Valuable data, questionable field recommendations. (A response to Irvine’s latest report on arts participation.)

risk question mark

A few years ago I had a meeting with a PhD advisor in the US to talk through the proposed chapter breakdown for my dissertation. When discussing the key components of my final chapter I conveyed that it would include a major section covering policy implications and recommendations for arts organizations, artists, and funders. My advisor smiled a bit and said, “Well, let’s see if you earn that section, first.” It was a good lesson. Whenever I come across a passage in a research study that begins, “The evidence suggests that arts organizations … [Read more...]

My Grantmakers In the Arts 2013 Conference. I’m Sensing an Evolution.


A few weeks back I was invited to attend the 2013 Grantmakers in the Arts Conference in Philadelphia as a Conference Blogger. I joined Barry Hessenius (Barry's Blog) and a whole team of bloggers, led by Ian David Moss (Createquity), from Fractured Atlas. I wrote three posts summarizing the activities I attended and reflecting on key themes, which you can find here. I vowed (to myself) that I would let the conference sink in a bit and then write a post for Jumper--a brief summary of the sticky points, if you will. This is that post. ARTISTS … [Read more...]

On tipping the dominoes then walking away …


A couple months back I was one of a number of people interviewed for a research project of Grantmakers in the Arts. The interview was aimed at understanding my influences as a funder (when I worked at the Mellon Foundation) and drawng out some lessons learned. At one point in the discussion I found myself saying that I had probably left grantmaking just in time because I was not sure I understood how to be an effective arts grantmaker over the long haul. While at Mellon I found myself continually questioning whether it was better to provide … [Read more...]