Wallace Blog Search Results

Search Blogs by Keyword
Browse by Date
clear all

 

 

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 466https://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 707https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

​​​​​​​