Steve's blog

Lessons in Cultural Participation and Financial Sustainability

Ted Russell, Senior Program Officer at The James Irvine Foundation, has announced the release of a new report, Investing in Cultural Participation and Financial Sustainability, that evaluates the work from the Arts Regional Initiative:

In our recent posts, the Irvine Arts team has been exploring the ways nonprofits can expand arts engagement — to create meaningful experiences that bring forward the full public benefit of arts, and to also increase organizational sustainability for the future. One area that we have been particularly interested in has been finding ways to increase cultural participation and improve financial stability among arts organizations serving areas outside of major California arts centers. In 2009 we launched the second phase of the Arts Regional Initiative, a five-year partnership with 36 arts organizations in Southern California, the Central Valley, and the Central Coast. During that time, we provided $13.4 million in grants and technical assistance to support these goals. What did we learn from this work?
Open Letter from New Jerome Foundation President Ben Cameron

Ben Cameron has just taken the position of president of the Jerome and Camargo Foundations, succeeding Cindy Gehrig, who held that position for 38 years. He begins his tenure with this open letter:

As we all know, much has changed in the arts and the United States arts landscape since these Foundations were created. Just as I have encouraged every arts organization to understand the value it brings to its community in the present day—regardless of whatever value it may have offered in the past—we at the Jerome Foundation are entering a period of self-scrutiny. We will be working in 2016 to understand, not only the value our programs have had and are having, but also the current and future needs of artists and arts organizations in Minnesota and New York City. In 2017, we will both be affirming our commitment to those past programs and priorities that will continue to be critical to future artistic vibrancy and health, while making final investments in those that we no longer intend to support. We will also be introducing new grants programs and business practices later that year, with the goal of establishing a clear and full profile by the end of 2018.
NEA Announces Creativity Connects Initiative

As part of the NEA’s 50th anniversary, the agency is launching Creativity Connects, a leadership initiative intended to show how the arts contribute to the nation’s creative ecosystem while investigating the ways in which the support systems for the artists are changing and exploring how the arts can connect with other sectors that want and utilize creativity. The initiative has three components:

  • an infrastructure report that will provide an overview of the types of artistic practices and how they’re expanding, and the key resources that artists need in order to produce their best work.
  • an interactive graphic that shows the elements of the arts-based creative ecosystem in the United States
  • a pilot grant opportunity to support partnerships between arts organizations and organizations from non-arts sectors

Learn more about Creativity Connects.

Diane Rodriguez Appointed to National Council on the Arts

Diane Rodriguez, associate artistic director at the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, California was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate to be a member of the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Transforming a Landmark Into a Center for Social Justice

Ford Foundation President Darren Walker posts to Equals Change Blog:

In October, I outlined the foundation’s strategy for renewal, FordForward, and how it will affect our programs, our culture, and our assets. Today, I’d like to offer more specifics about the last of these three categories—our assets—and how we plan to deploy them to advance Ford’s mission. In my last message, I reported that our board has agreed to revisit our endowment policy. As stewards of a charitable trust, we believe it is our responsibility to undertake an investment strategy that considers the social impact of our endowment. Our board will be exploring avenues to do exactly this, and I’ll have more to report in the coming months.
Roberto Bedoya Resigns from Tucson Pima Arts Council

From Kathleen Allen at the Arizona Daily Star:

Roberto Bedoya, who oversaw the Tucson Pima Arts Council during a decade of severe funding cuts and economic turbulence, has resigned from the agency. Bedoya was executive director until August, when he was named TPAC’s director of civic engagement and Debi Chess Mabie was appointed chief executive officer, a new position.

Read the full article.

Aging and Theatre: A Call to Action

From Lynn Mullin, posting to the HowlRound blog:

I’m sure I preach to the HowlRound choir when I say that ours is an art centered on connectivity, collaboration, and empowerment. Together, through theatre, we can rewrite the story of aging. It’s all about enabling older adults to remind their communities that with age comes strength, beauty, and power. By engaging older adults in theatre — as actors/singers/dancers, directors, playwrights, storytellers, students, teachers, audiences — we can change the conversation from, “How are we going to deal with the elderly?” to, “I never imagined they could do that!” to, “What do you want to do next?”
2016 Joyce Awards Announced

Four collaborations between artists of color and cultural organizations in Chicago, Detroit and the Twin Cities have each won $50,000 from the Joyce Foundation’s annual Joyce Awards competition for 2016. The Joyce Awards is the only program supporting artists of color in major Great Lakes cities. The Chicago-based foundation has awarded $2.6 million to commission 50 new works since the annual program started in 2003. A distinctive feature of the Joyce Awards is that in addition to being new, winners’ work must include the process of engaging community members to inform and shape their art.

New from the GIA Reader: Building Financial Security amid Economic Crisis

In an article from the latest issue of GIA Reader, Martha Sloca Richards, executive director of the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, and William Vesneski of Luma Consulting, present key findings from an assessment of the foundation’s Large Arts Organization Initiative.

Governor Brown Appoints Dana Gioia as California Poet Laureate

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has appointed Dana Gioia, who served as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 to 2009, as California Poet Laureate. From the California Arts Council:

The role of the California Poet Laureate is to spread the art of poetry and creative expression from classrooms to boardrooms across the state, to inspire an emerging generation of literary artists and enthusiasts, and to educate all Californians about the many poets and authors who have influenced our great state through creative literary expression… Over the course of a two-year term, the California Poet Laureate provides public readings and engagement in urban and rural locations across the state, educates civic and state leaders about the value of poetry and creative expression, and undertakes a significant cultural project.