Barry's Blog Interview with Danielle Brazell

Barry's Blog sits down with Danielle Brazell, general manager for the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles:

Danielle was Arts for LA’s (the Los Angeles regional arts advocacy arm) first executive director, joining the organization in 2006 as it transitioned from an ad hoc committee of regional arts leaders to a formalized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Over the last eight years, she has steadily built Arts for LA’s capacity from an informal network of arts leaders to a respected coalition of advocates working in partnership with elected officials throughout Los Angeles County. Today, Arts for LA’s network includes over 160 member organizations and over 40,000 people...
Report Explores How Cultural Institutions Embrace Digital Media

A report from the Philadelphia-based Wyncote Foundation, Like, Link, Share: How cultural institutions are embracing digital technology, highlights examples and lessons learned from legacy cultural institutions that are successfully embracing digital media in their work. The report and its accompanying website describe the leadership and organizational capacities required for pioneering such work. It presents 40 organizations’ work including art museums, symphony orchestras, theaters, dance companies, historical societies, libraries, and science centers in the U.S. and abroad. Based on site visits, interviews, and other research the report offers insights about how digital media work is getting done and what results and benefits have accrued.

Member Spotlight on The McKnight Foundation

During the month of January, GIA's photo banner features work and projects sponsored by The McKnight Foundation. For more than 60 years, McKnight has been seeking to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. Its grantmaking is primarily focused in the state of Minnesota where the foundation is established.

McKnight’s arts program is founded on the belief that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive. It supports working artists to create and contribute to vibrant communities. In 2013, about 11% of McKnight’s total grantmaking payout — more than $9.5 million — went to organizations working to advance this goal.

Message to Cultural Groups: Rent, Don’t Buy!

Duncan M. Webb, president of Webb Management Services, posts to The Clyde Fitch Report:

Here in New York City, the Department of Cultural Affairs has a wonderful program to help groups acquire, build and/or renovate spaces. As you might expect, when the funding source is attached to federal HUD grants, the process to qualify for this support and to work through the actual process of buying/building/fixing is lengthy as well as cumbersome. Groups are briefed and trained to go through the process with lots of warnings about how long it might take and how much effort will be required.

A few years ago, my firm surveyed 10 organizations that went through DCA’s capital funding process to receive City support toward developing a new or improved facility. Here’s what we found out:

  • Even though the groups factored some delay into the project timeline, it almost always took significantly longer to complete than anticipated.
  • Most groups underestimated the time required to develop new sources of earned and contributed income, and found that private funding did not increase to support the more expansive operation.
  • Groups did not anticipate staffing changes as a result of new facilities; and in some cases were unable to afford new staff, leading to significant burnout among existing staff even before new facilities were open.
  • Frustrated boards did not appreciate how long it would take to stabilize operations in new facilities, and did not foresee how few financing options exist to help cultural groups successfully transition into new facilities.
NEA 2015 Funding Guidelines Posted, Webinars Planned

The National Endowment for the Arts has published guidelines and application materials for two funding categories. The 2015 Art Works and Challenge America programs support projects anticipated to take place beginning in 2016. Any nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, unit of state or local government, or federally recognized tribal community with at least a three year programming history is eligible to apply for project-based support through these two programs. Webinars are scheduled for January 21 and March 11, 2015 to provide technical assistance in the application process.

Measuring Cultural Engagement: A Quest for New Terms, Tools, and Techniques

Measuring Cultural Engagement: A Quest for New Terms, Tools, and Techniques is a new report from the National Endowment for the Arts that summarizes a convening held at the Gallup Headquarters in Washington, DC, in June of 2014. The NEA and the Cultural Value Project (CVP) of the United Kingdom’s Arts & Humanities Research Council convened leading researchers, practitioners, and policymakers from a handful of countries to challenge assumptions about how and why public involvement in arts and culture is measured and to identify research needs and opportunities to promote more meaningful measurement.

The Art of Healing

Kathleen Masterson and Suzanne Leigh look at Art for Recovery, a pioneering program at the University of California San Francisco:

It’s hard to empirically measure that impact because so many of art’s benefits are indirect, said Theresa Allison, MD, PhD, an associate professor in the UCSF Division of Geriatrics who has a background in musical anthropology. But, she said, therapies that benefit a patient’s emotional wellbeing can have real impact on overall health. “We are finally at a tipping point, where the health sciences recognize the impact of loneliness and depression on health care outcomes, and we recognize the positive impact of visual and performing arts on symptoms management,” Allison said.
Dodge Foundation Appoints Sharnita C. Johnson Arts Program Director

Since 2012, Sharnita Johnson has managed a $25 million grantmaking portfolio in education, health and family economic security at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Prior to that, she was a senior program officer at the Skillman Foundation, where she developed strategic partnerships and oversaw neighborhood development, arts and culture, and youth development grantmaking. In her role at Dodge, Johnson will direct the Foundation’s Arts grants, which foster a diverse and vibrant arts ecosystem, create broad-based public support of the arts, and support communities engaged in creative placemaking in New Jersey.

Reports on Alternative Venues, Eliminating Budgets in Grant Applications

Barry Hessenius posted to Barry’s Blog:

The James Irvine Foundation released a report last week entitled Why "Where"? Because "Who", authored by Brent Reidy of AEA Consulting, addressing the issue of alternate venues for the presentation of art, examining "why place has become an important variable for arts practitioners to consider as they chart a course for the future." This is an outstanding contribution; well researched, well written. The tendency for most of us is to read the Executive Summary of these kinds of reports and often skip the rest. That would be a mistake with this offering; there is a lot of meat here.
Why Cities Can’t Afford to Lose Their Artists

From Richard Florida at Citylab:

A recent study published in the journal Urban Studies takes a close look at the connection between the arts and city building. The study, by Carl Grodach of the Queensland University of Technology, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett of the University of Southern California, and Nicole Foster and James Murdoch III of the University Texas at Arlington examines the economic and demographic factors most closely associated with arts clusters and the kinds of metros where arts hubs are found. The researchers scrutinize the concentration of arts clusters (using the standard location quotient measure) across all 366 U.S. metros areas and nearly 14,000 ZIP codes, which account for nearly 90 percent of all arts employment.