Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

So What do You Do?

Posted by Caitlin Holland On March - 30 - 2015
Leslie Ito

Leslie Ito

This blog post is an extended interview from the Spring issue of Americans for the Arts member magazine Arts Link. Americans for the Arts’ Emerging Leader program celebrates its 15th anniversary this year in 2015. Leslie Ito was one of the founding members and she is interviewed by another founding member, Graham Dunstan, Americans for the Arts vice president of marketing and communications.

Featured Americans for the Arts member: Leslie Ito

Position: president and CEO, Japanese American Cultural and Community Center

Please tell our readers about your organization.

The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) was founded in 1972 and is a two-acre campus in the Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles. We have a five-story building that houses different nonprofit organizations, but we also manage a professional gallery space, a tea room, a ukulele café and store, a large plaza designed by renowned artist Isamu Noguchi, and the 880-seat Aratani Theatre.
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Déjà vu: The Federal Government Standstill’s Implications on the Arts

Posted by Kate McClanahan On September - 27 - 2013
Kate Ostrander

Kate Ostrander

Déjà vu: The Federal Government Standstill’s Implications on the Arts

It seems inevitable.  When U.S. Senators take to the Senate floor and immediately follow their words insisting they don’t support a federal government shutdown with, “but if it were to occur,” it conveys a sense of forecasted inevitability.

When Members of Congress note their shutdown “fatigue” but can’t seem to find any rest, and when a White House memorandum planning for a shutdown states that the “Administration does not want a lapse in appropriations to occur,” you know it is coming.  All the while, a real sadness and profound loss surrounds the work of our federal government that is idled, stalled, and delayed—with real implications, especially the longer it lasts without resolution.

The first “shutdown day” may prove similar to a “snow day” – an inconvenience, a loss of productivity, and maybe a respite.  But as it continues, here is how the social and economic impact through arts and cultural policy might be felt throughout the nation and in our local towns.

Photo Credit: Associated Press, 1995

Photo Credit: Associated Press, 1995

  • During the federal shutdown in 1995, the vast majority of the staff members at the National Endowment for the Arts were sent home, leaving six staff on duty. This means that grants aren’t processed, programs and events are halted and NEA partners, including the 50 state arts agencies, are cut off from their primary federal cultural agency.
  • Head Start, a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to 5 from low-income families, is reliant on federal dollars.  Look for these programs to shut their doors on critical work incorporating arts education into early childhood development programs.
  • The facilities of the Smithsonian Institution, including museums, and zoos will be closed every day the shutdown is in effect, inhibiting tourism, school trips, creative and innovativelearning opportunities, and ongoing preservation of arts and culture. According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) study of the last federal shutdown in 1995, closure of national museums and monuments resulted in a loss of 2 million visitors.
  • All national parks will close, including the more than 40 Artist-in-Residence programs throughout the National Park Service system.  The world-renowned Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, although also supported through a private foundation, would likely need to shutter its federally-supported operations. In 1995 there were closures of 368 National Park Service sites—a loss of 7 million visitors and local communities near national parks lost an estimated $14.2 million per day in tourism revenues.
  • Tourism and its associated economic driver and tax revenue generator will suffer. One measure of the loss to tourism is to expect visa processing delays. In 1995, 20,000-30,000 applications by foreigners for visas to come to this country went unprocessed each day and 200,000 U.S. applications for passports went unprocessed. Cultural centers receiving federal funds such as Wolf Trap and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (the nation’s busiest arts facility) could face partial closure.

This is just a brief outline of the consequences a federal government shutdown will have on the arts:  Another self-created crisis that unfortunately seems inevitable.

Please add your feedback and perspective regarding the impact to the arts and cultural community, should a shutdown occur.

Update: The White House has posted federal agency contingency plans here, including those for cultural agencies such as the NEA.

Reader Content Survey for Americans for the Arts

Posted by admin On November - 22 - 2011

Dear Readers,

Look over to the right side of this page and check out the tag cloud. (You might have to scroll a little. It’s under the “featured video”.)  Are your favorite topics there?

We want to match the content of our publications with what you need to be successful artists, arts administrators, advocates, and educators. That means tailoring the articles, blog posts, and news stories in our print and electronic communications based on your feedback. What topics do you want to read about more (or less)?

