Sunday, October 5, 2014

Dinner Vention 2 and Grantmakers in the Arts Conference Upcoming

Good morning
"And the beat goes on………………."

I'm On the Road Again this week………Denver First on Thursday
Dinner Vention 2 is this coming Thursday evening (October 9th) and will be live streamed from Denver beginning at 6:00 pm Pacific Time, 9:00 pm Eastern Time.  Click here for the link (and you can click right now and register for an automatic reminder).

Click here for the dinner guest briefing papers and links to all the information about the dinner and the guests.

After the live streaming of the event on Thursday, we will put the dinner conversation online with a link on the Westaf site so you can watch it at your convenience and advise others to tune in.

I think we are going to have a very lively give and take at this conversation centering on the models that are no longer working for us -- and it will be interesting to hear the guests take on what isn't working, why and what we can do.  I hope you can tune in.

Thanks to Shannon Daut, Anthony Radich and WESTAF (and Bryce Merrill, Laurel Sherman, and Leah Horn) and to our host the Carmen Wiedenhoeft Gallery.

Houston on the weekend
I once again have the pleasure and privilege of blogging from the Grantmakers in the Arts Annual conference - running from October 12 - 15 in Houston.

Last year - in anticipation of the GIA conference - I noted some 20 big issues that I thought were on many (or maybe most) funder's agendas.  In review of those issues, I think most of them are still on funder's plates.

In scanning the conference sessions this year -- while there are no designated themes or tracks -- several overarching broad interest areas are apparent, including ones I am interested in:

1.  Equity in funding and the attendant racial and diversity issues together with the broader topic of arts and social justice.
2.  The growing intersections between the arts and healing, aging, medicine and health care.
3.  Community and various forms of Engagement.
4.  What might be broadly termed as managing the  practice of funding - including a pre conference on: The Unique Practice of Arts Grantmaking.

The first three of these topics have all been gaining considerable traction in moving to the forefront of funder's priorities - for various reasons.

  • The Equity issue is now front and center throughout our field - on everyone's plates as we search for a way that will finally address the needs of what is already (or soon) to be a diverse cultural field with no majority -- in a fair and equitable way, and which will begin to reflect the actual demographics of the country, and give voice to the representation of those arts forms that have heretofore gotten short shift.   We seek to do this in a way that doesn't necessarily arbitrarily move to abandon the Euro centric arts forms that have (arguably unfairly) dominated the funding paradigm for so long, and we need to do all this in a way that doesn't vivisect the nonprofit arts sector.   This issue is clearly a defining moment for the nonprofit arts, and the way it is handled will be telling about our future 10, 25, even 50 years from now.
  • The arts and aging and healing issue is a bright star in our future.  Our contributions to the medical well being of citizens are only beginning to be explored and there is huge potential for us to make meaningful inroads into community engagement as the boomer generation begins to grow old and experience increasing need for medical services (and all one has to do is note the sheer volume of television commercials for pharmaceuticals to know what is coming down the pike).  Moreover, this intersection boosts our perceived value, will likely attract significant money to our efforts and has the potential to be a media bonanza for us.  And it's all just really beginning.
  • Arts and Communities and Engagement with those communities is now firmly established as part of our matrix.  But we are just beginning to fully deal with all of the ramifications and all of the ways we play out in terms of relationships with communities.  Though we think we already have a good handle on this area of our work, I think we are only at the beginning of trying to figure out what it all means, how it will actually play out to our advantage over the long term, and what makes what we are talking about now different from what we have been doing for a long time.  There is no shortage of ways to engage a community.  Which ones, when, how, and to what effect are questions that still linger.

I'm interested in seeing what the sessions and the ongoing talk among the delegates to this gathering offers on these three major issues.

I hope you will tune in to the Dinner vention live streaming, and I will be blogging live from GIA and after the event as I try to make some sense of all that I am likely to hear.  It remains, to my mind, one of the best conferences for real ideas and analysis.

Have a great week.

Don't Quit