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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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Grand Rapids Fights Back…With Music

Posted by Theresa Cameron On June - 9 - 2011

Theresa Cameron

“I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore” was a famous line from the 1976 movie Network, but it could also be the theme for the folks in Grand Rapids, MI.

Newsweek’s website published an article declaring Grand Rapids a dying city on January 21, 2011 (along withfellow Michigan cities Flint, Detroit, and 7 others).

The mayor, citizens, and most importantly an artist decided to fight back.

Artist Rob Bliss (a college-aged musician, social media expert, and event planner) and a friend, raised nearly $40,000 to make a LipDub video of DonMcLean’s classic “American Pie” as a way to demonstrate the vibrant community that GrandRapids is.  Read the rest of this entry »

Add “Art Lover” to Your Resume

Posted by Amy Senia On June - 8 - 2011

The Internet boom has made global communication and sharing information easier than ever before. Thanks to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and technologies like Skype and the iPhone 4’s FaceTime, people in every corner of the world can contact each other with a simple click of a mouse.

This ease in communication has permanently changed global interactions and made the world seem a whole lot smaller. In the domestic and global market, companies have found themselves communicating with various cultures more than ever before, even companies that don’t work on the global scale.

Businesses are now searching for employees with more than just intellect, impressive references, and a charming personality. So what do they want?

Good news, art lovers! You’re already ahead of the curve. Read the rest of this entry »

Kansas Makes a Fashion Statement

Posted by Harlan Brownlee On June - 7 - 2011

Harlan Brownlee

Once again, Kansas has distinguished itself as a “trendsetter.”

Yes, those are the words of Kansas Governor Brownback when he refers to his action to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission and put in place a private foundation to fund the arts in Kansas.

Sorry to break the news governor, but those of us who live and breathe the arts on a daily basis, those of us who are in the trenches and have witnessed firsthand the economic and community building benefits of the arts, particularly in rural Kansas, think your approach is misguided.

Both the Kansas House and Senate understood why your plan was not in the best interest of Kansas citizens. In fact, both unilaterally approved funding for the arts and a Republican-led effort in the Senate overrode your executive order to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission. Read the rest of this entry »

The Arts Create Extraordinary Shared Experiences

Posted by Margy Waller On June - 7 - 2011

Margy Waller

We love the stuff that brings people together to experience special and fun things that can only happen here.

On Tuesday, May 3, legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed with the Cincinnati Symphony for almost 3,500 people, filling every seat in our beautiful, historic Music Hall.

The performance was so highly-anticipated that it was sold-out for months in advance, leaving hundreds of fans without tickets.

So, our community leaders came together to fashion a creative response to this dilemma — making sure that people all around could share the music. Read the rest of this entry »

Mary Kennedy McCabe

For those of us who call Kansas home we have one more opportunity to suffer Thomas Frank’s oft-quoted book, What’s the Matter with Kansas?.

Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA), my organization, has been struggling for months with how to handle the elimination of the Kansas Arts Commission (KAC) since this situation is unprecedented in the 47-year history of state arts agencies in America. We are an alliance of six states (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas), serving a part of the country with tremendous arts participation but minimal political capital for the arts.

We are deeply concerned for the artists, arts organizations, arts educators, and arts participants and audiences, who will undoubtedly be affected by the loss of the KAC support and leadership. There is no doubt that individuals will lose their jobs and organizations will go out of business as a result of Governor Brownback’s action. Read the rest of this entry »

Emily Peck

Emily Peck

At last fall’s Independent Sector Conference, more than 900 leaders from the foundation world, corporate philanthropy programs, and nonprofit organizations were moved by the arts…literally, as choreographer Liz Lerman had conference attendees out of their seats reenacting conference highlights through dance (Check out the video below!).

Inviting Ms. Lerman to bring her magic to the conference was just one of the ways that Americans with the Arts partnered with Independent Sector to infuse the event with the arts.

Americans for the Arts President & CEO Bob Lynch explained why Americans for the Arts was ensuring that the arts were woven throughout the conference in his presentation at the opening plenary sessionRead the rest of this entry »

Kansas: To the Stars Through Difficulties

Posted by Kathy Smith On June - 3 - 2011

Kathy Smith

The recent events in the Kansas state government were like “déjà vu all over again” for those of us in Topeka. In 2005, our city council decided that our local arts council would no longer receive funding from the general budget, or any budget for that matter.

In response, the Topeka Community Foundation moved ahead with plans to create a privately funded entity, ARTSConnect, which would be a part of the United Arts Fund network.

This was a welcome concept among those in the arts community – a stable, sustainable plan for general operating funds, plus an organization who would help to provide that umbrella for all organizations and individuals who are passionate about the arts and our community.  Read the rest of this entry »

Kansas: Unexpected Attempt at Veto Override Unsuccessful

Posted by Tim Mikulski On June - 2 - 2011
Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

Yesterday, members of the Kansas House of Representatives unexpectedly attempted to override Gov. Brownback’s line item veto of funding for the Kansas Arts Commission, but the body fell short of the needed votes to do so.

Here are more details from the Associated Press:

“The vote in the House was 50-44. But legislators who wanted to override the veto needed a two-thirds majority, or 84 of 125 votes. Thirty-one House members were absent. That’s not unusual for the day the Legislature sets aside for its adjournment ceremony, because typically no substantial business is conducted...Of the 92 Republicans, 23 voted “yes,” 44 voted “no,” and 25 did not vote. Of the 33 Democrats, 27 voted “yes” and six did not vote.”

The article also lists the vote tally by legislator name. Read the rest of this entry »

Memorial Day Reflections of an Arts Educator

Posted by Jessica Wilt On June - 1 - 2011

Jessica Wilt

The arrival of Memorial Day represents honoring the men and women who lost their lives serving our country and celebrating the unofficial start of summer with family and friends. For me, Memorial Day also marks that time of year when another school season draws to a close.

