Tag Archives: Visual Arts

Adaptive Public Space: Places for People in the Pandemic and Beyond

Building on its longtime commitment to public spaces, Knight Foundation commissioned Gehl — a global urban planning, design and strategy firm — to conduct an impact assessment of seven public spaces in its portfolio. The findings illustrate the power of public space as a platform for community development: whether by building resident trust, spurring social activity, supporting economic and workforce development, or catalyzing neighborhood change.

This power makes public spaces a key ingredient in the recovery from COVID-19 — a crisis that has raised the stakes for overcoming deeply rooted, systemic challenges in our cities. For policymakers, funders, and practitioners, these findings are a call to action. By elevating public spaces, leaders nationwide can drive more equitable outcomes in the pandemic and beyond.


Located in Akron, Detroit, Philadelphia, and San Jose, the seven projects in this study represent $5 million in direct Knight investments. An additional $50 million in co-funding and follow-on investments from other funders including the Reimagining the Civic Commons network went toward these sites, wider area improvements and ongoing space operations. The spaces range widely: neighborhood parks that give residents a go-to gathering spot; nature spaces that re-engage locals with the outdoors; and citywide destinations that offer art studios, beachscapes, and more.

Given the diversity of spaces, this study did not set out to measure the spaces against one another using a common set of metrics. The goal was to understand impacts related to four core themes, and to life during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Spaces that reflected resident needs, historic character and the arts had more regular visits from residents. 
  • Community participation and responsive engagement is vital for equitable spaces. 
  • Prioritizing community engagement throughout the lifecycle of a space led to ripple effects in the wider community. 
  • Flexible community-led design, inclusive processes, and capacity-building helped sites develop sustainable operating models and adapt to changing conditions — including the pandemic. 

The report also offered recommendations for optimizing public space design:

  • Create spaces with equity in mind.
  • Design spaces with the input of communities that are impacted.
  • Become financially sustainable.

Click here to read the full report.

Adapting in Crisis: Case Studies of Resilience in the Arts

Priya Sircar, Director/Arts, Knight Foundation

In the year since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, “pivot” has been the word of the day—every day. The word has become so (over)used that it has begun to lose its meaning. What does it really mean to “pivot” successfully? To what, and how? 

For many arts and culture organizations, choosing a new direction felt a bit scattershot, as if they were trying anything and everything just to keep functioning, earning income and keeping artists employed. Certainly, organizations of all types found themselves suddenly changing plans . . . some nimbly, some not. But amid evolving public health protocols and uncertainty about how long such conditions would last, decision making was understandably difficult. 

As a supporter of arts organizations, we have been engaging with grantees in our communities throughout the pandemic. We’ve often asked: How are organizations figuring out which direction to go in? And have certain skills or traits helped them to weather the storm? 

Organizations in Detroit and Philadelphia entered the pandemic fresh off of a training program in adaptive capacity, provided by EmcArts and supported by Knight Foundation in partnership with the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan (in Detroit). To understand the short- and medium-term impacts of the four-month training program, Knight enlisted WolfBrown to conduct a study with participants in each cohort. While we do not yet know the long-term effects of the training, this initial follow-up gave us some insight into how the training was impacting the organizations. For some, the pandemic accelerated the application of what they had learned. Some were still internalizing the concepts and tools they had gained, while others found ways to use newfound skills to identify a way forward. In some cases, additional guidance beyond the introductory training would have been helpful, especially given the severity of the conditions in which organizations have been trying to apply the new information. Clearly, the ability to adapt is a critical skill for organizations, now more than ever. 

For many of us, this last year has been a crucible in which we have been tested, have clarified our purpose and, in some ways, come through stronger. These organizations also tested, honed and applied the lessons of their training, in ways both conscious and unconscious. Here we share a few of their stories that have inspired us and helped us understand how we might not just pivot, but also adapt intentionally and effectively to an ever-changing and unpredictable world. We hope they might do the same for you.

Click here to read the four stories.

Mellon Announces $125 Million “Creatives Rebuild New York” Initiative to Reactivate the State’s Creative Economy and Provide Artists with the Critical Support They Need

(NEW YORK, NY — June 3, 2021) The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation today announced details for Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY), a three-year, $125 million initiative to reactivate New York State’s creative economy and secure the future of its artists.  Part of the state-led recovery plan for New York, CRNY is a two-part workforce initiative that will provide artists with either full-time employment opportunities or guaranteed income to remedy the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read the press release!

Summer 2021 Curatorial Internship – Deadline date: Wednesday, March 31

Inaugurated in 2010, Rockbund Art Museum is a contemporary art museum located on the Bund in Shanghai. The museum is housed in a heritage Art Deco building that originally was one of the first modern museums to be established in China. In 2019, Rockbund Art Museum has become an officially registered non-profit arts organization in Shanghai.

Distinguishing itself from the entrenched conditions of continental or nationality based organizations, Rockbund Art Museum is developing an oceanic vision of contemporary art. We aim to explore the importance of seas and archipelagos across Asia in order to unfold richer perspectives into today’s challenges, practices and networks within the art world. We wish to build constructive paradoxes within multiple localities in Asia and different cultures globally, opening spaces to enable free expression for artists, researchers and curators, and to dive into subtle and dense layers of new experiences with our audience.

