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 March 21, 2017 by Monica

PolicyLink has released a report supported by The Kresge Foundation revealing how arts and culture strategies are used to help create sustainable and equitable communities. Creating Change through Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development: A Policy and Practice Primer highlights both promising and proven practices that demonstrate equity-focused arts and culture policies, strategies, and tools. The report describes the role of arts and culture across many sectors: transportation, housing, economic development and financial security, health and food, youth and education, open space and recreation, and technology and information access.

View the report at PolicyLink.

Posted on March 20, 2017 by Monica

The Pop Culture Collaborative, a recent initiative founded by Unbound Philanthropy, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, and General Service Foundation, has announced its new leadership staff. The Collaborative aims to advance “the combined power of the entertainment, philanthropic, and social justice sectors to use pop culture strategies to create transformative change in the world.”

Posted on March 20, 2017 by Monica

In a new blog post at The McKnight Foundation, Arts Program Director Vickie Benson makes the case that the National Endowment for the Arts continues to illuminate the power of the arts, and that our communities are better off because of their work:

I’ve seen the fierce battles over these arts and cultural agencies play out before. I had a front row seat during my tenure as a program specialist at the NEA in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The critical difference is that the arts sector is in a better position now than it has ever been before in its ability to explain the value of these agencies and the work they support. Because of intentional strategies to support independent, large-scale research, the arts sector has far-reaching and deep data that we didn’t have twenty-five years ago.
Posted on March 16, 2017 by Monica

In a statement today, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) argues that “eliminating the NEA would hurt every state in our nation.” The statement outlines the national impacts of eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts, and NASAA has voiced its resolve “to sustain the NEA and ensure that its important work continues.” Grantmakers in the Arts is committed to working with NASAA, Americans for the Arts, and other national partners to support the NEA.

Posted on March 16, 2017 by Monica

Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, has released a statement following today’s release of the president’s budget plan:

Today we learned that the president’s FY 2018 budget blueprint proposes the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. We are disappointed because we see our funding actively making a difference with individuals of all ages in thousands of communities, large, small, urban and rural, and in every congressional district in the nation. . . .
Posted on March 16, 2017 by Monica

President Trump released his first federal budget plan today, as reported by The New York Times:

President Trump, in his first federal budget plan, proposed eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. President Trump also proposed scrapping the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. . . . It was the first time a president has called for ending the endowments. . . .

Nothing will change for the endowments or other agencies immediately. Congress writes the federal budget, not the president, and White House budget plans are largely political documents that telegraph a president’s priorities.

Yet never before have Republicans, who have proposed eliminating the endowments in the past, been so well-positioned to close the agencies, given their control of both houses of Congress and the White House, and now the president’s fiscal plan. . . .

Arts groups have already begun a furious lobbying campaign to press Republicans in Congress to save the endowments. The House will draft a budget in the coming months, and arts groups have already been focusing its lobbying efforts there.

Posted on March 15, 2017 by Monica

An op-ed piece written by dance educator Amy M. Wilkinson and published in The Hill argues the importance of the arts as part of a well-rounded education. As states develop their plans as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), advocates argue that the arts must be included in those plans. The article highlights the state of Illinois, which today will vote on an ESSA plan which does not include arts programming as an indicator of school quality. Wilkinson presents evidence of the many benefits of arts education and urges states to “help its children by elevating arts programming within our schools.”

Read the article on The Hill.

Posted on March 15, 2017 by Monica

The president of The F.B. Heron Foundation, Clara Miller, recently published an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review about how Heron achieved its goal of investing 100 percent of its endowment toward fulfilling its mission, as well as seven lessons the foundation learned along the way:

We always knew that “getting to 100 percent,” while important, would be like reaching a false summit. The challenges remain, and they loom large. . . . That’s why, going forward, we will work to optimize our portfolio for mission and finance together. But beyond that, we will strive to capture and share what we’ve learned, and improve our approach to investing so that we can contribute to improving practices in the broader market.

In that spirit, we would like to share some lessons we learned on the path to our “100 percent” goal, as well as our thoughts on the significance of those lessons and our own plans for the future.

Posted on March 15, 2017 by Monica

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) announced that Theresa Colvin will be its next executive director. Colvin will succeed Alan W. Cooper who is retiring after 23 years as the Foundation’s director. Colvin will begin her tenure on May 1, 2017. She comes to MAAF from the Maryland State Arts Council where she has been the executive director for the past 16 years.

Posted on March 9, 2017 by Monica

A recording of GIA's recent webinar on federal arts education policy is now available online. The webinar includes the most up-to-date developments with the Every Student Succeeds Act, arts education policy, and the new administration, as well as tips on how funders and organizations working at the local level can advocate for arts education.

View the webinar.

Note: Some web browsers may require you to download the Adobe Connect Add-in to view this recording.

