JULY MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: BARR FOUNDATION
For the months of July and August, GIA’s photo banner features artists and work supported by Barr Foundation. Based in Boston, Barr is among the largest private foundations in New England. The foundation focuses regionally, and in select cases nationally, on partnerships that elevate vibrant, vital, and engaged communities; advance solutions for climate change; and expand educational opportunity.
Posted on October 27, 2015 by Steve

Barry Hessennius puts a wrap on his reports from the GIA 2015 Conference, held in Los Angeles last week:

Too often people only have complaints against funders. I would like to thank them. I admire their tenacity, their positive attitudes and their creativity. And now that I have thanked them, I would like to encourage them to push the envelope more; to have a sense of urgency about changing the dynamic and move us quicker in the area of equity. It’s frustrating not to move quicker where the need is great. There is so much that might get done if society had the right priorities and we had the necessary tools and resources. But things are getting a little bit better all the time.
Posted on October 22, 2015 by Steve

GIA 2015 Conference blogger Lara Davis shares her notes from Tuesday at the Los Angeles Conference:

Tuesday morning’s Idea Lab of artists was on point, my people. I was particularly struck by Rosten Woo, who in a nutshell, produces communication art. Putting “interpretation” at the center of his work, he creates things like aesthetically-designed and clearly legible pamphlets on zoning so that street vendors know their rights, and glossies that highlight art and cultural occurrences in neighborhoods that, “due to racism, or the mere fact it takes place in someone’s backyard,” are not recognized as cultural staple within a community. I’m a fan. crystal am nelson’s visual and spoken artwork was stunning, and affirming. It invokes “historical trauma combined with pleasure as complicity”, naming society’s collective involvement in the violence and de-humanization of the Black body. This is a mirror we need right now.
Posted on October 21, 2015 by Steve

The latest post from Barry Hessenius covers his notes from the second day of the Los Angeles Conference.

The major afternoon sessions were three hour offsite. I choose to attend the Digital Media for Arts Grantmakers session, focusing on the need for grantmakers to learn to deploy digital media to reach and engage audiences and to become fluent in digital capabilities and tools. Takeaways:
  • Have an articulated game plan, informed by the organization’s overall vision strategy
  • Build capabilities, don’t just do projects. Technology is not a project but a process
  • Shake up the organization chart with an integration of digital competency positions, including training
  • Put audiences first and be prepared for constant change.
  • This is, of course, a big, complex area where many arts leaders feel lost and / or incompetent and there are numerous obstacles to embracing full digital knowledge. But as the generational shifts become more urgent, so too is the necessity of overcoming reticence and fears to understand the basics of IT and appreciate the rapidity of change as a constant.

Read the full post.

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Steve

Barry Hessenius checks in with his observations on the first day of the Los Angeles Conference:

The first day of any of our art conferences seem to always be the longest. Janet Brown opened the conference with the reminder that the three operating principles of GIA continue to be: Inclusiveness, Collaboration, and Curiosity. Recent GIA Conferences have featured Idea Lab — short Ted like presentations by a trio of different working artists. The first three were all excellent. The one that caught my attention was Yuval Sharon, founder and artistic director of The Industry, an L.A. based experimental opera company that produces performances that can only be categorized as way outside the box. He touted three
Posted on October 20, 2015 by Steve

GIA conference blogger Lara Davis checks in after her first day of the GIA 2015 Conference in Los Angeles:

Day 1 of the main conference has been pretty spectacular. The opening plenary inspired with three local artist presentations centering cultural organizing, innovation, and love. The sessions themselves were brilliant – a confluence of ideas and grappling with critical issues that the philanthropic community must consider, unpack and engage through action and accountability. In particular, the session on Cultural Equity and Public Funding framed the evolving work of funding agencies amidst changing demographics in the US. These changes reflect impacts on housing, law enforcement, education, and even electoral politics – all compounded by economic gaps impacting communities of color. This is an environment, which calls the field to task, to position arts and culture as a space of creativity and possibility through problem-solving, collaboration, and community leadership.
Posted on October 19, 2015 by Steve

