The Funder and the Intermediary, in Support of the Artist: A Look at Rationales, Roles, and Relationships

Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 2:00 EDT / 11:00 PDT [PASSED]

  • Claudia Bach, Principal, AdvisArts
  • Vickie Benson, Arts Program Director, The McKnight Foundation
  • Cora Mirikitani, President and CEO, Center for Cultural Innovation

Session 1 of the 10-part 2014 Web Conference Series

A recording of this presentation is available here.

Web conferences are free to the staff and board of GIA member organizations. The fee for nonmembers is $35. If you have already registered for another web conference in the 2014 series, please click the Register now! button and login, then click Agenda.


GIA has been developing its Artist Support Benchmarking Initiative since 2011. As the research team followed pathways of support, from funder to artist, a complex map of options and routes emerged, revealing intermediaries and regranters to be a significant part of that picture. As a sector, we have not undertaken much examination or research to build our understanding of this practice. Intermediary organizations come in variety of forms and, in addition to the logistics of regranting of funds, offer access to networks of artists and provide artists with career development assistance, space to work, and other support; a growing number provide an integrated blend of monetary support and nonmonetary services. The role of the intermediary is fundamentally liminal, occupying a position on both sides of a boundary or threshold, a place where relationships with both funders and artists must be continuously navigated with balance and grace. Conversations with funders and intermediaries provided the basis for an article by Claudia Bach published in the Winter 2014 GIA Reader. The observations and questions raised in that article lay the groundwork for this webinar, which will explore the range of intermediary practices that fall within the nomenclature and consider how these important and multidimensional relationships may play out in the future.

Presenter Bios:
Claudia Bach, principal and founder of AdvisArts, is noted for working with individual artists, public and nonprofit organizations, and communities to advance informed, imaginative, and purposeful change. She is committed to helping the creative sector tackle questions with timely information, enhanced skills, honesty, and openness to unexpected answers. Her consulting practice intentionally mixes a portfolio of municipalities and large entities with small organizations and individual artists as she values the latter’s essential and interdependent contributions to the vitality of their communities. Claudia’s work focuses on providing planning, research, strategy development, and training that stimulates new perspectives and generates effective action. She has presented and published on many topics including capacity building, arts participation, and change management in the cultural sector. Claudia has established and provides professional development and service programs for cohorts of artists and small arts organizations, and she is an adjunct professor for Seattle University’s MFA in Arts Leadership. She had worked together with WolfBrown on GIA’s Individual Artist Benchmarking initiative since its inception.
Vickie Benson is arts program director for The McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis. Before coming to McKnight, she was vice president of the Jerome Foundation, St. Paul, program director at Chamber Music America in New York City and senior program specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C. Vickie was a member of Grantmakers in the Arts’ board of directors from 2003-10, and for her last two years, she served as the board’s president. She is currently a member of the operations committee for ArtPlace, a grantmaking collaboration of fourteen national and regional foundations focused on creative placemaking. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in arts administration from St. Paul's Metropolitan State University, and a master's degree in nonprofit management from the Hamline University Graduate School of Management. She studied music at the University of Minnesota as an undergrad. An avid advocate for artists, Vickie has a background as a folk singer and guitar player.
Cora Mirikitani is the president and CEO of the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI), a California-based knowledge and financial services incubator for individual artists. Cora’s extensive career in the arts includes more than ten years in philanthropy as program officer for Culture at The Pew Charitable Trusts and later as senior program director at The James Irvine Foundation in charge of their Arts program and Innovation Fund. She has also held key leadership positions as an arts administrator and presenter, as CEO of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles, director of Performing Arts and Film at the Japan Society in New York, and executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. In addition to working as a consultant to foundations and nonprofit arts organizations, Cora has been a lecturer, writer, and advisor on numerous arts funding, policy, and advisory panels and boards during her career. She served on the board of directors of Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) and chaired the 1999 GIA Conference held in San Francisco. She was appointed a member of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Council for the Arts in 2004 and now serves on the Mayor’s Nonprofit Advisory Council. She was a member of the board of directors of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) from 2003-07, and was the recent recipient of a Durfee Foundation Stanton Fellowship award for 2008-09.