Blog Posts for Research

New Ways to Talk About Art, Artists, and Community

Posted by Ms. Margy Waller, Dec 22, 2015 0 comments

A young dancer recently told me she would be so happy if architects of community change and innovation and planning came to her with a request to put her skills to work for her community. Nothing would make her happier as an artist.

She’s just waiting for the invite! So, why doesn't this happen more often? And why do artists find it so hard to get a seat at the community planning table?

In recent meetings about the role of arts in community building and development, including the four regional meetings of the New Community Visions Initiative this fall, participants from the arts told us that they have a hard time getting a seat at that table. They sense that people in other sectors don’t seem to take arts seriously as a community development partner.

 

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Strength in Numbers

Posted by Sofia Perez, Dec 01, 2015 0 comments

How does a hardworking artist become an economically thriving one? In today’s art world, talent alone is rarely enough. Without sufficient financial support, most artists will struggle to get ahead—or even stay afloat—but direct funding for the arts is getting increasingly harder to come by. In 2014, individual artists received less than 5% of the grant dollars awarded by nonprofits or state arts agencies for arts-related work [Sources: The Foundation Center; National Assembly of State Arts Agencies]. What’s more, the vast majority of support that individual artists receive from non-governmental institutions is filtered through fiscal sponsors, a step that not only creates an additional obstacle for artists, but also cuts into the total dollar amount that they receive.

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“C is for...” Creative Messaging Through the Arts

Posted by Ms. Stacy Lasner, Nov 19, 2015 0 comments

If I ask what “C is for,” many of you reading this would probably respond by recalling the lyrics of Cookie Monster’s famous song. Throughout history, from the cave wall to the Facebook wall, art has forged connections by communicating specific ideas and emotions in a relatable, memorable way. The idea that art can be used not only to entertain, but also to communicate important messages, has been demonstrated effectively by educational children’s television shows. Numerous studies over the years have shown that children who watched Sesame Street programming outperformed their peers in English, math, and science, and had more positive attitudes toward school.

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Partnership and Shared Power in Evaluation

Posted by Carlton Turner, Oct 30, 2015 1 comment

In this Blog Salon’s first post, Maurine Knighton opens with a quote from William Bruce Cameron, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” The second half of that quote – “not everything that counts can be counted” – speaks directly to why the work of the Evaluation Lab is so timely and essential to the advancement of cultural equity in the arts. Artists and cultural workers who are deeply embedding social justice in their work are at the margins of our sector in funding and their work is made invisible by the majority of established institutions. Additionally, the work they are doing is rarely summed up by the standard metrics that funders require –– statistics culled from box office receipts and demographic surveys. Measuring change is an admirable task that will be innovated from the ground, not the air.

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What I Learned at the Learning Lab: a Few Thoughts on Art, Equity, and Social Justice

Posted by john@johnborstel.com, Oct 30, 2015 0 comments

I want to live in a world where there’s room for both studio artists and community artists.

I really want to live in a world where artists have the freedom to move back and forth between those two perspectives and – especially – to allow those two perspectives to inform one another.

I believe in art for justice’s sake, in art for learning’s sake, in art for discovery’s sake, in art for empowerment’s sake. I’d like to believe that when we say “art for art’s sake” we could mean any or all of that.

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Embedding creativity and values into evaluation

Posted by Jessica Solomon, Oct 27, 2015 0 comments

Evaluating the social and aesthetic efficacy of arts and social justice work requires disrupting mainstream evaluation practices that distort—or even undermine—the connections among art, culture, and social justice. We have the opportunity to embed creative, culturally relevant human-centered design into the way we evaluate our arts and social justice work. Our values and practices in our communities can be reflected in the way we evaluate our work.

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