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How Can Arts and Culture Organizations Be More Welcoming?2875GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>W​​​hat kinds of arts experiences foster feelings of connection and well-being? A new report reveals some insights from Black and African American participants, a viewpoint historically sidelined from research and planning efforts in the arts. In-depth interviews with 50 Black and African American participants revealed common threads that demonstrate the importance of four key practices for arts and culture organizations in creating a positive environment&#58; celebrating personal and community creativity, supporting self-care, working to be more trustworthy and creating a sense of welcome and belonging.<br></p><p>The qualitative study, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/a-place-to-be-heard-a-space-to-feel-held-black-perspectives.aspx?utm_source=The+Wallace+Foundation&amp;utm_campaign=bfe7509f3a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2022_01_07_04_25&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_59ab24ca7b-bfe7509f3a-211159397&amp;_ga=2.77163926.2027710580.1650894280-1368872614.1650558612"> <em>A Place to Be Heard, A Space to Feel Held&#58; Black Perspectives on Creativity, Trustworthiness, Welcome and Well Being</em></a>, was funded in part by Wallace, with research conducted in 2021. The project is part of a pandemic-era, equity-focused research collaboration with Slover Linett, LaPlaca Cohen and Yancey Consulting called <a href="https&#58;//culturetrack.com/research/transformation/" target="_blank"> <em>Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation&#58; A Special Edition of Culture Track</em></a>. The initial survey research found that people <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-we-need-from-arts-and-culture-right-now.aspx?_ga=2.77163926.2027710580.1650894280-1368872614.1650558612">crave more racial inclusion and connection</a> from the arts, and a follow-up survey determined that <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/as-the-pandemic-shifts-so-does-peoples-thinking-about-arts-and-culture.aspx?_ga=2.77163926.2027710580.1650894280-1368872614.1650558612">people’s attitudes were shifting</a> throughout the pandemic, with the desire for arts organizations to be more community-oriented only growing stronger. The new report homes in on perspectives from Black and African American participants, exploring how organizations can better support Black communities, work to earn their trust and make them feel welcome. </p><p>To examine some of the report’s key takeaways, the Wallace blog connected with the team from Slover Linett who co-authored the study (along with Ciara C. Knight)&#58; researcher Melody Buyukozer Dawkins, research coordinator Camila Guerrero and vice president and director of research Tanya Treptow.&#160;</p><p> </p><strong style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/how-can-arts-and-culture-organizations-be-more-welcoming/Melody_Buyukozer_Dawkins_Slover_Linett_Audience_Research.jpg" alt="Melody_Buyukozer_Dawkins_Slover_Linett_Audience_Research.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;160px;height&#58;200px;" /><span></span></strong><div><strong>​Wallace Foundation&#58; How did the four themes of creativity, self-care, trustworthiness, and welcome and belonging come into focus during the interviews?</strong></div><div><strong><br></strong></div><div><strong></strong><strong>Melody Buyukozer Dawkins&#58;</strong> Our initial focus on the main themes of creativity, trustworthiness and welcome and belonging came from the first wave of quantitative findings from the <a href="https&#58;//sloverlinett.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Centering-the-Picture-full-report-CCTC-Wave-1-findings.pdf" target="_blank"> <em>Culture + Community&#58; The Role of Race and Ethnicity in cultural engagement in the U.S.</em></a> report. Those findings provided guidance at several levels&#58;</div><p></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">The findings indicated that Black and African American​ respondents were less likely to participate in the range of cultural activities included in the survey, even though those that did participate did so at the same frequency as the other racial and ethnic groups. One discussion our team had was whether the list of activities that we included in the survey was comprehensive enough to cover all potential activities Black respondents participated in. To this end, we took an open-ended approach in our interviews and asked participants about the general creative activities they partake in to expand this list.</div><p></p><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Over three quarters of Black and African American respondents desired change in arts and culture organizations and it was particularly important for them to engage with diverse voices and faces, more than any other racial and ethnic groups. About one third also wanted to see friendly approaches to diverse people. To examine in our interviews what dynamics come into play in these processes, we explored welcome and belonging.</div><div class="wf-Element-BlueBullet">Black and African American respondents were also more likely than other groups to want to stay informed with&#160;trustworthy sources of information, so building on this finding we aimed to explore the factors that affect the trustworthiness of any organization or person.</div><p>We initially didn’t seek to examine self-care within our interviews but as we spoke to people, this theme emerged organically, especially as people talked about how they have been living through the pandemic era. </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; Against the backdrop of the larger <em>Culture + Community</em> study, why was it important to conduct this qualitative study to gain the perspective of Black and African American participants regarding community and culture organizations? What are the benefits and tradeoffs or pitfalls of conducting research that delves deeper into understanding the experience of a particular group? </strong></p><p> <strong>MBD&#58;</strong> This is a question we heard often throughout both the research and dissemination process. One way we found very helpful to answer this question is to take a system-level approach and ask ourselves why the question of the importance of Black perspectives really exists in the first place. What structures and conditions that historically excluded Black people make this kind of research necessary? And why do we try to assess what there is to gain (or to lose) from this kind of research, rather than focus on how research can shift our paradigms and help us transform? With our research, we intentionally tried to stay away from the impulse to justify, but instead to amplify and celebrate Black voices, stories and wisdom, authentically and unapologetically.&#160;&#160; </p><p> <strong> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/how-can-arts-and-culture-organizations-be-more-welcoming/Tanya_Treptow_Slover_Linett_Audience_Research.jpg" alt="Tanya_Treptow_Slover_Linett_Audience_Research.jpg" class="wf-Image-Right" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;175px;height&#58;219px;" />Tanya Treptow&#58;</strong> And we felt like a qualitative study could be an important complement to—and a check on—the quantitative components of the <em>Culture + Community</em> work. In qualitative research, we’re inherently not looking to generalize research findings, but instead to hear people deeply as holistic individuals and to understand the emotional undertones of people’s values, philosophies and actions. In this case, we were able to explore how culture and community experiences and organizations naturally fit into people’s broader lives. </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; What most surprised or had an impact on you</strong><strong> while working on this study? </strong></p><p> <strong> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/how-can-arts-and-culture-organizations-be-more-welcoming/Camila_Guerrero_Slover_Linett_Audience_Research.jpg" alt="Camila_Guerrero_Slover_Linett_Audience_Research.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;179px;height&#58;224px;" />Camila Guerrero</strong>&#58; These were the first qualitative interviews I’d been a part of at Slover Linett and the loose structure of the interview, paired with people’s openness, seemed to create a space for vulnerability. The extent of how vulnerable people were willing to be, to talk about certain experiences they’d gone through was unexpected, because we were strangers and they didn’t owe us their unfiltered emotions, thoughts or experiences. The space we created in these interviews was safe not just for the participants, but also for us, the researchers. The interviews almost felt like a conversation I’d have with a friend even though they were for the purposes of this study. They all started off with “how are you feeling?” and despite our guiding question we still went in whatever direction felt most natural and comfortable. Each conversation brought something personal and eye-opening about the individual. One of many of those moments that still stands out to me is when one participant shared a beautiful moment of connection she had with her late mother through nature. I felt myself tearing up as she described her experience, and although perhaps at first glance it may have seemed unrelated to the themes we focused on in this study, it all circles back somehow. That very personal moment she gave us the privilege of exploring&#160;was what ultimately led to her love for photography, just one of the many ways she engaged with art. </p><p> <strong>TT&#58;</strong> I definitely agree with Camila. I’ve been referring back to our conversations in professional contexts and in my personal life to a much greater degree than in other studies I’ve been a part of. I think it’s because of the open-ended framing of our conversations, where people could share what was most meaningful to themselves. In a lot of social research in the arts and culture realm, research is constrained to a somewhat narrower frame, such as attendance or participation at specific kinds of institutions.&#160; In this case, we didn’t constrain our conversations, yet as in Camila’s example, people naturally still shared stories about the arts and culture in their lives. </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; Where do you think there are more opportunities for this kind of research and what would be a future priority from your perspective?</strong></p><p> <strong>MBD&#58;</strong> Shifting paradigms and building community. Thanks to the deep insights of our participants, we were able to examine the distinctions between trust and trustworthiness, and between welcome and belonging; explore the role of creativity and self-care in individual and community well-being; and question what “relevance” really means in the context of cultural experiences. One of the exciting outcomes of our study was that for each of our four thematic areas—creativity, self-care, trustworthiness and welcome—there were revelations that led to potential paradigm-shifting approaches to commonly used terms and concepts when equity and inclusion are talked about. So, one potential future priority for me is to rethink how we approach these concepts and how we ask questions in the first place. </p><p> <strong>CG&#58;</strong> This study felt more like it was about amplifying voices and perspectives than about serving institutions and organizations. I hope it encourages others to move more in this direction, to be participant-centered. Although much of the focus of this study was to support institutions through our findings, throughout the process we found ourselves thinking about the interview participants as not just the main focus, but the main <em>audience</em> for our report. During our debriefs as a team it came up time and time again, that we wanted this to be something all the participants could read through and understand, because their insights were what even allowed us to get to this point. This participant-centered approach is something I hope to see more of in studies because without participants we have no research, no findings, no ability to take action.