Fundraising in the arts report

Writing in ‘Inside Philanthropy’ recently, Karen Brooks Hopkins reminds readers of a report into fundraising in creative arts released by the US National Centre for Arts Research last year.  While focused largely on the US, The NCAR Report on Fundraising Trends in Arts and Culture, contains advice and information that may be of interest to those seeking funding in Australia. Based on 2014 data from over 4,200 organisations that encompass a gamut of disciplines, together with a focus on 4 year data for a subset of 2700 organisations the report finds that the deep relationships that have been built across time between art organisations and their funders is beginning to pay off. The report analyses trends relating to five major funding sources: trustees, individuals, corporations, foundations and government. 

It is available at:

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Brooklyn College ‘off-Broadway’ theatre partnership

Brooklyn College and New York’s Public Theatre have joined together to provide opportunities to support emerging creative talent through master classes, arts administration fellowships, and research opportunities.

Brooklyn College is part of the City University of New York which delivers a liberal arts program including undergraduate and masters degrees in arts, media, theatre, fine arts and music.  The Public Theatre was one of the first not for profit theatres to be opened in the US and declares one of its unique strengths to be ‘The only theater in New York that produces Shakespeare and the classics, musicals, contemporary, and experimental pieces in equal measure’. The partnership was supported by The Tow Foundation.

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More than Money - Expanding Definitions of Success for Arts Alumni

In higher education, we like to throw around the term “successful” when referring to our alumni, but what do we really mean by that?  Employed, certainly (if that is their goal).  Financially stable, making enough money to have a decent quality of life.  But beyond that, is more money really the best way to measure more success?  What else should we consider in this assessment?


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University of Kansas launches art research initiative to bring artists and scientists together

The Integrated Arts Research Initiative (IARI) launched at the University of Kansas and funded by a grant from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation,  will bring artists and non-arts academics together to create ‘hybrid, collaborative projects’ and integrate arts into the research agenda of the university.  The initiative’s mission includes bringing external scholars and creative professionals to the museum each year to work on particular projects.  In 2017 this includes exhibitions on the topic of ‘Big Botany’. IARI will also include, field trips and roundtable discussions for scientists and artists.

Director of the Spencer Museum of Art, Reece Hardy said  “We hope this can become a prototype for other university art museums to galvanize their collections, as well as their creative power for higher education”.

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Inquiry, entrepreneurship and community: Foundations for a flourishing future

What do students of art need to know and be able to do today in order to flourish tomorrow? For the past ten years I have been exploring this question within the context of US art schools (Salazar, 2013a, 2013b, 2014, 2016). Reflecting on this body of research, three strategies stand out by which we, as educators, can better prepare art students to meet future challenges. We need to prompt inquiry, nurture entrepreneurial dispositions, and facilitate creative communities of practice.

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US Arts Funding fears illustrated in Trump budget plan

The Washington Post reveals that US President Donald Trump’s first budget plan includes the intention to eliminate four longstanding cultural agencies that would ‘radically reshape the nation’s cultural infrastructure’. Confirming fears expressed by arts policy watchers, outlined in the last edition of NiTRO, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) are in the firing line for budget excision. The current federal allocation is: NEA -US$148 million: NEH- US$148 million; CPB US$445 million; and Institute of Museum and Library Services - US$ 230 million. The Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art could also be hit by additional cuts.

The Washington Post points out that although the federal funding for these organisation is comparatively small, it provides for extensive additional funding leverage from the private and philanthropic sector. It reports: ‘Last year, the NEA sent $47 million to 50 states and five jurisdictions, funds that helped to leverage $368 million from state governments. Together, those funds were distributed through 24,000 grants, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA)'

“Those state grants are crucial to arts organizations, including those that help young actors get their first roles and young writers develop their voices” said Edgar Dobie, executive director of Washington’s Arena Stage. “It’s the R&D the field needs,” Dobie said. “It’s so shortsighted to say it’s not as important as a new helicopter.”’

