta Uno delivered at the Creative Time Summit.

Posted on April 22, 2015 by Steve

The Cultural Data Project has released a new report, Bridging the Capacity Gap: Cultural Practitioners’ Perspectives on Data, which shares findings from five town hall meetings conducted as part of its ongoing conversation with cultural practitioners about how data can be used to improve the health and effectiveness of the arts and cultural sector.

Posted on April 22, 2015 by Steve

The Nonprofit Tech for Good website has gathered up some research on Generation X:

There is a lot of discussion in the nonprofit sector about Millennials (a.k.a. Gen Y) and Baby Boomers and a growing interest in Gen Z a.k.a. #Philanthrokids, but almost no analysis of Generation X (aged 35-50 years). As the first generation to donate online and the generation that pioneered web design, email, blogging, and online advocacy, ignoring Gen X is a big mistake. As Gen X rebounds from the Great Recession, Gen Xers are entering their peak giving years and nonprofit fundraisers would be wise to pay more attention to how they give and why.
Posted on April 20, 2015 by Steve

From the closing plenary of the Skoll World Forum, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, spoke about The Art of Change, a new initiative that will examine the roles art and culture play in illuminating and addressing urgent issues of equity, opportunity, and justice:

This is a problem not limited to art and artists. It reveals and reinforces a societal illness — a perversion and distortion. With increasing regularity, we prioritize short-term gain over long-term good. This kind of short-termism has infected so many dimensions of our lives. Education. Health care. Development. Business. Government. It has disrupted the way our society makes decisions.
Posted on April 16, 2015 by Steve

Featured in the current Reader, an article by Jennifer C. Lena and Erin F. Johnston examines cultural engagement with global Muslim communities.

Posted on April 15, 2015 by Steve

Twenty-six performing arts institutions from across the U.S. have been selected to take part in The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability effort — a new, six-year, $52-million initiative aimed at developing practical insights into how arts organizations can successfully expand their audiences, the foundation has announced.

Posted on April 14, 2015 by Steve

Cathy Hunt, writing for The Australian Financial Review:

All those in the cultural economy experience some form of financial exclusion. As an artist, you are likely to have been supported by family or friends throughout your career and, if fortunate, to have had one small grant at some point. You’re luckier still if you’ve got through an interview at your local bank, let alone secured a loan appropriate and affordable to your circumstances. If you operate as a non-profit entity, because that is appropriate to your purpose, you will probably be unable to access a loan from a bank, let alone service one, given your limited assets and the short-term nature of any government grants you may have.

Read the full article.

Posted on April 14, 2015 by Steve

In January, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) released the results of an independent study that shows substantial gains in student achievement at schools participating in its Turnaround Arts initiative. The eight schools in the pilot phase of the initiative—showing increases in reading and math scores, as well as an increase in attendance and a decrease in suspensions—demonstrate that the program’s use of the arts is having a measurable impact on low-performing schools by increasing student engagement and narrowing the achievement gap.

Get the full report.

Posted on April 14, 2015 by Steve

From Seth Lepore, posting to HowlRound:

In order to be a successful (a word that I grapple with constantly) performing artist, you need to understand business fundamentals, and disseminating this information is crucial. How do you run a crowdfunding campaign that doesn’t make your friends block you on Facebook? How do you identify and brand (ugh… brand) your work? How do you really figure out who your audience is? How do you have a good working relationship with the press? Knowing these key aspects gives artists a leg up, not to mention more validity and credibility in a world that still views artists as quaint and a little off.
Posted on April 10, 2015 by Steve

Featured in the current Reader, an article by Terence E. McDonnell and Steven J. Tepper examines the use of metaphor to defend cultural organizations under the threat of closing.

Posted on April 9, 2015 by Steve

From Malcolm Gay at The Boston Globe:

Making good on his campaign promise that the arts will play an integral role in Boston’s future, Walsh is set to announce Thursday the details of his long-anticipated cultural planning initiative, an 18-month survey that will send teams of volunteers deep into the city’s neighborhoods, interviewing thousands of individuals and groups to try to quantify and define what Bostonians want when it comes to the city’s cultural life. The sprawling conversation, known officially as “Boston Creates,” will stretch from Brighton to South Boston, Charlestown to Hyde Park, resulting in a plan that outlines Boston’s cultural priorities and identifies ways the government can enhance the city’s creative life, setting an agenda for the next decade and beyond.
Posted on April 7, 2015 by Steve

The Ford Foundation has announced a new effort centered on the roles art and culture play in illuminating and addressing urgent issues of equity, opportunity, and justice in the U.S. and around the globe. The yearlong exploration, The Art of Change, which builds on the foundation’s decades-long interest in advancing freedom of expression, reaffirms the central importance of creativity and cultural expression to healthy societies at a time when they are increasingly under threat.

Posted on April 7, 2015 by Steve

From Peter Dreier, writing for Nonprofit Quarterly:

One hundred years ago, progressive thinkers and activists who called for women’s suffrage, an end to lynching, the right of workers to form unions, health and safety standards for workplaces, the eight-hour workday, a federal minimum wage, a progressive income tax, old-age insurance, and government-subsidized healthcare were considered impractical idealists, utopian dreamers, or dangerous socialists. Fifty years ago, those who called for women’s equality, laws protecting the environment, civil rights for gays and lesbians, and greater numbers of black and Hispanic/Latino elected officials were also considered clueless or hopelessly radical. Now we take all these ideas for granted. The radical ideas of one generation have become the common sense of the next.
Posted on April 6, 2015 by Steve

Michael Kaiser, from Huffington Post:

I recently read an article about the imminent retirement of a local government arts council executive. The article pointed out the many challenges that this executive faced over the past decade. It made me realize how difficult the 21st century has been for all of us who work in the arts.
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