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; What implications does this study have for the arts and culture sector more broadly?</strong></p><p> <strong>MBD&#58;</strong> When we started this process, we were thinking about the audiences for this report. As we went through our conversations and started to identify themes, it became very apparent that the findings and insights went beyond the audiences (cultural practitioners and funders) we initially thought about. So, we shifted our focus to the “culture and community” sector, very broadly defined to include not only cultural sector practitioners and funders but also organizations, activists, policy makers and anybody who connects personally with or connects others around culture and community. Excitingly, we have already started hearing reverberations of our findings for people across a wide variety of fields like higher education, creative placemaking, civic engagement and sociological research on places and participation—many of the areas that have been working to incorporate the arts in comprehensive community development. I think one of the next steps is to capitalize on these reverberations and build community around how these learnings can translate into meaningful change, action and also more questions and research. </p><p> <strong>TT&#58;&#160;</strong>I think there also needs to be a continued reckoning in the arts and culture field in accepting, celebrating and ultimately financially supporting arts and culture organizations and initiatives that support deep extrinsic goals, such as individual and community wellness (getting beyond art for art’s sake). Arts organizations that promote these goals explicitly are sometimes given less prestige than those focused on the quality of their collections alone. And that runs contrary to what we heard from the people we spoke to in this study in how they valued arts, culture and creativity in their lives. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/how-can-arts-and-culture-organizations-be-more-welcoming/Final_updated_qual_report_diagram_V2_2_A_Place_to_Be_Heard.jpg" alt="Final_updated_qual_report_diagram_V2_2_A_Place_to_Be_Heard.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> <br> </p><p>We didn’t frame conversations around self-care or wellness, but these topics emerged anyways in very central ways. And I think this intersects with how the field should value and support BIPOC-led and BIPOC-centered organizations, which may be more likely to take an ‘arts and…’ approach. We do already see encouraging shifts in the sector, such as with John Falk’s 2021 publication, <a href="https&#58;//www.instituteforlearninginnovation.org/the-value-of-museums-enhancing-societal-well-being/" target="_blank"> <em>The Value of Museums&#58; Enhancing Societal Well-Being</em></a>, but there is so much more to do. I’d love to see continued centering of individual and community-level wellness at conferences, in the framing of funding opportunities and within individual organizational practice. </p><p> <em>The included chart is excerpted from the study, </em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/a-place-to-be-heard-a-space-to-feel-held-black-perspectives.aspx?utm_source=The+Wallace+Foundation&amp;utm_campaign=bfe7509f3a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2022_01_07_04_25&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_59ab24ca7b-bfe7509f3a-211159397"> <em>A Place to Be Heard, A Space to Feel Held&#58; Black Perspectives on Creativity, Trustworthiness, Welcome and Well Being</em></a>.</p>​<br><br><br>​<br><br>Wallace editorial team792022-05-03T04:00:00ZAuthors of new report break down what they learned about arts participation from in-depth interviews with 50 Black Americans5/3/2022 4:13:35 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Can Arts and Culture Organizations Be More Welcoming Authors of new report break down what they learned about arts 1840https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
As the Pandemic Shifts So Does People’s Thinking About Arts and Culture4178GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​More than half of Americans say that arts and culture organizations are important to them, according to a new study. The results are part of an ongoing research effort by the companies LaPlaca Cohen and Slover Linett Audience Research, called <em>Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation</em>. </p><p>This <a href="https&#58;//culturetrack.com/research/transformation/" target="_blank">second wave of research</a> is based on surveys conducted in May 2021. Along with its companion report, <a href="https&#58;//sloverlinett.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Rethinking-Relevance-Rebuilding-Engagement-CCTT-Wave-2-Survey-Full-Report.pdf" target="_blank"><em>Rethinking relevance, rebuilding engagement</em></a>, the survey finds that most Americans believe that arts organizations can play a critical role in helping their communities during this time of continuing change and crises. In fact, a majority of respondents said they wanted arts and culture organizations to actively address social justice issues in their community.&#160; </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/as-the-pandemic-shifts-so-does-people’s-thinking-about-arts-and-culture/blog-JenBenoitBryan-cropped.jpg" alt="blog-JenBenoitBryan-cropped.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;195px;height&#58;226px;" />To help break down some of these findings and their implications, we spoke via email with Jen Benoit-Bryan, Vice President and Co-Director of Research at Slover Linett. You can also see information on the earlier Culture Track work and study <a href="https&#58;//culturetrack.com/research/covidstudy/" target="_blank">here</a>. </p><p><strong>Wallace Foundation&#58; What does this study tell us about how Americans might be thinking about the value of the arts? Compared to other research, is there anything new or perhaps surprising about what this survey found? </strong></p><p>Jen Benoit-Bryan&#58; Going into the second wave of this study in early 2021, we anticipated that the personal salience of arts and culture organizations might have declined as people generally hadn’t been as involved in-person with these organizations, and many were grappling with illness and uncertainty in their lives. Instead, we saw a substantial increase in the proportion of Americans who viewed arts and culture organizations as important to them in May 2021 at 56 percent compared with 37 percent who said they were important when reflecting back to before the pandemic. </p><p>We’re not aware of any other national studies that have tracked the importance of the arts across the pandemic, but a study of residents in Washington state found similar patterns. <a href="https&#58;//www.artsfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/ArtsFund_COVID_Cultural_Impact_Study-Spreads.pdf" target="_blank">ArtsFund’</a>s omnibus panel of WA residents conducted in Fall 2021 found that about a third of residents value cultural programming more now than prior to the pandemic, while 55 percent value it about the same and just 14 percent value it less than they did before the pandemic.</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/as-the-pandemic-shifts-so-does-people’s-thinking-about-arts-and-culture/chart-culture-rising-sentiment-arts-culture-community-p22.jpg" alt="chart-culture-rising-sentiment-arts-culture-community-p22.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;774px;height&#58;436px;" /><br>​This can be seen as a point of pride for the sector and as a statistic to cite in advocacy efforts. Of course, the increase could be due to Americans focusing more on their immediate needs during those early months of the pandemic, when the Wave 1 responses were gathered, and now having more room to explore other aspects of life, including culture and the arts. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; While the responses indicate that a majority of Americans want arts and culture organizations to actively address social issues, they place different priorities on specific issues (e.g., racial justice 42 percent, wealth inequality 31 percent and climate justice 31 percent). How should organizations apply these complicated findings in their own contexts? </strong></p><p>JBB&#58; While racial justice was the most-often selected issue that Americans want to see these organizations address, no single issue was selected by a majority of the respondents. That suggests that addressing multiple issues may be important to meeting the needs of many communities. There are some interesting patterns around which issues matter most to whom—for example, racial justice was a priority issue for a majority of Asians/Pacific Islanders and Black/African Americans (65 percent and 59 percent, respectively) and climate change was more likely to be a priority issue among Americans in coastal regions. We recommend that organizations think about what communities they hope to serve in the future (whether defined by geography, race and ethnicity or age, etc.), and then determine which issues to address. </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/as-the-pandemic-shifts-so-does-people’s-thinking-about-arts-and-culture/chart-culture-community-changes-wish-to-see-p29.jpg" alt="chart-culture-community-changes-wish-to-see-p29.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;774px;height&#58;436px;" /><br><br></p><p>Then there’s the question of what it means for an arts or culture organization to “address” those kinds of issues. We didn’t investigate that in the survey, but there are many examples around the field, and they span the spectrum of internal, programmatic and external or community action. For example, addressing climate change could take place internally (e.g. a recycling program, rainwater reuse, a LEED-certified building expansion, etc.); in programming (a theater production or sound art exhibition on the topic) and/or externally (a partnership with local nonprofit focused on installing solar arrays in new housing developments). </p><p><strong>WF&#58; When considering these findings, it’s important to remember that Americans are not a monolith, as you note throughout the report. Did you find any differences in responses when sorting the population by characteristics other than race, such as geography, income or education level?</strong></p><p>JBB&#58; Absolutely. We focused primarily on the lens of race and ethnicity in this report because we believe that amplifying BIPOC voices is critical to a more inclusive and representative cultural sector, and there are consistent and sizeable differences by race and ethnicity for most of our questions. But at various points in the report, we also highlight geographic, income, disability status and age differences in the responses. A deeper dive into the co-variation of some of these demographics with race and ethnicity would be a fascinating follow-up analysis. That could be particularly valuable for questions where we see clear differences by demographics, such as addressing social issues, perceptions of systemic racism and desires for change in the sector.