The blogesphere and pressophere (I made that word up) lit up on Monday, October 10 with the release of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy’s (NCRP) essay on private foundation arts funding to marginalized communities.
The arts blogosphere is a buzz with news about ArtPlace America, a new nonprofit regranting organization funded by several major foundations, in partnership with commercial financial institutions, and involving seven government agencies. Add the Nonprofit Finance Fund in the mix as fiscal management and you have a pretty complex new initiative.
Equity is a complex topic with many interpretations. We are talking a great deal about it these days at Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA.) It is a major theme of the upcoming GIA conference in San Francisco, the focus of a new publication by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) for which GIA served in an advisory capacity, the topic of several articles in our upcoming Reader and the subject of a GIA Thought Leader Forum.
This is a nicely written piece reminding us of the great work of the Lower Manhattan Arts Council and the many artists who created in their space in the World Trade Center. An entire country grieved for those lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and as is always the case, we came together through music, photographs, poems, drawings, and other art forms that could express that grief when words were not enough.
This is a blog about two very different topics: Hurricane Irene and Barry’s Blog. Hurricane Irene kept my attention this past weekend. In fact, at one point I put 9-volt batteries and candles on my shopping list. And I live in Seattle.
Sometimes the very ingredients that offered success in one political and economic climate become liabilities or less successful when politics and economics change. That’s what’s happened in the arts at the federal policy level. Fifty years ago, America was feeling pretty damn good about itself, post WWII boom had occurred, industry was skyrocketing and we were going to the moon. If we could do that, we, as a society, could do anything. This was the political outlook on American life in the early 60s.
Watching the local news recently, there was an article about public art funding being in jeopardy in the state of Washington. The reporter ended the story by implying the big losers here would be the artists who have received funds from the program. This was a reminder to me of how we are losing the public relations war about the importance of the arts in our lives and communities. Actually, it is not the artists who are the big losers (although they are one loser). It is all the people who live and visit the state of Washington.
I’ve been to many conferences in my life. Too many really to even begin to count them. I am always astonished by how much energy they give me (and it’s not just the cookies and candy in the afternoon.) Just recently, I attended TCG in Los Angeles and Chorus America in San Francisco. There is something truly magical about being in a place filled with people who know what you know, speak what you speak and treasure what you treasure. It is a sense of community, of understanding and of empathy.
Last week I had the privilege to speak about our National Capitalization Project at two very vibrant, national conferences. I was fortunate to present with GIA members Janet Sarbaugh, the Heinz Endowments at Chorus America in San Francisco and Ben Cameron, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, at TCG in Los Angeles.
Late last week, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback line item vetoed appropriations for the Kansas Arts Commission in the 2012 state budget. KAC staff has already been given pink slips. Unless the Legislature over-rides this veto, which is not likely based on what I’ve read, Kansas will be the first state to eliminate its state arts agency since the inception of these offices in every state in the late 60’s.