Take our short, six question survey and let us know how we’re doing:

The Role of the Arts in Educating America

Posted by Marete Wester On April - 29 - 2011

Last fall, 30 top-level decision makers and thought leaders from government, business, education, and the arts gathered at the Sundance Resort and Preserve for the Fifth Annual Americans for the Arts National Arts Policy Roundtable, to discuss this year’s theme – The Role of the Arts in Educating America for Great Leadership and Economic Strength.

Their conclusions are profiled in a new report issued this week by Americans for the Arts that calls for individuals across the public and private sector to recognize the arts as the transformational tools they are for making schools stronger and students more successful.

The recommendations offer insights from this cross-sector group on how we can better work together to ensure policies and practices are in place to increase arts in our schools.

The business and public policy communities are building consensus that if the nation is to succeed, an education steeped in the 4 “C’s” (Creativity, Collaboration, Communication and Critical Thinking) is not a luxury, but a necessity.   Read the rest of this entry »

An Arts Education Administrator Changes Careers

Posted by Kirsten Kilchenstein On April - 29 - 2011

Kirsten Kichenstein

After working in arts education for the past eleven years, I’ve transitioned to a new job where my day-to-day work is not administering an arts program.

While my new position still allows me to advocate for statewide arts education, I’m no longer an Education Director where every day I’m working alongside young people and teaching artists witnessing the transformation as teenagers discover their own creative voices and morph into someone new.

In this career shift, I can’t help but wonder, “Who am I now?”

Who am I without the daily struggle of encouraging a young person to take a creative risk?

Without the ability to directly experience the immeasurable rewards when that risk is taken, success is experienced and that young person will never again be the same?  Read the rest of this entry »

A Conversation with Kerry Washington

Posted by Tim Mikulski On April - 28 - 2011

Taking a break from her duties as co-chair of our 2011 National Arts Advocacy Day, Kerry Washington sat down with Americans for the Arts’ Graham Dunstan to discuss her personal arts experiences growing up in New York City, playing Ophelia, approaching acting as a social scientist, cultural diplomacy, and the importance of public funding for the arts.

An Eventful National Arts Advocacy Day (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Natalie Shoop On April - 27 - 2011

Kevin Spacey

Just a few short weeks ago, actors Alec Baldwin, Kerry Washington, Kevin Spacey, and Hill Harper joined more than 550 arts advocates representing 40 states from across the country on Capitol Hill for National Arts Advocacy Day 2011.

This year’s event took place at a critical time when legislators were battling over program cuts to reduce the deficit.

The day began with the Congressional Arts Kickoff where several members of Congress spoke to advocates about the importance of arts funding.

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), who chairs the subcommittee that oversees funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Smithsonian, said that while some in Congress believe that government should not support the arts, “I respectfully disagree.”   Read the rest of this entry »

From CA to Tribeca: Kevin Spacey on Arts Education, New Documentary

Posted by Tim Mikulski On April - 25 - 2011

After delivering the 24th Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Public Policy as part of Arts Advocacy Day 2011, Kevin Spacey spoke with Americans for the Arts’ Ben Burdick about his involvement in Shakespeare High, a documentary debuting at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival this week. Spacey also talks about the most important reason to fund arts education.

Joining Spacey in D.C. was 2006 California Charter School Teacher of the Year Brad Koepenick who is also a producer of Shakespeare High. Koepenick tells Ben about his experience as a student and arts educator, and the impact that certain mentors have had on his life and career.

Getting the Pulse: The Local Arts Agency Listening Post Part II

Posted by Theresa Cameron On April - 22 - 2011

Washington's Gorge Heritage Museum

As part of the Local Arts Agency Listening Post we asked if folks had additional comments beyond the specific questions in the survey, and several members took us up on it.

I had the opportunity to speak with Leigh Anne Chambers, the Executive Director of the North Central Louisiana Arts Council in Ruston, LA.

The North Central Louisiana Arts Council serves the five parishes of Lincoln, Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson, and Union – one of Louisiana’s poorest regions.

