This week, we begin a new feature: the day’s most interesting and important story on nonprofits from the world’s media. For a full survey of media coverage of topics relating to nonprofits, philanthropy, volunteering, and civil society, go to the Hauser Center’s news blog, Nonprofit News & Comment.
Today’s story explores the role of artists on the boards of cultural organizations.
“Stars Shine Brighter When They’re on the Board.” By Pia Catton. Wall Street Journal. August 14, 2012.
When the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles saw four members of its board resign in July, the news was especially damaging: These weren’t standard board members—they were artists, too.
In New York, many of the boards at the city’s major performing-arts institutions—particularly in classical music and theater—include artists. Museums, however, rarely invite artists to join their boards because the artists could benefit unfairly from the inclusion of their work in a collection—or the exclusion of others. (MoCA was an unusual case: Artists were integrated into the board from its founding days.)
In some ways, artists provide what their highly connected, high-net-worth colleagues cannot: artistic credibility and, sometimes, bankable star power. But to avoid “artist differences,” they must also be simpatico with the organization’s mission, its current leadership and the roles they’re asked to play.