Blogs

AFTA Publishes Directory of Arts Resources for Service Members and Veterans

Americans for the Arts, as part of its National Initiative for Arts and Health in the Military, has published a national directory of arts-related programs, services, and resources for military service members, veterans, and their families. The directory includes state-by-state listings and continues to be updated as more resources are added.

Reflections on the Saint Paul Conference

Blogger Lara Davis posts her final thoughts on the 2016 GIA Conference:

My barometer for what makes a conference good is informed, in part, by GIAcon. The conference has a strong focus on power and privilege at the intersection of grantmaking. There are a lot of suits, but the dialog and introspection crack the veneer of professionalism, creating space for real talk, and accountability. “A Confluence of People, Cultures, and Ideas” is apt subtitling for this year’s GIAcon.

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New from the GIA Reader: Advancing Racial Equity

An article in the latest issue of the GIA Reader, “Advancing Racial Equity: Racial Equity Funders Collaborative in Minnesota”, discusses the formation and work of the Racial Equity Funders Collaborative, a group of Minnesota funders working to advance racial equity in arts philanthropy.

NEA and DoD Announce Expansion of Military Healing Arts Programs

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) announced their expansion of the partnership into Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network. The expanded Creative Forces program places creative arts therapies at the core of patient-centered care at ten additional clinical sites, and increases access to therapeutic arts activities in local communities for military members, veterans, and their families. The program is also investing in research on the impacts and benefits of these innovative treatment methods.

Offering Space, Unbound Arts and Dynamic Resources

2016 GIA Conference blogger Ebony McKinney wraps up her postings with final observations:

I can’t let go of the idea of space. It’s lingered with me since artist Barak adé Soleil brought it up at the Building Equity in Support for Individual Artists preconference. His unique perspective, that of a black, queer, cis gendered, disabled choreographer, underscored the layers of Tetris-like maneuvering he undergoes whenever attempting to cross a busy street, or other more philosophically constrained space. “What is the real way of grounding ourselves and opening the space?” he asked while advocating for both an awareness of physical space/hospitality and a “deepening complexity of identity.”

How can I become more aware of physical or language barriers to information or resources? What categories or characterizations limit expressiveness? How can I welcome work that links justice and beauty or tradition and innovation? In what ways, small and large, can I create inclusive platforms, move out of the way and support artists who then thrive?

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Can The Arts Help Save Rural America?

From The Huffington Post:

As post-recession, rural America continues to struggle, some rural leaders, using private and public funding, are experimenting with the arts as a tool to fuel economic and community development like they did for White Sulfur Springs.

The National Endowment for the Arts is helping by giving $125,000 in seed money to fund a “Next Generation” initiative to help build arts hubs in rural America. The idea is to connect artists, arts groups, civic leaders and philanthropists and encourage them to create sustainable cultural scenes in rural communities to help spur economic development and entice new, young residents.

How Can We Support Artists in the New Economy?

GIA conference blogger Ebony McKinney summarizes the session Artists and the New Economy, held on Tuesday, October 18:

Alexis Frasz, of Helicon Collaborative, began by explaining that the research group which included Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) started with a design challenge:
What are the conditions in which artists live and work today and what will it look like for them to live sustainably, create good work and contribute to their communities? Also: Where is our support system now in terms of what we think is ideal? If its not there, what would we do to adjust it?

This field-wide temperature check and list of implications resulted in Creativity Connects: Trends and Conditions Affecting US Artists, released in September 2016, with support from Surdna Foundation and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. This report is somewhat of a refresh of Investing in Creativity, a 2006 paper from the Urban Institute authored by Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson. One of the major innovations of Jackson’s analysis was a framework that contained six structures that artists need to do their work. Validation, Demands and Markets, Material Supports, Training, Communities and Networks, and Information remain a focal point today.

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Race and Place

Lara Davis reports on her Monday session at the 2016 GIA Conference:

Today, I had the opportunity to attend a session highlighting the work of cultural partnership in Montgomery, Alabama entitled, “Creative Placemaking in the Racialized South.” Reading the session description, I was drawn in by two things: one, the focus on Black community; two, the description of geography within the context of race. I wanted to get a sense for what the emphasis on social identity and place is yielding in a region that is as Black as it is White. (I am Black, and live in Seattle where the population of Black people is 8%.)

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Beauty, Justice and Alternate Finance

Ebony McKinney reports from Saint Paul on Monday sessions at the 2016 GIA Conference:

Creativity Connections, a report recently released by Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) and National Endowent for the Arts (NEA) summarize current trends that play a role in artists ability to have healthy creative practices and features systems that support or fall short in supporting artist endeavours. Among those fundings, (Judilee) Reed brought focus to:
  • Artists moving from conventional discipline based systems of creation and presenting such as gallery presentations and dance performances to hybrid contexts that utilize their training in new ways and to reflect larger community concerns like social justice, urban planning, public architecture, health and human services
  • Further suggestions that economic conditions for artists imitate challenges in other segments of the work force really related to the gig economy. For example, high cost of housing, insufficient protections and limited access to capital to push forward enterprises

While I think everyone in the room understands that contributed income is important, other types of financial support have to be considered and included. In this scenario the resources, beyond the $2B described above, could potentially be expanded to include other resource systems. This could have transformational and lasting effects for arts and culture and for the last few years, Surdna, Kresge and others have been looking to alternative finance – “financial channels and instruments that lie outside of traditional finance systems such as commercial lending or banks” according to Reed.

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We Must Build Together

Ebony McKinney posts from the 2016 GIA Conference:

It was a wonderful dense day, and I along with several participants lamented how little time was left for reflection. Ideas about cultivating new modes of adaptive leadership, surfacing covert and overt inequities in organizations, making difficult left turns, creating space for artists with disabilities and networks, finance tools and leadership pathways to support creative lives swirled. Much to consider, much to do, but really at the end of the day I’m left with a feeling of steely optimism, intention and the mural/poem on the back wall of Intermedia Arts.

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