In a recent blog post, Barry Hessenius offers thoughts on GIA’s geographic and leadership transition:
At the closing plenary of the 2017 GIA Conference, Rip Rapson spoke on how The Kresge Foundation has reasserted its values and called on arts funders and cultural workers to continue to put their own values into action.
For the months of November and December, GIA’s photo banner features work and artists supported by Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC). Established in 1968, and funded annually by the Mississippi Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, and private funds, MAC provides grants, technical assistance, consultation, and networking to artists, arts organizations, and institutions providing arts education throughout the state.
Lara Davis reports from day 2 of the 2017 GIA Conference:
During the conversation, some key questions rise to the surface. We land on – what are you willing to risk for justice through your work and the philanthropic field? We stay here for some time. You see, we recognize that things like race and social positionality (i.e., where you rank in organizational hierarchy) have bearing on whether we act or remain inert. Formal power is always present in these spaces. So, are personal agency, and the potential for collective power.
In any case, this little question worm makes its way into my conscience like a red wiggler in a compost bin (which I assure you, is a good thing) and stays with me throughout the day’s journey.
Conference blogger Lara Davis reports on day 1 of the 2017 GIA Conference.
If you didn’t already know, the Idea Lab is hands down my favorite thing about GIA Conferences. (If there’s any doubt, just see my previous conference blog posts.) No shade to the sessions, which undoubtedly convene a stellar array of peoples and perspectives, creating space for needed critical learning and dialog. The morning blessing that is the Idea Lab, though, situates us all in an artist-centered, artist-led ecology.
So, Detroit artists are woke AF. But, you already knew. Home grown brilliance all around. And, they ain’t playing. Their call to action is like no other – as unique as the city that was home to revolutionary activist Grace Lee Boggs, and that spawned Motown and Techno music. This morning’s plenary ushered in the likes of Taylor Renee Aldridge whose work as a writer and curator exists in “direct response to the misnomers that do not consider Black people.” Accompanied by a masked drummer, Bryce Detroit brought a Detroit-style Afrocentric essence to the stage, speaking on “actualizing justice” as anathema to the idea of funders who parachute resources into a community without context, relationship or an understanding of a people’s readiness in the face persistent injustice. Jenny Lee, Allied Media Conference’s fearless leader, organizes through a confluence of arts/culture/community. I literally get chills when I watch AMC’s promo video including artists and organizers that are POC, indigenous, Muslim, intergenerational, intersectional… the list goes so beautifully on. Swoon!
Conference blogger Lara Davis reports on the 2017 GIA Preconference.
This proverb, popularized by South African disability and youth activists, served as the introductory frame for the daylong precon, Racial Equity in Arts Philanthropy. These words were presented by facilitators as a challenge to the ways in which institutions may approach racial equity. (Think, colonialism. Think, the opposite of liberatory practices.) It set the tone outright for a conversation and exploration of racial inequity in art philanthropy that is at once structural and foundational to how a nation built upon racialized capitalism, i.e., genocide and slavery, operates.
So then, what is the real opportunity for racial equity within this context? The answer to that question is fundamentally rooted in both understanding the historic and persistent role arts philanthropy plays in maintaining racial inequity, and actively working to dismantle the racism rampant within and perpetrated by the field – by shifting power (money, resources, etc.) to ALAANA communities. A mouthful, I know. I’ll let these words by the wonderfully smart and funny Vu Le (Nonprofit AF) state it more succinctly.
Grantmakers in the Arts is relocating its offices to New York City in January, 2018 and is seeking to hire several staff positions. Under the leadership of Eddie Torres, president & CEO, GIA will begin reviewing applications on November 17 and all positions will remain open until filled. View all open positions.
In “Detroit Imagines Itself: Art of the Ex-industrial,” Detroit-based writer Sarah Rose Sharp offers a thoughtful overview of the history, strengths, and challenges of the city’s vibrant arts community.
The Wallace Foundation is publishing a series of market research reports to support efforts to improve attendance and audience engagement at arts institutions around the country. As reported by Nonprofit Quarterly:
Bringing the total state budget allocation for arts and cultural programs up to $10.7 million signals a recognition by state lawmakers of the importance of events and programming such as music festivals and art centers — and of the arts in schools across Michigan, according to industry sources.
“The state legislature and Gov. Snyder’s administration have been very good to us,” said John Bracey, executive director of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA). “In 2010, we were only granted $1.7 million and we were on the brink of elimination. From that time, we’ve gotten a few increases here and there and leveled out at that $9.7 million level.”