Fractured Atlas Book Club: Must-Read Blogs Edition
With the lazy days of summer squarely in the rearview mirror, it's time to get serious with some back-to-school reading. And while you could pick up Pride & Prejudice or, perish the thought, an arts business book to improve your practice, I'm here with some great recommendations for blogs that specialize on the cultural sector.
Pro-tip on an excellent question to ask in your next job interview as a candidate for hiring: What blogs do your company's employees subscribe to? The best way to learn the ropes of a new industry, or to get fresh insights on a sector in which you've worked for years, is to follow the right blogs. You'll quickly pick up on the field's lingo, the top news stories of the day, and who the thought leaders in your sector are. This is true for whatever field you're in - technology, finance, education. Or the arts!
I've surveyed the Fractured Atlas staff, many of whom are gifted bloggers in their own right, and present to you now our top picks for must-read blogs.
Recommended by: Yours Truly
I'll start us off by cheating a little bit. My recommendation isn't only a blog but also a content aggregator that will link you to stories and articles pulled from across the Internet. Explore ArtsJournal long enough and you'll find your own list of blogs to follow. You can get a very good overview of what's happening across the arts nonprofit sector or hone in on specific disciplines. ArtsJournal also posts fantastic original content by their coterie of expert bloggers, perhaps my favorite being CulturGrrl by Lee Rosenbaum.
Unapologetically wonky, Createquity is the field's leading resource for serious analysis of the most important issues facing the arts and culture sector. The intrepid, super-smart editorial team delves deeply into genuinely hard questions at the intersection of philanthropy, cultural policy, and the socioeconomic context in which art is made and consumed. Not for the faint of heart, but guaranteed nerdgasms await readers who invest the requisite time and brainpower.
We should note that Createquity was founded by our very own Ian David Moss, which brings us to...
Grantmakers in the Arts
Recommended by: Ian David Moss, Senior Director of Information Strategy
If you'd like a peek into the world of the people who decide who gets the money and how much, get to know Grantmakers in the Arts. While membership in the organization is restricted to grantmakers and a select group of National Partner organizations like Fractured Atlas, anyone can check out the wealth of information resources on the website. Visit the front page regularly, sign up for the GIA News newsletter, or subscribe to the RSS feed, and you'll be treated to a regular stream of announcements and articles of interest to grantmakers (and therefore, to you).
Recommended by: Tim Cynova, Deputy Director
The Artful Manager is the first arts blog that I added to my RSS reader circa 2003. Andrew Taylor, a consultant and tenured faculty member in American University's Arts Management Program, was one of the original bloggers on the scene in those wild west days of arts blogging. His sense of humor, unique insights, and challenges to conventional wisdom make reading about strategy, capital, and disregarded entities feel like hanging out with your super smart, slightly irreverent, and fun friend.
Fun Fact: Andrew Taylor sits on the Fractured Atlas Board of Directors!
Recommended by: Caitlin Crombleholm, Development Associate
Claire Axelrad wants philanthropy to be a culture of transformation, not transaction. Specializing in donor-centric fundraising and marketing strategies, Claire writes informative posts with guides and resources to “clairify” the principles and techniques that drive supporter engagement. From blogs posts about writing appeal letters to creating social media content to her weekly segment Clairity Click-It, Claire lives up to her nickname of being a “fundraising ninja.”
Recommended by: Courtney Harge, Fiscal Sponsorship Program Associate
Howlround is an exceptional space to find quality discussions about the global state of theater from a variety of perspectives through a multitude of mediums. Outside of their excellent content, I really enjoy the transparency, accessibility, and comprehensiveness of their curatorial approach. You get a sense not only that the content matters, but also why it matters.
Courtney recently had an excellent blog post featured in our next pick: The Clyde Fitch Report.
The Clyde Fitch Report
Recommended by: Jason Tseng, Community Engagement Specialist
As the editor of our monthly newsletter, CultureFlash, I am constantly on the prowl for the most scintillating, challenging, and inspiring ideas that are on the forefront of arts/culture, politics, and technology. So often I get frustrated with how conservative and timid the culture sector can be when confronted with change or controversy. The Clyde Fitch Report is a breath of fresh air with contributors who aren't afraid to be bold, take a stand, and speak their mind. The Report never fails to deliver with witty, powerful, and incisive ideas from some pretty rad culture warriors.
Recommended by: Selena Juneau-Vogel, Artful.ly Program Director
Hyperallergic has an easily browsable blend of sassy academic-ish criticism (mostly visual art exhibits and artists), plus light coverage of policy and news relevant to artists. NYC heavy, good LA rep, and a smattering of other cities in the mix too. Daily email roundups are a bit overwhelming, but the weekly email is worth a skim.
One final recommendation: forgive me for those of you who have been subscribers for years, but if you're not yet signed up for You've Cott Mail then I'm officially revoking your badge as a licensed arts administrator. I mean, what are you doing with your life? Almost every member of the Fractured Atlas staff gets this free arts and culture news service in our inbox. You should too!
As your build your arts practice, it's easy to feel like your creating your work in a bubble. Skimming through relevant cultural blogs, however, it should be easy to see that you're part of a larger arts ecosystem - you're not alone! The forces at work upon your business are likely being felt across the arts nonprofit sector. By becoming an informed participant in the arts, you not only elevate yourself, you elevate the field as well.
Please let us know if you have a favorite blog to recommend to other artists or arts administrators in the comments below!