Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Michael Bloomberg Thinks Midsize Arts Nonprofits Can Change American Cities, and He’s Spending Over $100 Million to Prove It
Practically everyone in the art world understands the importance of small and midsize galleries to the arts ecosystem. This broad recognition explains why we’re now seeing more and more actions being taken to shore up these key players. Less discussed is the importance of small and midsize arts nonprofits to the same ecosystem—and beyond.
But at least one particular patron has taken a keen interest in the health of this cohort. Since 2011, billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has been quietly funneling a considerable portion of his fortune into helping small and midsize arts nonprofits flourish in cities across the US, through what’s now known as the Arts Innovation and Management (AIM) program.
Administrated as a branch of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities initiative, AIM grew from Bloomberg’s belief that small and midsize cultural organizations have been vastly under-appreciated in terms of their impact on metropolitan communities and economies. The program’s expansion in 2018 has welcomed more than 200 new grantee organizations, which have been collectively promised over $43 million. The final 49 recipients, all in Baltimore and Denver, were announced just last month. To date, more than 500 arts nonprofits have entered the program during its seven-year life, with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ investment so far totaling more than $108 million.