WEB CONFERENCE: Advocacy and Lobbying: How Foundations Can Change Public Policy

GIA finishes its 2015 Web Conference series with Advocacy and Lobbying: How Foundations Can Change Public Policy on Tuesday, December 8, 2:00 pm EST/11:00 PST. Private foundations have long been active in changing public policy to champion their missions and support the greater good. The return on investment in policy work can be huge and long-lasting. Join GIA's own President & CEO Janet Brown who will present this important session on the importance of policy development and the difference between advocacy and direct lobbying.

Learn more and register here.

Posted on March 4, 2015 by Steve

Ron Chew, a leader in the community-based model of museum exhibit development, delivered a keynote address to the Conference for Community Arts Education in November 2014 called The Five Essentials: Arts and the movement for social justice. The text of the keynote is published at Northwest Asian Weekly:

Posted on March 3, 2015 by SuJ'n

During the month of March, GIA's photo banner features artists and projects sponsored by the Kentucky Foundation for Women (KFW). Founded as a private foundation in 1985 by writer Sallie Bingham, her founding gift of $10 million is one of the single largest endowments to any women's fund in the United States. KFW is celebrating thirty years of promoting positive social change by supporting varied feminist expression in the arts.

Posted on March 3, 2015 by SuJ'n

In a speech delivered at a symposium held by UK-based Circus Futures, Owen Calvert-Lyons, artistic director of The Point, Eastleigh, and The Berry Theatre, implores the arts eco-system to make emotional in additional to financial investments in its artists. He asks:

Artists are constantly being asked to be financially resilient. But what about emotional resilience? When artists face rejection from a funder or a programmer, who is there to provide that sense of community and solidarity and empathy? So often the work that artists subsidise with time, money, love and belief is treated as a commodity, or just a product by venues. In an era in which our sector is constantly being asked to commercialise, this will only increase.

Read more of his edited speech here.

Posted on February 26, 2015 by SuJ'n

This morning, GrantCraft released Supporting Grantee Capacity: Strengthening Effectiveness Together. This guide looks at how funders approach capacity-building with grantees. It uses examples from foundations from a range of sizes, fields, and geographic regions. The guide covers various topic areas including broadening the grantee capacity-building conversation, applying lenses to focus and inform grantmaking, knowing your own capacity, acknowledging power dynamics, and assessing impact.

Read more about the guide here.

Posted on February 26, 2015 by Steve

From Mary Plummer at KPCC, 89.3FM:

Los Angeles Unified School District officials have cleared the way for principals to tap into a major source of funding for arts programs targeting low-income students starting fall 2015. Although state and federal officials previously said national Title I dollars, allocated to help disadvantaged students improve in academics, could be used for the arts instruction, some district officials had been reluctant to move ahead. The latest decision reverses the district's long-standing practice and opens the door for Title I-funded arts instruction that helps students improve their academic performance.

Read the full article.

Posted on February 24, 2015 by Steve

From Peter Dobrin, writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Is the act of funding great art its own reward? Or does the funder have the right — or even the responsibility — to make sure that what gets produced accomplishes a set of objectives for both the giver and the recipient? It is a given now that in order to get a foundation grant, it’s often not enough to simply apply for funding of what you do day in and day out. What do funders want? Innovation! New ways of “engaging” younger audiences! High-impact special projects that others will want to emulate!
Posted on February 23, 2015 by Janet

By Janet Brown from her blog Better Together

From large major institutions to small nonprofits, one of the critical responsibilities of volunteer board members and funders is to assure best practices in fiduciary and organizational management. When a management issue arises that threatens the stability of a nonprofit arts organization, “where was the oversight?” is often the question on everyone’s lips. There are some common misperceptions and unfortunate “group think” that prevent or discourage adequate oversight by board members. Here are a few:

Posted on February 22, 2015 by Steve

From Naseem Miller, writing for the Orlando Sentinel:

The Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of Arts and Wellness, unveiled on Thursday morning, aims to integrate various forms of art into wellness, whether it’s in the community or in health-care settings to help families, caregivers and people with conditions such as autism, dementia, trauma or anxiety… The center’s effort is part of a national movement — from the military’s National Intrepid Center of Excellence that integrates arts into care of returning soldiers to the Arts & Medicine Institute in Cleveland Clinic — but data and standards are still emerging.
Posted on February 20, 2015 by Steve

New Jersey continues to lead the nation through the release of detailed arts education information to the public and the research findings look promising — a 4% increase in high school arts participation from the previous year with significant increases in dance and theater participation. These findings are based on the arts educator assignment data for all schools and the high school arts participation data from the New Jersey School Performance Reports just released by the New Jersey State Department of Education. According to the new state data, 94% of schools in New Jersey reported offering arts education programs that provide access to nearly 1.3 million students (97% of all students). Student participation in high school arts programs grew to just under 50% of all students.

Read the full announcement.

Posted on February 19, 2015 by Steve

Creative Minnesota: The Impact and Health of the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Sector is a report and accompanying website that breaks out data both statewide and regionally and serves as a snapshot of spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences, as well as other indicators of the sector’s health and impact on the economy in 2013. The broader initiative called “Creative Minnesota” is a new effort to fill the gaps in available information about Minnesota’s cultural field and to improve our understanding of its importance to our quality of life and economy. It kicks off a new centralized, concentrated and long term endeavor to collect and report data on the creative sector every two years for analysis, education and advocacy.

