Giving Compass' Take:

• Alberto Ibarguen explains why Knight Foundation funds art and how other funders can follow their lead to make an impact on communities.

• How could this approach work in your community? How does representation factor into funding art?

• Read about an artist creating representation for women and people of color.

At Knight Foundation, we share David Rubenstein’s enthusiasm for what he called “patriotic philanthropy.” We are committed to a democratic republic with an informed and engaged citizenry at its core. Our mission is to support those informed and engaged communities. Investing in art and culture is central to our mission. I can tell you why in just 9 words: art binds people to place and to each other.

Art and culture build community. That’s not just something I know in my bones to be true. It’s a conviction confirmed by our grant-making experience and by extensive Gallup polling.

Over the course of three years — from 2009 to ’11 — Knight and Gallup spoke with 43,000 people in 26 communities around the country. Our question was simple: What attaches people to the place where they live? The study was called “Soul of the Community” and we found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, social offerings and aesthetics bind people to place and to each other even more than what we had expected: education or jobs.

After ten years, we’ve taken away three key lessons: 1) Leverage a community’s natural assets; 2) Simultaneously fund institutional and emerging art to create momentum; and, 3) Intensify the impact by narrowing the geographic focus.

Read the full article about funding art by Alberto Ibarguen at Medium.