Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Giving Time & Treasure to the Arts Makes All the Difference

Posted by Megan Bell On October - 24 - 2014
Jordan Shue

Jordan Shue

Megan Bell

Megan Bell

Throughout the blog salon this week during National Arts and Humanities Month (and Pro Bono Week!), we hope these posts have demonstrated the value of giving your time and treasure to the arts. Whether you are an individual philanthropist, business volunteer, young patron, emerging art leader, or corporate sponsor, your contributions strengthen the arts across America.

As we saw this week, there are many ways to support the arts. We can encourage younger patrons to support the arts now and in future generations, engage the community in unique ways to raise awareness of the arts, donate time and volunteer skills to further the missions of individual arts organizations in your community, join the push for tax policy that favors the arts, recruit new supporters of the arts through workplace engagement and giving campaigns, and above all, become a passionate ambassador for such an important cause.

Volunteering your time provides capabilities and experiences that many organizations may not have the resources to otherwise procure, and donating your resources grants arts organizations the means to continue focusing on fulfilling their missions, growing their audiences, and producing great art. Did you know: Read the rest of this entry »

Many Hats, Giving Back

Posted by Julia Harman Cain On October - 23 - 2014
Julia Harman Cain headshot

Julia Harman Cain

I remember little about my first time on stage: a ballet recital at age three. We danced to “Winter” from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” and I had no idea what I was doing. Happily, the VHS evidence shows that I did not fall down.

In first grade, I made my theatrical debut. My class produced a short skit about caring for the environment, and I played the crucial role of Super Recycling Kid (who recycled to save the planet). My favorite part was wearing my superhero cape for the rest of the school day.

Ever since, the arts have been a constant in my life. As a kid, I loved the transformation inherent in theater: we created a world together onstage and, for a few hours at a time, it was just as a real as anything else. Read the rest of this entry »

An Interview with Jane Chu, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

Posted by Caitlin Holland On October - 23 - 2014
Jane Chu

Jane Chu

Jane Chu was confirmed as the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) this past June. She recently answered a few questions about the NEA’s priorities in relation to local arts agencies. 

1) Was your decision to pursue a career in the arts a conscious one, given your background in performance, arts administration, philanthropy, and business leadership?

Yes, it was. I understood already what it was like to be an artist, to produce, to create, to perform.The arts are the keystone of my studies, and have been an important touchstone throughout my life and career. At the same time, I wanted to truly understand the systems and processes related to business, so I got my MBA. As a fundraiser, I loved the aspect of connecting donors to give to the things they cared about, and the organizations that made it their mission to address a need in the community. It turns out that all of these things — art, business and philanthropy — are key aspects of my job, and give me the tools to help us create an environment for the arts to bloom and thrive. Read the rest of this entry »

158 Years: An NYC Public Art Journey

Posted by Jennifer Lantzas On September - 5 - 2014
Jennifer Lantzas

Jennifer Lantzas

I am a firm believer that you have to understand where you have been to know where you are going—and public art in NYC has changed drastically over the past century and a half. The first sculpture in a New York City park was George Washington by Henry Kirk Brown, which was unveiled in Union Square in 1856. For the next 100 years public artworks were predominantly commemorative or memorial in nature—realistic representations of notable politicians, soldiers, and leaders.

By the 1960s, new ideas about what constituted artwork freed artists to explore new forms of materials and exhibitions. Sculpture grew beyond the constraints of studio and gallery spaces, and people embraced the social and political impact of art. With big sculptures, big ideas, and performance artists’ impromptu “happenings” in the City’s public spaces, it was only natural that visual artists wanted to bring their artwork outdoors. Read the rest of this entry »

Forming a Workers Public Art Practice….

Posted by Barrie Cline On September - 4 - 2014
Barrie Cline

Barrie Cline

Some years back, I was fortunate enough to be asked to develop an arts course for the mainly rank and file construction workers that are required by their union to attend our Labor College. I chose to develop a class on public art seeing it as a vehicle to take up issues around working class studies by initially focusing on the built environment of New York City, thinking that engagement might be sought as my (sometimes reluctant) students were builders of that environment.

