Sunday, December 16, 2012

ARTS POLICY: Shared Arts Infrastructure

Leah Hamilton at ArtsBlog asks "Has Endowment Become A Dirty Word?", by examining a successful model, the Springfield Arts Collaborative, which supports arts organizations the following:
Seventy-five percent of funds raised are divided equally among the five founding arts organizations (Springfield Ballet, Springfield Regional Opera Lyric Theatre, Springfield Symphony, Springfield Little Theatre, and the Springfield Regional Arts Council). 
The remaining 25% is allocated between three shared funds designed to benefit the Springfield arts community as a whole: the “Arts-In-Education” fund (which will fund the action goals in the Any Given Child plan), the Creamery Arts Center Fund, and the Landers Theater fund (an historic theatre in downtown Springfield). The Community Foundation of the Ozarks manages the funds and their distribution. 
That "Creamery Arts Center"?

In the arts community, more than 30 local groups share The Creamery Arts Center. The 35,000-square-foot building, once home to the Springfield Creamery Co. and later the first distribution center for O’Reilly Automotive, includes administrative offices, as well as an exhibition hall, board room, arts library, arts classroom, film editing bay, a shared costume shop, and set design/fabrication studio.
I'm interested to hear from Springfieldians about what the impact of this has been. Are costs for arts organizations lower? Are more independent art organizations able to start up and remain viable?

Still, on the face of it, this seems like a great structure to multiply the value of any donor contribution in the community, and to help make the maintenance of arts more efficient. I don't know if "Endowment" has become a dirt word generally, but the National Endowment of the Arts certainly has, and if it focused on arts infrastructure like that,