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Harvard ART Institute suspends admissions after graduate debt review

Enrolments for Harvard University’s ART Institute graduate program in theatre have been suspended following an unfavourable review against the US government’s ‘Gainful Employment’ regulations, under which access to federal funding relates to an assessment of ‘the amount of debts students can accrue when measured against their expected earnings'. Despite launching a number of Broadway productions, the institute, which admits around 24 students per year for its 2 year graduate program, has failed the test leaving the future of the program in a state of uncertainty.  Tuition fees of US$63,000 for the two year program, leave students with an estimated debt of US$78,000 while graduates are reported to each earn around US$36,000 annually. The ART Institute has suspended enrolments for 2019 as it undertakes a review process to find ways to address the problem.

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US arts funding in the Trump era

As the world’s media fascinates with the daily twists and turns of the Trump administration in national security, trade relations and social cohesion, creative artists in the US have been expressing concerns about future funding for the arts.  According to a range of US news sources, the new President's views on the position and funding of the arts remain ‘opaque’ and uncertain.  There are reports that, as part of the drive to reduce the federal bureaucracy, the National Endowment for the Arts should be eliminated and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting privatised.  Previous presidential aspirations to get rid of the national arts and arts research grant funder NEA have been avoided through the intervention of high profile entertainment figures.  Ronald Regan was apparently diverted from reducing NEA funding by a Charlton Heston led taskforce, but to date Trump’s relationship with entertainment celebrities, such as his run in with Meryl Streep, indicates that showbiz intervention may not be as successful this time round. Speaking in Variety, Eric Ortner, a member of the former President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities said ‘We are going to have a big fight on our hands . . . but I don’t think the question is, ‘Should we send Alec Baldwin to the Hill?’ The question is, ‘How do we talk about the work?’ 

Looming in the background is a 2016 report produced by the conservative Heritage Foundation ‘Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for 2017’ which recommends not only the elimination of the NEA but also the National Endowment for the Humanities and declares that ‘Taxpayer assistance of the arts is neither necessary nor prudent’. (The full report is available at:

Meanwhile artists are fearful of the impact of proposed legislative changes, such as reform to tax codes which cap tax deductible donations to under US$200,000 per couple.  Given that the arts received 30% of its funding from donations from foundations, private individuals and corporations this could have a major impact on sustainability.   

Taking a more positive view, Mike Blakeslee, the executive director of the National Association for Music Education, sees the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary as an important move for arts education given her connection with the Kennedy Centre and multi-million donations to the arts from her family Foundation.

To add to the confusion and uncertainty, there are even reports that the President’s transition team had considered a major government arts role for Sylvester Stallone! Strange times may be ahead for artists in the US. Americans for the Arts in Washington D.C are holding an Arts Advocacy event on March 21 so perhaps the picture may be made clearer in the next few weeks.

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Penn State Uni steams ahead with art pedagogy centre

Pennsylvania State University’s College of Arts and Architecture and Teaching and Learning with Technology has just launched a new centre which may be of interest to those in art education research. The Center for Arts and Design Pedagogy (C-PAD) focuses on arts and design pedagogies, research, and professional development that is applicable to learning and teaching in a range of academic disciplines hitting the US STEM to STEAM zeitgeist in a highly practical way.

'The changing of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) to STEAM is not simply the addition of Arts somewhere within the mix',  C-PAD Director Ann Clements said ‘It’s an attempt to place artistic thinking and doing centrally alongside and within other disciplines, as artistic and creative thinking is what makes innovation in all fields possible.’

In addition to research fellowships and community programs, the centre will host international researchers and teachers as part of its aim to share the innovations in art and design teaching across the disciplinary spectrum

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Fancy Designing an Island? Entries close 2 June 2017

The University of Pennsylvania has issued an invitation to architects and designers to come up with a design for a new island. The international competition, which is open to landscape architects, architects, planners, artists and designers,  was launched in the university’s LA+ (Landscape Architecture Plus) journal and offers prize money of US$ 2000 to the five winners who will be announced in August 2017. Sadly, no plans to realise the winners’ hypothetical designs have been announced! Further details on the competition are available at:

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