Foundations Renew Support for ArtsLab Program
The Minneapolis-based McKnight Foundation, in partnership with the F.R. Bigelow, Mardag, Saint Paul, and Bush foundations, has announced $1.9 million in renewed support for Arts Midwest's ArtsLab program.
The program, which works to strengthen the leadership and strategy development efforts of small Minnesota arts organizations through training, consultations, and other types of support, will use the funds to launch a two-year peer-learning community to promote shared learning and bolster the infrastructure of sixteen organizations. The funds also will be used to launch an "idea exchange" that gathers and shares the best leadership and management development ideas from mentors, educators, and arts organization leaders in the Minneapolis area.
Launched in 1999 as a pilot project by six funders seeking better approaches to building leadership and management skills in community-based arts organizations, the ArtsLab program has been credited with helping arts groups strengthen their leadership skills and resiliency, grow their budgets, and build new community relationships.
"ArtsLab is a proven and powerful tool for developing courageous community leaders," said Catherine Jordan, the Bush Foundation's director for advancing solutions. "We are excited about the opportunity to support ArtsLab in its work to connect and support leaders with new resources for facilitating community conversations that lead to change in their communities."
“ArtsLab: Five Foundations Renew Support for Leadership and Strategy Development Program for Arts Nonprofits.” McKnight Foundation Press Release 1/31/12.
Artspace Receives $3.75 Million From Ford Foundation
Minneapolis-based Artspace Projects, Inc., the nation's leading developer for the arts, has announced a $3 million program-related investment and a $750,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to support its efforts to build better communities through the arts.
The $3 million PRI, a ten-year loan at 1 percent, will be used for pre-development activities, including hiring architects and engineers, in communities nationwide where a lack of resources often prevents project concepts from getting off the ground. Among other things, Artspace will use the investment for a project in New Orleans, where it expects to begin construction on a multi-partner arts facility in 2013. According to Artspace president Kelley Lindquist, the loan might subsidize pre-development of up to a dozen projects.
The grant includes $500,000 earmarked for early project development and community engagement work in Hawai'i, New Orleans, and the Northern Plains region, with the remaining $250,000 to be used to support a learning education program at the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, a project that Artspace is developing in downtown Minneapolis. The grant is the fourth that Ford has awarded to Artspace.
"The foundation has long recognized that art and artists are essential to the health and well-being of our communities," said Ford Foundation president Luis Ubiñas. "Arts institutions and housing can spur local economic development and anchor communities. Artspace brings invaluable expertise and innovation as we look to support lasting and sustainable centers of artistic excellence throughout the country. Celebrating the human imagination and giving voice to the diversity and creativity of people remains a central need of our society, especially in these difficult times."
“Artspace Receives $3.75 Million in New Support From the Ford Foundation.” Artspace Press Release 8/12/11.
State Arts Agencies Face Deep Cutbacks, Elimination
As many states grapple with yawning budget deficits, state arts agencies are facing steep cuts, and several are in danger of being eliminated altogether, Miller McCune magazine reports.
In Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback signed an executive order last week to replace the Kansas Arts Commission with a nonprofit organization, effective July 1, unless lawmakers overturn his decision within sixty days — a possibility that Arts Commission chair Henry Schwaller has already discussed with legislators. While the state will save nearly $600,000 a year as a result, it will also lose $1.2 million in federal matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. "We understand there's a $500 million deficit," Schwaller told the Kansas City Star. "But our funding is so small — only 29 cents per capita per year — that cutting this is not going to make a sizable dent."
In at least four states — Texas, Kansas, Washington, and South Carolina — the governor's proposed budget would eliminate the state arts commissions entirely, while in Arizona the Commission on the Arts stands to lose all its funding from the state's general revenue fund.
Ken May, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission told Miller McCune that since Governor Nikki Haley called for eliminating the commission (as well as South Carolina Educational Television), concerned citizens have mounted a grassroots effort to save the agency. And in Texas, where Governor Rick Perry's budget simply eliminated funding to the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Texas Historical Commission, the Texas Cultural Trust published a report describing how five cities have successfully leveraged their cultural arts and creative sectors to create jobs and additional tax revenue.
