Steve's blog

Living Into The Questions

Arlene Goldbard starts an ARTSblog salon on the topic of the aesthetics of social justice art:

The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers. — James Baldwin

Baldwin’s epigram reminds us that to thrive, we must be able to see through imposed realities and prefab solutions. We may be tempted to seek definitive answers, but what we really need now is to live into the questions.

Foundation Support Is Crucial in Plan to Save Detroit’s Art and Pensions

From Drew Lindsay, writing for The Chronicle of Philanthropy:

A federal bankruptcy judge (last week) approved a financial reorganization plan for Detroit that relies on nearly a half-billion dollars in philanthropic support to shore up the city’s pension system, protect its world-class art museum, and help lift the city from insolvency. As Detroit emerges from what is America’s largest municipal bankruptcy, some big names in philanthropy will now put their dollars to work in unprecedented fashion — providing a cash infusion to a government pension system. Ten foundations — including the national giants Ford and the John S. and James L. Knight foundations — are moving forward on their pledges to contribute $366-million over 20 years to an $816-million fund that will help the city pay the pensions of its workers and retirees.
Getty Foundation Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary

Over the past 30 years the Getty Foundation, which began as the Getty Grant Program, has continued to shape its grantmaking to respond to the evolving needs of the field. Since 2009 the Foundation has awarded grants primarily through strategic initiatives. Highlights of grants from all 30 years are the Foundation’s anniversary map, which underscores the geographic range of projects. Additional information can be found on the Foundation’s website.

What the Election Means

Barry Hessenius at Westaf has followed last week’s pre-election analysis with a new post on the elections outcomes:

What the election means in a negative sense for the arts is the elevation of a number of those whose position is that the arts should not be supported by government. That, I categorically oppose, and think its in all of our interests to oppose. I certainly don’t want to give them ammunition of the sort that suggests the Endowment is not a priority issue for the arts, or that its existence and health does not have a major impact on the arts in America. Why do that?
Dollar Bank Sells August Wilson Center to Three Pittsburgh Foundations

From Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Two days after being sold unceremoniously at sheriff’s sale, the August Wilson Center for African American Culture ended up in the hands of three local foundations, its future seemingly secure for the first time in at least a year. Monday’s high drama gave way Wednesday to the ending most had been expecting — with the Pittsburgh Foundation, the Heinz Endowments and the Richard King Mellon Foundation taking control of the Downtown real estate with the intent of preserving the center’s mission as a focal point for African American art and culture.
Nonprofits: Ban These Phrases from Your Vocabulary

GuideStar, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Navigator don't ever want to hear you say these words again:

“Only X% of your gift goes to overhead.” OR
“Only X cents on the dollar go to overhead costs.”

Why? Because you do both your organization and your donors a great disservice when you focus on overhead as the key indicator of your worthiness to receive donations.

U.S. Foundation Giving Reaches an Estimated $54.7 Billion in 2013

According to the new edition of Foundation Center’s Key Facts on U.S. Foundations, the country's 86,192 foundations held $715 billion in assets and distributed a record $52 billion in 2012. This annual research study estimates 2013 giving at $54.7 billion and the outlook for 2014 is for growth to continue ahead of inflation, with independent and family foundations growing at a higher rate than other types of foundations.

Among the key findings in the report:

  • In 2012, New York State led the nation in overall foundation giving ($8.7 billion).
  • California organizations ranked first in the amount of grant dollars received from the largest U.S. foundations ($2.4 billion).
  • The Switzerland-based World Health Organization was the top recipient of international grant dollars in 2012.
Dollar Bank buys August Wilson Center for $1,912.50

From Daniel Moore, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Although the deal seemed to put an end to a tumultuous five years of financial hardship for the center since its grand opening, the center’s ultimate fate remained unclear. In particular, the sale continued the uncertainty for those who have advocated to maintain the property as a hub of African-American culture and arts. For months, local leaders have expressed support for a deal in which the center would end up in the hands of three Pittsburgh foundations: the Heinz Endowments, the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Richard King Mellon Foundation. The foundations have stated their intent to continue operations of the center as a hub of African-American arts and culture.
NYC Arts Funders Create Fund to Advance Cultural Policy and Equity

Five foundations are pooling close to a million dollars to create the New York City Cultural Agenda Fund to strengthen the City’s arts advocacy network, develop a cohesive agenda for cultural policy, and promote equity within the sector. Under the combined leadership of the Booth Ferris, Lambent, and Robert Rauschenberg foundations, The New York Community Trust, and the David Rockefeller Fund, the NYC Cultural Agenda Fund is expected to make grants of more than $700,000 over the next 18 months. Additional funders are encouraged to join.

Story/Time: Bill T. Jones on John Cage

Former GIA Board member John Killacky posts to The Green Room, a blog from Walker Art Center in Minneapolis:

Three decades ago, choreographer Bill T. Jones jolted the New York dance scene. Bucking the prevailing stripped-down postmodernism, he and his partner Arnie Zane created sensational dances collaborating with composers, fashion designers, and visual artists. A new queer aesthetic emerged that was anything but minimalistic.