Help Map the Funding Landscape for Arts that Make Civic and Social Change (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Ms. Pam Korza, Nov 25, 2009 0 comments

How are funders—public and private sector alike—thinking about and supporting arts and culture as a strategy for civic engagement and social change? That’s what some funders and Animating Democracy want to find out as we launch a survey of local, state, and regional arts agencies, private and corporate foundations, and other funders as part of our Arts & Social Change Mapping Initiative. The survey for funders will be available online from December 1–18, 2009.

Some of our recent inquiries suggest a shift within the funding community to more support for the arts as a strategy to meet community change goals:

  • The arts funding program officer within a community foundation is asked by trustees to make the case for sustaining an arts and civic engagement funding initiative only two years old. To help make her case, she wants to find out what peers have learned about impact of comparable grantmaking.
  • A social justice funder is looking for examples of projects that employ arts and culture to address issues related to immigration. Learning about the role the arts can play will inform how to integrate arts and culture into grantmaking strategies.
  • In line with a recent cultural plan, a local arts agency is revising guidelines and grant review criteria to encourage civic engagement through the arts. The agency wants to identify funders whose guidelines can inform their own.

As funders seek to define their potential place in supporting this kind of work, more and better information about the current funding landscape can inform prospective new funders and enhance the work of current funders.

We urge you to help us map the landscape of funding used for arts for change work. We want to hear from any funders who are supporting arts and cultural strategies to stimulate change, or even thinking about supporting cultural activity that fosters: community building, development, or organizing; civic engagement; and social change, social justice, or participatory democracy.

Funders who would like to participate can request the Funder Survey Link by sending an e-mail with contact information to [email protected].

Findings from the survey, and related funder interviews and focus groups will be reported in an Arts for Change Funders Report. Additionally, an Online Database of Funders will be available as a resource to inform and facilitate peer exchange, referrals, and strategic collaboration among funders.  The database will also be a resource for artists, community organizers, and cultural organizations.

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