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The Creative Power of the Arts: Reimagining Human and Planetary Flourishing

March 1, 2022

As the world confronts the compounded impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate crisis, and structural injustices, societies are bracing for a protracted and complex period of reassessment, reimagination, and restructuring. The culture and arts sector must be at the table and included in decision-making processes as societies seek to eschew a return to "normal" and instead reimagine more creative pathways towards human and planetary flourishing.Launched in 2021, Salzburg Global's The Creative Power of the Arts: Reimagining Human and Planetary Flourishing program brought together an interdisciplinary and inter-generational group of 90 creative practitioners, researchers, and policymakers from over 30 countries.The program began with a series of online Focus Group sessions examining the systemic relevance of the arts and culture sector for creative reforms in the four target areas of climate, health, education, and justice. In the process of convening these Focus Groups, however, it became clear that regardless of the area of focus – whether at the intersection of the arts and culture with climate, health, education, or justice – Fellows were confronting similar challenges in their work that were standing in the way of true systemic change. This report is the result of the Focus Groups as well as a joint convening of all participants, along with a collaboratory in-person meeting in Salzburg. By sharing the thinking of this global, diverse, and engaged group of Fellows in this report, Salzburg Global Seminar invites others to engage in a similar process of constructive inquiry to reflect deeply on what is dividing us, what is keeping us from collaborating better, and how we can achieve transformative change together.

Recognizing and Advancing Nonprofit Excellence

March 1, 2016

Between 2006 and 2013, the MacArthur Foundation awarded nearly $54 million to 79 social sector organizations around the world through the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Designed to recognize a subset of the Foundation's grantees for their extraordinary contributions to their fields and to help foster their long-term financial stability and operational strength, the award is a onetime infusion of capital, typically between $350,000 and $1 million.The Foundation commissioned this evaluation of the MacArthur Award to take stock of the program as it approaches its tenth anniversary, to learn more about its influence on awardee organizations, and to inform future decision-making about it and related grantmaking strategies. Slover Linett designed a two-phase study: an initial discovery phase, which included a review of key program documents and interviews with 19 Foundation staff and stakeholders, followed by a primary investigation phase, which included in-person and telephone interviews with 30 past awardees and an online survey of the awardee pool. We then synthesized the findings from all of these sources of data to paint an overarching picture of how the MacArthur Award works and its influence on recipient organizations.

Sustain Arts/SE Michigan: A Portrait of the Cultural Ecosystem

October 26, 2014

This report discusses the potential use of data in arts organizations for strategic purposes. Data currently available on the cultural sector can lead to useful insights about the increasing proliferation of small arts organizations; the almost monolithic focus of private foundations on supporting a highly select group of large, well-established arts organizations; and the fact that established arts organizations are poorly positioned to satisfy emerging consumer preferences for cultural experiences. Such insights should provoke frank discussion and galvanize field leaders to advocate appropriate actions, both in response to existing disconnects and proactively, in anticipation of coming change. The data that are now available to the field are not perfect. In fact, that's part of the story that needs to be told about the cultural sector. Systematic data collection on artists, cultural organizations, and audiences receives only a token amount of government funding. Instead, it is left largely up to private organizations to document trends in both the nonprofit and for-profit cultural arenas. This leads to multiple non-overlapping data collection strategies, making it difficult to construct a coherent picture of the field. There are gaping holes in the puzzle, and the tales we tell with existing data must be told with caution.

Key Lessons from the Field of Cultural Innovation

June 1, 2013

The primary purpose of this knowledge synthesis is to provide the Rockefeller Foundation staff with a broader context for considering the findings of an independent evaluation of the Foundation's Cultural Innovation Fund (CIF). The synthesis has been designed to help key audiences understand the state of play, common concepts, challenges, questions, and key lessons from arts organizations who are already engaging innovative strategies and practices.