Note: Grantmakers in the Arts hosted an extensive online discussion around the ideas presented in the report. Visit the Online Forum on Equity in Arts Funding to see that discussion.
Every year, approximately 11 percent of foundation giving–about $2.3 billion in 2009–is awarded to nonprofit arts and cultural institutions. The distribution of these funds is demonstrably out of balance with our evolving cultural landscape and with the changing demographics of our communities. Current arts grantmaking disregards large segments of cultural practice, and by doing so, it disregards large segments of our society.
A growing number of artists and cultural groups are working in artistic traditions from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Rim, as well as in new technology-based and hybrid forms. They are using the arts in increasingly diverse ways to engage and build communities and address the root causes of persistent societal problems, including issues of economic, educational and environmental injustice as well as inequities in civil and human rights.
This report makes the case for changing arts and culture funding strategies. It suggests ways that all funders of the arts–regardless of their primary focus–can move toward more inclusive and responsive grantmaking.
This report is a call for funders to reflect on their policies and practices in light of demographic, aesthetic and economic trends. It is also an invitation to engage in a fresh field-wide conversation about the purpose and relevance of philanthropy in the arts today. We hope the result of this reflection and discussion will be a more inclusive and dynamic cultural sector and, through the arts, a more equitable, fair and democratic world.