"A healthy arts economy, stimulated by a small bit of government investment, reaps huge rewards," said Bob Lynch, president of the advocacy group Americans for the Arts. "We estimate the aggregate budget of the 109,000 nonprofit arts organizations in America adds up to about $66 billion. That spins off an economic impact of $166 billion, using a very conservative model."
Jacobs, Tom. “Perilous State of the Arts Agencies.” Miller-McCune 2/09/11.
Klepper, David. “Arts Commission Is Eliminated in Kansas.” Kansas City Star 2/09/11.
van Ryzin, Jeanne Claire. “Arts, Historical Agencies' Proposed Cuts Draw Backlash.” Austin American-Statesman 2/08/11.
Cargill Foundation to Boost Native American, Folk Art Organizations
Native American culture and folk art are about to become a focal point of a $4 billion charitable foundation, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Although it is still in its formative stage, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation in Eden Prairie, Minnesota — one of three entities grouped under the umbrella of the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies — will focus on those two areas, as well as the environment, disaster relief, and safe drinking water in developing countries, said foundation spokeswoman Sallie Gaines. After a stock deal last month called for Margaret Cargill's share of the privately held Cargill agribusiness fortune to be liquidated over the next four and a half years and transferred to her charities beginning this spring, the foundation expanded its hiring of staff and is preparing to launch its first initiatives.
While it remains to be seen what portion of the foundation's grantmaking will be earmarked for the arts, the foundation is planning to nurture grassroots efforts to a greater degree than more established institutions. Gaines told the Times that the foundation aims to identify unknown or aging masters of particular art forms and cultural traditions — such as basket- or tapestry-making techniques, performance styles, or ceremonial dances of tribes — and to make sure that that knowledge is passed on to future generations.
The foundation is expected to begin making grants late this year or early in 2012 through a program focused on Native American initiatives in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Eventually, it will roll out programs for the Southwest and Upper Midwest, after which it will begin making grants in the folk art area.
"I think the impact is going to be phenomenal," said Marshall McKay, board chair at the Autry National Center of the American West and a board member of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian. "Native American artists have certainly struggled. This kind of revenue, I think, can really put some programs on their feet and win long-term respect and growth for the artists."
Boehm, Mike. “Folk, Native American Arts Could Gain Millions From M.A.C. Foundation.” Los Angeles Times 1/29/11.
Vitality of Arts Sector Hit Twelve-Year Low in 2009, Report Finds
The health of the nation's arts sector reached a twelve-year low in 2009, dropping 3.6 points to 97.7, a new report from Americans for the Arts finds.
First issued in 2010, the National Arts Index evaluated eighty-one indicators in nine categories to arrive at a picture of trends in arts philanthropy, participation, and creativity as well as the relationship of the arts to other areas of American life, including employment and education. The measures include capacity and infrastructure, participation, contributed support, employment, nonprofit, creativity, demand for arts education, arts business, and competitiveness. Measured against a base score of 100 (in 2003), the overall index score achieved its high point of 105.5 in 1999.
The 2010 edition (144 pages, PDF) of the report, covering 1998-2009, found that since the onset of the Great Recession the index has fallen 6.2 points, due in large part to lower earned income and charitable giving to arts organizations. Indeed, the number of arts organization failing to achieve a balanced budget increased to 41 percent in 2008, from 36 percent the year before. At the same time, the report found that the number of arts organizations increased by 3,000 between 2007 and 2009, and that the sector now comprises 109,000 nonprofit arts organizations, 550,000 for-profit arts businesses, and 2.2 million working artists.
The report also found that while the public's personal spending on the arts has remained in the $150 billion to $160 billion range, it has slipped steadily since 2002 in terms of its share of all expenditures — from 1.88 percent to 1.57 percent. Similarly, the portion of all philanthropic giving going to the arts has dropped from 4.9 percent to 4.0 percent over the past decade.
