Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Making the Case for the Arts Session - #AFTA11

It is now more important than ever to defend funding and preservation of the arts. This was the subject of “Making the Case for the Arts,” a session at this year’s Americans for the Arts convention.

While many reasons for supporting the arts were addressed, Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research and Policy at Americans for the Arts, presented research mostly on the significance of the arts with regard to education, the economy, personal development, and healthcare.

Education. Studies show that, regardless of income level, students who are highly active in the arts are less likely to drop out of school by 10th grade (1.4 percent vs. 4.8 percent). Read the rest of this entry »

San Diego, America’s Finest City

Posted by Rich Mintz On June - 22 - 2011

One of Rich's San Diego purchases.

Growing up in Los Angeles, San Diego (long known as “America’s Finest City,” but the first I heard of that in my life was Thursday evening from a cappella singers that greeted convention goers on the way to the trolley line) was a place we didn’t go to very often.

There was the time we went to Vacation Village and my dad beached the rental sailboat in Mission Bay, and the time I drove down to Rosarito Beach in the 12th grade with a couple of friends in a vain attempt to convince ourselves we were wild American high school kids (I remember drinking a lot of Mirinda orange soda).

And a couple of other short, unmemorable visits. (On one of them, when I came from DC — which didn’t have Trader Joe’s yet in those days — a highlight was the Trader Joe’s in Hillcrest.)

But for the most part, San Diego was a place you went through on the way to Mexico, or stopped in for a couple of days without ever really experiencing much of the “placeness” of the place.

So this time, while in San Diego for the Americans for the Arts Convention, I wanted to do things differently. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Not ‘What Future?’, It’s ‘What a Future!’

Posted by Ken Busby On June - 21 - 2011

Ken Busby

The Americans for the Arts Annual Conference just wrapped up in San Diego. It was terrific!

On the plane from Tulsa, I had begun writing my blog for this week. I had just received an urgent e-mail from the Arts Action Fund that immediate action was needed to oppose any effort to terminate arts education as currently proposed in H.R. 1891, the “Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act.”

I had dutifully written my congressman, using the step-by-step process from the Action Fund website, personalizing my message with anecdotes from my organization, and adding my voice to thousands of others who have written or will write to their congressman or congresswoman on this important issue.

As I was sitting on the plane, thinking about why the arts always seem to be under attack given the mountains of data and research that we have that prove that arts education improves student behavior, keeps students in school longer, improves SAT scores by an average of 100 points, etc., I began writing this blog. It was filled with the reasons why the arts matter. Read the rest of this entry »

Sally Gaskill

My first convention was in 1983 or 1984 in Hartford, when the then National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies met with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. (Those were not only the pre-digital years, but the period when the acronyms – NALAA and NASAA – were more in alignment.)

I was a fresh-faced community development coordinator for the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. I remember what a rush it was to meet people like me from all over the country.

We did communicate back then – there were telephones, and we actually wrote letters and posted them in the mail – but there sure wasn’t Facebook or Twitter to keep us in touch with each other by the minute. So meeting up at convention was a big deal.

As the years have passed, I have been a frequent attendee of these annual meetings. Americans for the Arts has always been my home, because my work in arts administration has been grounded in community arts. Read the rest of this entry »

I Have A Problem…A Civic Engagement Problem

Posted by Danielle Brazell On June - 21 - 2011

Danielle Brazell

I run a local arts advocacy organization in a small fishing village on the west coast that’s home to 10 million people, 88 cities, and 81 school districts in a geography that spans thousands of square miles.

Yes, my little fishing village (aka Los Angeles) is massive!

Our advocacy approach has been high-tech/high-touch advocacy approach and is focused on three critical issue areas:

•    Arts Education
•    Cultural Economy
•    Civic Engagement

Within this context, I constantly ask the question: How can we connect more people to advocate for the arts in their community? I think the answer lies somewhere between community organizing and community development. Read the rest of this entry »

Basic Online Fundraising for Busy People

Posted by Rich Mintz On June - 20 - 2011

Rich Mintz

At the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, I had the pleasure of listening to Camille Schenkkan of Arts for LA giving an unusually lucid and helpful introductory summary to online tools for donor development and management.