The emphasis on NYC’s built environment in Tom Finkelpearl’s text Dialogues in Public Art proved one way to introduce this study, as well as to take up issues of representation and to open up what art can be and whom it can be for. At some point, it became obvious that the class actually should allow for making art, particularly after incorporatingreadings from Larry Shiner’s The Invention of Art which helped us look at the possible re-elevation of the construction tradesperson’s own artisanship, given Shiner’s argument that Fine Art is a relatively recent construct of the west in the eighteenth century. We began to think about work as art, and about making their labor—and the worker—more visible. Read the rest of this entry »

Grassroots Public Art and Political Power

Posted by Cameron Russell On September - 4 - 2014
Cameron Russell

Cameron Russell

It often strikes me that pundits and political scientists are engaged in a very limited discussion about politics. I am bored hearing about the political elite and about the influence of money. I think people that have been considered politically marginalized often illuminate sites of equality and of hope. Their stories of effecting change from the margins are especially relevant as an increasing majority of Americans find themselves marginalized from our political and economic systems.

My first encounter with public art was reading Jack Stewart’s book Graffiti Kings. At its height, during the 1970s, Stewart wrote, “Few urban communities had ever experienced such a rapid and concentrated alteration of their visual environment.” An alteration accomplished largely by 8 to 16 year old Black and Latino boys. Why was the demographic least likely to vote, or engage in organizational work, in control of one of the fastest visual changes of an urban environment? Read the rest of this entry »

Public Art: A Personal Journey of Discovery

Posted by Todd Eric Hawkins On September - 2 - 2014
Todd Eric Hawkins

Todd Eric Hawkins

My path to a career in public art was not by personal design. I moved to New York City to get discovered as a performer and live the dream I had cultivated since birth (or at least since seeing Jennifer Holliday sing on the Tony Awards.) There were a few steps in that strategic plan that I had not taken into account, like surviving in New York City. I needed a survival job.

As an actor, I found a home with a children’s theater company, and paid my bills as an Executive Assistant. During the week I worked for the Dean of Columbia Business School, where I studied how he dealt with a Board and a staff, while on the weekends I was a beast, a mermaid king, a rocking horse, or a giant.

As the years and survival jobs passed, I began to realize that the arts field was much broader than I had realized. It offered many meaningful opportunities to engage with all types of audiences beyond the stage. Read the rest of this entry »

Booz Allen Hamilton Finds Inspiration in the Arts

Posted by Ralph W. Shrader On August - 28 - 2014
Ralph W. Shrader

Ralph W. Shrader

Patrick O'Herron

Patrick O’Herron

Patrick O’Herron interviewing Dr. Ralph W. Shrader, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Booz Allen Hamilton.

1. Booz Allen Hamilton was a 2011 BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honoree. Why does the company choose to support the arts?

The arts inspire, provoke thought, spur creativity, and connect us in a shared experience. These are also the essential qualities of an enduring, successful business–therefore, both as an institution and as individual employees, we find a natural affinity for the arts at Booz Allen. Corporate support helps make exhibitions and performances possible, and we find this to be a good way to give back to the communities in which we work and live.

2. How has the company’s support of the arts advanced business objectives?

Externally, there is a positive brand affinity and visibility that comes from association with respected museums and arts organizations, as well as favorable recognition in the community for helping to make possible quality exhibitions and performances. Read the rest of this entry »

Barriers to Arts Participation: On Perception, Value, and Luxury

Posted by Kelly Olshan On August - 23 - 2014
Kelly Olshan

Kelly Olshan

In America, the arts are often seen as a luxury. They are the first thing to go when school boards cut budgets, and successful arts policy is seen as the exception, not the rule.

Like other so-called “luxuries,” people go to extreme measures to preserve its integrity. Historically, art is something we risk incarceration for, accept poverty for, or in the case of the quintessential rock star—quit your job, sell your house, and move across the country. Chuck Close said art saved his life. Ai WeiWei has been detained by the Chinese government. Thrice. Clearly, we’re onto a powerful motivating force.

Yet if so many acknowledge the arts’ value, then why do we even have to convince people to participate? Americans for the Arts’ CEO Bob Lynch traces Americans’ view of cultural events to our puritanical roots: “In Europe, arts advocacy organizations don’t exist they way they do in America—simply because they don’t need them.” Read the rest of this entry »

LAAs, FAQs, and Other Acronyms: Reflections from a Summer Intern

Posted by Kelly Olshan On August - 15 - 2014
Kelly Olshan

Kelly Olshan

Ask a fine arts professional about arts management and most will respond with something along the lines of, “What is that?” At least that was my experience when I inquired about the field at my small liberal arts school in Asheville, North Carolina. Such reactions lead me to believe I was entering the uncharted territory of a highly specialized, obscure field. This is not the case. Read the rest of this entry »

The Proof is in the Pudding

Posted by Earl Bosworth On August - 15 - 2014
Earl Bosworth

Earl Bosworth

Panels and symposiums don’t normally draw large crowds, at least not like live music and marching bands do.