With a strong reputation for our innovative curatorial approach, we look to conceive different art projects from research to alternative learning programs, from exhibition-making to unexpected para-performative formats. By supporting bold contemporary art practices, we aim to continually remake local histories, whilst also responding to global art challenges and social mutations.

We regard the role of exchange as an essential process required for a wider transformation to occur by building up a network of multi-regional, international and cross-disciplinary partnerships. Through this process, we aim to cultivate a diverse and deep-rooted connection to our audiences, communities, and also different social and cultural organizations. With powerful support from our board, patrons and Advisory Committee, we strive to observe, learn, and search for breakthroughs and opportunities to develop art projects in pursuit of a unique vision of life. 

Curatorial Division: Interns in the Curatorial Division will be introduced to issues relating to researches and organizing upcoming exhibitions, including corresponds with artists, curators, galleries, and museums before the exhibits; exhibition installation; produces exhibition catalogues. Interns are also responsible for the maintenance and management of the archives and library holdings.

This internship is funded with a CCI award of $3,000.00. If you are offered and accept this internship, please be aware that your funding for this position is provided by CCI, and therefore you will be required to complete funded internship paperwork. Typically, seniors are not eligible for funding for CCI sponsored internships, but occasional exceptions are made. 

While current thinking includes planning for an in-person internship that follows all local and College Covid-19 protocols, the potential ongoing spread and impact of Covid-19 may result in the internship becoming remote or cancelled. 

Click here to learn more and to apply to this opportunity in handshake!

MuseumWorks summer 2021 Internship Opportunity!

For the second year, the Middlebury College Museum of Art is pleased to host a remote summer internship program for students interested in learning more about careers in the visual art world. MuseumWorks is intended to benefit students beginning to explore this dynamic field, as well as those already dedicated to working in the visual arts.

Professional development sessions and discussions of readings will help interns explore a variety of jobs in museums and related arts organizations. Special attention will be paid to equity, ethics, and accessibility in the field.

Interns will develop transferable skills while working on projects that advance the museum’s mission. Completed in small teams under the direction of supervisors, this work will also promote time management, professional communication, and teamwork.

MuseumWorks 2021 comprises 6 part-time workweeks, allowing interns to pursue other part-time employment, educational experiences, etc. All work will be done online in a variety of synchronous professional development sessions and asynchronous project work.

Program Details

  • Program Dates: June 21–July 30, 2021
  • Time Commitment: 96 hours total across 6 weeks. 16 hours/week x 6 weeks: 36 synchronous hours, 60 asynchronous hours
  • Stipend: $1,500 (USD, taxable)
  • Application Deadline: Sunday, March 21, 11:59 PM ET

Select candidates may be interviewed. All applicants will be notified of final decisions by the end of April 2021.
Synchronous professional development sessions will be held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 AM–12 PM EDT. In addition, interns will be required to complete 2 hours of asynchronous project work, Mondays–Fridays. Interns are expected to attend all synchronous sessions (Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 10 AM–12 PM EDT) but may choose to pursue additional part time work, educational experiences, etc.

Internship Components

Professional development sessions, including:

  • Career conversations with professionals working across the visual art world
  • Skill building workshops
  • Career counseling

Work on a team project. Specific projects will be announced later, but may include the following:

  • Digital media
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives
  • Curatorial projects
  • Developing educational resources
  • Discussion of readings on museum history, ethics, equity, and accessibility
  • Intern presentations on museums

Eligibility Requirements

  • Any current Middlebury College student wishing to learn more about careers in the art world is invited to apply, regardless of major.
  • We regret that students from other colleges, Middlebury alumni, and February or May 2021 graduates are not eligible for MuseumWorks.
  • Interns are expected to attend all synchronous sessions (Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 10 AM–12 PM EDT) but may choose to pursue additional part time work or education.
  • Reliable Internet access will be important to full participation. (MuseumWorks administrators will do their best to record some of the professional development sessions, but not every presenter may consent.) Please contact the College’s IT department about the availability of loan computers.
  • Academic credit is not granted for participation in MuseumWorks.

Feedback from Last Year’s Virtual MuseumWorks Participants:

“I really appreciate how the program persisted into a virtual format, while other internships were cancelled. It provided me access to the wonderful people behind museums all while at home, and the possibility for future networking.”

“My experience in MuseumWorks will definitely influence my career path after college as I enter the museum field with a focus on equity, inclusion, and diversity.”

“The highlights to me were the discussions with other interns and the readings. The discussions let me hear about other interns’ perspectives, which were thoughtful and well informed.”

“I enjoyed the career conversations because they opened up my mind to parts of the museum world that I hadn’t been cognizant of before doing the internship.”

“Talking with recent graduates let me better understand my next career steps after graduating from Middlebury.”

“The design workshop allowed me to apply the architectural design skills I learned in class to a fulfilling museum context. It opened another career avenue that combined my love for design as well as art and art history.”

“Working with my cohort group not only helped me develop teamwork skills and collaboration but more importantly introduced me to museum accessibility.”

“MuseumWorks was an invaluable learning experience. I was able to explore arts and museum related issues in a way I had never considered before.”

“I really loved that it felt like MuseumWorks program leaders and supervisors were invested in the improvement of all of the interns, and the program was set up to benefit us.”

Click here to learn more and to apply to this great opportunity in handshake!