I think those of us who work in online fundraising for a living — especially those of us who mostly work with large organizations, the kind that have a dozen or more people in the marketing department, and technical staff to handle the donor database, and so forth — sometimes forget how mystifying all of this stuff is to a lot of people.

If you’re doing three jobs at once, in an environment where there’s never any extra money lying around, with a board of directors (or a major donor, city council, etc.) breathing down your neck — sound familiar? — what you want is not a bunch of platitudes about the “next generation” and the “new normal.” You want someone to tell you the dozen or so things you need to know, and the half-dozen or so things you should try to do this month or this quarter. Read the rest of this entry »

Sending An Arts Message to the President

Posted by Sheryl Oring On June - 20 - 2011

Penny Ross eyed my “I Wish to Say” office from across the room and I beckoned her over and invited her to dictate a postcard to the President.

It was early in the morning at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in San Diego, and Ms. Ross clearly had something to say.

She started her postcard to the White House like this: “I live in Chandler, Arizona. Arizona has eliminated all of the funding for the arts.”

Ms. Ross went on to tell me that she’d been teaching art to junior high students for 12 years, but that her job was just eliminated. “They don’t want to spend money on art supplies,” she said. “But the annual budget was $500. And that served 1,000 students.” Read the rest of this entry »

Well, I Do Declare: Studying Arts Not A Major Mistake

Posted by Breena Loraine On June - 18 - 2011

Higher Education Peer Group Session - AFTA11

I have the great privilege of attending this year’s Americans for the Arts Annual Convention as a student representative of San Diego State University. As a student, I was excited to attend the Higher Education Peer Group.

During the session, the conversation gravitated toward the difficult decision college students face as they declare their major. In a fickle economic environment and uncertain job market, students may be deterred from choosing to major in their true passion—music, dance, theater, art, photography, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Reporting from San Diego

Posted by Sally Gaskill On June - 17 - 2011

Sally Gaskill

Yesterday morning I happened to walk down the hall and saw a sign for a “Higher Education Peer Group” session. I am an arts administrator who works in higher education, so I hoped the session would be open to anyone, and I was in luck. I immediately recognized the person in charge: the bow-tied Ron Jones, newly appointed president of the Memphis College of Art.

In Ron’s previous position as Dean of the Arts at the University of South Florida, he had spoken out about the need for data on the people who graduate with arts degrees from our colleges and universities. He had, in fact, become a poster child for the research project I manage at Indiana University – the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project – and is quoted on the SNAAP brochure as follows:  “Accountability is our future, and SNAAP is providing data that heretofore we made up or assumed.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Convention = Learning + Colleague Inspiration

Posted by Graham Dunstan On June - 17 - 2011

Graham Dunstan

This is my 13th Americans for the Arts Annual Convention—that’s if you count me crashing the closing reception at the World of Coca Cola Museum in Atlanta in 1999 even though I wasn’t a registered attendee. (That took effort, so I count it).

I spent some time yesterday thinking about what Convention offers me and if I rely on it now for different things than I did earlier in my career. When I was working at the Fulton County Arts Council in Atlanta from 1999 to 2004, Convention for me was all about helping grow the fledgling emerging leaders program and gaining the tools I needed as a new arts administration professional.

And I’ll tell you, I looked forward to Convention all year long. When I arrived on site I’d absorb the information from the program book—circling sessions I wanted to attend and creating a complicated schedule with different colored highlighters so I best take advantage of every session and networking opportunity that interested me.  Read the rest of this entry »

My Two Years with Americans for the Arts

Posted by Rich Mintz On June - 16 - 2011

Rich Mintz

I’m in San Diego this week for the Americans for the Arts Convention, which kicked off at noon today with a welcome by president Bob Lynch and a keynote address by California social-activist legend Bobby Shriver.

