Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Quick Hit: A Love Letter to Createquity

You know those times when you are looking for a blog that provides you with meaty analysis on contemporary issues in arts engagement? When you wish for bloggers who were willing to write 2,000 words instead of 200? When you want someone rooted in both the business and art worlds? When you want cogent arguments with charts to back them up?

Stop looking and start subscribing to Createquity. Led by Ian David Moss of Fractured Atlas, Createquity offers weekly(ish) long format posts on arts policy, research, strategy, and funding. Ian authors the blog alongside rotating "writing fellows" who bring diverse perspectives to the table (and make it possible to issue many thousands of words per week).

Here's what I love about Createquity:
  • In-depth analysis of arts research reports. Check out today's fabulous post from fellow Jackie Hasa about the new James Irvine Foundation-commissioned report on arts participation in California's Inland Empire. These posts tend to provide both a broad overview and unique insights into the meaning of new research. Every time I read one, I think "I should write about this research study too." And then I don't, because they did it so well at Createquity.
  • A healthy dose of nerdiness. Like me, Ian is a former scientist, and he relishes the opportunity to apply mathematical rigor in the exploration and critique of arts research and policy. While I understand that it's not for everyone, I love the exhaustive and often technical way that he digs into topics. I also love his willingness to revisit past topics with more information, as he did after an internship at the Hewlett Foundation in 2008.
  • Complex approach to topics I care about. Recently, the majority of Createquity posts focus on the topics of active arts engagement and creative placemaking. The posts share cross-discipline stories ranging from dance to classical music to public art. They are rigorous. And they generate some really interesting discussion in the comments. Ian and I are unapologetically "on the same side" in a broad sense, but he makes me realize there are additional angles and surfaces to these issues I hadn't noticed before.
  • Honesty and directness. Createquity is verbose, but not circumspect. Ian and his compatriots write honestly from their own experience, and then they back it up with lots of data. Or they critique the data. Whatever their reaction to the inciting report or topic, they are authentic and clear in representing their perspectives. I often think their arguments are the best around when it comes to active arts participation, as long as your audience is willing to read long articles.
  • Exposure to a broader arts world. I've lived in a museum bubble for a long time. I like having a resource that makes me more aware of what's going on with symphonies and public art and foundations. Createquity is a little heavy on the funding discussion, but the Around the Horn bullet list posts along with the longer essays help me connect with worlds beyond museums. It's a bit surprising to perceive that the American "arts" field is in as much of a bubble as the museum industry--perhaps even a smaller one. There is a very tight circle of names dropped on this blog and its relations, and I feel like Createquity is a good access point to their world. It also makes me wonder what other worlds are out there.
Enjoy the blog, explore the archives, and let me know what you think. 
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