Blogs

Making Arts Policy a Priority

From the editorial page of The Boston Globe:

Despite the boilerplate campaign rhetoric of “I support the arts!,” when hard times hit, and austerity is called for, arts are the first thing to go. Nowhere is that more evident than in the budget for the Massachusetts Cultural Council — the state agency charged with supporting artists and arts organizations — where the funding dropped by more than half, from $27 million in 1988 to $12 million in 2014. Recently, the dial has begun to move in the other direction. The Legislature opposed further cuts to the council’s budget in 2014 by actually giving it a slight increase. And Governor Deval Patrick tripled the Cultural Facilities Fund — which supports the maintenance and repair of arts venues — from $5 million to $15 million. Meanwhile, it would be nice to get the council’s budget up to at least what it was 10 years ago.
The Wall: How the Arts Can Improve Aging

Aroha Philanthropies prepared this video to advocate for the arts as a means for a more fulfilling and vital aging process.

Work in Detroit Doesn't End with Grand Bargain

Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, writing for Detroit Free Press:

This past June, I found myself sitting, awestruck, in the Rivera Court of the Detroit Institute of Arts. The court is named after Rivera for his breathtaking “Detroit Industry” frescoes that line the walls — a gift from Edsel Ford to the people of Detroit back in 1932.
Private Foundations Show Strong Recovery since the Great Recession

Foundation Source released a new report, Trends in Private Foundation Investment, on Friday showing that private foundations have overall experienced a strong recovery (up 48%) in asset balances since 2008. The report also finds that endowment gains differ between mid-sized to large foundations ($10M+) and smaller foundations (less than $1M). Assets of the larger foundations showed strong gains while small foundations' assets remained flat likely due to differing distribution behaviors.

Keep Financial Statements Simple

GuideStar has a new post on its blog from Bo Garner, a CPA on the Not-for-Profit team at PBMares, LLP on the subject of simplifying financial statements. Reading it reminds us of the excellent Web Conference presented back in April of 2011 by Rodney Christopher of Nonprofit Finance Fund.

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.

Recent USDA Data Show How Creative Class Economies Are (or Are Not) Recovering in Rural Counties

Combining data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) Creative Class County Codes and the Census Bureau's 2007-11 American Community Survey, Tim Wojan of the USDA ERS reports comparative data on the economic resilience of creative class workers in metro vs. non-metro counties.

From Wojan:

Creative class counties were more likely to be classified as resilient than their non-creative class peers. That is, a higher share of creative class counties gained employment in recovery after losing employment in recession. However, the percentage of metro counties classified as resilient was higher than the percentage of nonmetro counties, irrespective of creative class status.

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?