GIA has a pair of bloggers reporting from the Los Angeles conference. Barry Hessenius has turned in his first post with some consideration of the themes that the conference is putting forth:

It will be interesting — to me — to try to get a handle on where the funding people’s thinking is at this juncture on the financial picture and the equity equation. Most of the other issues we face are arguably offshoots of these two elephants in the room. Every funder has different priorities and ranks differently the challenges out there. There are geographic territories where the equity issue isn’t as front burner as it is elsewhere; there are communities where survivability is still manageable, relatively speaking, and communities where the available resources are increasingly obviously inadequate to do much of anything about those organizations that are living still on borrowed time. No one segment of any field agrees on everything, including the nonprofit arts sector. But over the last five years, there has been remarkable consensus on what is critical, and even on some of the nuts and bolts of how to approach these issues. More over the next three days.
Posted on October 19, 2015 by Steve

The GIA 2015 Conference is underway in Los Angeles. We have a pair of bloggers reporting on the proceedings. The initial post from Lara Davis, Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, covers the Investing in Filmmakers: Arts and Media preconference on Sunday:

Documentary filmmakers pursue diverse support, pulling together resources from many supporters, as the level of funding needed to bring projects to fruition is greater than any one grant they may be able to garner (notwithstanding the already limited funding for film from the philanthropic field). Additionally, budgeting and timing for projects vary. Cori Shepherd Stern, producer of Bend the Arc – which centers on global health equity and was eleven years in the making (five just to secure the rights) – puts it this way, “Some stories can happen quickly. Some are about a deep personal relationship over time, which takes more time to develop and bring to fruition.” Cara Mertes (Ford Foundation, JustFilms) posed this response to the funders in the room, “What are the places where you can leverage effectiveness at various points across an endeavor vis a vis this process of storytelling, when it can take years to complete a project?”
Posted on October 14, 2015 by SuJ'n

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced today that Jax Deluca will join the NEA as the director of media arts beginning on January 11, 2016. Deluca will manage NEA grantmaking in media arts and represent the agency to the media arts field. Deluca joins the NEA after her tenure as executive director of Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center in Buffalo, NY, a nonprofit serving western New York state which promotes innovation in media arts through access, education, and exhibition. At Squeaky Wheel, Deluca has overseen major expansion efforts, including fundraising, new jobs and media equipment, an updated youth media arts curriculum, and relocation into new, upgraded facilities.

Read the full announcement.

Posted on October 14, 2015 by SuJ'n

Theatre Forward released a report, "Unmasking Business Success: Executive Perceptions of Arts Engagement and Workforce Skills." The research commissioned from Shugoll Research found that executives believe there is a strong link between an person's exposure to arts education and their potential for professional success. Bruce Whitacre, executive director of Theatre Forward, shares on The Conference Board blog:

...since executives confirm that the workforce demands the skills the arts develop, we are creating a key opportunity gap for students in poor schools who have little or no access to arts engagement.

A brief video of the findings can be found here.

Posted on October 12, 2015 by Steve

Grantmakers in the Arts is cited regarding racial equity in arts philanthropy in this article by Mike Boehm at the Los Angeles Times:

A new national study paints a bleak economic picture of African American and Latino nonprofit museums and performing arts companies and suggests that donors may have to let weaker organizations wither so that the strongest ones can grow. Funders may need to support “a limited number of organizations,” says the report by the University of Maryland’s DeVos Institute of Arts Management, “with larger grants to a smaller cohort that can manage themselves effectively, make the best art, and have the biggest impact on their communities.”
Posted on October 8, 2015 by SuJ'n

The National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response has recently updated the Essential Guidelines for Arts Responders Organizing in the Aftermath of Disaster: How to Help and Support your Local Artists, Arts-related Small Businesses, and Arts Organizations. This is a primer for state and local arts councils, arts service organizations, community foundations, and other non-profit groups to effectively assist artists and arts organizations impacted by Hurricane Joaquin and other disasters across the country.

For additional resources on arts recovery and response, please visit ArtsReady's website.