The council used to receive funds from two separate grants from the state, but now they receive about half of that. They filled in the gaps with fundraising and memberships but they are still haven’t made up for the loss of the state monies.   Read the rest of this entry »

Going with the Flocabulary

Posted by Alyx Kellington On April - 21 - 2011

Many of us know that “Three is a Magic Number” and can answer the query, “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?”

Schoolhouse Rock!, the animated musical educational films that aired before and after Saturday morning cartoons from 1973 to 1985 (for me, it must have been the debut season…) taught me how to count, remember my grammar, and introduced me to politics:

I’m just a bill.
Yes, I’m only a bill.
And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.

Many of those songs are deeply ingrained in my memory bank and come flying out at the darnedest times.

They are instant, whimsical visits to my past that serve a purpose: I had fun learning something I needed to know. And almost 40 years later, I can still remember it.   Read the rest of this entry »

The Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Randy Cohen On April - 20 - 2011
Randy Cohen

Randy Cohen

Editor’s Note: For a revised list of 10 REASONS TO SUPPORT THE ARTS IN 2012, head over to Randy’s latest ARTSblog post!

I was recently asked by a major biz leader for “10 reasons to support the arts.”

He needed the points to help him pull an 8-figure inve$tment for a new arts center…Make it compelling to government and business leaders, he asked.

Oh, yeah, he’s a busy guy—didn’t want a lot to read:  “Keep it to one page, please.”

So, apart from the 10-1 flip (and with apologies to David Letterman), this is what I delivered:

10. True prosperity…The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. They help us express our values, build bridges between cultures, and bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, or age. When times are tough, the arts are salve for the ache.

9. Stronger communities…University of Pennsylvania researchers have demonstrated that a high concentration of the arts in a city leads to higher civic engagement, more social cohesion, higher child welfare, and lower poverty rates. A vibrant arts community ensures that young people are not left to be raised solely in a pop culture and tabloid marketplace.   Read the rest of this entry »

Getting the Pulse: Our Local Arts Agency Listening Post

Posted by Theresa Cameron On April - 19 - 2011

With the local arts community facing many challenges, American for the Arts wanted to develop a current picture of trends at the local level.

So we developed the Local Arts Funding Listening Post: A Survey of Local Arts Agencies.

In late March, Americans for the Arts’ Research Department distributed a very short survey in order to take the pulse of our field.

Here are the questions we asked:

Over the next 12 months, I expect that paid attendance to cultural events that take place in my community will…
•    Increase
•    Stay the same
•    Decrease   Read the rest of this entry »

Closing the Door on the Public Art Salon

Posted by Liesel Fenner On April - 15 - 2011

Liesel Fenner

It has been a whole week of public art blogging from 19 PAN peeps!

Thanks to everyone who contributed, and keep the Tweets, Facebook shares, comments, etc. coming.

Topics ran the gamut, from Leo Berk’s ‘non-typical’ artist residency working with the King Country (WA) bridge division, to Katherine Sweetman’s (first and final) blog–as-art-intervention for the San Diego Union Tribune.

As we noted, many of the bloggers will be presenting at the Public Art Preconference, June 15-16 in sunny San Diego. (Re-click on the link: the site is updated every day).  Read the rest of this entry »

The Federal FY11 Appropriations Battle & The Arts

Posted by Narric Rome On April - 15 - 2011

Narric Rome

The story of how the federal government funded the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education really began on November 2, 2010.

Election Day delivered a major change of power in Washington with the GOP regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives and tightening the margin of control in the U.S. Senate.

With the GOP set to take control of the House in January, the House Democrats found themselves unable to pass a FY2011 budget and had to settle for a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government until March 3, 2011.

This CR funded the National Endowment for the Arts at $167.5 million and the Arts in Education program was provided $40 million – which was the same amount they received the prior year.  Read the rest of this entry »

Top Technology Trends: What You Need to Know Now (from Arts Link)

Posted by Tim Mikulski On April - 15 - 2011

If you’re wondering what your organization can do to take chances and make the most of future, it is probably time to try out group discounts, mobile apps, QR codes, etc., check out this new post by tech-pert Amelia Northrop.

The post is an expanded version of an article in our latest members-only newsletter, Arts Link.

For those of you with smartphones, use your barcode app to scan this QR code: 

To find out more about the benefits of becoming a member of Americans for the Arts, visit our Membership page!

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