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Author Topic: America Needs a New System for Supporting the Arts  (Read 3786 times)
Karen Lane
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« on: March 09, 2005, 01:39:19 PM »

America Needs a New System for Supporting the Arts
Chronicle of Higher Education, February 2005
Bill Ivey, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and now director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University, calls for "a new model for building a vibrant arts landscape." He argues that the more than 40-year-old system of non-profits and matching grants has gone about as far as it can go, and that it's time to take on new challenges: "draw a bigger, more-inclusive map of America's arts system, redefine the 'public interest' in relation to the arts, and identify new points of leverage and new intervention strategies."
http://sitemason.vanderbilt.edu/files/ijgbO8/ChronicleArticle.pdf

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Karen J Zeller Lane
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Christopher Comte
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2005, 09:47:55 AM »

Fascinating article.  Ivey's remarks affirm a trend I've seen at work here locally for a number of years now, namely the idea of for-profit/non-profit partnerships as well as those between otherwise unrelated non-profits themselves.  His suggestion that further study needs to be done to establish the current cultural landscape vis-a-vis how the various constituencies in the arts/culture industry can work together seems spot-on IMO.
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Keith Dahlgren
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2005, 12:38:05 AM »

It *is* a fascinating article.  My argument with it (at first glance...it's after midnight, after rehearsal, and after driving home from Tacoma...my contacts are cloudy and I should be asleep) is that it assumes that the be-all and end-all of performance art is electronic.  Movies and video and recorded music.  Live theatre, dance, and music is a 'nother animal entirely.  It has its own unique advantages and problems. It's HIGHLY cost intensive, and it doesn't usually have DVD rights and future earnings from syndication rights.

Oh, sure, maybe, your show will become a hit that ends up on Broadway and gets made into a film that makes $millions.  That and a lottery ticket will get you...what?  Nothing?

Live theatre needs ticket sales and donor support and tight budget examination.  I agree that some new model of partnership with a successful for-profit business is great, but isn't that just another form of donation?
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Keith Dahlgren
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2005, 09:17:50 AM »

Okay, even though nobody's replying on this thread, I saw this article in the Tacoma Nrews Tribune and thought I'd post it:

http://www.thenewstribune.com/soundlife/story/4678624p-4331789c.html

We've had discussions regarding Boards of Directors and their roles in the past, and I thought this was relevant.  Having served on a couple of nonprofit boards, I have yet to feel like I have contributed more than a warm body and a little discussion.  This articles mentions the old adage of Board members, "give, get, or get off".  Being a poor artist, a lot of 'give' or even 'get' isn't my forte.  So what can I bring to the table?

Also, it mentions the role of the Board in financial oversight.  My personal feeling is that a Board needs to keep the financial health of a nonprofit institution in sight at all times, so that there are fewer instances of "whoops, we're out of money and did we mention that we're also heavily in debt?" from the staff.  It doesn't mean the line is crossed and micromanaging the staff occurs, but it does mean keeping a sharp eye on the budget numbers as they come in.

The current nonprofit model CAN work (although, Chris, I heartily welcome all other attempts at new models) but it means income from the Board and Development staff and tight budget responsibility on the parts of both Staff and Board.  

Of course, this discussion can leak into the realm of Size.  The bigger theatres seem to need More and More money, while smaller ones operate on spit and bubble gum. See TNT reporter Jen Grave's other article on "A Moral Dilemma." Profesionalism...define it for me, some one.

 
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