At the closing plenary of the 2017 GIA Conference, Rip Rapson spoke on how The Kresge Foundation has reasserted its values and called on arts funders and cultural workers to continue to put their own values into action.
“In no time in my memory has it been more important for arts and culture to become part of a larger movement of social justice — helping strengthen the alliances necessary to speak and advance those truths of equity, fairness, and justice that we know to be inviolable.”
Read the full transcript.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy has compiled a list of statements from nonprofit and foundation leaders following the events in Charlottesville, VA, including GIA member Grant Oliphant of The Heinz Endowments. In addition to these, other arts foundation leaders have voiced their responses:
“Even as brazen displays of hatred rightfully appall us, subtle, everyday acts of racism and bigotry need to be rendered just as unacceptable. This is our shared responsibility.”
— Board Chair Meghan Binger Brown and President Kate Wolford, The McKnight Foundation
“Anti-Semitism, like racism, misogyny, homophobia and other forms of hate, are alive and well in American political discourse.”
— Sharon Alpert, The Nathan Cummings Foundation
“Whether through our grantmaking, other ways we can best support our partners, or the use of our own voice, we will remain vigilant about how we can play a role, along with many others, to ensure that hate does not prevail.”
— President James Canales, Barr Foundation
“Where we stand will define us for generations to come.”
— CEO Fred Blackwell, The San Francisco Foundation
“Our country’s public officials, thinkers, and artists must respond to this moment by telling the full, unvarnished history.”
— President Earl Lewis, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Barr Foundation President James Canales wrote a statement in response to recent news of racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and President Trump’s subsequent comments:
We at the Barr Foundation add our unequivocal voice to the growing chorus that explicitly renounces the violent expressions of hate and the vile racism and bigotry that we witnessed in Charlottesville last weekend. Of course, such sentiments are not isolated to Virginia, and with a President who increasingly empowers these fringe actors, we will see more of it, even in Boston this coming weekend.
That we find ourselves in this moment only reinforces the fact that our work is far from complete on our way to fulfilling this country’s promise of “e pluribus unum.” It is a moment that should lead all of us to decide what we should do, how we can engage, and where we can commit energy and resources to demonstrate unambiguously that there are not “many sides” to moral imperatives such as fighting racism and combatting bigotry in all of its forms.
Read the full statement.
William D. Adams, the tenth chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, announced today his resignation from the agency, effective Tuesday, May 23, 2017. In a brief statement to staff, Adams expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve as the chairman of NEH and his admiration for the work of the agency. Deputy Chair Margaret Plympton will serve as acting chair.
Read the full announcement from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
In an op-ed in Nashville Arts Magazine, Jennifer Cole, executive director of Metro Nashville Arts Commission, addresses questions and debunks some of the myths about federal arts funding such as:
- “The arts are only for ‘certain people’ and others shouldn’t subsidize programs for the wealthy.”
- “If artists can’t make it as a business, why should we support them?”
- “The government has no role in the arts.”
Read the article on Nashville Arts Magazine.
Ford Foundation President Darren Walker has recently published an op-ed on The Hill in support of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities:
Of course, there is something at stake here much greater than the economic impact of public support for the arts. In a time of discordant political discourse — of competing, conflicting ideas of our shared future — the arts open our hearts and our minds, build empathy among us, and reconnect us with the human experience we all share. They are no special interest; they are a national interest that strengthens who we are.
Read the full statement on The Hill.
An op-ed by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation President Earl Lewis discusses the unique role that the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities play in funding arts and culture initiatives across the country. Lewis highlights ways the Endowments have enriched society and filled a niche in the funding arena – supporting programs in underfunded rural areas, lending “validation” to projects that may have otherwise been overlooked by private philanthropy, supporting veterans’ programs, leveraging public-private partnerships, and providing resources beyond what may be available on a state government level.
Read the op-ed on Bloomberg.
Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, has released a statement following today’s release of the president’s budget plan:
Today we learned that the president’s FY 2018 budget blueprint proposes the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. We are disappointed because we see our funding actively making a difference with individuals of all ages in thousands of communities, large, small, urban and rural, and in every congressional district in the nation. . . .
Read the full statement from NEA Chairman Jane Chu.
A recent blog post written by Executive Vice President Mariët Westermann of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation voices support for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. She discusses the billions of dollars in grants made possible by collaboration between private funders (including Mellon) and the Endowments and argues that many arts initiatives and programs across the country would not be possible without this collaboration. She writes:
We could not begin to do this work without the abiding partnership, inspiration, and example of the National Endowments for the Humanities and the Arts. As federal funding for the arts and humanities is once again under discussion, we affirm the fundamental importance of the National Endowments as invaluable resources for a harmonious, prosperous, and democratic society.
Read the full blog post.
In a recent blog post, The Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant writes about the power of arts, journalism, and courage in times of political conflict. In the spirit of this idea, the Endowments have increased their arts grantmaking budget:
For our part, the Endowments has decided to increase its normal grantmaking in the arts and creativity by $1.5 million this year, an increase of nearly 17 percent. This additional investment will not go to doing more of what we already do. While still being shaped, we expect it to deepen connections with our sustainability and learning work, broaden our engagement in neighborhoods and schools, and connect us more directly with artists who are using art to promote social justice and social change. Meanwhile, we are taking a deep look at how we can strengthen our commitment to public media in our community, especially through outlets such as PublicSource that are committed to producing sound investigative journalism in an era more in need of that than any in our lifetimes.
Read the full blog post.