Explore the website.

Posted on February 19, 2015 by Steve

From Theresa Agovino, writing for Crain's New York:

In contrast to the troubles at bigger institutions, many small opera companies are flourishing, and their numbers are expanding. Some 33 such companies exist in New York City today, more than double the number a decade ago, according to Opera America, a membership organization that promotes the art form. They are surviving and thriving because their budgets and number of staged productions are only a fraction of that of the big boys, and they specialize in niches. LoftOpera presents scaled-down versions of classic operas staged in nontraditional settings, such as former factories. Gotham Chamber Opera sets itself apart by featuring seldom-performed compositions created for smaller venues.
Posted on February 19, 2015 by Steve

Kristen Madsen, a current member of the Grantmakers in the Arts Board of Directors, and Senior Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares Foundation, has been appointed the new Director of Arts at the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. She will be responsible for the Creative Sonoma program, which was adopted by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in June 2014 and seeks to boost the nonprofit arts community and the creative for-profit arts sector. The Arts Action Plan, which established the Creative Sonoma program, explains the development path for cultural and economic development, including funding and structural plans. Kristen will join the Sonoma County Economic Development Board initially on a part-time basis March 16, 2015 and will assume full-time employment starting April 1, 2015.

Posted on February 19, 2015 by Steve

Nonprofit Finance Fund has posted an interview with Ben Cameron, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. It is the second in their interview series with foundation leaders about the intersection of philanthropy and financial strategy:

Posted on February 19, 2015 by Steve

By Susan Raab, for Nonprofit Quarterly:

Art may not be the first therapeutic tool that comes to mind when treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but it has proven to be effective and is being used in a number of places to help returning soldiers. In El Paso, a new collaborative project called the Soldier Art Workshop Program will be launched by the El Paso Art Association in March. The volunteer effort brings local artists together with area soldiers and their families and is designed to teach art to the soldiers as they “make the transition to normal military and family life after deployment.” Twelve workshops will be held at the El Paso Museum of Art and the Fort Bliss Family Center over the course of a year. They will focus on visual arts, including oil and watercolor painting, mixed-media encaustics, and digital photography.
Posted on February 17, 2015 by Steve

From Jessica Garz, writing for The Architects Newspaper:

The recent closure of Architecture for Humanity, the San Francisco–based nonprofit known for its post-disaster rebuilding projects, had a distinctly funereal feeling. Founded by Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr in 1999, Architecture for Humanity was guided by the tagline “Addressing global humanitarian challenges with architectural solutions.” In addition to managing the design and construction of specific projects in the U.S. and abroad, the organization was known for its international network of local, volunteer-run chapters and its high profile publications including the book Design Like You Give a Damn and associated museum exhibitions.
Posted on February 17, 2015 by Steve

A post to Medium from Dustin Timbrook, Media Director for Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment:

Can you imagine a world in which most jobs are obsolete? If not, you are most likely in for a rude awakening in the coming decades of radical shifts in employment. This is particularly true for new parents propelling the next generation of workers into an adulthood that many economists and futurists predict to be the first ever “post-work” society.

Though the idea of a jobless world may seem radical, the prediction is based on the natural trajectory of ‘creative destruction’ — that classic economic principle by which established industries are decimated when made irrelevant by new technologies.

Posted on February 16, 2015 by Steve

From Joe Palca at National Public Radio:

A decade ago, physicist Robert Davies wasn’t all that interested in Earth’s climate. His field was quantum optics. But while he was working at the University of Oxford in England, he became intrigued by what was going on at Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, just down the road from his lab. Davies started going to seminars at the Institute, and was taken aback, he says, by “the broad gap between what science understands about climate change, and what the public understands.”
Posted on February 12, 2015 by Steve

Lessons Learned about Change Capital in the Arts, a report from Nonprofit Finance Fund that was released at the end of 2014, provides a four-year evaluation of Leading for the Future: Innovative Support for Artistic Excellence, an experimental $15 million initiative funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The analysis in the report, authored by Alan Brown and Arthur Nicht, reflects critically on what was learned from the initiative for the benefit of funders, individual philanthropists and others with an interest in the theory and practice of capitalization as applied to nonprofit arts organizations.

Posted on February 12, 2015 by Steve

From Eileen Cunniffe, writing for Nonprofit Quarterly:

On Sunday, the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a headline describing the state of the arts sector in the Philadelphia region: “Abundant culture, dearth of funding.” On Monday morning, leaders from the arts community and its funders gathered to hear key findings from the report that prompted the headline, an in-depth study of the region’s cultural sector by Boston-based consulting and research firm TDC.
Posted on February 12, 2015 by Steve

From Alexis Stephens at Nextcity:

When the root causes of gentrification are being discussed, artists and arts groups often get caught in the cross fire. But while the arrival of sculptors, mixed-media painters and the like may foreshadow rising rents, there are many artists who struggle to afford city life. Across the country this week, several cities took steps to ease that struggle. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio used his State of the City address on Tuesday to highlight his plan to create 1,500 new units of affordable housing for artists by 2024.
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