"The arts are a fundamental component of true prosperity, and the National Arts Index provides an important starting point to discuss this element of our well-being," said Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute and one of the report's advisors. "The index also highlights the growing imbalance between supply and demand. That 41 percent of arts nonprofits fail to break even suggests we need to focus not only on simply keeping them from going out of business, but also stimulating engagement among more members of the community and fostering entrepreneurship in the arts."
“Vitality of the Arts Industry Hits 12-Year Low, According to Americans for the Arts' National Arts Index.” Americans for the Arts Press Release 1/24/11.
Business Support for the Arts Dropped From 2006 to 2009, Survey Finds
While the economic downturn has resulted in fewer companies making philanthropic contributions to the arts, those companies that have continued their support actually gave a slightly greater share of their charitable dollars, a new survey from the Business Committee for the Arts finds.
The BCA Triennial Survey of Business Support to the Arts (executive summary, 7 pages, PDF) found that between 2006 and 2009 the number of businesses that provided charitable support for the arts fell from 43 percent to 28 percent, while the number that gave to any charitable cause dropped from 70 percent to 52 percent. The survey also found that total contributions to the arts increased from 13 percent to 15 percent, and that small and mid-size businesses, which provide 93 percent of all corporate arts giving, increased their contributions to the arts over the 2006-09 period, while support from large businesses declined over the period.
Of the six hundred small, mid-size, and large U.S. companies that responded to the survey, 74 percent cited profitability as the most important factor they considered when deciding whether to increase their support for the arts, 67 percent supported arts organizations that provide opportunities for corporate recognition, and 37 percent said they supported specific arts organizations because such support aligned with corporate goals. The survey also found that 63 percent of respondents would boost their giving to the arts if the contributions had a direct impact on their bottom line, while 74 percent said that arts giving could provide networking opportunities and contribute to the development of new business.
"It is remarkable that so many companies maintained such strong support for the arts during the turbulent economic climate experienced over the past few years," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, BCA's parent organization. "Investing in the arts not only improves community quality of life, but also helps attract and retain a skilled workforce and build new markets. In addition, arts giving builds successful, lasting partnerships with the business community."
“Business Contributions to Arts Continue to Drop in Tough Economy According to New Survey by Americans for the Arts.” Americans for the Arts Press Release 12/06/10.
Posted: December 6, 2010
The report shows giving by individuals, foundations and corporate giving programs totaled $5.4 billion for the 2008 research year, a decrease in overall charitable giving of 5 percent from 2007.
The 2008 research year, the most recent time period for which complete data are available, includes financial information from foundations and corporate giving programs with fiscal years ending between June 1, 2008, and May 31, 2009 – the height of the recession.
“This decrease in overall charitable giving in Minnesota reverses a long-term trend of slight increases or at least flat giving from year to year,“ says Bill King, MCF president. “But, we knew a drop was inevitable, given the steep recession and slow economic recovery.”
Among other key research findings:
- Individual donations accounted for 74 percent – or $4.02 billion – of all charitable giving in Minnesota in 2008. Reflecting the dramatic downturn in the economy, this is a 7.7 percent decrease from $4.4 billion in 2007.
- Foundation and corporate grantmaking accounted for 26 percent – or $1.42 billion – of charitable giving in Minnesota in 2008, an increase of 3.6 percent from $1.37 billion in 2007. This increase was driven by corporate foundations and giving programs. In 2008, corporate grantmakers increased their grantmaking by 14 percent to $669 million.
- The slight growth in grantmaking occurred despite an 11.5 percent drop in foundation assets to $17.30 billion. This was the largest single-year asset decline since 1994. The overall asset decline would have been much steeper in 2008 – 22.4 percent – if not for the first-time addition of the $2.12 billion in assets of the newly established Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.
