Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What a Gift!

Posted by Blair Cromwell On July - 7 - 2011

Blair Cromwell

Surreal is a good word to describe how I feel working for the Bentonville Convention and Visitors Bureau these days.

Why you ask? Well, in just five short months I will be just blocks away from the works of Thomas Hart Benton, Marsden Hartley, Andrew Wyeth, Asher B. Duran, and John Singer Sargent to name a few.

These are the guys that I fell in love with in my Art History 101 class my freshman year in college, and now, some of the actual paintings printed in my college text book will be feet away from me as I stroll through the galleries of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

On November 11, 2011, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will open its doors to the public, changing the face of Bentonville and the state of Arkansas forever. Read the rest of this entry »

The Dutch Initiate a Colorful Stand for the Arts (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Anette Shirinian On July - 6 - 2011

An example of one Artbomb project.

On June 24, clouds of colorful smoke exploded throughout various arts locations across the globe in protest against the alarming budget cuts facing arts communities worldwide.

After the Dutch government proposed to cut nearly 40 percent of arts and cultural funding, arts activists in the Netherlands decided to call attention to this viral issue within the larger international community. They initiated Artbomb, a “peaceful art intervention” calling upon all individuals to set off bombs of colored smoke at their local arts and culture centers.

All participants were asked to submit their documentation to Artbomb’s official website as “a token of solidarity and a symbol of strength” for the world to see.

As written in their press release, “this visual act will be a sign of resistance against the growing disdain for the arts within societies and governments worldwide, and a sign of support for colleagues who face major cutbacks.” Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Integration Isn’t Enough

Posted by Katherine Damkohler On July - 6 - 2011

Katherine Damkohler

Integration across academic disciplines can strengthen a child’s learning. When teachers reinforce content through a variety of approaches it helps children retain information and fully appreciate academic concepts. However, one academic discipline cannot fully convey the fundamentals of another.

For instance, a History teacher cannot expect to effectively relate the scientific processes of an electrical current to students by teaching them the historical biographies of Nicola Tesla and Thomas Edison. And yet, many educators apply this approach of substituting subject instruction to the artistic disciplines.

I have seen too many schools refrain from hiring an arts teacher because they have been lulled into thinking that training a classroom teacher to integrate the arts into their lessons serves as an acceptable substitute for bringing a full-time arts instructor on staff. Read the rest of this entry »

Alec Baldwin: A Critical Time for Arts Funding

Posted by admin On July - 5 - 2011
Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin speaks at Arts Advocacy Day 2011.

Hello. I’m Alec Baldwin.

Over the past few months, you may have seen me on television doing a series of commercials for Capital One.

What you may not know is that I am donating all of the proceeds from this work to cultural charities, including some of the organizations with which I’m involved: Guild Hall of East Hampton, The New York Philharmonic, Roundabout Theater, the Hamptons International Film Festival, and of course, Americans for the Arts.

But these spots are not about me getting money and then giving it to charity. Actually, Capital One is partnering with me.

That’s right. Capital One has partnered with me to help the arts by letting these advertisements serve as a platform through which I can raise awareness about the need for public funding of the arts and arts education.

In these tough economic times, I don’t want people to forget about the arts and arts education. People need to understand what’s at stake. Read the rest of this entry »

Freedom from Budget Cuts

Posted by Justin Knabb On July - 1 - 2011

Fourth of July celebrations started early for several states this week, as arts advocates scored major victories in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and South Carolina.

Ohio Citizens for the Arts is reporting that the state arts council will enjoy a 30.5% increase in funding for the 2012-13 biennium – 62.1 percent more than Governor John Kasich had proposed. The current allocation for FYs 2010-11 is $13.2 million, with the governor proposing only $10.6 million for the upcoming biennium. However, legislatures decided to increase that number to $17.2 million, and the governor agreed!

In Pennsylvania, the House of Representatives had proposed a 70% reduction to the $9 million budget of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts- a stark contrast to Governor Tom Corbett’s request for essentially flat funding. The Senate did not concur, and reinstated the funding: $8.2 million for arts grants, and $866,000 for arts agency administration. The House acquiesced, and the amended budget was sent to the governor for approval.

