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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
From ArtNet News:
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.
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.
By Janet Brown, from her blog Better Together
The United States of America has been in transition its entire life. There have been moments when transition was rebellious and violent, and there have been moments when change was covert and nearly unconscious. And there have been times when we felt the American dream was possible for everyone, and times when we have felt it was possible for no one.