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Monday, January 2, 2012

Must Read! Createquity: The Top 10 Arts Policy Stories


I've excerpted the start of the list - read the full post at:

"Each year, Createquity offers a list of the top ten arts policy stories of the past 12 months. You can read the 2009 and 2010 editions here and here, respectively. In addition to the main list, I also identify my favorite new arts blogs that started within the past year. The list, like the blog, is focused on the United States, but is not oblivious to news from other parts of the world.

For the most part, 2011 saw the continuation of trends that had already been set in motion in previous years. The economy continued to be an issue for arts organizations worldwide, affecting government revenues in particular. The NEA moved in directions foreshadowed by its actions in 2010. And the culture wars, while not translating into meaningful policy change for the most part, were waged in the background once again.

10. Federal cultural funding dodges a bullet

The newly-elected Republican House of Representatives made a lot of noise this year about cutting funding to arts and culture, particularly the Corporation for Public Broadcasting after a forced scandal involving NPR’s then-vice president of development. Democrats refused to take the bait, however, and even amid multiple standoffs over the federal budget this year, cultural funding survived largely intact. The NEA escaped with a 13% decrease from last year’s originally enacted funding level, and CPB and the Smithsonian actually saw increases. Notably, the Department of Education’s arts in education budget was also saved (albeit with cuts) despite an Obama administration recommendation for consolidation under other programs. That said, the saber-rattling this past year leaves little doubt about the prospects for arts funding under a Republican Congress and President in 2013 and beyond, and it will surprise no one if the same battles are fought all over again in 2012.

9. Grand Rapids LipDub shows how creative placemaking is done

By now you’ve heard the story: city gets named on a top ten list of “America’s dying cities”; college-aged filmmakers galvanize the community to organize a coordinated response. The result: “the greatest letter to the editor of all time,” also known as the Grand Rapids LipDub. Involving thousands of people and requiring a near-total shutdown of the city’s downtown area, the video went viral over Memorial Day weekend and has received nearly 4.5 million views as of December 31. But more than the feat itself, the video is notable as an incredibly effective example of cost-effective creative placemaking. The mayor of Grand Rapids was very smart to give this $40,000 production (mostly raised through sponsorships from local businesses) his complete support: it is just about the best advertising for his city one could possibly ask for, conveying a completely unforced and compelling charm while fostering community pride among local residents along the way.

8. Crowdfunding goes mainstream

Just two years ago, Kickstarter was a novelty and no one had heard of IndieGoGo. Now, these and other “crowdfunding” platforms that connect creatives with fans and financial backers have become an indelible part of the artistic landscape, particularly for grassroots, entrepreneurial projects. This July, Kickstarter alone reached the milestones of 10,000 successful projects and $75 million in pledges over slightly more than two years, numbers that compare favorably with major private foundations’ support for the arts. Meanwhile, crowdfunding is fast becoming a, well, crowded market, with new entrants lured by the profit-making potential of serving as banker for the creative economy. RocketHub, USA Projects, and the Power2Give initiative are just three of the more significant new entrants of the past two years, and similar platforms are popping up to serve technology startups and the broader charity market...."

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

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