- Analysis of giving by 100 of the largest grantmakers in the state – which represented 7 percent of all grantmakers in Minnesota and 82 percent of all grant dollars paid – revealed that giving to human services grew 8 percent. This increase led human services to displace education giving as the subject area receiving the largest share of overall grant dollars, representing only the third time since 1976 that education was not number one.
In early January, MCF will release its 2011 Outlook Report. This research will describe funders’ expectations for grantmaking in the coming year. (To see what grantmakers were expecting a year ago, see MCF’s 2010 Outlook report.)
- Chris Murakami Noonan, MCF communications associate
YouTube Launches $5 Million Grant Program
Several emerging YouTube video creators have been able to generate substantial revenues and command an audience that rivals those of the broadcast networks while managing all aspects of their business, from writing, filming, and producing content to the marketing, post-production, and distribution of videos. Despite this success, however, many video creators lack the resources and deep financial backing available to studio-backed production houses.
To remedy the situation, YouTube established the Partner Grants program to bolster the production budgets of a small group of YouTube video creators who are at the forefront of innovation. The grants will serve as an advance against the video creators' future YouTube revenue share, enabling them to invest in better cameras, shoot for higher production values, expand their marketing efforts, and hire more staff, with the ultimate goal of bringing a richer body of content to YouTube users and advertisers and raising the creative bar for online video.
"Ultimately the game has changed, and people are throwing the rules out the window," George Strompolos, partner development manager at YouTube, told the New York Times. "Folks who ten years ago couldn't even get their content shared to friends across the street are now connecting with audiences around the world. We see that not only as a cute thing, where someone has a viral hit, we see these people as the next content creators, the next brand in original programming. It's where our roots have always been, and we are doubling down on that type of programming."
“Investing in the Future of Video: YouTube Announces Partner Grant Program.” YouTube Blog Post 7/09/10.
Stone, Brad. “YouTube Will Back Its Most Promising Video Creators.” New York Times 7/09/10.
Kennedy Center President Advising Cultural Leaders Around the Country on 'Arts in Crisis' Tour
Over the past year, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts president Michael M. Kaiser has been traveling the country, speaking to arts executives about how to keep their organizations afloat in a difficult economy, the New York Times reports.
When it ends on July 20, the Arts in Crisis tour will have taken Kaiser to all fifty states, where he has hammered home the message he detailed in his 2008 book The Art of the Turnaround — that in hard times arts organizations retain audiences and donors by offering their most exciting programming, not by scaling back or trying more conservative fare. The tour is named after, and complements, an initiative launched by the Kennedy Center last February as arts groups across the country cut programming because of money woes. The Arts in Crisis initiative allows nonprofits to apply for free planning help from Kennedy Center staff members and a group of volunteer mentors; eight hundred groups have applied for help so far.
To many in the world of cultural nonprofits, Kaiser is regarded as a miracle worker for having helped save other major arts groups, including the Kansas City Ballet, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, and the Royal Opera House in London. At the Kennedy Center, which he took over in 2001, he has more than doubled donations and run a surplus every year.
In addition to the tour and book, Kaiser also spreads his passion for arts management on a Huffington Post blog and his Facebook page, which has the maximum-allowed five thousand followers. Rather than move on from the Kennedy Center in 2011, as he had once planned, Kaiser says he will stay until 2014 and then lead the center's DeVos Institute of Arts Management, which since 2001 has advised arts groups around the world.
"I'm trying to build a respect for the field," Kaiser told the Times. "I'm creating — it's not about me so much — but I'm creating the sense that there is a field out there, that there is something for people to talk about."
Taylor, Kate. “A Crusader for Boldness as the Arts Face Deficits.” New York Times 6/27/10.
Primary Subject: Arts and Culture
Ailing Museums Seek 'Bailouts' From Universities
Tottering under years of budget deficits, accumulated debt, and declining donations, several of the country's small and midsize museums are turning to the art-world equivalent of a bailout and forging partnerships with academic institutions, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Museums' financial problems follow years of ambitious expansions, generous executive pay packages, and questionable real-estate investments undertaken during the real-estate boom. To finance that spending, many museums took on significant debt — only to have the floor fall out from under their endowments in 2008 when the stock market crashed. In response, some museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon, and the Magnes Museum in Berkeley, California, are turning to universities for help, in some cases handing over artwork and moving to new locations. According to many museum directors, a university is more likely than a private collector to keep a collection intact and maintain public access.
