Supporting a Creative America

“Supporting a Creative America” is the new bi-line for GIA. We have a new look that the world will see on our blogs, letterhead, business cards, the Reader and eventually, the new website. When looking for a definition of what Grantmakers in the Arts really does, this seemed the elevator message with which everyone agreed. It fits with what we’ve always done… a community of funders making grants to artists and arts organizations because we believe that the work they do benefits everyone. But today, I think this sends a new message of hope for America.

“Supporting a Creative America” is where we want to be as a people and a nation. We are currently a nation that has, in many ways, not lived up to its expectations. After leading the world in almost every measurable way after World War II, we lost sight of innovation for the public good. We’re looking a little like the child prodigy that couldn’t sustain his or her brilliance as an adult.

What we need is an influx of creativity into all our life streams… education, commerce, health, housing, government, justice, and the environment. We would benefit as a society from the creative characteristics that define a good artist’s work: passion, and discipline; understanding of our environment and those around us, knowledge of the past and present that inspire innovation for the future; educated decision-making coupled with the courage to take risks; an openness to all cultures, and the ability to see things in a new way.

I have never forgotten a Charlie Rose interview from many years ago. He was talking to Terry Sanford, a past Governor and Senator from North Carolina. Rose asked the Governor why he had included a novelist among his advisers. Sanford answered that he wanted someone with imagination in his administration. Imagine what America would look like if artists were integrally engaged in civic dialogue, from all sides: outside of the system looking in and inside the system looking out.

GIA’s new look and bi-line express a louder and bolder organization that will work towards creative voices at the center of civic discourse. Supporting a creative America is a foundation for new beginning and a new beginning is what we need. And, as always, we do this better together.