As the temperature starts to rise and thoughts of swimming pools and summer vacation dance around in our heads, Alice Cooper’s rock anthem “Schools Out” becomes a lively soundtrack for the final countdown.

Cooper was inspired to write the song when asked, “What’s the greatest three minutes of your life?” After mentioning Christmas morning, Cooper responded: “the last three minutes of the last day of school when you’re sitting there and it’s like a slow fuse burning.” I’m in no way condoning the ideas of “school’s out forever, school’s been blown to pieces.”

I think you know where I’m going with this. It’s been a very challenging year for the arts and I will do all that I can to ensure the fuse that is arts education burns a little while longer. Read the rest of this entry »

Yes, Corporations Still Fund the Arts (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Jaclyn Wood On June - 1 - 2011

Spain's Landarbaso Choir

As this title suggests, corporations ARE still funding the arts, and they’re finding creative ways to do so.

Recent funding cuts have hit mid-sized and small cities throughout the country particularly hard. This is especially true in rural and underserved areas.

Although not quite underserved/rural, Cincinnati has become a great example of how cultural events, festivals, concerts, and competitions bring visibility, income, and fun to communities throughout the country.

Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G) recognizes the unique influence of the arts as well. The company has become the first major corporate sponsor for the World Choir Games 2012. The biennial choral music competition is the largest of its kind in the world and is expected to draw some 90,000 people to the Cincinnati area next summer.  Read the rest of this entry »

A New Chapter for the Arts in Kansas

Posted by Brad Anderson On June - 1 - 2011

Brad Anderson

On Saturday, May 28, 2011, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback used his power to line item veto funding for the Kansas Arts Commission. This action makes Kansas unique in the nation as now being the only state without a fully funded and functional arts agency.

The action came after months of heated debate between a conservative house of representatives and more moderate senate that finally agreed to continue funding for at least another year. Brownback had other plans.

Not only does his action prevent over $1.2 million in National Endowment for the Arts and Mid-America Arts Alliance funding, it also creates significant problems for agencies all over the state who were depending on operational support that comes from the KAC and NEA.

Brownback suggests the arts can thrive by developing private funding sources to sustain programming but has yet to answer where the ‘new’ dollars are supposed to come from and does not take in to account the significant support many large and small agencies have already solicited from the private sector.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Business + Arts = Places We Want to Be

Posted by Margy Waller On May - 31 - 2011

Visitors enjoy "the party on the painting."

One night in mid-May, the coolest place in Cincinnati was a party on top of a painting.

It was Cincinnati Fashion Week and we were all smack in the intersection of art and business. We went to parties celebrating Andy Warhol in the former Contemporary Arts Center, talks about fashion art at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and more.

Thursday night, on a beautiful summer evening, Landor Associates (a global branding and design firm with offices in London, Paris, Tokyo, New York, Cincinnati and more) hosted a party celebrating graphic fashion.

Landor Cincinnati is perfectly positioned to host a fashion party because it’s located in one of our city’s iconic department store buildings. Built in 1878, the Shillito’s Department Store location was a premiere shopping destination for the local business that became Macy’s (also headquartered here in Cincinnati).  Read the rest of this entry »

Kansas Arts: 5,000+ Voices Versus One

Posted by Jay Dick On May - 31 - 2011

Jay Dick

As you probably know, Gov. Brownback issued a line item veto of the Kansas Arts Commission’s budget during the holiday weekend. Before too much time passes, I want to share some of my thoughts on the situation:

This isn’t about money.

While the governor’s veto “saved” the Kansas treasury just under $700,000, they are no longer eligible for the approximately $800,000 in matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, nor a $400,000 contract from the Mid-America Arts Alliance. Thus, by my math, Kansas is losing $500,000 this year, which does not take into account other things such as the five employees of the arts commission who now are looking for a job and probably will be drawing unemployment.  Read the rest of this entry »

Kansas Becomes First State Without Arts Agency

Posted by Tim Mikulski On May - 28 - 2011

Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed funding for the Kansas Arts Commission today (May 28), thereby ending a scuffle with the legislature, which funded the commission over his objections.

According to the Associated Press, Gov. Brownback said:

“The arts will continue to thrive in Kansas when funded by private donations, and I intend to personally involve myself in efforts to make this happen.”

In light of this action, the following statement has been released by Americans for the Arts President & CEO Robert Lynch:

Americans for the Arts is disappointed with Governor Sam Brownback’s decision to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission (KAC) by vetoing the legislative branch’s budget for the agency. His action not only robs the citizens of his state of access to quality arts programming, but is also a direct affront to his campaign platform to create jobs and rebuild the state’s economy. Kansas now holds the dubious distinction of being the only state without a functioning state agency in charge of promoting the arts and culture.   Read the rest of this entry »

ARTSblog holds week-long Blog Salons, a series of posts by guest bloggers, that focus on an overarching theme within a core area of Americans for the Arts' work. Here are links to the most recent Salons:

Arts Education

Teaching Artists

Early Arts Education

Common Core Standards

Quality, Engagement & Partnerships

Emerging Leaders

Charting the Future of the Arts

Taking Communities to the Next Level

New Methods & Models

Public Art

Best Practices


Arts Marketing

Audience Engagement

Winning Audiences

Powered by Community

Animating Democracy

Arts & the Military

Scaling Up Programs & Projects

Social Impact & Evaluation

Humor & Social Change

Private Sector Initatives

Arts & Business Partnerships

Business Models in the Arts

Local Arts Agencies

Cultural Districts

Economic Development

Trends, Collaborations & Audiences

Art in Rural Communities

Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.