- Grantmakers in the Arts
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From The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation:
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have launched a new partnership called Sound Health, designed to explore the connections between music, health, and wellness. Through this partnership, both institutions will create opportunities to further understand how music affects circuitry in the brain, explore the potential for music as therapy for neurological disorders, identify future research opportunities, and create public awareness about how the brain functions and interacts with music.
The early days of the Trump Administration and the 115th Congress have already begun to impact the education policy landscape. Alex Nock of Penn Hill Group has provided a summary update for Grantmakers in the Arts on current events that impact arts education and arts funding on a federal level. These events include the confirmation of a new education secretary, changes to the regulations of the Every Student Succeeds Act, and possible budget changes.
Americans for the Arts has released a new guide, Arts Deployed: An Action Guide for Community Arts & Military Programming, for local arts organizations and artists interested in bringing creative arts programming to military and Veteran communities, their caregivers, and families. A collaboration between AFTA’s National Initiative for Arts & Health and the Military (NIAHM) and the Local Arts Advancement (LAA) department, Arts Deployed details the expansive benefits the arts have on the health and well-being of these communities and lays the groundwork for arts organizations and artists to build their own creative arts initiative for their local military and/or Veteran communities.
The arts-based nonprofit Ka Joog, serving Somali youth in Minnesota, has refused a $500,000 federal grant from the Countering Violent Extremism program of the Department of Homeland Security in response to the Trump administration's recent immigration restrictions. Executive Director Mohamed Farah, who was featured as an IDEA LAB arts leader at the 2016 GIA Conference, stated that the grant was declined on principle and believes that Somali and Muslim communities are being unfairly targeted by government policies.
The California Arts Council has announced that Director Craig Watson will step down from his role with the agency effective April 2017. As director of the California Arts Council since August 2011, Watson has been responsible for the leadership and oversight leading to the substantial growth and renewal of California's state arts agency. Under Watson's leadership, the budget of the California Arts Council increased from just $5 million in 2011 to nearly $25 million in 2017.
Laura Zucker, executive director of Los Angeles County Arts Commission and current GIA board member, was recently interviewed alongside Romina Boccia of The Heritage Foundation about the motivations and potential impacts of eliminating federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The proposal for these cuts was developed by The Heritage Foundation, which is currently advising the Trump administration’s budgetary decisions. The interview discusses The Heritage Foundation's reasoning for proposing these cuts, the role of federal funding in the arts and public media, and how the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors might respond.
The most-read article in the GIA Library last year, “What Is Civil Society?,” outlines the defining characteristics and necessary conditions of civil society: nonprofits, individual rights, the common good, rule of law, philanthropy, free expression, and tolerance. Written by Scholar and former GIA Board member Bruce Sievers in 2009, the article explores how these seven qualities interact within society and the democratic process. The GIA Library contains an extensive collection of articles, research reports, and other resources covering a wide variety of topics relevant to the arts and arts funding.
Recent research published by Barry Hessenius provides an overview of state arts advocacy in the US. "This scan sought to identify which states were organizationally active on the advocacy stage, the assets each state had to carry out its advocacy mission, which states were only minimally equipped to be effective advocates, and which states currently had no real operational advocacy organization." The characteristics evaluated included staffing, funding sources, communications, major initiatives launched, local political climate, and more.
On her blog, Better Together, Grantmakers in the Arts President & CEO Janet Brown offers a moment of reflection and encouragement for arts funders in this time of transition: “In times of change and instability, there is also opportunity — opportunity to defend our values and more deeply assess whether those values are being implemented in our practice. A challenge lies in determining how our voices are used and to what end.”