Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Seven Key Principles for Curating a Cultural District

Posted by J. Kevin McMahon On February - 4 - 2015
J. Kevin McMahon

J. Kevin McMahon

Numerous editorials have covered the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s work in overseeing Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations—turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners.  Founded in 1984, the Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of the 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, which attracts over two million visitors annually. The organization has grown from a $170k budget in 1984 to a $53M budget today.  Most importantly, 90% of the annual budget is allocated to the mission and programs and the organization has maintained a balanced budget year to year.

Below are seven key principles that informed the development of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. Read the rest of this entry »

Neighbors and Strangers

Posted by Caron Atlas On February - 3 - 2015
Caron Atlas

Caron Atlas

“We fought poverty, violence and blight, and we made the Southside a better place to live. We are now strangers in our own neighborhood, and it’s painful.”

These words from longtime Brooklyn resident and community leader Evelyn Cruz at a forum about gentrification in Williamsburg have stuck with me for years. I thought of them as we created Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts New York (NOCD-NY), a citywide alliance of artists, cultural organizations, and community leaders coming together to revitalize New York City from the neighborhood up. And I’m thinking about them now as I write this blog about cultural districts and communities as catalysts of change. How can we make sure that our work does not make people strangers in their own neighborhoods? Read the rest of this entry »

Branding and Marketing a Cultural District

Posted by Jessica Ferey On February - 3 - 2015
Jessica Ferey

Jessica Ferey

My fascination with cultural districts first started while living in Richmond, Virginia when the city announced the creation of an Arts District within the Broad Street Corridor. As an avid “culture vulture,” I had strolled through many First Fridays Arts Walks and attended a variety of performances at the newly built CenterStage performing arts center. I was thrilled to know the city recognized the potential impact culture could have on this area. Even after leaving Richmond for Washington, D.C. to attend graduate school, I continued to stay updated on the project and would bring it up in conversation whenever I returned to visit. Read the rest of this entry »

Cultural Districts and Communities: Catalysts for Change

Posted by Theresa Cameron On February - 2 - 2015
Theresa Cameron

Theresa Cameron

Welcome to our newest blog salon on Cultural Districts and Communities:  Catalysts for Change - our first blog salon of 2015!

Americans for the Arts defines cultural districts as well-recognized, labeled areas of a city in which a high concentration of cultural facilities and programs serve as the main anchor of attraction. They help strengthen local economies, create an enhanced sense of place, and deepen local cultural capacity.

In 1998, there were less than 100 cultural districts in the United States. Today, there are over 500 cultural districts and 14 states have enacted legislation for the development of cultural districts.  There has been growing interest in using cultural districts as a tool for community development and as an economic development strategy. How are communities doing this work?  What are the steps to creating a successful cultural district? Read the rest of this entry »

Narric Rome

Narric Rome

If you have a generally pessimistic view of how our federal government works, and have been distressed about lack of productivity by Congress in recent years, read this quote from Senate education committee chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and then you can stop reading this blog post.

I know that there will have to be 60 votes to move out of the Senate, 60 votes to go to conference, and 60 votes to pass a bill in the end. That takes working with all senators here, including those on the other side. I also know … that if we want it to be a law, it takes a presidential signature and that president today is President Obama.”

With a U.S. Senate of 56 Republicans and 46 Democrats and Independents, a GOP House and a Democratic Administration, it’s hard to see how federal education reform legislation can be successfully passed with this divided government.

However, if you enjoy a good policy debate, then welcome to a new round of Reauthorizing the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA)! Read the rest of this entry »

Using Art for Data Collection

Posted by Crystal Benavides On January - 13 - 2015
Crystal Benavides

Crystal Benavides

Inspired by the shift toward outcome-driven art projects, I was struck by arts potential to be used as a technique for data collection. When we look at art, we tend to focus primarily on its aesthetic and emotive qualities. We think about art as the result of an action and not as a conduit or vehicle leading up to a result. For example, the creation of a painting begins by gathering materials (canvas, brushes, and paint) and using these materials to create a painting. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Mean Business Forum Highlights from Miami Arts Week

Posted by Laura Bruney On December - 18 - 2014
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 »

Americans for the Arts Releases Its 2015-2017 Strategic Plan

Posted by Mara Walker On December - 11 - 2014
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 »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Clay Lord

Clay Lord

The pursuit of forward progress in issues of diversity, access, and equity in the arts in America is a difficult and frustrating business. A conversation that starts with, say, a lack of racial diversity on an organization’s staff can quickly move from hiring practices to a perceived lack of qualified candidates of color in the pool, to a discussion of the systemic devaluation of the arts as a career option in certain populations, which may or may not stem from systemic inequalities in the American education system surrounding arts education, which in turn is representative of a society built from bottom to top on the creation of privileged class predominantly defined by the unequal distribution of wealth and access to opportunity across hundreds of years and dozens of generations. And suddenly you aren’t talking about a problem you can do anything about, and you feel either overwhelmed or off the hook. What can I do about that, anyway? Read the rest of this entry »

What the Midterm Elections Mean for the Arts: Summary of 2014 Election

Posted by Nina Ozlu Tunceli On November - 6 - 2014
Nina Ozlu Tunceli

Nina Ozlu Tunceli

Narric Rome

Narric Rome

In this year’s midterm elections, Republicans took back the Senate, kept control of the House and won governorships in 31 states and counting. What does that mean for you and for us, as strong advocates of the arts and arts education? Here we break down the national, state, and local results – and their potential impact on the arts:

 

In Congress

The U.S. Senate will be Republican-led. This means all Senate committees will see new chairmen, and since those committees control and recommend federal spending, these new chairmen could have significant impact on federal arts funding. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »