Beyond the Project: Supporting Artists from the Ground Up

Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 2:00pm EDT / 11:00am PDT

  • Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
  • Kristen Madsen, Director, Creative Sonoma

Session 6 of the 2015 Web Conference Series

A recording of this presentation is available here.

As with organizations, funders have a critical role in helping and supporting individual artists with more than discrete project needs. This session explores financial well-being and individual artists, and how funders can expand their funding guidelines to help artists survive unexpected challenges and have the capital to take risks in their creative processes. Ben Cameron from the Doris Duke Foundation will share lessons learned from its comprehensive recent assessment of its nine support programs for individual artists and the creation and execution of the Doris Duke Artists Awards Program, a hybrid approach offering multi-year support to select artists in jazz, dance, and theatre. Kristen Madsen will share how the safety net assistance that MusiCares provides to music people helps prevent the sector from losing its creative talent and why non-project support to artists is critical for the overall health of the arts eco-system.

Since 2006, Ben Cameron has been program director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in New York, NY, supervising a $15 million grants program focusing on organizations and artists in the theatre, contemporary dance, jazz and presenting fields. In 2012, the Foundation announced a special allocation to the arts of $50 million initiative designed primarily to serve individual artists, above and beyond the annual budget. This allocation, under Mr. Cameron’s supervision, supports three separate initiatives: the Doris Duke Artists Awards program, the Doris Duke Impact Awards, and the Doris Duke Building Demand for the Arts Program, supporting partnerships between artists and organizations to build community and audience demand. He has previous served as the executive director of Theatre Communications Group, the national service organization for the nonprofit professional theatre. Other roles include senior program officer at the Dayton Hudson Foundation, manager of community relations for Target Stores (supervising its national grantmaking program) and director of the theater program at the National Endowment for the Arts.
Kristen Madsen
A 25-year veteran of the music and arts industries, Kristen Madsen is currently serving as the director of Creative Sonoma, a new entity is designed to support and encourage the creative enterprises in the county through programs and innovative partnerships. Previously, she was senior vice president of two charities founded by The Recording Academy, the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares, which provides a safety net of critical services and financial assistance for music people in need. Key accomplishments include raising and distributing $4 million to music people affected by Katrina; developing the flagship education institute; and increasing net assets to both organizations by nearly 300%. Prior to heading up the GRAMMY charities, Kristen served for eight years as vice president of member services for the Recording Academy. She began her career in the arts management field working at the Utah Arts Council, where she acted as consultant to nonprofit organizations, and at the California Assembly of Local Arts Agencies. She also served a fellowship at the National Endowment for the Arts.