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Ted Russell

Ted Russell

Ted Russell has been with Irvine since 2005 and helps oversee many of the Foundation’s grants to the arts field. He’s also an arts news aficionado and has built a robust Twitter presence. Follow him: @artsted. View full bio »

Foundational Knowledge: Arts Organizations and Community

BY Ted Russell
Ted Russell
Ted Russell has been with Irvine since 2005 and helps oversee many of the Founda
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| Aug 05, 2014 1

Editor’s Note: Foundational Knowledge is an occasional series on News & Insights, providing three bullet points on a topic of interest to Irvine’s partners and grantees.

Our Arts program strives to promote engagement in the arts for all Californians. This means embracing and advancing the diverse ways that we experience the arts, as well as using it to strengthen our ability to thrive together. Working in this field, I often have the privilege of seeing arts organizations explore new and creative ways to engage people in their work, and I’ve noticed that some of the most forward-thinking organizations ask themselves some important questions, as they go about this.

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ArtPlace Honors Oakland

BY Ted Russell
Ted Russell
Ted Russell has been with Irvine since 2005 and helps oversee many of the Founda
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| Jan 29, 2013

Last week, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan joined ArtPlace director Carol Coletta in touring the Oakland neighborhood that was designated one of America's Top 12 ArtPlaces. As she announced the award at the press conference, Carol made the point of saying this award was data-based and in fact entirely statistical. Since it’s not biased or subjective, the selection carries even more weight for many in the Oakland community.

Mayor Quan proudly accepted the award on behalf of the city that has become, in her words, "cooler than San Francisco!" And she emphatically credited a public-private-nonprofit partnership for the incredible turnaround of several depressed neighborhoods ranging from Old Oakland to Uptown. It's clear that the vibrancy brought to the areas by the emergence of arts nonprofits, in conjunction with for-profits, had economic and human impacts.

ArtPlace, an initiative of national and regional foundations, federal agencies and major banks to accelerate creative placemaking, identified the top ArtPlaces in the nation’s largest U.S. metropolitan areas. An array of data and other factors were considered in selecting the neighborhoods, which were successful at combining art, artists and venues for creativity and expression with independent businesses, retail shops and restaurants, and a walkable lifestyle to make vibrant neighborhoods. Other California neighborhoods that joined Oakland in the Top 12 were San Francisco's Mission District and Central Hollywood in Los Angeles.

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Largest California Arts Organizations Explore Ideas for Engagement

BY Ted Russell
Ted Russell
Ted Russell has been with Irvine since 2005 and helps oversee many of the Founda
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| Mar 22, 2012

Irvine recently hosted a set of informal question and answer sessions about our new Exploring Engagement Fund for Large Organizations in three cities: San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. We met with administrators from arts organizations throughout the state representing an impressive breadth of art forms: theater, opera, ballet, orchestral music and visual arts. There’s no shortage of innovative ideas coming out of our state’s largest arts groups, so we’re eager to see how these arts leaders begin to explore engagement with us.

Last month we invited organizations to submit concept papers for this invitation-only fund, which is open to a select group of California-based nonprofit arts organizations with operating budgets greater than $5 million per year. The fund is one of three Exploring Engagement Funds we created as part of the Arts grantmaking strategy announced last year. (The other funds are the statewide, open-competitive Exploring Engagement Fund for organizations under the $5 million operating budget threshold, and the Exploring Engagement Fund for Priority Regions, geared toward nonprofits located in the San Joaquin Valley and Inland Empire.)

The Exploring Engagement Fund for Large Organizations is all about risk capital, somewhat of a rare thing in the nonprofit funding world. Think of it as venture capital for arts engagement, but instead of capital returns, our expected payoffs are organizational transformation and expanding arts engagement to new audiences across California. And while we hope all of these ideas will create lasting organizational change for our nonprofit partners, we also accept that some of these experiments may come up short of their intended outcomes. It is risk capital, after all!

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