Steve's blog

Barry Hessenius Reports From the GIA 2015 Conference Beginnings

GIA has a pair of bloggers reporting from the Los Angeles conference. Barry Hessenius has turned in his first post with some consideration of the themes that the conference is putting forth:

It will be interesting — to me — to try to get a handle on where the funding people’s thinking is at this juncture on the financial picture and the equity equation. Most of the other issues we face are arguably offshoots of these two elephants in the room. Every funder has different priorities and ranks differently the challenges out there. There are geographic territories where the equity issue isn’t as front burner as it is elsewhere; there are communities where survivability is still manageable, relatively speaking, and communities where the available resources are increasingly obviously inadequate to do much of anything about those organizations that are living still on borrowed time. No one segment of any field agrees on everything, including the nonprofit arts sector. But over the last five years, there has been remarkable consensus on what is critical, and even on some of the nuts and bolts of how to approach these issues. More over the next three days.
Lara Davis on the Investing in Filmmakers Preconference

The GIA 2015 Conference is underway in Los Angeles. We have a pair of bloggers reporting on the proceedings. The initial post from Lara Davis, Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, covers the Investing in Filmmakers: Arts and Media preconference on Sunday:

Documentary filmmakers pursue diverse support, pulling together resources from many supporters, as the level of funding needed to bring projects to fruition is greater than any one grant they may be able to garner (notwithstanding the already limited funding for film from the philanthropic field). Additionally, budgeting and timing for projects vary. Cori Shepherd Stern, producer of Bend the Arc – which centers on global health equity and was eleven years in the making (five just to secure the rights) – puts it this way, “Some stories can happen quickly. Some are about a deep personal relationship over time, which takes more time to develop and bring to fruition.” Cara Mertes (Ford Foundation, JustFilms) posed this response to the funders in the room, “What are the places where you can leverage effectiveness at various points across an endeavor vis a vis this process of storytelling, when it can take years to complete a project?”
DeVos Institute Releases Study on Black and Latino Arts Organizations

Grantmakers in the Arts is cited regarding racial equity in arts philanthropy in this article by Mike Boehm at the Los Angeles Times:

A new national study paints a bleak economic picture of African American and Latino nonprofit museums and performing arts companies and suggests that donors may have to let weaker organizations wither so that the strongest ones can grow. Funders may need to support “a limited number of organizations,” says the report by the University of Maryland’s DeVos Institute of Arts Management, “with larger grants to a smaller cohort that can manage themselves effectively, make the best art, and have the biggest impact on their communities.”
MK Wegmann Announces Retirement from NPN

MK Wegmann has announced that she will retire from her position as President and CEO of the National Performance Network, one she has held for 15 years. The NPN board of directors have launched a national search process to have a new President/CEO in place July 1, 2016.

Read the full announcement.

Meet the 2015 MacArthur Fellows

Recognizing 24 exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future, the MacArthur Foundation has named the 2015 MacArthur Fellows. Each will receive an unrestricted stipend of $625,000, allowing recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.

Knight, Hewlett, WESTAF Launch Communications Survey

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and WESTAF are sponsoring a preliminary study on communications within the nonprofit arts field, and we invite you to participate in a simple online survey.

This study seeks information about:

  • How we communicate internally within our organizations
  • How we communicate externally within the sector
  • How we manage the growth in all communications
  • What the impact is on our organizations of that growth in communications

This survey is completely anonymous and should take 15-20 minutes to complete. The survey will close on Friday, October 16th, 2015. All responses must be submitted by 6pm EST/3pm PST.

Take the survey here.

Nathan Cummings Foundation Names Sharon Alpert President and CEO

Sharon Alpert will become the Nathan Cummings Foundation’s fourth president and first female leader, according to Adam Cummings, the foundation’s board chair. Ms. Alpert comes to the 25-year-old multi-generational family foundation from the Surdna Foundation, where, over 11 years, she rose from associate program officer to program director to her current position as the vice president of programs and strategic initiatives. She will assume her role as president and CEO of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and ex-officio member of the board of trustees, in November 2015.

Career Transition for Dancers Merges with The Actors Fund to Help Dancers Nationally

From Olivia Clement, writing for Playbill:

The services of Career Transition For Dancers will be integrated into the ongoing programs of The Actors Fund, it was announced September 21. The two non-profit human service organizations will unite in their sharing of providing programs and services to dancers and the dance community; the merger is expected to be fully integrated by the end of the year. “Career Transitions For Dancers has helped thousands of dancers over the past thirty years in taking their first steps in discovering rewarding second careers,” said CTFD chairman Emerita and former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Cynthia Gregory in a press statement.
New Art Galleries Enjoy a Los Angeles Advantage: Space

From Melena Ryzik, writing for The New York Times:

Michele Maccarone, in a flowy black jumpsuit, was striding across the cement floor of her cavernous new gallery (in Los Angeles) last week, debating where brightly colored abstract paintings by Alex Hubbard should go. “There’s just, like, this endless amount of really incredible space,” she said, as Mr. Hubbard and assistants moved the weighty frames for his solo show. At 35,000 square feet indoors, with an additional 10,000 square feet outside earmarked for a sculpture garden, the Maccarone gallery, in industrial Boyle Heights, is the length of a city block.
Kresge Foundation Commits $350 Million to Social Investments

The Kresge Foundation Board of Trustees approved an ambitious plan to invest $350 million by 2020 through the foundation’s Social Investment Practice, making clear that using a variety of investment tools is central to bringing enhanced opportunities to low-income people in America’s cities. The $350 million represents approximately 10 percent of the foundation’s corpus as of 2015. As the foundation expands its use of these types of investments, it will continue to align them with its six program areas — Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Health, Human Services and Community Development in Detroit — and make nearly $140 million in grants each year.