Finally, the New Jersey Legislature was pushing for a 27% cut to the $16 million budget of the state arts agency, but Governor Chris Christie removed language in the final budget that would have enacted those cuts. And, as most are already aware, South Carolinians scored a major victory as the legislature voted to override Governor Nikki Haley’s line-item veto of arts funding, thus preserving the $1.9 million allocation to their arts commission. Read the rest of this entry »

Regrets of a Former Arts Funder – Part 2

Posted by John R. Killacky On July - 1 - 2011

John R. Kilacky

Culturally specific arts have to evolve, too

Many culturally specific creative organizations founded in the 1970s were centered on an identity politic of its core artists. While essential in its time, this focus ultimately limited an organization’s potential as time, issues, and the political landscape changed. Artists, too, constrained themselves if art practices were myopically identity-based. So much aesthetic change happens from the fringe; history continually bears this out.

Therefore philanthropy should always be seeding the future along multiple frontiers. But after awhile, if an artist or artist organization does not get traction in its community, then perhaps aesthetic Darwinism should prevail.  Read the rest of this entry »

Old School New School, A New Documentary

Posted by Steven Fischer On July - 1 - 2011

Steven Fischer

Snag Films has released Old School New School, an educational documentary on the nature of creativity.

The movie explores the mystery of creativity with a cast of artistic heavyweights including celebrated actor Brian Cox (known for standout work in King Lear, X-Men, and Manhunter – Cox was the first to play Hannibal Lecter), innovative jazz pianist McCoy Tyner (Four-time Grammy® Award winner and pianist for the John Coltrane Quartet), and six-time Oscar® nominee William Fraker (the cinematographer who created the memorable photography of Bullitt, Rosemary’s Baby, WarGames, and Tombstone.)

In the movie, an independent filmmaker (me) questioning how he can realize his full creative potential travels the United States in search of answers. The journey takes him into the lives and homes of some of today’s most accomplished and illuminating artists. Their conversations explore three central themes: finding one’s voice, risk, and the definition of success in the arts.  Read the rest of this entry »

Regrets of a Former Arts Funder – Part 1

Posted by John R. Killacky On June - 30 - 2011

John R. Killacky

As Program Officer for Arts and Culture at the San Francisco Foundation, I and philanthropic colleagues often bemoaned how fragile many culturally specific organizations were. How was this possible in a community that has no “majority culture,” that has had a Hotel Tax Fund giving decades of operating grants to culturally specific arts organizations, and a Cultural Equity Program since 1993 created to redress inequities in funding?

And sadly, at the national level, arts organizations from disenfranchised communities are no more stable. Few African American, Latino, or Asian theater companies founded in the 1970s are still in existence, or if they are alive, they do not appear to be as artistically vibrant.

As changed demographics transform the country, we should be seeing a burgeoning renaissance for artists working within specific cultural traditions in communities of color. But where is that renaissance? Is our society so racist that these artists and organizations cannot thrive? Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Education Advocacy Success in Sunny San Diego

Posted by Tim Mikulski On June - 30 - 2011
Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

For those of you who were able to attend our local arts education advocacy session at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, you know all about the work of the San Diego Alliance for Arts Education.

For those that couldn’t make it to San Diego a few weeks ago, the Alliance was created as part of a statewide effort by the California Alliance for Arts Education to launch local advocacy groups.

Led by Americans for the Arts’ Arts Education Council Chair Victoria Plettner-Saunders, the group has recently been attempting to restore funding to the San Diego Unified School District’s (SDUSD) Visual and Performing Arts Department (VAPA). (You can read more about their efforts in an earlier post from ARTSblog or by purchasing our full slate of sessions on our Convention On-Demand site and viewing the local arts education advocacy session).

On June 21, all of their relationship-building and advocacy efforts led to a unanimous vote by the board of education that restored full funding to arts education programs for the 2011-2012 school year. Read the rest of this entry »

Government Ethics, Government Schmethics…Who Cares?

Posted by Scarlett Swerdlow On June - 30 - 2011

Scarlett Swerdlow

This week Rod Blagojevich was convicted on 17 counts of corruption, including trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

Here in Illinois, we collectively braced for the bad jokes. We try to laugh it off — the Cubs and Bears may be perennial losers, but at least we’re #1 at something — but there’s no denying the facts. When Blago begins his sentence, he will be the fourth former governor of our state sent to the pokey in the past 35 years.

You might not think Blago’s guilty verdict has anything to do with the arts, but I think there is a connection between ethics in government and the priorities of government.

