Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Arts Advocacy Update LXII

The content below is from Americans for the Arts' Cultural Policy Listserv, email blast of October 15, 2008:

New council promoting creative businesses in Mass.
Forbes - AP, 10/10/2008
"Massachusetts has established a Creative Economy Council to examine and promote policies for dealing with industries centered on creating intellectual property products. . . . A law signed by Gov. Deval Patrick on Friday puts Housing and Economic Development Secretary Dan O'Connell in charge of the council."
Good idea, this. It should also focus on the economic development argument -- and that includes revisiting the question of film incentives.

Surveying Richmond's Arts and Culture
Richmond.com (VA), 10/8/2008
Richmond, Virginia's Downtown Master Plan "has everyone's focus geared towards transportation, housing, land use and preservation concerns. But there is another plan gaining momentum, which seeks to capitalize on the benefits of what author Richard Florida refers to and commends as 'the creative class.' . . . Back in January, a task force of art professionals, including those based in the museum, visual and performing art communities as well as cultural and emerging organizations, came together with leaders of the Arts Council of Richmond and other corporate and government representatives to develop Richmond's first Regional Cultural Action Plan." Now in part three of the action plan, area residents are being asked to participate in the Cultural Census Survey.
Good news from a state rapidly turning purple.

Stifled by Copyright, McCain Asks YouTube to Consider Fair Use
Wired, 10/14/2008
"After seeing its videos repeatedly removed from YouTube, John McCain's campaign on Monday told the Google-owned video site that its copyright infringement policies are stringent to the point of stifling free speech, and that its lawyers need to revamp the way they evaluate copyright infringement claims. . . . The letter is notable both because YouTube and online video generally have become prime platforms for communicating political messages during the 2008 presidential campaign, and because this is one of the rare instances when a member of Congress is speaking out in favor of fair-use rights, after experiencing for themselves the onerous burden put on citizens using media to express ideas. The concept of fair use has had few defenders in Congress, where it's usually treated by lawmakers as code for piracy."
Good thing McCain isn't palling around with terrorists!

States’ Film Production Incentives Cause Jitters
New York Times, 10/11/2008
"Already on the hook for billions to bail out Wall Street, taxpayers are also finding themselves stuck with a growing tab for state programs intended to increase local film production. One of the most shocking bills has come due in Louisiana, where residents are financing a hefty share of Brad Pitt’s next movie — $27,117,737, to be exact. . . . As the number of movies made under these plans multiplied in recent years, the state money turned into a welcome rescue plan for Hollywood at a time when private investors were fleeing the movies. But the glamour business has not always been kind to those who pick up the costs, and states are moving to rein in their largess that has allowed producers to be reimbursed for all manner of expenditures, whether the salaries of stars, the rental of studio space or meals for the crew."
Certainly loopholes should be closed and opportunities to exploit should be limited. Let's just hope the baby isn't thrown out with the bathwater.

A supply-and-demand approach to the arts?
Los Angeles Times, 10/10/2008
Diane Haithman considers Craig Smith's suggestion that "[performing arts] groups should be looking to form partnerships or mergers, or even shut down and pass the assets on to healthier groups, if necessary, to keep their mission alive. As Jung quoted Freud: 'Sometimes the doctor should not try to cure at all costs.' Ditto for nonprofits: better to end an organization's life and pass assets on."
Well, of course. How many businesses run hundreds of years in the commercial marketplace? You can't expect as much from a nonprofit.

Duke Foundation doles cash to orgs
Variety, 10/14/2008
"The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Nonprofit Finance Fund will hand out $15.1 million to 10 performing arts nonprofits to fund the exploration of new business practices and models. . . . Grant aims to help nonprofits experiment with new ways to adjust to contempo business challenges, including diminishing government funding and the constant evolution of technology."
Yes! Finally some fiscal teeth in the idea of new models. Scott Walters, are you listening? :-)

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