Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fusing Arts, Culture and Social Change: High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy

Clearly, science influences culture. Field science has had an incredibly powerful and controversial influence in the age of climate change.

Here's an interesting paper on the changing arts funding landscape by Holly Sidford.

It is a call to reach out in unconventional directions, pointing out that, "Current arts grantmaking disregards large segments of cultural practice, and by doing so, it disregards large segments of our society."

This sounds like the same impetus that is driving field science to engage with art from the other direction.

The paper also includes an excellent defense of art:
"Culture and the arts are essential means by which all people explain their experience, shape their identity and imagine the future. In their constancy and their variety, culture and the arts allow us to explore our individual humanity, and to see our society whole. People need the arts to make sense of their lives, to know who they are. But our democracy needs the arts, too. The arts animate civil society. They stretch our imagination. They increase our compassion for others by providing creative ways for us to understand and deal with differences. The arts protect and enrich the liberty, the human dignity and the public discourse that are at the heart of a healthy democracy."


"Across sectors, artists and arts organizations are increasingly being called upon to activate the social imagination to bring forth new ways to know and understand an increasingly complex world. Artists are providing a critical lens that educates, provokes, and holds a mirror to society, influencing what gets attention in the public sphere and shaping perspective and opinion. Arts and culture are engaging communities in creative process and social action, broadening who has voice and offering a connecting point to those who have not felt power in the civic realm before."

Trend or Tipping Point: Arts and Social Change Grantmaking is a paper from the Animating Democracy program of Americans for the Arts, by Pam Korza and Barbara Schaffer Bacon.
"Focusing on grantmaking in the United States, the report aims to characterize the nature of support from both private and public sectors. It examines how various grantmakers think about social change in the context of agency goals and what outcomes they are looking for through their support. The report looks at the types of activities and projects that are being funded as well as grantmaking strategies and structures. It documents obstacles and opportunities for greater support, considering both funders who are and are not supporting this work."

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