So, when members of a select panel spoke recently at the NSU’s Museum of Art │Fort Lauderdale during a very unique symposium hosted by Broward Cultural Division, it was successful within itself that a crowd of more than 100 attendees arrived, including many from Broward’s Latin American and Caribbean communities.

They came to hear experts speak on the impact of creativity in their respective regions.

In attendance were Consulate representatives from St. Lucia, Jamaica and Peru, along with Broward County Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness, a huge proponent for diversity and supporting the minority Latin American and Caribbean demographic in Broward County. Holness opened the symposium with remarks that cited Broward County’s creative sector’s growth in the last six years at 57 percent, during a period of national depression. He also brought to light the demographics of Broward County which show a Hispanic population of 26.5 percent, Black and African-American population of 27.9 percent, and a white population of 41.9 percent – making it a Minority-Majority County. These demographics signify the importance of recognizing, measuring, and supporting the arts and cultural wealth that lies here. Read the rest of this entry »

The Role of the Arts in the Service of History

Posted by Gerard Atkinson On August - 11 - 2014
Gerard Atkinson

Gerard Atkinson

An unexpected part of the internship job description—being called upon to be a documentary judge. In addition to my work in the Research Services team at Americans for the Arts, I was asked to be a judge at this year’s National History Day, in the senior group documentary section. It turns out the arts and history have a lot to do with each other. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Brookfield’s New Global Showcase Sets Art Free

Posted by Debra Simon On July - 14 - 2014
Debra Simon

Debra Simon

For 25 years Arts Brookfield has ‘set art free’ for the public with free cultural experiences at Brookfield’s premier properties throughout the world. Last October, to celebrate our 25th Anniversary, Arts Brookfield launched Art Set Free, an unprecedented global arts showcase that’s on a mission to raise awareness about the importance of free public art while offering artists of any level the opportunity to have their work seen by millions worldwide.

Through Art Set Free, we hope to engage the global arts community and encourage artists working in any genre to make the world their stage and set their own art free. To participate in Art Set Free, artists capture their work in a photo, video or audio recording; and then share it on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram with the hashtag #ArtSetFree. Entries are welcome from any genre, including dance/movement, music/sound, painting, sculpture, photography, and street art. Read the rest of this entry »

Creating Dangerously: My Week at VONA

Posted by Eric Nguyen On July - 9 - 2014
Eric Nguyen and M. Evelina Galang

Eric Nguyen and M. Evelina Galang

On June 22nd I visited Berkeley to attend the Voices of Our Nation Arts (VONA) Writers’ Workshop. This workshop is a week-long conference for writers of color with workshops led by award-winning writers in a variety of genres, including fiction writer M. Evelina Galang, poet Patricia Smith, memorist Andrew X. Pham, and novelist Junot Diaz, among many others.

The organization was founded in 1999 by Junot Díaz, Elmaz Abinader, Victor Díaz, and Diem Jones. Each envisioned an arts organization that could change the landscape for writers of color by supporting individual writer growth, creating a platform for community engagement, and providing a workshop and mentor focus to expand writing opportunities. Fifteen years after its founding, it has become one of the most esteemed writers’ conferences in the US. Read the rest of this entry »

Honored to Serve as a SAA Commissioner

Posted by Jay Dick On July - 1 - 2014
Jay Dick

Jay Dick

Over the past 10 years as a staff member of Americans for the Arts, I have had the opportunity to learn a great deal about how we as a nation support the arts and culture. I have the opportunity to work with hundreds of talented and innovative individuals across the nation. I have also learned a great deal from serving on two local boards, the Arts Council of Fairfax County and Arts for LA. Now, I have a new opportunity to help advance the arts in America.  Starting July 1st, I will begin a five year term as a Commissioner for the Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA). I am very grateful to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe for presenting me with this opportunity.   Read the rest of this entry »