This report profiles nine organizations identified by grantmakers and independent research as adventurous in their use of digital media. They represent a mix of arts disciplines, geographies, organizational sizes and media purposes. Some are using digital tools to extend organizational capacities in new ways while others are creating, documenting and disseminating the art itself.

Conversations with these nine organizations revealed common themes:

    • Organizations describe the work as building capabilities, not “doing projects.” Digital tools and platforms are now essential building blocksin an organization’s work and need to be created accordingly.
    • Leading digital culture entrepreneurs want grantmakers to make bigger bets on organizations with strong track records. Building new capabilities is expensive, particularly at the scale of large cultural institutions.
    • There is a sense that, globally, U.S. organizations lag. The E.U. has supported open culture, digital initiatives aggressively, making Europe,in particular, a hotbed of digital culture
    • Organizations are looking for much greater risk-taking from the funding community. “Grantmakers still expect only home runs,” said more than one organization, and they point out that in for-profit industry many tech projects fail
    • Digital culture projects are helping organizations reach mass audiences as well as niches. Both are important.
    • Several of the organizations in our profiles had received no dedicated funding for their work. “Our funders are not ready to do this, so we have to do it ourselves,” said interviewees.

The most important theme of this report, though, is the incredible creativity and energy of these digital culture entrepreneurs. Cultural organizations and artists are using digital media to invent new ways to create and distribute art and to reach and engage audiences.

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