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Measuring the Impact of Social Media

BY Kevin Rafter
Kevin Rafter
As Manager of Impact Assessment and Learning, Kevin oversees evaluation efforts
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| May 03, 2013
Last week the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation invited a diverse group of foundation staff, evaluation professionals and social media experts to talk about measurement and evaluation of social media. You can get a feel for some of the topics and ideas that were shared by reading the Twitter activity captured by the hashtag #SM_RE. RWJF has also captured and organized the material related to this meeting on its website.

I found the meeting quite productive and helpful for those of us who think about evaluating our communications efforts and putting those evaluations in the context of our broader organizational goals. And although this subject might appear to be a bit too “in the weeds” for those who aren’t engaged in the evaluation of communications efforts, I would like to share some of the more interesting points that came up at the meeting.

A primary goal for the meeting was to identify how best to measure social media indicators for a common set of outcomes identified by the participants. The common outcomes were:

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Learning from Experiments in Arts Innovation

BY Josephine Ramirez
Josephine Ramirez
As Arts Program Director, Josephine is leading the implementation of a new grant
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| Dec 05, 2012 1

Staying relevant amid a shifting landscape is an obstacle that’s very familiar in our field: arts organizations are challenged to meet the changing expectations of communities they serve. My predecessors at Irvine responded to that growing relevance gap in 2006 and launched the Arts Innovation Fund (AIF), a multiyear initiative that provided support for 19 large, established arts institutions in California to experiment with different ways they might adapt. The grants were intended to create the necessary space and freedom to try something new — and to learn from it.

We all know that a robust and vibrant arts community is essential to the general well-being of our many communities in California and beyond. And we also know that the past several decades have seen a significant overall decline in the number of people who attend arts events in California and throughout the U.S.

Findings from this initiative are now available following an independent report by Slover Linett Strategies. In keeping with the theme of innovation, we’re pleased to make an overview of these findings available in an exciting new format: an interactive infographic designed for viewing online or on your tablet. These findings are significant to arts organizations of all sizes, as well as to funders, policymakers and others who care about the vitality of the arts.

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Irvine Announces $17.6 Million in New Grants

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Jun 17, 2011

San Francisco The Board of Directors of The James Irvine Foundation has approved 15 grants totaling more than $17.6 million in support of the Foundation's mission of expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful and inclusive society. (For a list of approved grants, click here.)

Advancing Innovative Ideas and Initiatives

Grants approved as part of the Arts program were made as part of the Arts Innovation Fund, which supports the state’s larger, established arts institutions, and included the Berkeley Repertory Theatre ($1 million), the Pacific Symphony ($850,000), and the San Francisco Ballet Association ($900,000). Irvine’s Arts program seeks to promote a vibrant and inclusive artistic and cultural environment in California.

Fostering Informed Public Involvement and Decision Making

Grants approved as part of the California Democracy program align with its Civic Engagement priority, including a grant to TransForm CA ($550,000) to engage diverse communities in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California in major land use decisions. Irvine’s California Democracy program seeks to advance effective public policy decision making that is reflective of and responsive to all Californians.

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Irvine Announces $8.6 Million in New Grants

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Jun 17, 2010

San Francisco The Board of Directors of The James Irvine Foundation has approved 15 grants totaling nearly $8.6 million in support of the Foundation's mission of expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful and inclusive society. (For a list of approved grants, click here.)

Supporting Innovation Among Major Arts Institutions

Grants approved as part of the Arts program include $3.7 million to five major California arts institutions through Irvine's Arts Innovation Fund (AIF). The Fine Arts Museums in San Francisco, the La Jolla Playhouse, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Music Center in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Symphony will each receive grants to support creative audience development approaches and/or innovative programming plans. All of the organizations are previous AIF grantees and some will receive funding to further institutionalize projects that were previously funded; others are proposing new innovations that will be developed. These grants are aligned with the goal of Irvine's Arts program, which seeks to promote a vibrant and inclusive artistic and cultural environment in California.

Establishing a Linked Learning Center

Grants approved as part of Irvine’s Youth program include a $750,000 grant to the Los Angeles Small Schools Center to establish a regional Linked Learning Center in Los Angeles. The center would support Linked Learning practice at Los Angeles Unified School District's Local District 4 while also providing specialized support to other Los Angeles area Linked Learning District Demonstration sites. The center will also identify potential new Linked Learning districts within LAUSD over the next two years. Grants made as part of Irvine's Youth program seek to increase the number of low income youth in California who complete high school on time and attain a postsecondary credential by the age of 25.

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Irvine Announces $21 Million in New Grants

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Jun 17, 2009

San Francisco The Board of Directors of The James Irvine Foundation has approved 21 grants totaling more than $21 million in support of the Foundation's mission of expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful and inclusive society. (For a list of approved grants, click here.)

Of the $21 million, $3.3 million will support four California arts organizations that are developing innovative ways to deepen their engagement with audiences. A $750,000 grant through the California Democracy program will fund the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment to promote the systematic inclusion of low-income residents in Tulare, Kern and Kings counties in land-use decision making. Additionally, a grant in the Youth program will provide $11.3 million to implement comprehensive multiple pathways programs at various school districts within California.

Developing New Approaches to Attract Audiences for the Arts

The goal of Irvine’s Arts program is to promote a vibrant and inclusive artistic and cultural environment in California. Grants approved as part of the Arts program include $3.3 million to support four California arts organizations through Irvine’s Arts Innovation Fund (AIF). The American Conservatory Theater (ACT) in San Francisco, the Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) and the Oakland Museum of California will each receive grants to support creative audience-development approaches and/or innovative programming plans. The grants fund new innovations at ACT and MCASD and help the Hammer and Oakland museums to institutionalize and sustain innovative practices that were funded by Irvine in 2006 as part of AIF.

