Michelle Coffey designs, implements and furthers the strategic agenda, leadership and vision of Lambent Foundation. Prior to the creation of Lambent Foundation, she was the Director of Starry Night Fund and Senior Philanthropic Advisor at Tides Foundation. With a global lens, her areas of focus include Human Rights, Women/Girls, Criminal Justice Reform, Arts and Culture and HIV/AIDS. She also serves on the national boards of The Schott Foundation for Public Education and the Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Care Center in East New York.

In 2010 through 2011, the Lambent Foundation worked with CivicActions to implement a new brand strategy across both print and web media. Earlier this year, I had a conversation with Michelle about the impacts of the site and some goals the Foundation has for 2012…

How has having this new site impacted the work you are doing?

The website has really increased our visibility and the visibility of our grantees and the amazing work they are doing, We definitely get a strong response to it; both the information it covers as well as the aesthetics. It contributes to providing a context and helps validate our work in a way that hasn’t been validated before – within art + social justice, with artists at the center. People are seeing themselves in the Lambent community and not necessarily only our funded grantees but a much broader group as well.

What are some of the trends you are noticing or tracking this year?

One trend that seems problematic to me is that web technology seems like the answer to it all but sites are still often missing meaningful content. Another thing that is  surprising is how easily the art world is adopting proprietary software: I’m wondering how we look at technology and developing communications with Open Source tools, to encourage and support freedom of expression? We would love to have a dialogue around this – what best serves us, our communities, on all levels. My fear is that if we don’t interrupt the thinking, we have the potential to go down the wrong path – this is being reinforced by a lot of the proposals coming across Lambent’s desk. And one last point, I’m thinking about archives – as the technology continues to develop, what are the new media artworks we are going to be losing if we haven’t archived them properly and as the platforms they were created on disappear?

What are some of your goals for 2012?

We really want to spend the year ahead reflecting on where we’ve been and where we are now as we approach our 5th anniversary year of 2014. Learning, researching, engaging with new media, and looking to build a strong learning community together.