</p><p>Because this data offers such a wealth of information—more than we can explore even in this rather lengthy new report—we’re making the data sets for both survey waves freely available to researchers and academics for additional analysis. </p><p><strong>WF&#58; The situation in the country changed while the data for the report were being collected and synthesized, from vaccines and new COVID-19 variants to political races across the country focusing on policing, public safety, race and education, and, more recently, escalating global conflict. How should readers of the report account for shifts like this when thinking about the survey data?</strong></p><p>JBB&#58; This is the perpetual problem of doing real, policy-level research as the world continues to change so fast. In a political poll, where the statistical weighting is simple and the analysis is just crosstabs, results can be provided quickly. In deep-dive studies like this, where the weighting to combine the data sources into one national picture took weeks, and the exploratory analysis took months, we knew we’d still be making meaning from responses collected at a fixed time in the past. That’s why we focused many of the survey questions on broad themes that we expect to change slowly—things that aren’t really COVID-dependent, like the role of arts and culture in society, the kinds of change people hope to see across the sector and the value people receive through different kinds of engagement. In contrast, projects like <a href="https&#58;//www.audienceoutlookmonitor.com/" target="_blank">WolfBrown’s Audience Outlook Monitor</a> fill the important role of providing more rapid, repeating assessments of more highly variable questions, like how audiences feel about going out again and what will make them feel safe attending in person. </p><p>As with all data, I’d recommend reading our Culture + Community/Culture Track findings with an eye to both your local context and how the world as a whole has been changing since the Wave 2 data collection in May 2021. </p><p><em>This is part one of a two-part blog series focused on recent reports published by Slover Linett as part of </em><a href="https&#58;//culturetrack.com/research/transformation/" target="_blank">Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation&#58; A Special Edition of Culture Track</a><em>. The second part, to be published in the coming weeks, will focus on </em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/a-place-to-be-heard-a-space-to-feel-held-black-perspectives.aspx?_ga=2.210986325.1369777494.1647372834-1352763000.1643649010">A Place to Be Heard; A Space to Feel Held</a><em>, a qualitative study of the perspectives of Black Americans on creativity, trustworthiness, welcome, and well-being. </em><strong> </strong></p><p><em>For more information on this report, or to request the complete data sets for both survey waves, email </em><a href="mailto&#58;CCTT@sloverlinett.com"><em>CCTT@sloverlinett.com</em></a></p><p><em>The included charts are excerpted from the </em><a href="https&#58;//s28475.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/CCTT-Key-Findings-from-Wave-2.pdf" target="_blank">Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation&#58; A Special Edition of Culture Track</a> <em>report.​</em></p>Wallace editorial team792022-03-17T04:00:00ZNew research reveals Americans' evolving relationships with arts and culture and the changes they wish to see from the sector3/17/2022 6:05:59 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / As the Pandemic Shifts So Does People’s Thinking About Arts and Culture More than half of Americans say that arts and 1523https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Helping Arts Workers Navigate Pandemic-Induced Burnout34766GP0|#a2eb43fb-abab-4f1c-ae41-72fd1022ddb0;L0|#0a2eb43fb-abab-4f1c-ae41-72fd1022ddb0|The Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​The arts—in virtual, masked or socially distanced forms—have been a much-needed salve during the past two years, offering moments of levity, inspiration and even simply a distraction from the pandemic and its stresses. Within the field, however, many arts workers have been facing their own stress and burnout with increased demands on their time and resources and the ever-present concerns about renewed lockdowns, unemployment and other looming uncertainties. Though many employers at the beginning of the initial lockdowns struggled to address these concerns, more and more arts organizations are now focused on providing their employees with tools to help address their mental health needs, especially important as we begin another year colored by the pandemic.<br></p><p>In a <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/2021/05/05/combating-burnout-in-the-museum-sector/" target="_blank">recent blog post</a>, Elizabeth Merritt, American Alliance of Museums’ (AAM) vice president of strategic foresight and founding director of the Center for the Future of Museums, offered a bit of advice to arts workers from her own experience&#58; “[N]ever be afraid to ask for help. Our work culture, (heck, American culture overall) often stigmatizes vulnerability as weakness. Knowing when you need support, and asking people to play a role in your recovery, isn’t a weakness but a strength.” (Note&#58; AAM is the national service organization for museums and museum professionals.)</p><p> <strong>Burnout Is Real</strong></p><p>Merritt listed steps both organizations and individuals could take to combat fatigue and hopelessness on the job, even suggesting that staff create an “burnout plan.” Such measures are essential, Merritt says, to adequately support people working at museums, who according to an AAM survey from March 2021, reported to be suffering from many variations of burnout.</p><p>Administered one year after many museums temporarily shut their doors, the <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Measuring-the-Impact-of-COVID-19-on-People-in-the-Museum-Field-Report.pdf" target="_blank">survey </a>found that a large portion of the nearly 2,700 respondents suffered from mental and financial stress. When AAM fielded the survey, the unemployment rate was six percent, <a href="https&#58;//www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_04022021.htm" target="_blank">according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>, which was considerably lower than the rate’s high in April 2020 but still 2.5 percentage points higher than its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. Nearly half of paid museum staff surveyed reported increased workload, and more than 40 percent of respondents reported that they lost income due to the pandemic (on average, over 30 percent of their total income). Further demonstrating this strain, respondents assigned an average rating of 6.6 (on a scale of 0-10 where 10 indicates very strong negative impact) to the impact of the pandemic on their mental health and well-being.</p><p>The survey also underscored that the pandemic had exacerbated existing race and gender inequities in the museum sector, mirroring broader issues in the United States. BIPOC respondents cited higher financial stress and fewer financial resources than white respondents. For instance, 19 percent of BIPOC respondents were more likely to say that they were living paycheck to paycheck, as compared to 12 percent of white respondents. Additionally, women were more likely than men to cite increased workload (50 percent compared to 41 percent respectively) and unfavorable effects on hours, salary, mental health and well-being—relatedly, slightly more of the women than the men respondents (56 percent versus 47 percent)&#160; were more likely to pinpoint burnout as a potential barrier to remaining in the museum sector.</p><p>Similar findings surfaced in <a href="https&#58;//actorsfund.org/about-us/news/actors-fund-survey-finds-deep-hardship-among-those-seeking-assistance" target="_blank">another survey </a>last spring by the Actor’s Fund, a national organization that serves professionals in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance industries. &#160;The survey, which polled nearly 7,200 people, uncovered that 79 percent of respondents reported that the pandemic had a negative impact on their mental health, including increased feelings of anxiety or depression. Adding to their stress and negatively impacting their overall well-being, 76 percent of respondents reported that they lost income, and a little under half claimed reduced food security during the pandemic. Unfortunately, as seen in the museum field, responses from BIPOC participants convey that they were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic—BIPOC-identifying respondents were more likely to experience reduced food security, forced housing change, increased debt and/or having to change utility usage as compared to white respondents.</p><p> <strong>Prioritizing Health &amp; Wellness</strong></p><p>Both the Actor’s Fund and AAM have created resources to respond to some of the needs that emerged in their surveys. The Actor’s fund has offered workshops including <a href="https&#58;//entertainmentcommunity.org/" target="_blank">national supp​​​ort groups for dancers</a>, <a href="https&#58;//actorsfund.org/workshops/mindfulness-meditation" target="_blank">“Mindfulness Meditation”</a> sessions, <a href="https&#58;//actorsfund.org/workshops/good-grief-support-group" target="_blank">“Good Grief Support Group”</a> and <a href="https&#58;//actorsfund.org/workshops/mind-body-spirit-group-black-women-entertainment-0" target="_blank">“Mind Body Spirit-A Group for Black Women in Entertainment.”</a>&#160; AAM has published a <a href="https&#58;//mailchi.mp/aam-us/impactsurvey" target="_blank">webpage</a> of resources that measures the impact of the pandemic on people in the museum field and includes a list of actions, derived from the survey responses, taken by employers that made respondents feel safe, valued and supported.</p><p>AAM has applied these learnings internally as well, for example, expanding the organization’s acceptable uses of sick leave to include bereavement while creating a new emergency category that allows employees to use sick leave to care for the mental and physical well-being of themselves and their loved ones. Speaking to the significance of their broadened sick leave allowances, Megan Lantz, AAM’s director of content and community engagement, shared&#58;&#160; “As a parent of young kids during COVID, I can tell you the expanded emergency sick leave has already been transformative for me. The leave provision afforded me the bandwidth and margin to take the pressure off myself to try to work and provide childcare 100% of the time, especially during periods where my kids were home for extended stretches of time.”</p><p>In addition to its refreshed leave policies, AAM has encouraged employees to take wellness breaks, ranging from virtual yoga and caregiver check-ins to instituting “meetings-free Mondays” organization-wide.