Posted on October 5, 2015 by Steve

MK Wegmann has announced that she will retire from her position as President and CEO of the National Performance Network, one she has held for 15 years. The NPN board of directors have launched a national search process to have a new President/CEO in place July 1, 2016.

Read the full announcement.

Posted on October 1, 2015 by SuJ'n

For the month of October, GIA's photo banner features artists and programs supported by the California Arts Council. Established in 1976 by Governor Jerry Brown, the council's mission is to advance California through the arts and creativity. California Arts Council is a Presenting Sponsor for the annual GIA conference happening this month in Los Angeles.

Posted on October 1, 2015 by Steve

From Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation:

[W]e were established by a market system and endowed by the money of the past century’s 1 percent. We are stewards of enormous resources — participants in and beneficiaries of a market system. As a result, our work is quite literally enabled by returns on capital. In turn, I believe we are obligated “to strengthen and improve” the system of which we are part. My conviction is no anathema to capitalism. Adam Smith himself argued that the “invisible hand” could not be blind to the condition of society, and that “no society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.” This from a visionary who was not only the forefather of American capitalism but also the author of Theory of Moral Sentiments, which he regarded as more important than his Wealth of Nations.

Philanthropy’s role is to contribute to the “flourishing” of the “far greater part” — to help foster a stronger safety net and a level playing field. With each generation, we should be guided by our legacy of support for social progress and human achievement in the spirit of the Green Revolution, advances in public health and human rights, social movement building, creative expression and cultural innovation, and so much more.

Read the full post.

Posted on September 28, 2015 by Steve

Recognizing 24 exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future, the MacArthur Foundation has named the 2015 MacArthur Fellows. Each will receive an unrestricted stipend of $625,000, allowing recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.

Posted on September 28, 2015 by Steve

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and WESTAF are sponsoring a preliminary study on communications within the nonprofit arts field, and we invite you to participate in a simple online survey.

This study seeks information about:

  • How we communicate internally within our organizations
  • How we communicate externally within the sector
  • How we manage the growth in all communications
  • What the impact is on our organizations of that growth in communications

This survey is completely anonymous and should take 15-20 minutes to complete. The survey will close on Friday, October 16th, 2015. All responses must be submitted by 6pm EST/3pm PST.

Take the survey here.

Posted on September 28, 2015 by Janet

By Janet Brown from her blog Better Together

Earlier in my career, I was privileged to work across sectors with passionate and gifted artists. In most instances, the connection with the non-arts organization (hospital, correction facility) was made by my organization. But the creation of the service to be delivered was designed and always implemented by these amazing artists.

Posted on September 25, 2015 by Steve

Sharon Alpert will become the Nathan Cummings Foundation’s fourth president and first female leader, according to Adam Cummings, the foundation’s board chair. Ms. Alpert comes to the 25-year-old multi-generational family foundation from the Surdna Foundation, where, over 11 years, she rose from associate program officer to program director to her current position as the vice president of programs and strategic initiatives. She will assume her role as president and CEO of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and ex-officio member of the board of trustees, in November 2015.

Posted on September 24, 2015 by Steve

School principals are “invaluable multipliers of teaching and learning in the nation’s schools,” according to “Developing Excellent School Principals to Advance Teaching and Learning: Considerations for State Policy,” a new report commissioned by The Wallace Foundation and written by Paul Manna, a political scientist at the College of William & Mary, as well as an expert on state education policy. Several state and local arts advocacy organizations have created programs to educate principals on the benefits of arts programming and to develop cohorts of principals that will inspire others. This report gives an overview of the value of working with principals and how policies might be considered to help them promote better learning in all areas including the arts.

Read the full report.

Posted on September 23, 2015 by Steve

From Olivia Clement, writing for Playbill:

The services of Career Transition For Dancers will be integrated into the ongoing programs of The Actors Fund, it was announced September 21. The two non-profit human service organizations will unite in their sharing of providing programs and services to dancers and the dance community; the merger is expected to be fully integrated by the end of the year. “Career Transitions For Dancers has helped thousands of dancers over the past thirty years in taking their first steps in discovering rewarding second careers,” said CTFD chairman Emerita and former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Cynthia Gregory in a press statement.
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