The arts and culture are always the means through which everyone can relay their experience, master and form their identity and envisage their future. Culture and the arts have a constancy and variety that enables people in exploring their individual humanity and understanding of the whole society. Everyone needs the arts and culture in order for their lives to make sense and so that they can know themselves better. Further, the democracies in people’s societies need the arts. This is because they tend to make a civil society conscious while also stretching their imaginations. It is the arts that make compassion for our fellows in a specific community to exist and increase. The arts create innovative means for understanding and dealing with each other’s problems and differences in a society. Finally, but not the least, the arts provide protection and enrichment to liberty, decorum and public dialogues that form the inner core of a mature democracy. This project aims to cover on the introduction of the arts and culture in relation to the society and the problems they address amongst the people in a community. Further, the project will delve into establishing what problem the arts and culture have created regarding compassion for fellow human beings in the society. The specific hypothesis that indeed funding has taken a new route towards non-profit arts institutions, neglecting the advancement of social justice will be thoroughly investigated. Through the use of interviews and questionnaires as well as existing literature, the topic of funding will be discussed. This is in relation to the new trend of majorly funding non-profit arts organizations and neglecting the advancement and funding of social justice organizations. A conclusion will finally be drawn based on the results obtained.
Annually, roughly 11 percent of American funding is awarded to arts and cultural foundations. Usually, these are not-for-profit organizations. In 2009, for example, approximately two billion were given as funding to such organizations without involving any other category of institutions (NCRP, 2011). Such a distribution of funds has created an imbalance in the cultural landscape which is fast evolving. It shows a disregard of huge portions of cultural practice as well as huge sectors of the society. The situation, however, is not all doom. There have been increasing numbers of cultural groups and artists who are together to address the social problems. This is by actively engaging communities in order to address the causes of educational, economic as well as social injustices and inequities in human rights (NCRP, 2011).
The majority of funding in the arts usually supports the large-cap organizations, often those with budgets of five million dollars and above (Bowen et al., 2009). These large-cap organizations, however, only comprise a mere two percent or less of global arts and cultural not-for-profit organizations. Shockingly, this minor group receives greater than half of arts and cultural sector funding (Williams & Keen, 2008). Further, these organizations’ focus is majorly on white arts and culture. It is only ten percent of the total funding, made primarily for the arts that benefit the marginalized communities, color communities and other underprivileged groups. On funding the advancement of social justice in these communities, only four percent is given to meet the goals.
The arts do have a major role in creating and enhancing the sense and belonging of an individual to a certain place. They create ways that portray the ‘ownership’ of a particular place to certain groups or communities. In this way, they enhace the sense of belonging. At the front line of all this, however, is compassion. Compassion comes as a result of the fusion between the arts and culture, thereby creating a strong bond amongst the communities involved. It is through compassion that funding in the arts and cultural sector arises. Both are directly linked and interrelated. Increased funding in support of arts and culture, especially amongst the marginalized communities lead to increased sense of belonging. Further, increased funding in support of social justice programs lead to a substantial increase in ‘ownership’ of a place by an individual or a community. Unfortunately, current funding trend shows a misbalance in the society. Today’s funders and corporate philanthropists have been neglecting the advancement of social justice programs. Subsequently, funding towards the support of the marginalized groups has significantly been slashed.
This project seeks to extract the most accurate information on the funding trend amongst world top funders to the arts and cultural institutions. It also seeks to extract information on the percentage of funding that each funder or corporate philanthropist gives out to the arts and cultural organizations. Since arts and culture are an important component in creating and enhancing the sense of a place, increased funding towards their support will lead to an augmented sense of ‘ownership’.
In order that one feels and appreciates the sense of a place, it is vital to incorporate the arts and culture. From previous studies, it is clear that indeed there exists a grave misbalance in funding and grant making in the arts and culture sector. Trying to review these patterns will therefore be a plus towards the realization of social equity and noble funding strategies. Hence, this will show that every funder and corporate philanthropist can move from prejudicial funding to a more efficient, balanced, responsve, and inclusive funding. Presently, majority of funding to the arts and cultural organizations usually favor the cream of the crop. This includes those organizations whose work is based in the Western European culture. The audiences, in such cases are often whites and those with highest incomes. Smaller portions of the fund and grants get to the non-European cultural traditions while the smallest portion gets to the support of arts in challenging the social customs and thrusting movements for social justice. The evident imbalance has an overall negative effect on the expressive side of millions, thus inhibiting a nation’s creativity.
