Steve's Blog

Posted on October 30, 2016 by Steve

Blogger Lara Davis posts her final thoughts on the 2016 GIA Conference:

My barometer for what makes a conference good is informed, in part, by GIAcon. The conference has a strong focus on power and privilege at the intersection of grantmaking. There are a lot of suits, but the dialog and introspection crack the veneer of professionalism, creating space for real talk, and accountability. “A Confluence of People, Cultures, and Ideas” is apt subtitling for this year’s GIAcon.

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Posted on October 26, 2016 by Steve

An article in the latest issue of the GIA Reader, “Advancing Racial Equity: Racial Equity Funders Collaborative in Minnesota”, discusses the formation and work of the Racial Equity Funders Collaborative, a group of Minnesota funders working to advance racial equity in arts philanthropy.

Posted on October 25, 2016 by Steve

2016 GIA Conference blogger Ebony McKinney wraps up her postings with final observations:

I can’t let go of the idea of space. It’s lingered with me since artist Barak adé Soleil brought it up at the Building Equity in Support for Individual Artists preconference. His unique perspective, that of a black, queer, cis gendered, disabled choreographer, underscored the layers of Tetris-like maneuvering he undergoes whenever attempting to cross a busy street, or other more philosophically constrained space. “What is the real way of grounding ourselves and opening the space?” he asked while advocating for both an awareness of physical space/hospitality and a “deepening complexity of identity.”

How can I become more aware of physical or language barriers to information or resources? What categories or characterizations limit expressiveness? How can I welcome work that links justice and beauty or tradition and innovation? In what ways, small and large, can I create inclusive platforms, move out of the way and support artists who then thrive?

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Posted on October 20, 2016 by Steve

GIA conference blogger Ebony McKinney summarizes the session Artists and the New Economy, held on Tuesday, October 18:

Alexis Frasz, of Helicon Collaborative, began by explaining that the research group which included Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) started with a design challenge:
What are the conditions in which artists live and work today and what will it look like for them to live sustainably, create good work and contribute to their communities? Also: Where is our support system now in terms of what we think is ideal? If its not there, what would we do to adjust it?

This field-wide temperature check and list of implications resulted in Creativity Connects: Trends and Conditions Affecting US Artists, released in September 2016, with support from Surdna Foundation and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. This report is somewhat of a refresh of Investing in Creativity, a 2006 paper from the Urban Institute authored by Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson. One of the major innovations of Jackson’s analysis was a framework that contained six structures that artists need to do their work. Validation, Demands and Markets, Material Supports, Training, Communities and Networks, and Information remain a focal point today.

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Posted on October 19, 2016 by Steve

Lara Davis reports on her Monday session at the 2016 GIA Conference:

Today, I had the opportunity to attend a session highlighting the work of cultural partnership in Montgomery, Alabama entitled, “Creative Placemaking in the Racialized South.” Reading the session description, I was drawn in by two things: one, the focus on Black community; two, the description of geography within the context of race. I wanted to get a sense for what the emphasis on social identity and place is yielding in a region that is as Black as it is White. (I am Black, and live in Seattle where the population of Black people is 8%.)

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Posted on October 19, 2016 by Steve

Ebony McKinney reports from Saint Paul on Monday sessions at the 2016 GIA Conference:

Creativity Connections, a report recently released by Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) and National Endowent for the Arts (NEA) summarize current trends that play a role in artists ability to have healthy creative practices and features systems that support or fall short in supporting artist endeavours. Among those fundings, (Judilee) Reed brought focus to:
  • Artists moving from conventional discipline based systems of creation and presenting such as gallery presentations and dance performances to hybrid contexts that utilize their training in new ways and to reflect larger community concerns like social justice, urban planning, public architecture, health and human services
  • Further suggestions that economic conditions for artists imitate challenges in other segments of the work force really related to the gig economy. For example, high cost of housing, insufficient protections and limited access to capital to push forward enterprises

While I think everyone in the room understands that contributed income is important, other types of financial support have to be considered and included. In this scenario the resources, beyond the $2B described above, could potentially be expanded to include other resource systems. This could have transformational and lasting effects for arts and culture and for the last few years, Surdna, Kresge and others have been looking to alternative finance – “financial channels and instruments that lie outside of traditional finance systems such as commercial lending or banks” according to Reed.

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Posted on October 17, 2016 by Steve

Ebony McKinney posts from the 2016 GIA Conference:

It was a wonderful dense day, and I along with several participants lamented how little time was left for reflection. Ideas about cultivating new modes of adaptive leadership, surfacing covert and overt inequities in organizations, making difficult left turns, creating space for artists with disabilities and networks, finance tools and leadership pathways to support creative lives swirled. Much to consider, much to do, but really at the end of the day I’m left with a feeling of steely optimism, intention and the mural/poem on the back wall of Intermedia Arts.

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Posted on October 17, 2016 by Steve

Lara Davis posts from the 2016 GIA Conference in Saint Paul, Minnesota:

This year, I began my GIA Conference as co-facilitator for the “Access to a Lifetime of Arts Education: Every Child, Every Adult” preconference. My pal and coconspirator in the work of racial justice, consultant and theatre teaching artist Tina LaPadula, joined me to lead a session on Social Justice Essentials for Arts Funders. We kicked off this day of learning and dialogue centered on arts education, data, and creative aging with an engaged crew of thirty plus grantmakers from across the nation, representing family foundations, government, and corporate giving.

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Posted on September 21, 2016 by Steve

In an article in the latest issue of the GIA Reader, “Impact Investing 101,” Rosalie Sheehy Cates and Shin Yu Pai of Philanthropy Northwest offer a primer for funders interested in exploring impact investing.

Posted on September 14, 2016 by Steve

In an article in the latest issue of the GIA Reader entitled “The Charitable Deduction,” author Bronwyn Mauldin of Los Angeles County Arts Commission discusses how future tax reforms might affect deductions for charitable contributions to the arts.