</p> <p>Other arts service organizations and unions have been responding to the needs of their members as well. The League of American Orchestras, which leads, supports and champions America’s orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform, presented a 90-minute webinar,&#160;<a href="https&#58;//urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__americanorchestras.org_mental-2Dhealth-2Dwellness-2Da-2Dconversation_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=euGZstcaTDllvimEN8b7jXrwqOf-v5A_CdpgnVfiiMM&amp;r=HvfsToIiq7JDqOShloB0kc3XGhehQKfQJm0AUg7ze04&amp;m=R4iImW6-WdhkZfeGn5FZw_RKYxrsxYWFsgSTqRVyYa4&amp;s=ggtmL_ZRo5CGA_YTLPT4cDyJzDgzt698zJMFbltmKBc&amp;e=">“Mental Health &amp; Wellness&#58; A Conversation,”</a> where the goal was to normalize conversations about mental health and provide strategies, backed by scientific research, to its members and beyond. In addition to the discussion, the League has posted resources on its website—including links to musician resources, the&#160;<a href="https&#58;//urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.youtube.com_playlist-3Flist-3DPLgmPuaZL8cu0e8Z-5F3Ycx3v3uNo5JnmG7M&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=euGZstcaTDllvimEN8b7jXrwqOf-v5A_CdpgnVfiiMM&amp;r=HvfsToIiq7JDqOShloB0kc3XGhehQKfQJm0AUg7ze04&amp;m=R4iImW6-WdhkZfeGn5FZw_RKYxrsxYWFsgSTqRVyYa4&amp;s=gad6BucRW1SwKmkoTWZ1kn-u4rA8kQiSe0XgZP-4JB4&amp;e=">LooseLeaf NoteBook podcast series</a> that focuses on nurturing self-care, and a list of free and affordable counseling groups. Along with the ongoing coverage of health and wellness in classical music on the League’s daily news site, <em>The Hub</em>, its magazine, <em>Symphony</em>, published a major <a href="https&#58;//americanorchestras.org/restorative-notes/">article </a>reporting how musicians, orchestras and therapists are helping their colleagues with wellness issues during the pandemic.</p><p>OPERA America—a nonprofit organization serving the country’s opera community—also presented a&#160;<a href="https&#58;//mailchi.mp/operaamerica/taking-care-mental-health-for-opera-professionals-228980?e=97e092a4a4">special</a>&#160;<a href="https&#58;//mailchi.mp/operaamerica/taking-care-mental-health-for-opera-professionals-228980?e=97e092a4a4">series</a>&#160;of mental health webinars where&#160;licensed mental health&#160;specialists&#160;joined&#160;opera industry professionals to provide insights, tools&#160;and resources for prioritizing mental health.&#160;Each&#160;of the&#160;45-minute sessions&#160;took on a specific topic related to the unique mental health challenges experienced by those working in opera. In the first of these sessions, “<a href="https&#58;//www.operaamerica.org/industry-resources/2021/202106/taking-care-mental-health-care-for-creators-and-artists/" target="_blank">Mental Health Care for Creators and Artists</a>,” costume designer Jessica Jahn joined Beth Clayton, a clinical mental health counselor and operatic mezzo-soprano, for a discussion on a question many artists and performers have been grappling with as a result of being un- or under-employed over the past 18 months&#58; How do you maintain a sense of identity and purpose when you cannot practice your profession? For anyone contending with this, Clayton recommends trying to conceive of your identity through your skill set rather than title. For example, she says, “[instead of] ‘opera singer,’ you could say ‘master organizer,’ you could say ‘linguist,’ ‘communicator,’ ‘scheduler.’ You are your own business.” Clayton also notes that this period of being “on pause” might provide an opportunity to work on skills you may not have had time to hone before—or simply to take a break.</p><p>Other organizations, too, have been making mental health a focus. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), for example, has launched <a href="https&#58;//iatsecares.org/about/" target="_blank">IATSE C.A.R.E.S.</a> (Coronavirus Active Response and Engagement Service), a new initiative designed to provide support to their most at-risk, elderly and/or disabled members during the pandemic. The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) has also been publishing <a href="https&#58;//www.afm.org/what-we-are-doing/covid-19-and-mental-health/" target="_blank">mental health resources</a>, highlighting strategies to help manage and reduce stress.</p><p>Though the pandemic has created innumerable challenges, it has also sparked many vital conversations with the potential to reshape the way that we live and work. Clearly, the focus on mental health will be at the forefront. With this in mind, and with the promise of a new year, we leave you with another sentiment from the always forward-thinking Elizabeth Merritt&#58; “As we all face the uncertainties and ​anxieties that come with slowly re-engaging with the world, let’s be compassionate towards ourself, our family, and our colleagues, and support each other in doing the work we love.”</p><p> <em>Full disclosure&#58; American Alliance of Museums, The League of American Orchestras and OPERA America are among Wallace’s arts service organization partners.</em></p>Wallace editorial team792022-01-04T05:00:00ZMember organizations offer up a slew of resources and ideas to support health and wellness for people working in the arts6/20/2022 5:03:16 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Helping Arts Workers Navigate Pandemic-Induced Burnout Member organizations offer up a slew of resources and ideas to 1755https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
What Wallace’s Top 10 Stories Say about Trends in Education and the Arts18219GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​December is a great time to look back and reflect on the year’s work, both to get a sense of what we’re learning—and what is resonating with you, dear reader. The more than 40 posts we published in 2021 on The Wallace Blog&#160; explore a variety of hot topics for our audience, such as why principals <em>really</em> matter; why arts organizations of color are often overlooked and underfunded; and why young people need access to high-quality afterschool programs and arts education programs now more than ever. Just to name a few. </p><p>Moreover, the stories in our Top 10 List this year (measured by number of page views) give a good sense of the breadth of the&#160;​research and projects currently under way at Wallace. They also highlight some of the people involved and their unique perspectives on the work. We hope you enjoy reading (or revisiting) some of the posts now. </p><p><strong>10. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/more-kids-than-ever-are-missing-out-on-afterschool-programs.aspx"><strong>Why Are So Many Kids Missing Out on Afterschool?</strong></a><strong> </strong>A <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/america-after-3pm-demand-grows-opportunity-shrinks.aspx">study </a>released earlier this year by the Afterschool Alliance identifies trends in afterschool program offerings well as overall parent perceptions of afterschool programs. In this post, we interview Jennifer Rinehart, senior VP, strategy &amp;&#160;programs,&#160;at the Afterschool Alliance, to discuss the implications of the study, which was based on a large survey of families,​&#160;and what they might mean for a post-pandemic world.<br></p><p><strong>9. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-can-we-learn-from-high-performing-arts-organizations-of-color.aspx"><strong>What Can We Learn from High-Performing Arts Organizations of Color?</strong></a><strong> </strong>The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/reimagining-the-future-of-the-arts-a-webinar-series-from-the-wallace-foundation-session-5.aspx">fifth conversation</a> in our Reimagining the Future of the Arts series examines what leaders of arts organizations with deep roots in communities of color see as the keys to their success, as well as what they have learned while navigating crises. Read highlights of the conversation between leaders from SMU Data Arts, Sones de Mexico Ensemble, Chicago Sinfonietta and Theater Mu in this blog post.</p><p><strong>8. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/decade-long-effort-to-expand-arts-education-in-boston-pays-off.aspx"><strong>Decade-long Effort to Expand Arts Education in Boston Pays Off</strong></a><strong> </strong>A longitudinal <a href="https&#58;//www.edvestors.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/The-Arts-Advantage-Impacts-of-Arts-Education-on-Boston-Students_Brief-FINAL.pdf">study </a>released this year&#160;found that arts education can positively affect​&#160;student engagement, attendance rates and parent engagement with schools. Read more about the findings and about Boston Public Schools' successful systems approach to arts learning, including insights from a researcher, a district leader and the president and CEO of EdVestors, a school improvement nonprofit in Boston. </p><p><strong>7. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-can-teachers-support-students-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx"><strong>How Can Teachers Support Students’ Social and Emotional Learning?</strong></a><strong> </strong>Concern about student well-being has been at the forefront of many conversations this year as schools have reopened, so it comes as little&#160;surprise that this post made our list. Here, RAND researchers Laura Hamilton and Christopher Doss speak with us about their <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/supports-social-and-emotional-learning-american-schools-classrooms.aspx">study,</a> which found that while teachers felt confident in their ability to improve students’ social and emotional skills, they said they needed more supports, tools and professional development in this area, especially these days. </p><p><strong>6. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/how-do-arts-organizations-of-color-sustain-their-relevance-and-resilience.aspx"><strong>$53 Million Initiative Offers Much-Needed Support for Arts Organizations of Color</strong></a> In this post, Wallace’s director of the arts, Bahia Ramos, introduces our new initiative focused on arts organizations of color, which historically “have been underfunded and often overlooked, despite their rich histories, high-quality work and deep roots in their communities.” The&#160;effort will&#160;involve&#160;work with a variety of organizations to explore this paradox and much more. </p><p><strong>5. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/five-lessons-in-problem-solving-for-school-leaders.aspx"><strong>Five Lessons in Problem Solving for School Leaders</strong></a><strong> </strong>This post by Rochelle Herring, one of Wallace’s senior program officers in school leadership, gives an inside look at how California’s Long Beach school district transformed its learning and improvement at every level of the system. It also offers lessons that practitioners in other districts can apply to their own context.&#160; </p><p><strong>4. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/american-rescue-plan-five-things-state-and-district-leaders-need-to-know-now.aspx"><strong>American Rescue Plan&#58; Five Things State and District Leaders Need to Know Now</strong></a><strong> </strong>EducationCounsel, a mission-based education organization and law firm, analyzed the text of the&#160;American Rescue Plan Act, which provides more than $126 billion for K-12 schools and additional funding for early childhood and higher education. In this post, EducationCounsel’s Sean Worley and Scott Palmer examine this historic level of federal&#160; funding for public school education and offer guidance that states and districts might consider when seeking Rescue Plan dollars.&#160; </p><p><strong>3. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/why-young-people-need-access-to-high-quality-arts-education.aspx"><strong>Why Young People Need Access to High-Quality Arts Education</strong></a> Studies confirm that&#160; sustained engagement with the arts—and, especially, with​​ making art—can help young people gain new perspectives, deepen empathy, picture what is possible, collaborate and even fuel civic engagement. In short, all children deserve access to high-quality arts education, writes Wallace’s director of arts, Bahia Ramos, who was initially approached to draft a shorter version of this piece for <em>Time </em>magazine’s <a href="https&#58;//time.com/collection/visions-of-equity/6046015/equity-agenda/">Visions of Equity </a>project. </p><p><strong>2. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/districts-that-succeed-what-are-they-doing-right.aspx"><strong>Districts That Succeed&#58; What Are They Doing Right?</strong></a> In her new book, Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence at The Education Trust,uses new research on district performance as well as in-depth reporting to profile five districts that have successfully broken the correlation between race, poverty and achievement. We spoke with Chenoweth about what she learned from her research and what she hopes readers will take away from the book.</p><p><strong>1. </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/yes-principals-are-that-important.aspx"><strong>Yes, Principals Are That Important</strong></a><strong> </strong>It seems that many&#160;of our readers found the headline to this blog post worthy of their attention,&#160;considering that the item is&#160;in the number one spot on our list this year. Here, education experts weigh in on findings from <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-principals-affect-students-and-schools-a-systematic-synthesis-of-two-decades-of-research.aspx">groundbreaking research</a> released earlier in the year on the impact an effective principal can have on both students and schools—and the implications for policy and practice. </p><br>Jenna Doleh912021-12-07T05:00:00ZA look back at your favorite reads this year—from supporting students’ well-being during COVID-19 to learning from arts organizations of color12/6/2021 8:52:46 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What Wallace’s Top 10 Stories Say about Trends in Education and the Arts A look back at your favorite reads this year—from 688https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Moving Toward a More Equitable Future of Arts Funding32178GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​ <p>​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Recently Bahia Ramos, Wallace’s director of arts, sat down for a wide-ranging discussion with Max Anderson, president of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation and host of <em>Art Scoping</em>, a podcast where leaders in art, architecture, design, public policy and culture talk about how they are coping with change, “what keeps them up at night, and what gets them out of bed.” </p><p> <img src="/knowledge-center/PublishingImages/Bahia%20Ramos.jpg" alt="Bahia Ramos.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;217px;height&#58;256px;" />In this 30-minute episode, Ramos shares her thoughts on the future of arts funding, how COVID-19 has influenced the way funders approach their work and the foundation’s aspirations for its latest initiative focused on arts organizations of color. She also talks about her personal approach to collecting art and advocating for artists and so much more.</p><p>Here’s a small sample, but the whole interview is a gem (in our biased opinion, of course).​ </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">“We’re always thinking about how our efforts build equitable improvements in the arts… what we learned most recently is that leaders of arts organizations of color have steadily been saying that their contributions are often overlooked and underfunded... I think what we really want to build is recognition and understanding of the distinctive contributions that arts organizations of color bring to our landscape and to the field at large. And we hope that our efforts will build the evidence-based knowledge landscape around arts organizations of color and their practices.” </p><div class="ms-rteElement-WallaceBlockQuote"> <br> </div><p> <a href="https&#58;//podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/art-scoping/id1501986788?mt=2&amp;app=podcast"> <img src="/knowledge-center/SiteAssets/Pages/Podcast-The-Partnerships-for-Social-and-Emotional-Learning/US_UK_Apple_Podcasts_Listen_Badge_RGB.svg" alt="US_UK_Apple_Podcasts_Listen_Badge_RGB.svg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></a>&#160;&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.stitcher.com/show/art-scoping"><img src="/knowledge-center/SiteAssets/Pages/Podcast-The-Partnerships-for-Social-and-Emotional-Learning/Stitcher_Listen_Badge_Color_Dark_BG.png" alt="Stitcher_Listen_Badge_Color_Dark_BG.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;153px;height&#58;46px;" />​</a>&#160;<a href="https&#58;//music.amazon.com/podcasts/088fb031-cc8a-4ed1-afcf-b82540c8c78d/art-scoping" target="_blank"><img src="/knowledge-center/PublishingImages/US_ListenOn_AmazonMusic_button_Indigo_RGB_5X.png" alt="US_ListenOn_AmazonMusic_button_Indigo_RGB_5X.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;169px;height&#58;41px;" /></a>​​<a href="https&#58;//open.spotify.com/show/2HEzUjmHsNniPp9HLYgAFG?si=A-714nToSUiu-kKP4bsdRg&amp;nd=1" target="_blank"><img src="/knowledge-center/PublishingImages/spotify-badge.png" alt="spotify-badge.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;165px;height&#58;43px;" />​</a></p><p></p><p>Download the <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/Wallace-Art-Scoping-Transcript-10.13.21.pdf">full episode transcript​</a>.​</p><p> <em>Painting&#58; Thornton Dial, </em>Ladies Stand by the Tiger, <em>1991. The Morgan Library &amp; Museum, gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection and purchase on the Manley Family Fund; 2018.98. © 2021 Estate of Thornton Dial / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.</em></p>Wallace editorial team792021-11-02T04:00:00ZWallace’s director of arts discusses new initiative with arts organizations of color, art collecting as advocacy and so much more in Art Scoping podcast11/3/2021 6:21:53 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Moving Toward a More Equitable Future of Arts Funding Wallace’s director of arts discusses new initiative with arts 814https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Arts Open Call Yields 250 Submissions from Organizations of Color22905GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​<p>​​​​​​​​​​The Wallace Foundation’s arts team recently completed <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/arts-initiative-open-call.aspx">an open call</a> for proposals to participate in a major new initiative focusing on arts organizations of color. The initiative seeks to fund several such organizations and study their efforts to help answer one central question&#58; How do arts organizations of color use their community orientation to increase resilience, sustain relevance and overcome major strategic challenges?</p><p>It was our first open call in more than a decade. We generally commission surveys of eligible organizations, shortlist those that we think will fit in the initiative and ask them to submit proposals. We know of no reliable way to survey the plethora of arts organizations of color throughout the country, so we began this initiative by asking all who are interested to submit a letter of interest for further consideration. </p><p>The call resulted in 250 submissions from organizations after a call across the United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guåhan (Guam). They gave us much insight into a new area for us, and we had much to read about and digest. While we determine the best paths ahead, we thought we'd share three things we learned from the open call thus far. </p><ol start="1" type="1"><li>We learned a bit about the landscape of the field. Our usual process of inviting a small number of organizations to submit proposals often leads us to large, well-known organizations our staffers or peer foundations already know. With the open call, however, we received letters of interest from many organizations we'd never heard of before. Most were, as we had assumed, clustered around the coasts and in large cities such as Chicago. But we were delighted to hear from organizations in other, sometimes overlooked, parts of the country that are doing fascinating work from which we can learn. <br> <br> More than a third of letters of interest came from organizations focused on African American arts or communities. We hope our ultimate cohort will be reflective of arts organizations from all communities and traditions, and the apparent underrepresentation of other communities suggests that we must work harder to make sure future opportunities are more widely shared and our invitation feels inclusive of and responsive to the work others are doing.<br><br>Conversations with leaders in the field also helped us realize that our definition of &quot;arts organizations&quot; may be too narrow. Some indigenous and native culture organizations, for example, told us what they do may not be called “art” by some, but it is about preserving and promoting a cultural heritage. Conversely, there were a few visual arts organizations that defined themselves primarily as community based organizations. They exist not just for their art, but to use their art to benefit their communities. The ways in which organizations define and categorize themselves differ from assumptions we made about who they are to their communities. It is important that we keep such nuances in mind as we develop our new initiative.<br><br>We are now working to learn more about interested organizations and exploring ways to design an initiative that can benefit not just participating organizations, but also the field at large. Our aim is to select the best cohort of organizations, not necessarily the strongest organizations or the newest ideas. For example, some projects we read about are quite innovative, but they are very specific to their organizations' situations and not as relevant to the broader field. Such projects are certainly worthy of support, but may not be the right fit for our upcoming initiative.<br><br><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Arts-Open-Call-Yields-250-Submissions-from-Organizations-of-Color/Breakdown-Organization-Type-Geography-Identity.jpg" alt="Breakdown-Organization-Type-Geography-Identity.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><br></li></ol><ol start="2" type="1"><li>We read three main themes in the submissions we received&#58;<br> <br> <ol type="a"><li>Communities are changing. Many organizations are grappling with shifts in the communities they were created to serve. Gentrification or immigration is changing the nature of many communities, while shifts in economies and societies are changing these communities' needs. How do organizations founded by and for a particular community use their community orientation to navigate such changes?<br> <br> </li><li>Organizations are changing. Several organizations expressed the need to change long-established structures and practices. Many have to consider new strategic directions, plan for expansion, change staffing structures and recruit new leaders as long-serving founders and directors begin to step down. How do organizations use their community orientation to smooth such fundamental transitions?<br> <br> </li><li>Artistic preferences are changing. Audiences learn about and consume arts and culture much differently than they did a few decades ago, when many arts organizations of color got their start. How do organizations founded to support and maintain particular art forms and communities of artistic practice use their community orientation to adapt to new cultural environments?