Arts and culture are regarded as a mirror in the society. They can echo certain customs in a society and in turn fortify them or they can act as a catalyst of change and drive social as well as political movements. At times, these movements can be towards justice and equality while at other times, they can be for the inhibition of human rights. By promoting social justice and equality, the arts and culture create a sense of ‘ownership’ to every individual or group involved in the process (Williams & Keen, 2008). Any failure in this process results in a faulty and unequal society. Imbalances in funding and granting often result from such inequality. The imbalance is always a problem because the creative and cultural background always includes an assorted range of applications. These practices are mainly found in lower income individuals as well as non-whites communities. It is in this context that philanthropy can be regarded as slow in keeping the tempo with such developments.
The study has a specific hypothesis which is in line with the research objective and problem statement. The hypothesis is: The percentage of funds and grants given to the arts and cultural organizations varies inversely to the funds allocated to the advancement of social justice and support of the marginalized communities.
The project utilized primary methods of data collection. These were grouped into two: questionnaires. The questionnaires were administered to randomized samples of funding institutions and other corporate philanthropists. The questionnaires handed out were 800. The questions in the questionnaires sought to extract funding data from the philanthropists as well as the trends in current funding. There were two sets of questions that helped extract the above information from the funders. These were the major sets of questions that directly sought to get as much information as possible. The questions were:
- What share of total grants and funding do you give to the marginalized communities and lower income groups?
- What share of total arts grants or funding do you give out compared to social justice grants and funding?
Of the 800 questionnaires administered, 770 were successfully filled out and returned. This project thus achieved a 96.25% accuracy rate. The funders and corporate philanthropists were classified into different categories based on the percentage of grants and funding that they gave out to the arts and cultural institutions. The following was the classification:
Group One: All arts funders.
Group Two: Those who gave out five percent (5%) or more to the arts.
Group Three: Those who gave ten percent (10%) or more to the arts.
Group Four: Those who gave out 15% or more of their total funding to the arts.
Group Five: Those whose total funding to the arts amounted to 20% or more.
Group Six: Those whose total funding and grants to the arts amounted to 25% or more.
The results were entered into excel sheets and later on analyzed with the help of SPSS. The results were then presented in the form of a comprehensive bar graph. The results obtained are as shown below:
10% of the total grants and funding is given to support marginalized communities by Group One (All Arts Funders) funders. Four percent (4%) of their total funding in arts went to the support of social justice programs.
Group Two funders (5% or more to the Arts) gave approximately nine percent (9%) of their total funding to the arts to the marginalized communities while four percent (4%) went to fund social justice programs.
Group Three funders (10% or more to the Arts) gave approximately eight percent (8%) of their total funds in the arts sector to the support of marginalized communities while three percent went to the support of social justice programs.
Group Four funders (15% or more to the Arts) only gave seven percent (7%) of their total funding to the arts sector to the support of marginalized communities while a mere three percent (3%) went to the support of social justice programs.
Group Five funders (20% or more to the Arts) gave five percent (5%) of the total grants and funds to the arts in support of marginalized communities while a mere two percent (2%) went to social justice programs.
Group Six funders (25% or more to the Arts) gave only four percent (4%) to the support of marginalized communities while two percent (2%) went to support social justice reforms. The results are as shown in the graph below:
There exists a social imbalance in the Arts and Cultural funding. With the Arts and Cultural context changing fast in today’s world, it is imperative for the funders to acquire a strategic and intensifying concerted effort in order to understand the changing technological, aesthetic and demographic variables taking place. The study comes into full support of the hypothesis formulated prior to the research being conducted. Hence, there is the need to employ diversity in the funders’ organizational as well as business models. They also need to rethink about who to fund more and the nature and length of such funding. Though it proves to be a real challenge, it is also an opportunity to establish genuine and fresh partnerships between the funders and communities, and getting to know how arts, social change and culture can be fused to bring about a social balance in the society. This will have established the role of Arts and Culture in creating and enhancing the sense of a place in the society.
Bowen, W., Chingos, M and McPherson, M. (2009). Crossing the Finish Line. Princeton, N.J.:
Princeton University Press.
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). (2011). Custom analysis from Foundation Center data sets.
Williams, K. & Keen, D. (2008). Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts, November 2009), http://www.nea.gov/research/2008-SPPA.pdf.