Despite recent funding challenges to the National Endowment for the Arts and by extension the U.S. arts community, American arts organizations have found new motivation to use their work to support the causes that matter to them. In a new article published by the Financial Times, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ new project Art for Justice Fund is discussed as one way that art is being used to promote social change.
The Art for Justice Fund uses proceeds from art sales to address mass incarceration in the United States. By funding programs in several target states, the Fund will support advocacy efforts to reform the criminal justice system, reduce jail and prison populations, and strengthen education and employment opportunities for people leaving prison. RPA will provide operational support for the program throughout its projected five-year lifespan, as well as creating publications and programs.
The Financial Times article discusses the ways that philanthropists invest in arts organizations to create social and economic development programs with a goal of serving marginalized communities across the country.
Citing the Art for Justice Fund as well as ArtPlace America, it notes that “artworks can fund social justice movements, they can also be a force for community development.”
As quoted in the article, Melissa Berman, President and Chief Executive of RPA, takes it one step further, stating that, “The presence of artistic and cultural institutions can even lead to increased public safety…If a community has an organisation that brings people there in the evenings and restaurants spring up around it, there’s so much foot traffic that crime tends to go down.”Back to News