Posted on March 9, 2017 by Monica

The Aspen Institute has released an online interactive version of its Aspen Institute Guide for Creating Trusted Learning Environments, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation:

Learning is no longer tethered nor confined within just the walls of a classroom. Instead, learning is active, engaged and personalized. But, how can one protect today's connected learner while empowering them to explore, express & pursue their interests? What does it mean to create a trusted learning environment?

The online guide gives context to the new learner-centered environment, offers best practices for creating trusted learning environments, and most importantly creates activity guides to serve as a framework for dialogue and action among a learning community’s many constituents.

View the guide at The Aspen Institute.

Posted on March 8, 2017 by Monica

The MIT Media Lab has opened nominations for the Disobedience Award, a one-time award of $250,000 for “a person or group engaged in what we believe is extraordinary disobedience for the benefit of society”:

We’d like to call out action that seeks to change society in positive ways and is consistent with a set of key principles. These principles include non-violence, creativity, courage, and taking responsibility for one’s actions. We’re seeking both expected and unexpected nominees. This could include–but isn’t limited to–those engaged in scientific research, civil rights, freedom of speech, human rights, and the freedom to innovate.
Posted on March 7, 2017 by Monica

A recent blog post written by Executive Vice President Mariët Westermann of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation voices support for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. She discusses the billions of dollars in grants made possible by collaboration between private funders (including Mellon) and the Endowments and argues that many arts initiatives and programs across the country would not be possible without this collaboration. She writes:

Posted on March 7, 2017 by Monica

Creative Minnesota and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts have released their latest statewide study on the arts and culture sector. As the most comprehensive report ever done of the state’s creative sector Creative Minnesota fills in the gaps of available information about Minnesota’s cultural field and seeks to improve understanding of its importance to quality of life and the economy.

Posted on March 3, 2017 by Monica

Kickstarter has released its first annual benefit statement since becoming a public benefit corporation in 2015. One component of the company’s new charter is to “annually donate 5% of its after-tax profit towards arts and music education, and to organizations fighting to end systemic inequality.” An article in Fast Company explains:

The crowdfunding platform joined Patagonia and a few other companies that have accepted a legal obligation to benefit society, rather than just focusing on maximizing shareholder value. Every two years, Kickstarter is required to report on its progress in achieving a long list of objectives laid out in its charter—in other words, it has to prove the benefit that it’s providing the public.
Posted on March 2, 2017 by Monica

In a recent blog post, The Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant writes about the power of arts, journalism, and courage in times of political conflict. In the spirit of this idea, the Endowments have increased their arts grantmaking budget:

For our part, the Endowments has decided to increase its normal grantmaking in the arts and creativity by $1.5 million this year, an increase of nearly 17 percent. This additional investment will not go to doing more of what we already do. While still being shaped, we expect it to deepen connections with our sustainability and learning work, broaden our engagement in neighborhoods and schools, and connect us more directly with artists who are using art to promote social justice and social change.
Posted on March 1, 2017 by Monica

Nonprofit regrantor Dance/NYC has announced the inaugural recipients of its "Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund" with support from the Ford Foundation. The new fund supports integrated dance performances featuring dancers with and without disabilities, aiming to bring attention to the artistic excellence of disabled dancers.

An article in the Nonprofit Quarterly discusses the recent announcement: "Visibility for performers with disabilities is decidedly lacking in the dance world. . . . Dance/NYC is changing this situation, flipping from thinking of disabled dancers as patients to thinking of their disabilities as a fount for creativity."

Posted on March 1, 2017 by Monica

From the Times Free Press:

Beginning July 1, the leading organization for funding Chattanooga arts programming will restructure how the money it raises is disbursed and who can get it in hopes of reaching more arts organizations and more people in the community. . . . For the last 48 years, as few as five and as many as 16 arts organizations in Chattanooga could count on ArtsBuild — originally the Allied Arts Fund and later Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga — to help raise a portion of their annual operating funds. Part of Allied Arts' original mission was to be a single fundraising body for a select few agencies, and ArtsBuild has continued that effort. . . .
Posted on March 1, 2017 by Monica

GIA member and California Humanities CEO Julie Fry recently penned an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle urging the importance of federal arts funding:

The arts and humanities are good for the success of young people and good for the economy, and we all benefit from that. As Johnson said back in 1965, this is about more than just the money: “It is in the neighborhoods of each community that a nation’s art is born. … The arts and the humanities belong to the people, for it is, after all, the people who create them.”

Our country is richer when the federal government supports and values the arts and humanities. This is not a luxury item. This is who we are as a people.

Posted on March 1, 2017 by SuJ'n

For the month of March, GIA’s photo banner features artists and work supported by the Oregon Community Foundation, established in 1973 as a permanent endowment for community improvement efforts throughout the state of Oregon. From founder William Swindells’ initial $63,000 contribution, OCF now has over $1.5 billion under management through 1,900 charitable funds that support the five key areas of arts and culture, health and well-being, livability, economic vitality, and education.

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