Financial tough times can also present difficult choices to museum donors. A donor might decide to write checks to keep a museum afloat, only to see the museum fail. Or she might support a new partnership or leadership change, only to have it end up infringing on the institution's unique character. Donors also worry about the financial health of rescuing institutions; like museums, many universities are struggling with funding cuts, shrinking endowments, and declining private contributions. Indeed, according to the Giving USA Foundation, donations to arts institutions and education organizations declined by almost 10 percent in 2008, and many institutions saw their endowments shrink, in some cases by as much as 30 percent.
Still, despite less-than-rosy financial outlooks, some museums are holding out. The troubled Fresno Art Museum, for instance, considered a merger with California State University, Fresno earlier this year but eventually decided against the move. "We were concerned with turning over our art collection to the state system with no guarantee that the art would stay in our community," said the museum's chairman, Tom Speck. Instead, said Speck, the museum will cut expenses and develop a five-year strategic plan designed to increase donations. "It was definitely a wake-up call to stop spending beyond our means."
Banjo, Shelly. “Hit by the Downturn, Museums Seek Bailouts.” Wall Street Journal 5/20/10.
National Arts Index Reveals Lower Health and Vitality of Arts Industries in 2008
Due to losses in charitable giving and declining attendance at larger cultural institutions, the health and vitality of the arts in the United States was lower in 2008 than it was in 2003, a new report from Americans for the Arts finds.
According to the National Arts Index (146 pages, PDF), attendance at art museums decreased by 13 percent over that period, while audiences at popular music events were down by 6 percent. At the same time, the report found that between 1998 and 2008 there was a steady increase in the number of artists and arts organizations and in arts-related employment. Indeed, while attendance at arts events is shrinking, advances in technology are changing how Americans experience the arts.
Conducted over four and a half years, the first study of the health and vitality of the arts industry in the United States looked at seventy-six indicators in nine categories to arrive at a decade-long view of trends in arts philanthropy, participation, and creativity as well as the relationship of the arts to other areas of American life, including employment and education. The measures include capacity and infrastructure, participation, contributed support, employment, nonprofit, creativity, demand for arts education, arts business, and competitiveness.
Measured against a base acore of 100 (in 2003), the overall index score fell to 98.4 in 2008 and achieved its ten-year high, 105.5, in 1999. "The current economic crisis offers a unique and important opportunity to begin a national conversation about the value of the arts — to us as individuals, communities, and a nation," said Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute and one of the project's advisors. "We need to rethink a nonprofit arts sector that in many ways remains tethered to support models that have remained unchanged for a half century. Arts organizations need to find creative ways to engage their audiences, build on the public's growing interest in personal creation, and stimulate audience demand."
Although the national study was funded in part by the Rockefeller and Henry Luce foundations, the Michi-gan-based Kresge Foundation has awarded $1.2 million to Americans for the Arts to create a companion Local Arts Index and provide workshops and materials necessary to assist communities in the effective application of the local data. "Our work in all parts of the country suggests that the National Arts Index will have a valuable impact on local communities of every kind," said Kresge Foundation president Rip Rapson "The Local Arts Index — the local application of this national tool — will help local leaders in one hundred communities make better-informed decisions about arts and culture investments. It will also contribute to heightened community understanding of the importance that arts and cultural activities play in a community's economic health and social vitality."
“First-Ever National Arts Index Measures Health and Vitality of Arts in the United States.” Americans for the Arts Press Release 1/20/10.
Trescott, Jacqueline. “The Nationals Arts Index, a New Survey by Americans for the Arts, Paints a Troubling Picture for Arts Organization.” Washington Post 1/21/10.