This is my fourth Americans for the Arts event in two years. Heading for my first (the 2009 National Arts Marketing Project conference in Providence), I was afraid I’d feel out of place. If you know me, you know I’m not exactly shy, but I’ve always been a little scared of arts people. They tend to be so sure of themselves, and bubbling over with ideas, and I’m just, you know, a businessman—on the creative end of the spectrum for a businessman, to be sure, but nevertheless…But I had no reason to worry.

One thing about arts people is that they love talking about ideas. And the ideas that might help them get more people to experience and enjoy art, or advocate for arts funding and education, or donate to support the arts in their own communities—well, those are the ideas they love talking about most of all. And it just so happens that those are the kinds of ideas we at Blue State Digital trade in, so everything worked out fine.  Read the rest of this entry »

Join Us in San Diego (Virtually, at Least)

Posted by Tim Mikulski On June - 14 - 2011

It’s hard to believe, but another Americans for the Arts Annual Convention is about to begin.

A portion of our staff has been on the ground in San Diego for the past few days, while others (like me) will be heading out bright an early tomorrow morning. (Well, it’s not that bright at 6:00 a.m., but it will definitely be morning.)

While we still have another 1,000 or so attendees joining us at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront and the surrounding area from Wednesday through Saturday, you can still participate from your own offices and/or living rooms throughout the country (or even come down and register on site).

Here are just some of the many ways you can participate:

  • ARTSblog – We have a number of staff members, presenters, and attendees lined up to write posts during and after the Convention. They will be writing about sessions, meetings, networking events, and our host city. Read the rest of this entry »

New Coalition Moving Forward with Arts Education Standards

Posted by Tim Mikulski On June - 13 - 2011
Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

Editor’s Note: For the latest on the national arts education standards movement, read this post by Arts Education Council Member Lynne Kingsley published on 9/20/11!

Late last week, it was announced that a coalition of arts education groups will begin revising the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education, with a plan in place to have completed standards ready in 2012.

The process, which began in May 2010 with a two-day meeting that I attended here in D.C., will now continue under the governance of 8 organizations: American Alliance for Theatre and Education; Arts Education Partnership; Educational Theatre Association; The College Board; MENC-The National Association for Music Education; National Art Education Association; National Dance Education Organization; and State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education.

According to the press release, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS):

“will make the creation of the new arts standards an inclusive process, with input from a broad range of arts educators and decision-makers. The revised standards will be grounded in arts education best practice drawn from the United States and abroad, as well as a comprehensive review of developmental research. Read the rest of this entry »

Bringing Arts Education Home – San Diego Style

Posted by Victoria Plettner-Saunders On June - 10 - 2011

Victoria Plettner-Saunders

Just as I’m preparing for a convention session about how attendees can create their own local arts education advocacy networks based on a model we’ve been using in San Diego and throughout California, I get word from a key district decision maker about their need for some information that may help them take some critical steps to avoid big cuts to the visual and performing arts department budget.

This is a milestone for our newly formed San Diego Alliance for Arts Education. We are being recognized by district decision makers for our ability to help them make more informed decisions to keep arts education in San Diego schools. While we’re not out of the woods yet, I certainly feel a victory for the role that the Alliance’s carefully planned advocacy is playing. Read the rest of this entry »

In 2006, Congress asked the IRS to keep better track of the nation’s 1.7 million nonprofit organizations. Yesterday, the IRS revoked the tax-exempt status of 279,599 of them for not filing legally required documents for three consecutive years (2007-2009). Nearly 27,000 of them are nonprofit ARTS organizations.

The 26,875 arts groups represent 20 percent of all arts nonprofits—the largest percentage decrease among any of the charities. By contrast, only seven percent of religion-related organizations lost their exemptions. Cuts were noted in all arts categories, including 304 symphony orchestras, 702 museums, 395 arts councils, 2,533 theaters, 254 arts alliance/advocacy organizations, and 664 choirs.

Source: Urban Institute, National Center for Charitable Statistics, 2011.










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