</li></ol></li></ol><ol start="3" type="1"><li>Lastly, we learned that we must keep learning. During our open call, we heard from so many arts organizations of color, whether through our one-on-one consultations (we hosted over 100 of them!), our email inboxes, social media or the service organizations with whom we work. Some of the feedback was critical and frank—a helpful reminder that we must tread carefully and respectfully when venturing into new areas where&#160; organizations such as ours have sometimes done harm. Sometimes we heard—more powerfully in the organizations' words than what we would have read in a research report—what these organizations are experiencing and trying to do for their communities. We listened to all of it, considered it and are redesigning and refining our initiative to respond to what we heard. </li></ol><p>And so, I’d like to express my gratitude to those who showed up and contributed to an honest and vulnerable exchange with us. I look forward to staying in conversation with you and sharing more about what we learn along the way. </p>Bahia Ramos842021-10-14T04:00:00ZAs we continue the grantee-selection process, Wallace's arts director reflects on what we've learned so far.10/14/2021 2:08:38 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Arts Open Call Yields 250 Submissions from Organizations of Color As we continue the grantee-selection process, Wallace's 552https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Taking the Pulse of Small Ensemble Music12391GP0|#a2eb43fb-abab-4f1c-ae41-72fd1022ddb0;L0|#0a2eb43fb-abab-4f1c-ae41-72fd1022ddb0|The Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​The field of small ensemble music, ​despite its name, is mighty. It spans a range of genres—including classical, contemporary, jazz and more—performed by small groups of musicians (think&#58; duet, trio, quartet, etc.) with one person per part, typically without a conductor. The musicians in these ensembles often function independently and generally work with fewer resources than those available to larger arts organizations. Still, these small groups have long persisted in the face of adversity, even during the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, <a href="https&#58;//www.westerliesmusic.com/" target="_blank">The Westerlies</a>, a New York-based brass quartet, figured out how to use technology to perform together, in sync, while quarantined in their homes. Similarly, the <a href="http&#58;//hydeparkjazzfestival.org/" target="_blank">Hyde Park Jazz Festival​</a>, kept from its large outdoor stages and intimate indoor clubs on the South Side of Chicago, turned to livestreams and pop-up concerts in driveways, backyards and parks to bring music to Chicagoans where they live.</p><p>Chamber Music America (CMA), a national service organization that represents nearly 4,000 musicians, ensembles, presenting organizations, businesses and affiliates, conducted a series of Wallace-supported surveys to better understand the difficulties the field has faced and the ways in which they have worked to overcome them.&#160;The first survey, launched in <a href="https&#58;//www.chamber-music.org/pdf/CMA_Survey_Summary.pdf" target="_blank">April 2020</a>, came as organizations were shutting down in response to Covid-19. Subsequent surveys in <a href="https&#58;//www.chamber-music.org/pdf/CMA_Survey_Summary_June_2020.pdf" target="_blank">June 2020</a> and <a href="https&#58;//www.chamber-music.org/pdf/SurveySummary-June2021.pdf" target="_blank">June 2021</a> show how small ensembles have adapted as the pandemic drags on. </p><p>We connected with Nichole L. Knight, CMA’s Director of Operations, over email to help understand what survey results reveal. A transcript of our conversation follows, with minor edits for readability. </p><p> <strong>The Wallace Foundation&#58; What has been the biggest challenge overall that the small&#160;ensemble&#160;music field has faced throughout the Covid-19 pandemic?&#160;&#160;</strong><br><br><strong>Nichole Knight&#58; </strong>CMA’s constituency is unique among the performing arts as there are many individual musicians, ensembles and smaller organizations which historically haven’t had the same access to resources as some larger institutions. During the pandemic, we saw that ensembles, in particular, weren’t eligible for the same recovery support that organizations and individuals were. </p><p>One survey respondent wrote, “For us, a small [nonprofit] who never formally laid ourselves off during this time, it meant that we were very limited in the number of artist-specific Covid relief programs we were eligible for.” </p><p>Our data confirm this. Our third survey suggested that over 60 percent of respondent organizations and individuals had received CARES Act funding, while less than 40 percent of respondent ensembles had obtained support. &#160;&#160;<br><br> But to take a step back, I want to reiterate what I hope we all understand by now&#58; not everyone was affected by this pandemic equally. Some musicians could rely on teaching positions to supplement their income; others could not. Some presenting organizations had the infrastructure and the capacity to pivot to virtual programming, while others had to overcome learning and logistical barriers or could not afford the equipment necessary to do so. And when emergency funding became available to individuals, some members experienced additional barriers due to the lack of the digital tools/technology that were necessary to complete online applications. And [relief] funds were often depleted by the time they could access them. &#160;<br><br> We also know that those who have been traditionally marginalized—people of color and the economically disadvantaged—got sicker, experienced more loss of life within their families and communities, and will likely take longer to recover than their peers. And so all of the inequities we saw play out on a larger scale also happened within our field. &#160;</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; What surprised you most about the survey results?&#160;&#160;&#160;</strong></p><p> <strong>NK&#58; </strong>I think the surveys told us what we expected to learn, which was that our constituents were having an extremely difficult time. But the results also helped paint a fuller picture of what they were going through and show that they weren’t alone. &#160;<br><br> That being said, our third survey, which closed mid-May but was published in June, showed that more than half of ensembles and organizations had already begun performing or presenting in-person performances. At that time, depending on the state, vaccines had just recently become available to most adults, and subsequent updates in prevention protocols were changing constantly. So I think that just proves how eager most people were to get out and perform, present and experience live music again, even without assurances of being 100 percent in the clear. <em>[CMA did not ask about vaccination status in its 2021 survey.]</em> </p><p>And while not surprising, per se, something that becomes very clear when looking at the survey results and thinking about the conversations CMA’s staff had with our members and constituents is how interconnected our discipline is. Certainly artists, presenters (and their venues) and audiences were affected by the shutdown. But that impact rippled exponentially to so many others. The livelihoods of artist managers, who have been unable to book work for their clients, and composers, who usually receive royalties when their work is performed, have also been drastically affected. So it’s going to take time for the entire field to recover.&#160;</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; While respondents in June 2021 expressed that they're eager to return to live performances, the survey also found that many plan to continue using virtual programming in some capacity moving forward. What specific advantages does virtual or hybrid programming offer musicians and small ensembles? Does it present any particular challenges as well? &#160;&#160;<br> </strong> <br><strong>NK&#58; </strong>I think the main benefit is the ability to engage new audiences regardless of their physical or geographic proximity. But there are barriers of cost and technological know-how in undertaking a new model. And even among the respondents who have adopted new technologies, the monetization of these virtual events has not made up for the revenue lost due to cancellations and postponements. &#160;<br><br>Another challenge musicians face is simply missing the energy of a live audience and the particular intimacy that comes with a small ensemble music performance. We’ve heard from our members time and again that while virtual programming may be great, nothing beats being in the room together. &#160; </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; What are the biggest shifts within the field that you’ve noticed over the course of these three surveys from March 2020 to June 2021?&#160;</strong> </p><p> <strong>NK&#58; </strong>The biggest tangible shift would be the increased use of technology. It was a common topic that members discussed in our virtual convenings, and we even hosted two webinars on it. In our most recent survey, respondents said they used approximately 25 different platforms, such as Zoom, social media platforms, Patreon and Twitch for their online activities (performances, rehearsals, webinars and workshops, private lessons, town halls, etc.). </p><p>In a larger sense, I would say there was a stark difference in attitudes toward the pandemic. Earlier on, respondents expressed more hopelessness. In the most recent survey, while still uncertain about the future, there seemed to be some more positivity and cautious optimism. (I’ll allow for the possibility that those who were feeling more positive were more willing to fill out the survey.) But the third survey was conducted before the current rise of the Delta variant and that is sure to have a strong impact on people and the field. So, it’s hard to be certain about attitudes right now. &#160; </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; Based on what you’ve heard from your constituents through these surveys and otherwise, what do you think are going to be the biggest changes to the field as the pandemic subsides?&#160;</strong> </p><p> <strong>NK&#58; </strong>I have a few thoughts on this. New ticketing models, for one. As I mentioned earlier, according to our surveys, overall, profits made from monetizing virtual events have not replaced in-person revenue. And vendors that maintain social distancing measures will continue to have limited capacity in their spaces. So I think we might see new ticketing models created to help make up for the extreme loss in revenue. &#160;</p><p>I think we will continue to see new tools and technologies or new ways of utilizing old ones to aid in recovery. For instance, I learned from our members about masks created to allow reed and wind players to rehearse and perform while masking up. So I think there is going to be a lot more innovation to accommodate a “new normal.”&#160;</p><p>Also, a lot of this innovation will come from the younger generation. Those who have been in school during this pandemic will have unique takeaways and bring new outlooks to their careers. A <a href="https&#58;//www.chamber-music.org/" target="_blank">recen​t​ arti​cle</a> in the Summer 2021 issue of <em>Chamber Music </em>highlights the silver linings educators and students have taken away from this past school year. They include everything from sharper listening and rehearsal skills, to adaptability, technological know-how and a renewed sense of commitment to and belief in the discipline. </p><p>And as the field continues to work toward dismantling racial inequity, everyone will have to develop strategies to address the fact that people of color have been and continue to be <a href="https&#58;//www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/health-equity/race-ethnicity.html" target="_blank">disproportionately affected</a> by the pandemic. I’m not sure what that will look like exactly. But the old methods weren’t working even before the pandemic. So, organizations will have to adapt to thrive. &#160;</p><p><em>Photo of Nichole L. Knight by Kotaro Kashiwai</em><br></p>Wallace editorial team792021-09-08T04:00:00ZChamber Music America field surveys reveal innovation and resilience despite the pandemic’s challenges9/21/2022 2:06:30 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Taking the Pulse of Small Ensemble Music Chamber Music America field surveys reveal innovation and resilience despite the 1188https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
