Laura Bruney

Laura Bruney

The 2014 edition of Art Basel week this December in Miami featured the perfect marriage of arts and business. Beyond the dozens of satellite fairs and thousands of gallery booths catering to collectors, Miami Art Week offered a far more compelling benefit for businesses eager to court potential clients. Pacesetters from all industries and brand power houses swooned at the reach of art week. Developers, financial investment companies, tech start-ups, luxury car brands, and more cleverly leveraged the arts as a strategic imperative for business. These companies know the arts mean business. Read the rest of this entry »

Mary Ann Mears

Mary Ann Mears

As a life-long advocate for the arts in Maryland, I am thrilled, as are my colleagues and friends of education and the arts, with the break-through opportunity for arts education we now have in our state. On September 16, 2014 our Governor’s Leadership Council, which is a Prek-20 group of state leaders in education and business, unanimously approved a task force report on arts education. I co-chaired the task force and had the privilege of working with an exceptional group of educators, artists, and people from the business sector. Read the rest of this entry »

Kellyn Lopes

Kellyn Lopes

The era of relying on logos and catch phrases to cultivate strong brands is over. Our 21st century, tech-saturated lives require more from companies to capture our attention. The demand for more creative branding is growing. Consumers more and more respond to personal connections with businesses, which is why creating associations with ideas and feelings is essential for building a dynamic brand. In fact, millennials are engaging more extensively and personally with brands than previous generations.

The arts capture and create what brands strive to harness: emotion, vibrancy, cultural identity, relevance, community development, and human conditions, to name a few. Partnering with the arts generates competitive brands. In fact, 79% of businesses who partner with the arts agree that the arts increase name recognition.

Utilizing the arts in ad campaigns and sponsoring arts events are quick, simple, and effective ways for businesses to take advantage of the brand-enhancing capacity of the arts. Arts-centric campaigns help to build market share, attract new consumers, and provide visibility for both businesses and the arts. A win-win situation indeed!

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Mara Walker

Mara Walker

This month, Americans for the Arts releases its 2015-2017 strategic plan. For an organization that’s been around 55 years you might wonder, so what? The truth is, Americans for the Arts actually lives by its strategic plan, and this one, more than ever, focuses on our number one priority: building recognition for the transformative power of the arts in all of our lives and communities in new ways.

We have always been working to help decision makers understand the impact of the arts in building better places to live and work. Through research, professional services, advocacy, visibility and policy development, Americans for the Arts has remained committed to educating decision makers about the impact of the arts, increasing resources and policies for the arts and arts education, and generating awareness that the arts are more than a great way to spend your Saturday night, and in fact, change lives. Read the rest of this entry »

Kristen Engebretsen

Kristen Engebretsen

Freestyle Love Supreme. It sounds a bit like a funk band from the 70’s. It’s not. It’s an improv group that uses freestyle rap as its style. The group has been described as a mashup between the Wu-Tang Clan and Whose Line is it Anyway. They’re featured on a new reality show on Pivot TV, where they take their freestylin’ to the streets and schools of NYC.

As part of all new content created at Participant Media (the parent company of Pivot TV and producers of An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman, and The Help), the company uses its social platform, TakePart, to encourage readers to take action around a cause inspired by the content. In this case Freestyle Love Supreme inspired an action campaign about the importance of arts education called Love Arts Ed. Since we here at Americans for the Arts do indeed Love Arts Ed, we caught up with the leader of Freestyle Love Supreme, Anthony Veneziale, to ask him about his passion for improv, and how it connects to arts education. Answers are edited for brevity. Read the rest of this entry »

Kate McClanahan

Kate McClanahan

You might be wondering what is happening in Congress as the lights twinkle towards year-end. You might be seeing pictures of ducks, a tribute to the current, post-election session that’s termed “lame-duck.” All the while, retiring and defeated members of Congress take up life in cubicles, losing their office space, most of their equipment, and sometimes even most of their staff. Yet, Congress is still in session. Policy is still happening, and deals are ever-changing. Here’s what you can best expect in these final days of the 113th Congress as it impacts the arts:

Tax Extenders

If you’re a follower of Congress and the nonprofit community, you’ll know that over 50 policy provisions that can affect your taxes expired a year ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Abe Flores

Abe Flores

I had never been accused of being white. It was the second Diversity Forum with about two dozen local arts stakeholders and a clearly skeptical gentleman asked, “What are two white guys from a national arts organization doing facilitating a local conversation around diversity in the arts?” The question took me aback. “I’m not white, I’m Latino,” I instinctively responded as if my bona fides to facilitate this conversation were my non-whiteness. The gentleman had come into the meeting space with folded arms and body language that clearly expressed skepticism towards the purpose and the conveners of the forum. I continued to address the gentleman’s questions with a more detailed overview of the Diversity Initiative:

  • We were there working with the local arts agency to create a space for dialogue to discuss diversity issues identified by our partners and forum participants.
  • We are doing this in the six regions that constitute the Greater Washington DC area to help bridge efforts and learning locally and if possible nationally.
  • Finally, we are doing this because the arts administration field has made it clear to us that it’s time to move beyond simply agreeing on the need for more diversity and begin to create actionable frameworks. Our first steps were these sometimes awkward conversations to develop small objectives to begin to address local diversity in the arts.

