Blogs

Executive Director of Walter & Elise Haas Fund to Step Down

The board of trustees of the Walter & Elise Haas Fund has announced that Executive Director Pam David will step down at the end of 2017, bringing her successful 15-year tenure to a close. During her stewardship, the vision and legacy of Walter and Elise Haas was enhanced and expanded for a new generation of trustees and residents of the continually evolving Bay Area.

New from the GIA Reader: Reflections from an Art and Social Justice Funder

In the latest issue of the GIA Reader, Elizabeth Méndez Berry recounts a panel discussion of artists using the power of narrative to create social change. “Telling New Stories: Reflections from an Art and Social Justice Funder” considers how the work of arts and social justice can be expanded and encourages funders to investigate their role in this process.

Darren Walker: The Arts Are Not Just a “Special Interest”

Ford Foundation President Darren Walker has recently published an op-ed on The Hill in support of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities:

Of course, there is something at stake here much greater than the economic impact of public support for the arts. In a time of discordant political discourse — of competing, conflicting ideas of our shared future — the arts open our hearts and our minds, build empathy among us, and reconnect us with the human experience we all share. They are no special interest; they are a national interest that strengthens who we are.
Can Programs that Help the Military Save the Federal Arts Agencies?

A recent article in The New York Times highlights some of the art therapy programs funded by the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities which serve veterans and their families. Given government support of veterans services, the article discusses how the success of these programs might influence conversations and decisions surrounding continuing funding for the endowments:

The fate of projects like the Warrior Chorus is likely to be determined in key congressional appropriations committees as they consider whether the two endowments should be funded, and at what level. In the past, lawmakers have cited the military and veterans’ programs when justifying budget increases for the endowments, which now each receive roughly $148 million.
Vermont Arts Council Executive Director to Step Down

The Vermont Arts Council announced that Executive Director Alex Aldrich will step down on April 14 after more than 20 years leading the nation’s only nonprofit state arts agency. They have hired an interim executive director, Teri Bordenave, who will oversee day-to-day activities as well as assist in a national search for a new executive director.

Mellon President Earl Lewis Pens Op-Ed in Support of NEA and NEH

An op-ed by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation President Earl Lewis discusses the unique role that the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities play in funding arts and culture initiatives across the country. Lewis highlights ways the Endowments have enriched society and filled a niche in the funding arena – supporting programs in underfunded rural areas, lending “validation” to projects that may have otherwise been overlooked by private philanthropy, supporting veterans’ programs, leveraging public-private partnerships, and providing resources beyond what may be available on a state government level.

New from the GIA Reader: GIA’s Annual Arts Funding Snapshot

The latest issue of the GIA Reader features our annual Arts Funding Snapshot, an overview of national arts funding by the numbers. The snapshot includes “Foundation Grants to Arts and Culture, 2014,” based on the most recent completed year of Foundation Center data, and “Government Funding for the Arts, 2016,” prepared by the National Assembly of State Art Agencies (NASAA). Findings of these two reports will be presented in our March webinar.

Pop Culture Collaborative Announces New Leadership Team

The Pop Culture Collaborative, a recent initiative founded by Unbound Philanthropy, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, and General Service Foundation, has announced its new leadership staff. The Collaborative aims to advance “the combined power of the entertainment, philanthropic, and social justice sectors to use pop culture strategies to create transformative change in the world.”

Vickie Benson on Why Our Communities Need the NEA

In a new blog post at The McKnight Foundation, Arts Program Director Vickie Benson makes the case that the National Endowment for the Arts continues to illuminate the power of the arts, and that our communities are better off because of their work:

I’ve seen the fierce battles over these arts and cultural agencies play out before. I had a front row seat during my tenure as a program specialist at the NEA in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The critical difference is that the arts sector is in a better position now than it has ever been before in its ability to explain the value of these agencies and the work they support. Because of intentional strategies to support independent, large-scale research, the arts sector has far-reaching and deep data that we didn’t have twenty-five years ago.
NASAA: “Eliminating the NEA would hurt every state in our nation”

In a statement today, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) argues that “eliminating the NEA would hurt every state in our nation.” The statement outlines the national impacts of eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts, and NASAA has voiced its resolve “to sustain the NEA and ensure that its important work continues.” Grantmakers in the Arts is committed to working with NASAA, Americans for the Arts, and other national partners to support the NEA.