5 Questions We’ve Been Asked About Wallace’s Arts Open Call for Grantees & Researchers14324GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​There is still time (deadline is midnight Friday, August 20!) to <a href="https&#58;//wallacefoundation.submittable.com/submit">submit</a> your brief expression of interest <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/arts-initiative-open-call.aspx">to the Wallace Foundation for our Arts Open Call</a>. As we’ve been meeting with and learning from many arts organizations of color, some of the same questions have come up frequently, so today we’re going to answer a few of the most common ones. </p><p>One thing to keep in mind is that in addition to funding grantees for their direct benefit, Wallace initiatives are also designed to benefit the field by sharing lessons from&#160; grantees. Also to recap, this is the guiding question of the new initiative&#58; “When facing strategic challenges, how can and do arts organizations of color leverage their experience and histories of community orientation to increase their resilience, while sustaining their relevance?” </p><p> <strong>1. In the application you ask about our “strategic challenge.” What do you mean by that? How should I respond in 150 words?</strong><br> <br>As with all of Wallace’s initiatives, this one will follow our dual strategy of supporting grantees while developing lessons that can benefit the broader field. For this initiative specifically,&#160;we’re interested in learning what kinds of challenges and community orientation practices arts organizations of color are most interested in learning about. So, it's difficult for us to give one concrete example of a strategic challenge. </p><p>If you are having a hard time choosing which challenge to focus on, describe the one (or two) that you feel are important for <em>your </em>organization and that you’d really like to explore and learn more about over the five years of this initiative. </p><p>You can find several examples of strategic challenges expressed by organizations of color in this <a href="https&#58;//culturaldata.org/pages/the-alchemy-of-high-performing-arts-organizations-a-spotlight-on-organizations-of-color/">study</a> by SMU Data​Arts we commissioned and published earlier in the year. A few challenges stated in the report are&#58; </p><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"> <br>...racism, gentrification, and lack of access to funding, which some see as elements of white supremacy culture. Interviewees noted that when organizations of color seek to grow and serve low-income communities, their ability to expand is inhibited by a participant base that does not have the means itself to generate substantial earned revenue and individual contributions, and by lack of access to corporate and foundation funding at levels equitable to those provided to their peers that do not primarily serve communities of color. The absence of an engine for revenue growth appears to perpetuate critical organizational capacity shortages reflected in burnout, low wages, and insufficient staffing, particularly in the administrative areas that generate revenue. It also limits the number of people that can be served.<br> </blockquote><p> <br> These examples are in no way meant to limit your own thinking.</p><p> <strong>2. What kind of responses are you looking for? What’s most compelling for Wallace?</strong><br><br>Sometimes it's easier to say what we’re not looking for. You don’t need to “copy/paste” information from your website about your strengths and successes. You also don’t need to show that your project ideas are fully buttoned up. We know a lot can change—especially now—but the strategic challenge, your mission and vision, and the value we place on learning are constants. So, at this point, we don’t need project details. It’s important to think about the kinds of challenges you’re facing and how your roots in the community are and could help you surmount them. </p><p> <strong>3. The open call eligibility (for the first of two cohorts) is for organizations with budgets between $500,000 and $5 million. What if my budget is smaller than $500,000?</strong><br><br>In our previous arts initiative, the budget threshold was one million dollars. We thought about the ways that we’d have to work differently so that we could lower the budget threshold. We are therefore starting with the first cohort of 10 to 12 organizations with annual budgets starting at $500,000 and capped at $5 million. </p><p>Of course, we know that the majority of arts organizations of color fall below annual budgets of $500,000. This is why we will be funding a second, larger cohort of organizations with budget sizes under $500,000. There is a lot that we need to learn to design this second cohort, which we expect to begin in late 2022. </p><p> <strong>4. Why did you add the four U.S. territories, in addition to Puerto Rico?</strong><br><br>We have expanded the list of eligible U.S. territories in response to an inquiry from a group of arts organizations, artists and arts workers. It was an oversight on our part, and we are glad it was brought to our attention so that we could correct it before the deadline. </p><p>American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guåhan (Guam), are now eligible, along with Puerto Rico, the 50 states and the District of Columbia.<br></p><p> <strong>5. Why is Wallace doing this initiative, and why now?</strong><br><br>&#160;Wallace funds the arts in large part due to our founder <a href="/about-wallace/pages/history.aspx">Lila Acheson</a>’s passion to ensure that “the arts belong to everyonel.” There are a wealth of arts and culture organizations founded by and for a diversity of people, including for specific racial and ethnic communities in the U.S., and they already have a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/the-alchemy-of-high-performing-arts-organizations-part-ii-a-spotlight-on-organizations-of-color.aspx">strong community orientation </a>that is an integral part of their success. </p><p>This initiative—with its five-year investment for planning, project support, cohort learning and research—is one step toward highlighting and building upon&#160; the strengths, assets and work of organizations of color, while adding to the research and knowledge base about them, which at this point is relatively slim. That’s why we’re also seeking researchers who have experience working with organizations of color to study and document the initiative. Our hope is that the resulting lessons on the links between community orientation, relevance and resilience will be useful not only to other arts organizations of color, but to the broader field of the non-profit arts.</p><p>Still ha​ve questions? Feel free to <a href="mailto&#58;artsopencall@wallacefoundation.org">shoot us an email</a>. </p>Wallace editorial team792021-08-13T04:00:00ZAs 8/20 deadline to apply for new $53 million initiative focused on arts organizations of color approaches, we answer a few common questions and concerns.8/13/2021 4:17:16 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / 5 Questions We’ve Been Asked About Wallace’s Arts Open Call for Grantees & Researchers As 8/20 deadline to apply for new 864https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Decade-long Effort to Expand Arts Education in Boston Pays Off14317GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​A few years ago, a middle school student came to the United States without knowing any English.&#160;Joining a chorus through her school in the Boston Public Schools (BPS) district helped change that. By translating the songs on her phone, she was able to get a swift grasp of the language, something that otherwise might have taken years.&#160;&#160; <br></p><p>Anthony Beatrice, BPS’s director for the arts, share​​d this and other stories with us in a recent Zoom conversation spurred by a new study that documents the unexpected benefits and power of the arts in schools. Published by Edvestors, a school improvement nonprofit in Boston, <a href="https&#58;//www.edvestors.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/The-Arts-Advantage-Impacts-of-Arts-Education-on-Boston-Students_Brief-FINAL.pdf"> <em>The Art​s Advantage&#58; Impacts of Arts Education on Bos​ton Students</em></a> found consistent positive effects on student attendance as a result of students taking arts courses, and these effects are notably stronger for students who have a history of chronic absenteeism and students on Individualized Education Plans. In addition, parent and student school engagement were higher when more students in a school were enrolled in arts courses. Teachers were more likely to report that students put more effort into their work and parents were more active at the school. The study was based on more than 600,000 K-12 student-level observations across every Boston Public School over 11 school years from 2008-09 through 2018-19.</p><p>The benefits for students documented by the research come on top of the intrinsic benefits of the arts as a discipline, a point alluded to by Marinell Rousmaniere, president and CEO of EdVestors.&#160; </p><p>“We're an education organization,” she said. “We're not an arts organization, and our underlying belief about the arts is that all students deserve access to arts education as part of a well-rounded education.”<br></p><p>The study used data collected through EdVestors’ BPS Arts Expansion program, launched in 2009. A public-private partnership led by EdVestors and the Visual and Performing Arts Department at BPS, which Wallace&#160;​<a href="/news-and-media/press-releases/pages/boston-receives-4-million-grant-to-expand-arts-education-in-boston-public-schools.aspx">helped fund in 2012</a> through a four-year grant,&#160; the multiyear initiative brought together local foundations, the school district, arts organizations, higher education institutions and the mayor’s office to focus on creating a coherent, sustainable approach to high-quality arts education for all of the district’s students.<br><br>“Boston is a large urban district, and a very diverse district,” said ­­­ Carol Johnson, who served as superintendent at BPS from 2007 to 2013. “Almost half of students in Boston come from households where English is not the first language. That diversity, coupled with a number of equity issues and equity access issues, were important factors in how we began to approach this work.”</p><p>In the early days of the initiative, according to Johnson, the district had to deal with challenges such as financial constraints, budget cuts and competing interests from some principals. However, she and the school committee were dedicated to not allowing these barriers push them away from their main goal—equitable access to the arts for all students.</p><p>“Even though there were doubters about the strategy from some principals, once they began to expand opportunities for students, they began to see that this had possibility,” she noted.</p><p>Early planning of the initiative was extremely important, according to Johnson&#58;&#160;“We had to be very strategic, thoughtful and purposeful and set up our methods of collecting data to see where we are, then map out a long-term strategy.”