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The Case for Funding the Arts

Posted by Melyssa Muro
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The Case for Funding the Arts

Recently, WNYC’s Charlie Herman sat with Ford Foundation’s Darren Walker to discuss the perils of low funding for the arts—and why it should matter to everyone who wishes to preserve the vibrancy that NYC is known for. In his opening statements, he asserted “Without artists, NYC is in many ways without life,” later adding that art is, “the lifeblood of the city.”

 

Yet, with rent prices rising, limited studio spaces, and a society ruled by profit, artists are finding it increasingly difficult to create and thrive. But other than adding to the colorful tapestry of urban life, why fund the arts? Walker contends that artists serve a more nuanced purpose for this city, and society at large. “We rely on artists… to tell the story of who we are as people, warts and all. So that we can look in that mirror and hold ourselves accountable to the ideals of fairness, justice, democracy.” With this insight, it is perhaps more fitting to say that artists are weaving the aforementioned tapestry themselves.

 

As living testament to Walker’s beliefs, the Ford Foundation has given a $10 million grant to US Artist, along with many other grants. They’ve also launched the Art of Change initiative in order to “explore the intersection of art and justice,” consisting of funding visiting fellows, events, and a curated website to provide a platform for discourse regarding the connection of art to social justice. 

Surely, other organizations will soon follow suit and help further the arts and the way they demand us to perform at our full potential. In the words of Walker, if we don’t fund and nurture the future of arts, “We will lose the soul of this city… New York won’t be New York anymore.”

 

Photo: http://blog.hunterword.com/james-everett-graseck-recklessly-romantic/

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Humana's App-etite for the Arts

Posted by Kate Reese
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Humana's App-etite for the Arts

Louisville-based Fund for the Arts is one of the nation’s largest United Arts Funds (UAFs), and thanks to Humana’s Digital Experience Lab (DEC) now has its very own mobile platform. Currently, more than 200 local businesses participate in workplace giving campaigns, generating nearly 45% for the united arts fund's campaign each year. Recently, however, Fund for the Arts began looking to reach potential supporters in new ways.

 

Humana is committed to giving every employee eight hours of paid “volunteer time," during which they can give back to their community in a variety of ways. A team at DEC decided their volunteer time would be spent developing a mobile app for Fund for the Arts.

The organization had a very clear idea of what added value the app could provide – “awareness of and attendance at arts events in the city.” Additionally, Fund for the Arts hoped that an app could increase donations, so the team at DEC analyzed what makes people donate by surveying current donors. 

 

The final product involves an easy-to-use arts calendar, communicates the benefits of becoming a donor, and even includes donor benefit cards (discount on local arts events and performances), so that donors can use their mobile device to get savings at the box office. When asked about the choice to develop this app, members of the DEC team said “Though none of us are professional artists, we all believe in the importance of the arts and wanted to do something to help further that cause in our community.”

 

Read the full case study at Humana's Digital Experience Center.

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