Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Smithsonian exhibit ‘Giving In America’ embodies how artists-philanthropists are giving back to their communities and care about social impact by speaking out, donating their own clothing, and standing up for causes they believe in.
• Why is it impactful for celebrities and artists to join social causes?
• Although celebrities are part of powerful movements, for instance the #metoo campaign, are others who do not hold fame able to get their #MeToo moments?
It’s safe to say American artists—from rap musicians to pop artists—bring an incomparable influence to the shaping of our culture. While they engage in social and political commentary, American artists throughout history recognize they have an elevated platform from which they can use their voices to help improve society.
From the 1985 hit single “We Are the World,” which raised funding for humanitarian aid in Africa, to Bono’s unmatched philanthropic prowess, to Keith Haring’s charitable donations to AIDS care, research and education, artists wield their financial power to affect change.
The ongoing exhibition, “Giving in America,” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History recognizes the philanthropic contributions of Americans. And, now it includes “Giving in the Arts” with new artifacts that examine the unrivaled power of the arts to advance a cause—be it by raising awareness, money or practicing volunteerism.
For instance, a pair of ballet shoes worn by Misty Copeland tells a story of giving and giving back. Copeland, who first started dancing with the support she received from the San Pedro’s Boys & Girls Club at age 13, now works as an ambassador to the same organization, and also mentors children through American Ballet Theater’s Project Plié.
“The arts have the power to bring us together and help us bridge divides.By creating more understanding and empathy, together we can build a more just society. We must do all that we can to protect and promote the arts in America,” said Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation, in a keynote address at the museum’s corresponding symposium “The Power of Giving: Philanthropy’s Impact on American Life.”
Read the full article about artists-philanthropists by Sam Spengler at Smithsonian.
Philanthropy is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
Looking for a way to get involved?
If you are interested in Arts and Culture, please see these relevant events, training, conferences or volunteering opportunities the Giving Compass team recommends.
Are you ready to give?
If you are interested in Arts and Culture, please see these relevant Issue Funds, Charitable Organizations or Projects where you can get involved.