Those who have been around the block a few times will probably see this as just another instance of the vicissitudes of funding. We’ve seen any number of large scale funding initiatives come and go; any number of major funders for arts education come and go. Once upon a time there was the JDR 3rd Fund, The GE Fund, The Annenberg Foundation, and others.
Nevertheless, the general opinion appears to be that 2009 was a pretty bad year, and it’s hard to argue against that position when it comes to arts education funding.
In 2009, the Ford Foundation, the Dana Foundation, and the Wallace Foundation either ended their arts education programs entirely or reduced them significantly.
Ford made final grants to its cohort of arts education grantees across the country.
Dana just announced that it is ending its support for teaching artist training. That being said, Dana will continue to support arts education as part of its brain research program.
The Wallace Foundation reduced its overall footprint significantly by laying off somewhere around a third of its staff, including the elimination of two senior positions directly related to arts learning and one related indirectly. While Wallace is expected to continue making select grants in arts learning, including renewals to some existing grantees, the explosive growth in position and influence witnessed in the past four years in arts education appears to have ended by practically all accounts. The saving grace here is that my friend Daniel Windham remains at Wallace. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out at Wallace.
It is what it is–the times they are a-changin’.
And yes, the times are always a-changin’, and will change again. So, I am not all gloom and doom on the fifth day of this new decade, but feel it’s important to take note of the losses of 2009 and hope that 2010 will bring some new actors to the national and regional funding stage.
And, if you want the real deal, here’s a glorious early TV appearance of Bob Dylan singing the title song of this blog!