Monday, July 04, 2011

Great Article: Regrets of a Former Arts Funder

This might be one of the best essays on the history of American arts funding and it's often deep failures to support viable institutions or more importantly, living creative communities. The author, John Killacky was former arts and culture program officer at the San Francisco Foundation.

There is a crisis here, as arts funding remains disproportionately skewed toward the classical behemoths. With organizations like Philadelphia Orchestra and New York City Opera imploding because of structural deficits, I worry that precious philanthropic resources will be further diverted to maintaining what was, instead of capitalizing a more representative future. By merely preserving the past, we fail as cultural stewards and act irresponsibly.

Finally, my last “philanthro-past” reflection: it is time to give up the false dichotomies and biases between professional/amateur, high/low, esoteric/popular, and contemporary/traditional. Instead, philanthropy should be investing in the cultural interests that allow people who live in our communities to lead more expressive lives.

This would truly be representative arts philanthropy.

Likely will be back with more thoughts.

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