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At 30, an L.A. Dance Company Focuses on Continuity, New Works

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Jun 22, 2008

When you see 29-year-old Bernard Brown pirouette across a stage to the sounds of traditional African music, it's hard to imagine him doing anything else for a living.

Dance has been a passion for Brown ever since he first stepped into the Lula Washington Dance Theatre as a 12-year-old boy living in South Central Los Angeles. That passion led to a dance scholarship at State University of New York at Purchase, and, after graduation, back to Lula Washington as a company member.

Lula Washington Dance Theatre

"For all the time I've had the company, my goal was to put dancers on salary. We need the continuity so we can focus on the works we want to do."

– Lula Washington

But Brown soon discovered that maintaining a career in dance would be an uphill battle in a competitive market that couldn't support many full-time dancers with steady salaries. Work was sporadic and Brown, like other dancers, had to supplement his income with other dance gigs and teaching dance on the side, resulting in many missed rehearsals at Lula Washington.

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Old Globe Sets a New Stage In Southeastern San Diego

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Jun 22, 2008

What started out as a pressing need to find warehouse storage space has blossomed into an ambitious plan to bring art and art-making opportunities to residents of one of San Diego's more economically disadvantaged communities.

Last year, officials at the Old Globe Theatre, one of the city's leading performing arts organizations, bought a building in southeastern San Diego to house the theater's extensive collection of props and costumes. The new Technical Center was large enough not only to accommodate its storage needs but also to provide a new space for its set-production department, which had been jammed into the Globe's main theater in Balboa Park.

John McGuirk, Irvine's Arts Program Director

The Globe has been really proactive in exploring the ways in which it can make art an important part of the economic development of this neighborhood.

– John E. McGuirk,
Irvines Arts Program Director

At the same time, the Globe's management saw this new outpost in the city's southeastern region — a low-income, working class area that includes San Diego's most ethnically diverse population — as a unique opportunity to engage a community that has not been part of the Globe's core audience of mostly white and older theater-goers.

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'Active Arts' at the L.A. Music Center Promotes Downtown's Civic Culture

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Sep 02, 2007
In the heart of the nation's entertainment industry, a new venue has emerged for regular folks to sing their hearts out, strut their stuff and play a sour note or two. It's all happening in downtown Los Angeles, where the Music Center is hosting a variety of informal public arts programs that put amateurs center stage.

On a recent evening, several hundred people, many dressed in their 1930s-era finest, jockeyed for space on the temporary dance floor erected in the Music Center's large outdoor plaza. As the swing music played, an instructor patiently described the intricacies of the "rock step" to the beginners and provided a brief history of the dance.

'Active Arts' dance event at the L.A. Music Center

"With Active Arts, the Music Center is transforming its identity from a performing arts center to a civic cultural center and using the arts and its public space to build community."

– John McGuirk, Irvine's Arts Program Director

The event was part of the Music Center's Active Arts series. Now in its fourth season, the series offers participatory programs in dancing, singing, playing instruments and storytelling. Hundreds of people gather in the large outdoor plaza on Friday nights and weekends from April through December for the mostly free events.

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New 'Artistic Innovation' Grants Encourage Cultural Risk-Taking

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Jun 22, 2007

A culture clash is coming to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and they wouldn't have it any other way.

The nation's largest orchestra is planning an ambitious series of performances that will blend contemporary orchestral music with other art forms that include film, jazz, spoken word, pop, dance, and hip-hop over three seasons starting in 2008. The hope is that these efforts will engage concert-goers in a variety of ways and draw an entirely new audience to a traditional genre of music.

Walt Disney Concert Hall is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

"We believe this is an exciting experiment," said Irvine Arts Program Director John McGuirk. "Each innovation is truly relevant to the organizations and may serve as a model for specific artistic disciplines or for the broader arts field."

Across the country, orchestras are facing a common problem: how to cultivate a younger, modern crowd without alienating an established audience and still compete in a dynamic cultural landscape. The L.A. Philharmonic's Seasonal Platforms series offers an innovative answer to that question that could serve as a model for future classical music programming.

It is the kind of experiment that The James Irvine Foundation seeks to support through its Artistic Innovation Fund (AIF). The L.A. Philharmonic is one of five premier cultural institutions in California that together received more than $3.8 million in June as part of the second round of AIF funding. They join seven other arts institutions that received grants last year during the initiative's first year.

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New Artistic Innovation Grants Identifying Next Wave of Cultural Programming

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Sep 02, 2006

The word "hapa" comes from the Hawaiian "hapa haole," originally a derogatory term meaning "half white". But today "hapa" has been embraced as a term of pride by a wide range of people whose mixed-race ancestry is part Asian or Pacific Islander.

Hapa-ness is spreading through American culture. There are hapa Web sites, hapa social clubs, hapa campus groups, hapa films, and hapa literature. There are well-known hapas, including golfer Tiger Woods, actor Keanu Reeves, musician Sean Lennon, and artist Kip Fulbeck.

Photo by Kip Fulbeck from his show kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa.

"While the community is changing, we view the trend as an opportunity to share our programs with a significantly larger audience," says Irene Y. Hirano, president and CEO of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

For some older cultural institutions, this youthful, iconoclastic focus on everything hapa might be viewed as an unwelcome development, threatening established traditions. But not to the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Los Angeles, which has embraced the trend wholeheartedly.

The museum recently sponsored a photographic exhibit by Fulbeck, a mixed-media artist who is chair of the UC Santa Barbara art department. Called "kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa," the show captures the extraordinary diversity of mixed-race Asians, and illustrates how the perception of multiracial people has evolved from society's margins to its mainstream.

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