</p><p>The longstanding partnerships between the district, EdVestors, local and national funders, arts organizations and other community members were key to&#160;the district’s success in boosting arts education.</p><p>“We are truly fortunate to have such a cohesive arts community in Boston,” said Beatrice, the BPS arts director “Simply put, we have more impact when we work together. The vision of the BPS Arts Expansion from 11 years ago has worked. A majority of our schools that were able to be granted funds for arts partners have now also added certified arts educators, nearly doubling the amount of certified arts teachers from around 164 in 2009 to over 300 today.”</p><p>Indeed, the study supports the value of increased access to arts learning, specifically stating, “when students have more opportunities to participate in arts learning experiences, their engagement in school overall increases, as measured by reductions in absenteeism; increases in student and parent school engagement; and modest effects on student achievement, particularly English Language Arts for middle school students.”<br></p><p class="wf-Element-Callout"> “Simply put, when we talk about the social-emotional well-being of our students, the arts are a huge part of that.&quot;</p>​Arts can be powerful for young people in other ways, too, Beatrice said.&#160; “The arts provide an opportunity for students to not only showcase their artistic skills but also give an opportunity to reflect about their process and their learning,” he said. “Simply put, when we talk about the social-emotional well-being of our students, the arts are a huge part of that.&quot;<p><br>​Brian Kisida, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri’s Truman School of Public Affairs who co-led the study, said its findings about arts learning and the link to student engagement might help schools as they begin to respond to the disruptions to in-person learning caused by COVID-19.</p><p>“Arts education should absolutely be a focus of getting students re-engaged in school as we return to some sense of normalcy after the pandemic,” he said. “I think there are some fears that schools may try to prioritize tested subjects at the expense of the arts, and I think that that would be a mistake. We know that students didn't just suffer from learning loss, but the last year has done serious harm to students’ social and emotional health—they lost the connections with their friends, they've lost the connections with their teachers.”<br><br>Rousmaniere also agreed that the findings are important as schools try to return to normalcy after the pandemic.​</p><p>​“People are focused on learning loss, but I think we need to be focused on learning readiness,” she said. “Arts is like a swiss army knife​—it feeds many different needs that schools have and will reach certain populations of students that maybe other things would not.”&#160;<br></p><p>Kisida pointed out that often the arts teacher is the only teacher, especially in an elementary school, who knows every student in the building and knows them for multiple years. “That's a real connection point for re-engaging in school that needs to be given serious consideration,” he said.<br></p><p>In preparation for the 2021-2022 school year, BPS has formed&#160;a working group of arts educators to create arts lessons connected with the core competencies of social and emotional learning&#160;to accompany&#160;the curriculum materials provided by the district’s social and emotional learning office. Beatrice sees this as a continuation of Boston’s unique system-wide approach to arts education. </p><p>“Over time I have learned that there are so many people who have our students’ interest at the heart of what they do,” he said. “Having a systems approach to ensuring students have access to quality arts education ensures that everyone is working in tangent with each other. Each program and organization have a sense of autonomy while understanding their role in the bigger piece of the arts education pie.”<br></p>Jenna Doleh912021-08-10T04:00:00ZStudy finds arts education increases student attendance and student and parent engagement8/13/2021 12:32:01 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Decade-long Effort to Expand Arts Education in Boston Pays Off Study finds arts education increases student attendance and 1665https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
$53 Million Initiative Offers Much-Needed Support for Arts Organizations of Color12368GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​Over the past year at Wallace, we have engaged in candid conversations with many leaders of arts organizations of color, who talked about a problem decades in the making&#58; Their organizations have been underfunded and often overlooked, despite their rich histories, high-quality work and deep roots in their communities. <br></p><p>In fact, community orientation—a deep understanding of and connection to the people they serve—seems to be in the DNA of many of arts organizations of color.</p><p>That is why we are launching an initiative to explore this guiding question&#58; </p><p><strong>Facing strategic challenges, how can and do arts organizations of color leverage their experience and histories of community orientation to increase their resilience, while sustaining their relevance?</strong> </p><p>At the heart of this five-year, $53 million investment is Wallace’s commitment to learning and to long-term relationships with our grantees, giving them time and resources to develop ideas and test practical approaches that can be shared with one another and the field. The work is complex, nuanced and, we believe, full of potential. </p><p>We are <a href="https&#58;//wallacefoundation.submittable.com/submit">seeking letters of interest </a>for the first of two cohorts of organizations. We also are <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/RFP-Arts-Organizations-Centering-Communities-of-Color.aspx">seeking arts researchers </a>whose experience might make them a good fit for this project. For everything you need to know about the initiative and how to submit an expression of interest if you’re eligible, visit our <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/arts-initiative-open-call.aspx">online hub</a>. </p><p>Typically, at this point we would also reveal more about the initiative​ (and its name), but we’re doing things differently this time. Here’s why&#58;</p><p><strong>Arts organizations of color know their priorities better than we do</strong></p><p>We acknowledge the limitations of our experience in this area, and we recognize that the core expertise lies with arts organizations of color themselves. They know their strengths and what resonates with their communities, and have important insights about what might be useful for the field. The initiative, therefore, will begin with a planning year during which we will work with the cohort to further define our work together. </p><p>The grantees will play a pivotal role&#58; helping us name the initiative; developing plans for new projects, or pursuing existing ones; and choosing the kind of technical supports they wish to receive. The planning year is meant to give grantees three things they don’t always have&#58; sufficient time, resources and support to carry out their vision. </p><p><strong>As part of our commitment to equity, we</strong>’<strong>re doing some things differently</strong></p><p>Equity has long been an intrinsic part of Wallace’s values, and is now at the forefront of our mission. The events of the past year and the national conversation about race led to candid conversations at Wallace about what meaningful steps we might take to strengthen our equity focus. </p><p>This began with revising our mission statement in 2020 to make more explicit our commitment to advancing equity in the fields we fund&#58; the arts, education leadership and youth development through out-of-schooltime learning and enrichment.</p><p>A cornerstone of our approach is listening to and partnering with organizations that have a similar commitment to equity, as well as the willingness and capacity to carry out multiyear plans that will be meaningful to the communities they serve.&#160;</p><p>While planning the initiative, we were keenly aware of the concern that the same well-known organizations might be selected for multiple grants by a number of national foundations. To mitigate this risk, we are casting as wide a net as possible by asking eligible organizations to express their interest. We believe this step—unusual for us—is vital to ensure an inclusive process for this new initiative.</p><p>Filling out a brief form is the first step in an application process that is designed to minimize the administrative load for organizations, while ensuring that all who are interested and eligible are considered. We are asking arts service organizations, researchers, state and local arts councils and others to help spread the word. To address an array of needs, we are also offering 15-minute, personalized consultations with Wallace staff. </p><p>In another departure from Wallace’s past approach to grantmaking, the initiative’s two cohorts will enable us to work with organizations of different sizes. The first cohort, to be selected this fall, will comprise 10 to 12 organizations with larger budget sizes of $500,000 to $5 million. A second, larger cohort, which we expect to select in late 2022, will include organizations with smaller budgets below $500,000.</p><p>We are starting with large organizations because Wallace has years of experience partnering with organizations of this size to achieve our dual goals&#58; benefiting the grantees we fund directly and the broader field. </p><p><strong>We will continue to listen and evolve</strong><strong> </strong></p><p>In planning this initiative, Wallace sought advice from numerous arts organizations of color, whose leaders and other staff generously shared not only their big-picture perspectives but also nuances within the sector. </p><p>We consulted with researchers of color, commissioned studies and sought counsel from arts service organizations to learn about trends they have observed in the field—the strengths, challenges and opportunities. </p><p>In addition, we continue to do our homework, converse with practitioners and industry experts, read existing documentation of the field, and build spreadsheets and PowerPoint decks. But we understand that no amount of prep work can sufficiently encapsulate the diversity, subtleties and richness of the field. </p><p>We acknowledge that even our use of the term ‘arts organizations of color’ is imperfect and that no umbrella term can capture the constellation of organizations that serve myriad communities, including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latinx, Arab American, and Asian American/Pacific Islander. </p><p>Relationship building is key to the success of this work. We know that as members of the field of institutional philanthropy, it will take time to build trusting relationships in a space that has long been underresourced and underacknowledged by those who use their capital to create social good. </p> <p>We all must begin somewhere. It’s very likely that elements of our approach will be unsatisfactory to some and that we’ll stumble along the way. We fully accept that we do not have all the answers, and we look forward to learning together. </p>Bahia Ramos842021-07-19T04:00:00ZWallace’s new five-year, $53 million initiative will explore that question – and we’re seeking organizations and researchers to learn along with us7/19/2021 3:33:23 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / $53 Million Initiative Offers Much-Needed Support for Arts Organizations of Color An open call seeks medium to large 1356https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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