50+ years of backing away from the hazardous ledge of imagination


Last week the NEA announced a round of 34 grants totaling $11.5 million as part of a new program, ArtPlace, which aims to integrate artists and arts groups into local efforts in transportation, housing, community development and job creation as an important tool of economic recovery. ArtPlace is a joint-initiative of the NEA and a consortium of foundations, corporations and federal agencies. Luis A. Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation and chairman of the ArtPlace Presidents’ Council, is quoted saying: “The arts are inherently valuable, and … [Read more...]

The arts have intrinsic value. If you don’t believe that, I have an economic impact study to show you.

"Those are my principles.  If you don't like them I have others."  Groucho Marx

In last week's blog I relayed the story of attending a presentation by Randy Cohen of Americans for the Arts in Amsterdam and how it got me thinking about economic impact studies and arguments.  (Thanks to all who posted comments.)  In response to Cohen's assertions that economic impact arguments are the only ones that seem to work with most politicians in the US these days, Arjo Klamer (the Chair of Cultural Economics at Erasmus University) raised his hand and said (and I'm paraphrasing from memory):  Economic impact arguments are the only … [Read more...]

All the economic studies, and all the economic arguments, can’t fix this

Humpty Dumpty Cropped

Last month, at a conference in Amsterdam, Randy Cohen reported the findings from the National Arts Index, a Project of Americans for the Arts.  The report has some troubling headlines, among them:  While the number of arts organizations has increased significantly, one out of three has failed to achieve a balanced budget even during the strongest economic years of the decade; nonprofit arts organizations are losing their market share of philanthropy to other charitable areas, a decline that began well before the current economic downturn; and … [Read more...]