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Kellyn Lopes

Kellyn Lopes

The Wix Lounge, an impressive space for communal offices in Chelsea, Manhattan, is usually bustling with young tech entrepreneurs, artists, and freelance professionals. On Tuesday, November 18th, the Arts & Business Council of New York transformed the space into a new community: a networking event for arts organizations and business professionals interested in volunteerism. Almost twenty arts organizations, ranging from Carnegie Hall and the Bronx Museum, to TaDa! Youth Theater and ProjectArt, shared volunteer opportunities for professionals looking to get involved.

At the event, I was able to get the scoop about trends in arts volunteerism and the types of volunteer opportunities available. Here’s what I found:

The arts are a catalyst for volunteer work

Diane Conroy, Manager of Corporate Programming at Free Arts NYC, told me a fantastic story. Free Arts NYC provides arts educational and mentorship programs free of charge to underserved youth and families in New York City. Read the rest of this entry »

Rob Schultz

Rob Schultz

One of the most gratifying things about working at the Mesa Arts Center is the opportunity to partner with local arts organizations, artists, and educators, help present their work, and bring it to the attention of our patrons. These partnerships come in all shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of success, affecting different audiences in different ways. So, since this is an arts education-oriented blog, let’s focus on one of my favorite partnerships, and favorite organizations: Phonetic Spit. Read the rest of this entry »

Elias

Elias Gross

Submitted before Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC) on Nov. 6, 2014:

As an Atlanta (well, just north of Atlanta) native, I’m beyond thrilled that the National Arts Marketing Conference let out a hearty “it’s fall, y’all!” and headed south for its 2014 conference.

From receiving the first conference materials to downloading the Guidebook app, I’ve been looking forward to absorbing the marketing expertise gathered together for NAMPC. My position with the Lexington Philharmonic requires me to manage all of our marketing, PR, design, and the infamous field of “other duties as assigned.” Now in my third season with LexPhil, I am wearing and delegating the wear of all these hats better than ever, but I have gaps in my knowledge that need to be filled. Read the rest of this entry »

Ariel Fielding

Ariel Fielding

How does a marketing director with an audience-centered approach reconcile the growing primacy of data and digital marketing? Would it be possible for such a person — me — to collect, analyze, and mobilize data without reducing patrons to strings of zeros and ones? Would the things I love about my work — using images, language, and design to entice people to join the audience, and to give them a larger context for understanding the performing arts — would these things become less important in the headlong rush towards data? These are a few of the questions I brought to NAMPC2014, and the answers I found were more compelling, nuanced, and heartening than I expected. Read the rest of this entry »

Beauty and the “We”

Posted by Roberto Bedoya On November - 21 - 2014No comments yet
Roberto Bedoya

Roberto Bedoya

“Our experience of the beautiful in the recognition of models that make world and community is restricted to the moment when these worlds and communities present themselves explicitly as the plural” – Gianni Vattimo

“We is not the plural of I” – Emmanuel Levinas

Beauty and the We. Beauty as an articulation of the plural, announced in engagement practices, is the experience I know and have been lucky to support in my career. Most recently, as the Director of the Tucson Pima Arts Council. Our team has supported 66 projects since 2010 that advance civic well-being, civic engagement, and community building of the We through the arts. Most prominently, this happens through the PLACE (People, Land, Arts, Culture and Engagement) Initiative, our placemaking/civic engagement platform. These projects create art experiences that shape the identity of place, present visions and manifestations of social cohesion, and activate democracy so as to build and animate the commons. And where is Beauty in PLACE? Read the rest of this entry »

Jen Delos Reyes

Jen Delos Reyes

I received an invitation to participate in this blog salon on the relationship between aesthetics and arts in community development and social change work by way of my work as an artist and organizer around socially engaged art, however my response is most informed by my work as an educator.

From 2007-2014 I served as the co-director of an MFA program focused on art and social practice. The mantra of the program could have easily been that art and social practice starts and ends not in rarefied spaces, but out in the world. The students did not receive studio spaces and instead created their work out in the world through collaborations and partnerships, embedded in communities. The program sought to educate and activate students to develop and utilize their artistic skills to engage in society. It is the kind of education that created engaged citizens. But perhaps the most important aspect of the curriculum was that it asked artists to consider their relationship to and placement in society. So the core questions of this invitation, “But what happens when we assess art not just for art’s sake, but also for its civic purpose?” was a familiar one. Read the rest of this entry »

Amy Sanamman

Amy Sanamman

A year ago, New York City voted in its first new mayor in 12 years. The city council election resulted in new members in almost half of the 51 seat council. It was an exciting time for the progressive communities—for all those that have fought for social change through the fields of education, immigration reform, fair wages, affordable housing or, of course, the arts. While the Mayor’s new platform addressed many of these items, it did not include an arts agenda or integrate a strategy to use arts and culture to support a more just and equitable city for all. Over the past few months, I have seen NYC—its new administration and city council—struggle with finding new frameworks. I have been thinking about how the aesthetics of language and framing influence how we understand our communities, their challenges, opportunities, the role of arts, and how policies may be considered. One example of this is how NYC is grappling with the broken windows theory and its legacy. Read the rest of this entry »

Stephanie Milling

Stephanie Milling

The last few months I have been speaking a lot about arts advocacy in various venues. While sharing information about advocacy with others involved in the arts, I have come to realize that there are many who feel the work that advocates do is important; however, they are reluctant or unsure how to become involved themselves. In these conversations, I began to realize that advocating for the arts might not be enough. Perhaps arts advocates need to identify the citizens, leaders, artists, and arts audiences in our respective communities who could become arts advocates and contribute to our efforts in sustaining the presence of the arts in our respective communities. Read the rest of this entry »