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Lara Davis: Tuesday Conference Report

GIA 2015 Conference blogger Lara Davis shares her notes from Tuesday at the Los Angeles Conference:

Tuesday morning’s Idea Lab of artists was on point, my people. I was particularly struck by Rosten Woo, who in a nutshell, produces communication art. Putting “interpretation” at the center of his work, he creates things like aesthetically-designed and clearly legible pamphlets on zoning so that street vendors know their rights, and glossies that highlight art and cultural occurrences in neighborhoods that, “due to racism, or the mere fact it takes place in someone’s backyard,” are not recognized as cultural staple within a community. I’m a fan. crystal am nelson’s visual and spoken artwork was stunning, and affirming. It invokes “historical trauma combined with pleasure as complicity”, naming society’s collective involvement in the violence and de-humanization of the Black body. This is a mirror we need right now.
Barry Hessenius Reports on Tuesday at the GIA 2015 Conference

The latest post from Barry Hessenius covers his notes from the second day of the Los Angeles Conference.

The major afternoon sessions were three hour offsite. I choose to attend the Digital Media for Arts Grantmakers session, focusing on the need for grantmakers to learn to deploy digital media to reach and engage audiences and to become fluent in digital capabilities and tools. Takeaways:
  • Have an articulated game plan, informed by the organization’s overall vision strategy
  • Build capabilities, don’t just do projects. Technology is not a project but a process
  • Shake up the organization chart with an integration of digital competency positions, including training
  • Put audiences first and be prepared for constant change.
  • This is, of course, a big, complex area where many arts leaders feel lost and / or incompetent and there are numerous obstacles to embracing full digital knowledge. But as the generational shifts become more urgent, so too is the necessity of overcoming reticence and fears to understand the basics of IT and appreciate the rapidity of change as a constant.

Read the full post.

Barry Hessenius: GIA Conference Monday Report

Barry Hessenius checks in with his observations on the first day of the Los Angeles Conference:

The first day of any of our art conferences seem to always be the longest. Janet Brown opened the conference with the reminder that the three operating principles of GIA continue to be: Inclusiveness, Collaboration, and Curiosity. Recent GIA Conferences have featured Idea Lab — short Ted like presentations by a trio of different working artists. The first three were all excellent. The one that caught my attention was Yuval Sharon, founder and artistic director of The Industry, an L.A. based experimental opera company that produces performances that can only be categorized as way outside the box. He touted three
Lara Davis: GIA 2015 Conference, Day 1

GIA conference blogger Lara Davis checks in after her first day of the GIA 2015 Conference in Los Angeles:

Day 1 of the main conference has been pretty spectacular. The opening plenary inspired with three local artist presentations centering cultural organizing, innovation, and love. The sessions themselves were brilliant – a confluence of ideas and grappling with critical issues that the philanthropic community must consider, unpack and engage through action and accountability. In particular, the session on Cultural Equity and Public Funding framed the evolving work of funding agencies amidst changing demographics in the US. These changes reflect impacts on housing, law enforcement, education, and even electoral politics – all compounded by economic gaps impacting communities of color. This is an environment, which calls the field to task, to position arts and culture as a space of creativity and possibility through problem-solving, collaboration, and community leadership.
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.