(12-6-2010) After the news coming out of the National Portrait Gallery this past week, a few quotes come to mind: “This is like deja vu all over again” (Yogi Berra) and “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (an oft misquoted quote from George Santayana.)
(11-30-10) Pam Korza and Barbara Schaffer Bacon have collaborated once again to produce a resource for funders, artists and arts groups concerned about how the arts intersect and influence social change. The report entitled Trend or Tipping Point: Arts and Social Change Grantmaking is published by Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, for which Barbara and Pam have labored for the past decade.
(11-8-2010) At the GIA annual conference in Chicago, we rolled out the work we’ve done so far on capitalization. Capitalization is defined as financial, human and physical resources that lead to the fulfillment of an organization’s mission. This has been a yearlong journey that started initially as a discussion between national foundations. It quickly became evident that Grantmakers in the Arts had a responsibility to share the research, literature review and thoughtful conversations about the financial stability of the nonprofit arts sector.
This weekend I had the great privilege to talk with current and past board members and staff of Artist Trust, an organization that supports individual artists in Washington. Led by Fidelma McGinn, this is one of several organizations in the country running stellar grantmaking and service programs for artists. In addition to a great group of people, they met in Snohomish, WA, a small town surrounded by mountains with a river running through it.
(09-21-10) Grantmakers in the arts will gather in Chicago, October 17-20 for their annual conference. This is actually the organization’s 25th conference. It is my second. The first eleven or so were put together solely by members (in the grass roots tradition) without staff. Anne Focke, my predecessor and GIA staff managed the next ten years.
(9-8-2010) Although I was flattered and my kids wrote they were proud of me on their Facebook pages (this is the greatest accomplishment for parents these days), I had to smile at the irony of Barry’s Blog about the 2010 most influential nonprofit arts administrators. Most of the top ten folks work for national organizations or have national agendas or constituencies.
(08-24-10) There is a lot of talk these days about “capacity”… capacity building, capacity funding etc. At a meeting of funders in Seattle that included grantmakers from every sector, everyone was talking about building capacity for nonprofit organizations as part of their funding programs from human services to the arts. It certainly is at the core of effective organizational management. Does the organization have the capacity to implement the project? Is capacity strong in human resources, fund development, operating reserves, program management and technical expertise?
(08-17-10) I just finished teaching a two-week (five hour a day) course in public policy and the arts to 10 very bright non-trad students getting their Masters of Arts in Arts Administration from Goucher College, Baltimore.
(7-20-10) This week, Grantmakers in the Arts launches its registration site for our 2010 conference in Chicago, October 17-20. This has made me think more about being “better together” and the possibilities for positive change when a community of practice meets to discuss their challenges and successes.
In much of what I’m involved with these days from discussions of improving arts education and the under-capitalization of the nonprofit world to increasing the value of the arts for average Americans, the word consensus keeps coming up. Mostly it comes up and then, like a hot potato, it gets thrown out. It’s a word that we’re hesitant to use as funders. Why is that? I have a couple of theories. Firstly, we in the arts want to be pretty open to all voices and respectful of one another’s uniqueness. This is a good thing.