MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: MISSISSIPPI ARTS COMMISSION

For the months of November and December, GIA’s photo banner features work and artists supported by Mississippi Arts Commission. 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.

Posted on February 21, 2017 by Monica

The Ford Foundation has announced the election of Bryan Stevenson to serve as a member of its board of trustees. A renowned public interest lawyer, Stevenson is founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama.

“Bryan is a courageous, transformational leader and a stalwart advocate for justice who has done an extraordinary amount to challenge the legacy of racial inequality in this country,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation.

Posted on February 21, 2017 by Monica

From The New York Times:

The White House budget office has drafted a hit list of programs that President Trump could eliminate to trim domestic spending, including longstanding conservative targets like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation, Americorps, and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities. Work on the first Trump administration has been delayed as the budget office awaited Senate confirmation of former Representative Mick Mulvaney, a spending hard-liner, as budget director. Now that he is in place, his office is ready to move ahead with a list of nine programs to eliminate.
Posted on February 15, 2017 by Monica

From The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation:

In a new, first-of-its-kind study of how US foundations access and use knowledge about effective philanthropy, most foundation staff and board members shared that they rely on their peers and colleagues, as opposed to particular organizations or publications, both as their most trusted knowledge sources and as their preferred means to gather knowledge. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation commissioned this research to inform its “Knowledge for Better Philanthropy” grantmaking strategy.
Posted on February 15, 2017 by Monica

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have launched a new partnership called Sound Health, designed to explore the connections between music, health, and wellness. Through this partnership, both institutions will create opportunities to further understand how music affects circuitry in the brain, explore the potential for music as therapy for neurological disorders, identify future research opportunities, and create public awareness about how the brain functions and interacts with music.

Posted on February 13, 2017 by Monica

The early days of the Trump Administration and the 115th Congress have already begun to impact the education policy landscape. Alex Nock of Penn Hill Group has provided a summary update for Grantmakers in the Arts on current events that impact arts education and arts funding on a federal level. These events include the confirmation of a new education secretary, changes to the regulations of the Every Student Succeeds Act, and possible budget changes.

Posted on February 10, 2017 by Monica

Americans for the Arts has released a new guide, Arts Deployed: An Action Guide for Community Arts & Military Programming, for local arts organizations and artists interested in bringing creative arts programming to military and Veteran communities, their caregivers, and families. A collaboration between AFTA’s National Initiative for Arts & Health and the Military (NIAHM) and the Local Arts Advancement (LAA) department, Arts Deployed details the expansive benefits the arts have on the health and well-being of these communities and lays the groundwork for arts organizations and artists to build their own creative arts initiative for their local military and/or Veteran communities.

Posted on February 8, 2017 by Monica

A recent story from Minnesota Public Radio highlights the challenges of funding disparities experienced by ALAANA (African, Latino/a, Asian, Arab, and Native American) arts organizations:

The Twin Cities continues to diversify culturally, and an increasing number of nonprofit organizations are geared to serve its diverse communities. But the vast majority of philanthropic support is still going to major institutions that serve a majority white and upper-class audience. . . . While larger, mainstream organizations receive the bulk of arts funding, [said Arleta Little, arts program officer at The McKnight Foundation], smaller organizations — particularly those working with and led by people of color — are kept in a perpetual survival mode.

Read and listen on Minnesota Public Radio.

Posted on February 7, 2017 by Monica

From the blog of Rebecca Thomas, who delivers GIA’s Conversations on Capitalization and Community workshops, a new post provides an overview of risk capital and how it can be used by arts organizations:

Risk capital is unrestricted, board-designated money that allows organizations to take business risk or pursue artistic opportunities. . . . Capital for risk-taking plays an essential role as part of a comprehensive capitalization plan, which examines all priorities for cash and evaluates their importance in the context of financial, strategic and community imperatives.

Read the full blog post.

Posted on February 7, 2017 by Monica

From The New York Times:

The Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos on Tuesday as education secretary, approving the embattled nominee only with the help of a historic tiebreaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. The 51-to-50 vote elevates Ms. DeVos — a wealthy donor from Michigan who has devoted much of her life to expanding educational choice through charter schools and vouchers, but has limited experience with the public school system — to be steward of the nation’s schools. . . . It was the first time that a vice president has been summoned to the Capitol to break a tie on a cabinet nomination, according to the Senate historian.

Read the full article.

