Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA)—a national association serving arts and culture funders—recently held its 2011 conference, Embracing the Velocity of Change, October 9-12 in San Francisco—and Americans for the Arts was there.
For close to twenty years, Americans for the Arts has been pleased to represent the 3,000-plus field of local arts grantmaking agencies in communities both large and small at GIA.
Our history of support of GIA is part of our ongoing commitment to sharing information and deepening the understanding between local arts agency grantmakers and their natural partners in the private funding community.
Collectively, local arts agencies fund more than $1 billion annually in public funding and more than $100 million annually in private funding, providing support for the arts and arts education in communities across the country. The GIA conference is an annual opportunity for us (along with arts funders across the country) to present session ideas for juried selection.
We use the opportunity to put forth issues of rising concern to our members, and that cross the universe of public and private sector, as well as local, state, and national, funders. In turn, we ourselves learn more about the concerns of private sector funders during the process of sharing information about the state of the field, emerging research, and best practices.
This year’s GIA conference was built around three broad yet connected themes: changing demographics, changing technology, and changing understanding of arts and social justice.
Several of our staff members participated in the conference, by leading and attending sessions, breakfast roundtables, and salon discussions as well as contributing to the planning of the arts and social justice pre-conference.
Rich material and learning emerged from this shared experience—more than can be reported in one blog post, or by one person.
Therefore, over the next few days Americans for the Arts staff will be sharing their individual experiences and takeaways on topics ranging from the hardcore practical to the lofty paradoxical—all of which address the collective challenges we as a field face in our efforts to strengthen the environment and create more resources for the arts.