Steve's blog

Member Spotlight on Sustainable Arts Foundation

For the month of April, our photo banner will feature work from the Sustainable Arts Foundation. This foundation takes on the mission of supporting artists and writers with children. Recognizing that immersion into one’s art can be a real luxury in the context of a family, Sustainable Arts Foundation seeks to help parents continue their creative lives.

The Sustainable Arts Foundation has just completed year two of its pilot residency grant program. This program was designed to challenge artist residencies to make their opportunities more available to parent artists and writers. It is particularly impressed by the range of organizations in this second round: It has offered grants to 16 residency programs in 12 different states supporting a wide range of disciplines in both rural and urban environments.

NEA Announces New Research on Arts Employment

Keeping My Day Job: Identifying U.S. Workers Who Have Dual Careers As Artists is the third installment in the National Endowment for the Arts’ Arts Data Profiles, an online resource offering facts and figures from large, national datasets about the arts, along with instructions for their use. Arts Data Profile #3 reports on employment statistics for U.S. workers who name “artist” as their primary or secondary job.

Barry Hessenius Interviews Judi Jennings

Sunday's post to Barry's Blog is an interview with Judi Jennings, Executive Director of the Kentucky Foundation for Women, a private, independent philanthropy supporting feminist art for social change. Jennings recently announced her retirement plans.

Read the full interview.

The Faces of the Future: An Assessment of California’s Next Generation Arts Leadership Initiative

The Next Gen Arts Leadership Initiative was jointly established by the James Irvine Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to promote the leadership development of younger arts professionals (aged 20 to 35) in California’s arts community. Initially planned in 2009, and launched in 2010, the initiative includes four formal emerging arts leader Networks in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley, as well as statewide regranting programs (managed by the Center for Cultural Innovation) to support professional development scholarships and innovative organizational practices. This assessment, The Faces of the Future: An Assessment of California’s Next Generation Arts Leadership Initiative, employed web-based surveys of participants in Network activities, as well as interviews with Network leaders, Innovation grantees, and outside experts in the area of nonprofit leadership development with a focus in the arts. It shows that the Initiative has been successful in achieving its early implementation goals.

Ovation Network Announces National Arts Initiative: “Stand For The Arts”

At the Americans for the Arts Action Fund reception held recently in Washington, D.C. for participants of Arts Advocacy Day, Sonia Tower, SVP of Corporate Relations for Ovation and President of the Ovation Foundation, announced the launch of a new national initiative called Stand For The Arts. Designed to raise awareness, protect access, and encourage action on behalf of the arts, the initiative is designed to be an online community. Stand For The Arts will periodically recognize publicly-funded arts organizations, agencies, and institutions as its official causes.

Artivate Seeks Submissions for Summer Edition

Artivate: A journal of entrepreneurship in the arts has put out a call for submissions for the Summer 2014 issue of the biannual online publication. Deadline for submission is March 31. Artivate is a peer-reviewed online publication for an academic and practitioner audience. Editorial board members are affiliated with universities, foundations, and arts services organizations on three continents.

Boston Looking for an Arts Commissioner

The City of Boston is looking for an Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner, a position that would report directly to the Mayor. For the first time in twenty years, the Commissioner will be a Cabinet-level position. Boston residency is required. View the position details here.

Thinking on Scaling Impact: Evidence Is Not Enough

Heron Fellow Rodney Christopher asks philanthropists and nonprofits: Are we focusing enough on enterprise when we seek to increase the impact of evidence-based programs?

Critics argue that nonprofit health is not the point, social impact is. But in my work, I am finding that an opportunity—I dare say an imperative—exists for philanthropy and nonprofits to discuss proactively and openly the importance of enterprise success in addition to the importance of evidence of programmatic success.
New Worlds Open at the Artist’s Easel

From John Hanc, writing for the New York Times:

The idea of painters and sculptors working late into life is not new. “Artists don’t generally retire from the work,” said Gay Hanna, executive director of the National Center for Creative Aging in Washington, a nonprofit organization that promotes creative arts programs for older people and is affiliated with George Washington University’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences. One example is Claude Monet, who painted some of his best-known works when he was in his 80s and had cataracts.
SphinxCon Video Available Online

Sphinx recently held its second annual SphinxCon, a convening on diversity in the performing arts, February 21-23. The event featured nearly 30 speakers who discussed solutions to different challenges to diversity in their field. Videos of the sessions are online at