2020 Grantmakers in the Arts Convening

Welcome to the 2020 GIA Virtual Convening Blog! Grantmakers in the Arts is pleased to have Tram Nguyen posting her comments and reactions beginning Monday, November 9. We hope you check here for her posts.

November 12, 2020 by Tram Nguyen

Are podcasts a democratizing medium? The question at the core of this session is one that resonates with my old journalist’s heart (though it’s been many years, once a journalist, always a journalist). This session shared the story of the Barr Foundation’s pilot investment in PRX media and a podcast training initiative that helped launch podcasts such as Out of the Blocks, Afroqueer, and Bottom of the Map.

As an inveterate, old-school print reader, I was late to the podcast party. It was eye-opening to learn from Kerri Hoffman of PRX that podcasts have really only become a normalized form of media within the last five years. With the advent of technology improvements for ease of access and the maturation of more and more excellent content, podcasts are reaching a new peak of high adoption rates. As the industry grows and gains traction, another question emerges of whether community voices will be elbowed out by big media entities and market forces.

November 11, 2020 by Tram Nguyen

I was grateful to learn another side of the Building Healthy Communities story from this session. The footprint of BHC, the California Endowment’s 10-year, 14-site initiative that sought to blend place-based organizing and statewide policy and systems change, is impossible to miss in the public health and community organizing sectors. As someone working in the orbit of TCE and BHC for years, I’d heard much about the initiative’s state and local policy campaigns and its narrative change work to “create an inclusive democracy and close health equity gaps.” But less well-known is this story of arts and culture as a radical community practice that was incubated in the Boyle Heights BHC.

November 10, 2020 by Tram Nguyen

This session shared findings from a partnership between GIA and the Cultural Strategies Council and the National Accelerator for Cultural Innovation to explore how non-arts funders can transform their practice to advance racial justice via cultural expression and the arts.

As another systems practitioner aspiring to transformational systems change (from the public health sector and local government), I greatly appreciated and enjoyed the breadth and sharpness of this panel’s expertise and analysis. First was the reminder by Kiley Arroyo of the Cultural Strategies Council that transformational change involves engaging multiple levers at once—at the foundational level, that of “deep culture” or paradigm change. What happens when we start by decentering the Western, settler colonial, extractive worldview? What happens when we start with a different story?

November 9, 2020 by Tram Nguyen

The 2020 GIA Virtual Convening kicked off today, the first day after a historic week that we are all still taking in and absorbing into our minds, hearts, and bodies. Fittingly, the convening’s keynote began with a performance by viBe Theater Experience, grounding us in the expression through words, music, and movement of Black girls, young women, and gender expansive youth. The keynote panel then moved into a conversation among Sage Crump, Ruha Benjamin and Salome Asega. I don’t need to point out how absolutely right, apropos, and profound it felt to hear Black women’s leadership, wisdom, and creativity at the forefront in this moment!