Last summer, we helped produce an event with U.S. Representative Mike Quigley as part of the Americans for the Arts 50 States 50 Days campaign. Representative Quigley is an interesting guy. Government transparency and accountability are his signature issues. Read the rest of this entry »

South Carolina Arts Funding Veto Overturned by Legislature

Posted by Tim Mikulski On June - 29 - 2011

Since South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley threatened funding for the state arts commission early in the budget process this year, it wasn’t a surprise when she used her proverbial red veto pen to cut funding yesterday.

In anticipation, the South Carolina Arts Alliance had already been lobbying the legislature to overturn Gov. Haley’s veto as early as last week, and it all paid off when both the House and Senate overturned veto #15 today.

The legislature displayed its overwhelming support for the South Carolina Arts Commission by overturning the veto by a large margin in both houses.

The House passed it by a 105-8 vote.

The Senate by a 32-6 vote.

Congratulations to arts advocates in South Carolina and a big “thank you” to the House and Senate for recognizing the power of the arts.

For Americans for the Arts’ official statement on the override, visit our website.

50 Ways to Love Your Conference

Posted by hoong yee lee krakauer On June - 29 - 2011

Danielle Brazell & Ramona Baker

I like to think I am a better person, smarter, my head filled with new ways of thinking, and ready to rock and roll after being surrounded by people who love and respect the power of the arts to change the world.

The truth is, I am probably heavier after all of the dine-arounds and dinners out. My card case will explode with all of the business cards I collected. My eyes glaze over thinking about where to start first.

My mother, the evolved Buddhist from Bayside, did not achieve her state of grace without believing in some basic universal truths. She would say, “Get over yourself. You are just a speck in the grand scheme of things so relax. Take one step at a time.”

Thanks, Mom.

I know she meant to say something like “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” but after living in Queens you start to sound like a local.

Anyway, here are some of my impressions and images from this year’s American For the Arts Annual Convention in San Diego: Read the rest of this entry »

Public Support for the Arts – A Success Story

Posted by Karen Gahl-Mills On June - 29 - 2011

Karen Gahl-Mills

With each day’s news, we read about further reductions in public arts funding at the state and federal level. We are all challenged to, yet again, help our public officials see the value in supporting institutions such as our state arts councils, under threat as our states look for solutions to budget gaps.

Permit me to provide a glimmer of hope in this otherwise dark time, and let me tell you about the success story that is Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

In 2006, after ten years of hard work, a broad and diverse group of community leaders came together to pass a dedicated, 10-year cigarette tax for arts and culture in the county that includes and surrounds Cleveland.

Overnight, our region moved from having one of the lowest per capital local investments in arts and culture–64 cents–to having one of the highest–$13.50 at last count. Read the rest of this entry »

South Carolina Governor Vetoes Arts Funding

Posted by admin On June - 28 - 2011

Editors Note: Click here for an update on this story.

In response to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s decision to veto funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission, Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, issued the following statement:

“In vetoing funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC), Gov. Nikki Haley offers another unfortunate example of newly-elected gubernatorial leadership being out of touch with the wishes of voters for ideological reasons.

Betty Plumb, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance states, ‘South Carolinians have spoken and the General Assembly has listened. The budget is balanced, and it includes the arts. The state’s small investment in the arts yields significant, statewide returns for education, quality of life, and our economy. The support and services the arts commission provides make a positive difference in our communities and schools. We don’t need to sacrifice this valuable public asset when there is no practical necessity to do so.’  Read the rest of this entry »

Changing the World, One Ballroom at a Time

Posted by hoong yee lee krakauer On June - 28 - 2011

Hoong Yee, about to engage her superpowers in flip charting

It is a good thing to know what you are good at.

According to my wise thirteen-year-old son, I am good at lunch, sewing on buttons, and getting better at playing Action Potato on my phone. Oh, and hugs, lots of them.

My dear friend Barbara Schaffer Bacon who is the Co-Director of Animating Democracy at Americans for the Art thought I would be good as a discussion leader for a conference session at the Americans for the Arts 2011 Annual Convention earlier this month in San Diego.

I was thrilled to be joined by Josie Talamantez, Assistant Chief of Grant Programs for the California Arts Council, and Sioux Trujillo, Associate Director of Community + Public Arts DETROIT.

Actually, I was really very good at writing stuff on flip charts. I am a force to be reckoned with when I have a marker in my hand. Read the rest of this entry »