Posted on February 6, 2017 by Monica

The arts-based nonprofit Ka Joog, serving Somali youth in Minnesota, has refused a $500,000 federal grant from the Countering Violent Extremism program of the Department of Homeland Security in response to the Trump administration's recent immigration restrictions. Executive Director Mohamed Farah, who was featured as an IDEA LAB arts leader at the 2016 GIA Conference, stated that the grant was declined on principle and believes that Somali and Muslim communities are being unfairly targeted by government policies.

Posted on February 3, 2017 by Monica

The California Arts Council has announced that Director Craig Watson will step down from his role with the agency effective April 2017. As director of the California Arts Council since August 2011, Watson has been responsible for the leadership and oversight leading to the substantial growth and renewal of California's state arts agency. Under Watson's leadership, the budget of the California Arts Council increased from just $5 million in 2011 to nearly $25 million in 2017.

Posted on February 2, 2017 by Monica

Laura Zucker, executive director of Los Angeles County Arts Commission and current GIA board member, was recently interviewed alongside Romina Boccia of The Heritage Foundation about the motivations and potential impacts of eliminating federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The proposal for these cuts was developed by The Heritage Foundation, which is currently advising the Trump administration’s budgetary decisions. The interview discusses The Heritage Foundation's reasoning for proposing these cuts, the role of federal funding in the arts and public media, and how the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors might respond.

Posted on February 1, 2017 by Steve

The most-read article in the GIA Library last year, “What Is Civil Society?,” outlines the defining characteristics and necessary conditions of civil society: nonprofits, individual rights, the common good, rule of law, philanthropy, free expression, and tolerance. Written by Scholar and former GIA Board member Bruce Sievers in 2009, the article explores how these seven qualities interact within society and the democratic process. The GIA Library contains an extensive collection of articles, research reports, and other resources covering a wide variety of topics relevant to the arts and arts funding.

Posted on January 31, 2017 by Monica

From The New York Times:

After contentious confirmation hearings, protests across the country and two rounds of voting, Betsy DeVos cleared the first hurdle in her path to becoming secretary of education on Tuesday with a party-line vote in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that advanced her nomination to the Senate floor.

Read more on The New York Times.

Posted on January 31, 2017 by Monica

Recent research published by Barry Hessenius provides an overview of state arts advocacy in the US. "This scan sought to identify which states were organizationally active on the advocacy stage, the assets each state had to carry out its advocacy mission, which states were only minimally equipped to be effective advocates, and which states currently had no real operational advocacy organization." The characteristics evaluated included staffing, funding sources, communications, major initiatives launched, local political climate, and more.

Posted on January 26, 2017 by Monica

On her blog, Better Together, Grantmakers in the Arts President & CEO Janet Brown offers a moment of reflection and encouragement for arts funders in this time of transition: “In times of change and instability, there is also opportunity — opportunity to defend our values and more deeply assess whether those values are being implemented in our practice. A challenge lies in determining how our voices are used and to what end.”

Read the full blog post.

Posted on January 26, 2017 by Monica

From ArtNet News:

United States Artists (USA) has named Deana Haggag as its new president and CEO, effective April 3. Founded in 2006, USA offers unrestricted grants to artists working in the following fields: architecture and design, crafts, dance, literature, media, music, theater and performance, traditional arts, and visual arts. Haggag has been the executive director of the Contemporary, Baltimore’s nomadic, non-collecting art museum, since the summer of 2013.
Posted on January 26, 2017 by Monica

A recent article in American Theatre reveals the financial realities of living and working as a theatre artist in the US. Author Diep Tran interviews five theatre artists around the country on how they make a living, what it’s like to work in the field, and “how they think the field could or should change to become a place that can sustain and retain talented people.”

Read the article.

Posted on January 25, 2017 by Steve

An article in the latest issue of the GIA Reader, “Local Arts Agencies: Growing, Serving, Advancing,” co-authors Randy Cohen, Graciela Kahn, and Michael Killoren discuss the results of the Local Arts Agency Census.

Posted on January 23, 2017 by Monica

The Aspen Institute Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative (AEFI) and University of Miami School of Law have developed a week-long seminar for individuals who currently have, or will have, policy-setting and leadership responsibilities for artist-endowed foundations — directors, officers, trustees, board members, senior staff. The seminar, to be held April 30 – May 5 in New York City, is based on findings of AEFI’s National Study of Artist-Endowed Foundations and subsequent research publications, and focuses specifically on the strategic concerns of leaders orienting themselves to the field.

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