So What’s New?

by Marta Moreno Vega (bio), president and founder, The Carribean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute; adjunct professor, arts and public policy, Tisch School for the Arts, New York University

Fusing Arts, Culture and Social Change: High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy by Holly Sidford provides the data that most of us knew. Arts funding continues to disproportionately support West European institutions and continues to place the art expressions of the diversity of communities that comprise the nation at the margins. That 2 percent of the arts field receives 55 percent of the funding continues to support the discourse that communities of color and rural communities have set forth for more than 40 years. We didn’t have the exact data, but knew from the annual reports that both public and private foundations favored those organizations that focused on West European arts forms and support their patronizing attempts to diversify their programming excluding the participation of cultural experts of their cultures.

Important for the field is that what we knew is now documented. What the report provides is the platform for change. How this will happen continues to be the challenge. At the center of this inequitable reality is that the organizations that reflect the creative excellence of their communities are at risk of surviving the legacy of underfunding and the present economic crisis. Community cultural organizations are closing or are near to closing their doors and there is little reaction. What to do?