Monica's Blog

Posted on November 15, 2017 by Monica

Jazz legend Sonny Rollins has designated a gift to Oberlin College to establish and maintain the Sonny Rollins Jazz Ensemble Fund at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Posted on November 14, 2017 by Monica

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation announced the first 10 recipients of its Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions, an $8 million commissioning initiative that is the largest of its kind in the United States. Reflecting the foundation’s longstanding commitment to sustaining artistic expression and encouraging public engagement with the arts in the San Francisco Bay Area, 10 local nonprofit organizations will receive grants of $150,000 each to commission major new musical compositions from world-class artists in genres including chamber, electronic, jazz, opera, and hip hop.

Posted on November 13, 2017 by Monica

In a letter to colleagues, Phillip Henderson announced his decision to step down from his role as president of Surdna Foundation:

Earlier this week, I informed the Surdna board of my intention to step down from my post as soon as they have identified a successor. I am proud of the work we have done at the Foundation since I arrived in 2007, and I believe it is time for me to move on and also time to bring in a new leader to propel the Foundation forward.

I am very proud to have helped Surdna close out its first century with some notable achievements. We put pursuing socially just and sustainable communities in the United States at the heart of the Foundation’s mission. We found our voice in the pursuit of social justice particularly in communities of color across the country.

Posted on November 8, 2017 by Monica

Kenneth Rainin Foundation announced $3 million in additional funding for the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), an organization that protects San Francisco Bay Area arts and cultural organizations from displacement. This three-year grant will help CAST realize an ambitious goal to acquire 100,000 square feet of space for arts groups by the end of 2018. With this funding, CAST will expand and prioritize its work in Oakland to create permanently affordable spaces for arts organizations, as well as continue its work in San Francisco.

Posted on November 8, 2017 by Monica

A recent op-ed by Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch highlights partnerships between artists and local governments to "enhance awareness, knowledge, and discourse around issues; shift attitudes; promote effective participation and action; and improve systems and policies that ensure social justice.":

To help remodel the city’s narrative through the eyes of its citizens, Mayor Duggan conceived a plan to give Detroiters a way to connect and discuss issues that don’t get covered by the city’s traditional media, and give Detroiters and their neighborhoods a stronger voice.

Last March, Mayor Duggan hired popular journalist Aaron Foley to be the city’s “chief storyteller,” embedded in, and employed by, city government. Believing that local residents deserve better and more diverse stories about their neighborhoods and the reality of living in the city, Foley created an online platform called The Neighborhoods, where these stories can be shared.

Posted on November 7, 2017 by Monica

In a recent blog post, Barry Hessenius offers thoughts on GIA’s geographic and leadership transition:

This new beginning will give the organization and the philanthropic community it represents a chance to evaluate where it's come from, and moving to, and most importantly, where it now wants to go. This is a rare opportunity for a national organization to re-think policy and protocol and move in new directions while solidifying its deepest commitments.
Posted on November 6, 2017 by Monica

At the closing plenary of the 2017 GIA Conference, Rip Rapson spoke on how The Kresge Foundation has reasserted its values and called on arts funders and cultural workers to continue to put their own values into action.

“In no time in my memory has it been more important for arts and culture to become part of a larger movement of social justice — helping strengthen the alliances necessary to speak and advance those truths of equity, fairness, and justice that we know to be inviolable.”

Read the full transcript.

Posted on October 24, 2017 by Monica

Grantmakers in the Arts is relocating its offices to New York City in January, 2018 and is seeking to hire several staff positions. Under the leadership of Eddie Torres, president & CEO, GIA will begin reviewing applications on November 17 and all positions will remain open until filled. View all open positions.

Posted on October 23, 2017 by Monica

The Wallace Foundation is publishing a series of market research reports to support efforts to improve attendance and audience engagement at arts institutions around the country. As reported by Nonprofit Quarterly:

In response to a declining audience base for many major art forms, the Wallace Foundation’s $52 million [Building Audiences for Sustainability] initiative looked at Ballet Austin. . . . Over time, BAS will study a total of 25 performing arts organizations. The goal is to help these individual arts organizations as well as to develop insights for the arts field in general.
Posted on October 17, 2017 by Monica

From MiBiz:

Funding for arts and culture in Michigan received a $1 million bump for 2018.

Bringing the total state budget allocation for arts and cultural programs up to $10.7 million signals a recognition by state lawmakers of the importance of events and programming such as music festivals and art centers — and of the arts in schools across Michigan, according to industry sources.

“The state legislature and Gov. Snyder’s administration have been very good to us,” said John Bracey, executive director of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA). “In 2010, we were only granted $1.7 million and we were on the brink of elimination. From that time, we’ve gotten a few increases here and there and leveled out at that $9.7 million level.”