Steve's blog

Most Americans Aren’t “Efficient” Philanthropists, a Good Thing

From William Schambra, in The Washington Post:

Effective altruists seem to believe that the sole purpose of charity is to eliminate human suffering, as efficiently as is possible. But in fact, charity is far more than that: it is the heart and soul of human community, the way that people gather and minister to the emotional, spiritual, and material needs of their neighbors. By ignoring this role, the effective altruist movement threatens the very foundation of compassionate generosity.
New from the GIA Reader: Enriching the Arts through International Cultural Exchange

Enriching the Arts through International Cultural Exchange is an article written by Guiomar Ochoa and Michael Orlove from the National Endowment for the Arts, who look at the work being done through the NEA’s International Activities office.

Colorado Arts Groups Take Sides In Battle Over Millions in Funding

By Ray Mark Rinaldi, writing for The Denver Post:

Front Range arts groups have begun squaring off heatedly over how to divide the millions of dollars in tax subsidies that come their way each year, especially as estimates show the pot could grow to $87 million annually. No one in the cultural community wanted to see a noisy fight erupt over the money. The theaters and history museums, dance companies, classical quartets and galleries all feared an ugly battle would leave a bad taste in the mouths of voters who they are counting on to reauthorize their funding for a third, 10-year period in 2016.
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Among Recipients of 2014 National Medals of Arts

President Barack Obama will present the 2014 National Medals of Arts in conjunction with the National Humanities Medals on Thursday, September 10, 2015, at 3pm EDT/noon PDT in an East Room ceremony at the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama will attend. The event will be live streamed at Among those listed is the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, who is honored “for supporting creative expression across the country. With generosity and a bold commitment to artistic risk, this foundation has helped artists, musicians, dancers, and actors share their talents, enriching the cultural life of our Nation.”

Part of Your World: On the Arts and Wellbeing

The latest feature article from the folks at Createquity looks at how the arts contributes broadly to our wellbeing:

For all our never-ending debates about how and whether to measure the impact of the arts, our field may be well poised to contribute to this complex but fascinating dialogue that spans so many disciplines and decades. After all, if anyone is accustomed to making value judgments within an environment that resists quantification, it’s us! Committing to that conversation could open new doors as we contribute to a broader, shared understanding of human progress without having to downplay some of the arts’ more unique, intrinsic contributions. Entering those doors, however, will require leaving the arts cheerleading that many of us are accustomed to at the coat check. It will require contemplating what it looks like to offer the freedom to participate in arts and culture while simultaneously honoring those who decline the invitation.
NEA Webinar Examines Music Therapy, Music Listening, and the Cancer Experience

On Wednesday, September 16, 3pm EDT/noon PDT, the National Endowment for the Arts Task Force on the Arts and Human Development will hold a public webinar to cover some recent innovations in healthcare. Presenters include American Music Therapy Association Executive Director Dr. Andi Farbman, and music therapy researchers Dr. Debra Burns and Dr. Sheri L. Robb. The webinar will also feature Dr. Nolan Gasser, who, alongside his role as chief musicologist for Pandora, is working with Memorial Sloan-Kettering on an algorithm to match musical repertoires to the tastes of individuals who are being treated for cancer, with the aim of allaying their symptoms.

Research Center for Arts and Culture Will Join The Actors Fund to Extend Legacy

The Research Center for Arts and Culture (RCAC) — which provides data, information and programming in service of artists and the arts — is joining The Actors Fund in New York City to create The Legacy Project. It will continue its Art Cart project to assist older visual artists in documenting their work and develop a prototype for performing artists to do the same. The RCAC has spent the last four years at the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) in Washington, D.C.

Open Circle Foundation Documents Learned Lessons as Foundation Prepares to Close

As the Open Circle Foundation begins the process of closing down after 15 years connecting artists and communities in the creation of public artworks focused on social and environmental justice, the foundation has documented the impact and thinking behind their work through a monograph. Trusting What we don’t know: Lessons from an Experiment in Art, Environment and Philanthropy in California’s East Bay is authored by Dr. Maribel L Alverez.

New from the GIA Reader: The Creative Social Enterprise: An Impact Investment

Rodney Trapp, from the George H. Heyman, Jr., Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising and New York University, looks at ways we can embrace market-driven strategies for impact investment in a creative economy in The Creative Social Enterprise: An Impact Investment.

Arizona Commission on the Arts Launches Creative Aging Initiative

The Arizona Commission on the Arts has launched an initiative to build a local creative aging infrastructure that improves quality of life for older adults. A $225,000 grant (over three years) from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust will help the Arts Commission implement AZ Creative Aging, a comprehensive plan that trains artists, supports the development of high-quality arts programs for older adults, and embeds creative aging knowledge and best practices in the community. Dr. Gay Hanna, executive director of the National Center for Creative Aging, said the initiative’s level of private financial support coupled with the public policy commitment supporting creative programming for older adults is like nothing else in the nation.