Valerie Beaman

Kate Marquez, executive director of the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance (SAACA), answered a few questions for me regarding her organization becoming the newest Business Committee for the Arts and her experiences working with the local business community to date.

: Your organization is a slightly different model from a lot of our local arts agencies. Can you share the work you do with festivals and business sponsorships?

: SAACA is unique from other arts organizations, in that collaboration and partnerships stand at the forefront of all festivals and events. We also value and understand the link between the preservation of culture and art. If there’s a way to promote the arts, we do. Whether it’s through car shows, business partnerships or any other creative way, SAACA encompasses all forms of art and recognizes the subtle ways to bring art to the foreground in all we do. Read the rest of this entry »

Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

Two amendments have been introduced regarding the funding bill for Fiscal Year 2011 currently being debated on the floor of the House of Representatives that would further cut/eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

The first amendment offered by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) would zero out funding for the NEA completely.

The second amendment of concern is offered by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI). It would reduce funding for the NEA by an additional $20.5 million, resulting in an allocation of $124.5 million for the Endowment.

The amendments are scheduled to be heard, along with over 400 more, some time over the next few days.

To help prevent these amendments from being included, visit our E-Advocacy Center.

Victoria Plettner-Saunders

I recently sat in a room with Americans for the Arts President & CEO Bob Lynch and more than a dozen San Diego arts advocates. We were talking about how to collaborate better on behalf of arts and arts education funding in San Diego.

By the end of the meeting we had a lot of good ideas to work with in the coming months. But the phrase Bob used that I can’t get out of my head as I work on arts education advocacy is, “Don’t be the dance band on the Titanic.”

What does that mean? Well, if you’ve seen the movie you know that eight British musicians went down with the ship because they insisted on playing music for the mostly doomed passengers trying to get on lifeboats. Our image of the dance band is that they kept playing as if it could fend off the inevitable, even though they were doing nothing to get people to safety. Read the rest of this entry »

Earlier today, the Obama Administration released its Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal. Included in the billions of dollars and thousands of programs, were lower allocations for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The two vital endowments for arts and culture organizations nationwide were both cut by $21 million when compared with the $167 million that Congress appropriated for FY 2010. In today’s podcast, Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch discusses the impact that this budget could have on arts organizations at every level. To view Bob’s full statement, visit our news section.

Last week, I was privileged to join my fellow Marylanders at the state’s arts advocacy day. Every year this day gets bigger and better and this year was no exception. 400 arts advocates from Western Maryland, the Eastern Shore, Baltimore, and everywhere in between joined together to urge elected leaders to support the budget for the Maryland State Arts Council.

This year’s theme of the day was “Many Voices One Song.” We heard from many state legislators about the importance of the arts in Maryland and every one of them was singing the same tune: “We support the arts” or “We understand the economic value of the arts.” We were also joined by the Speaker of the House of Delegates, the Senate President, and even the State Comptroller, who all spoke about the value of the arts and their support of them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Demonstrating the Power of the Arts

Posted by Mara Walker On February - 14 - 20111 COMMENT
Mara Walker

Mara Walker

Last week I had the opportunity to see the arts at work in a few interesting ways.

I was invited by Frank Hodsoll to experience The Great Game: Afghanistan (a play that explores the history of the country and it’s culture right up to present day) for an audience filled with military personnel at all levels, and representatives from the Department of Defense and Department of State. I heard from those federal leaders and Martin Davidson, head of the British Council, about how powerful the arts are as a mechanism for causing these key leaders to think about our involvement in Afghanistan in a new way.

On Friday, I heard Anna Deavere Smith talk at The Aspen Institute on “The Artist’s Voice for Social Change” and her commitment to using characters and the arts to get people to engage in their communities. She combines her interviews with thousands of union leaders, political officials, members of the public, and so many others into powerful theater that begs us to think for ourselves and get involved. Read the rest of this entry »

NEA Faces Further Cuts

Posted by Tim Mikulski On February - 11 - 20113 COMMENTS
Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

It was just yesterday that we reported the National Endowment for the Arts is facing a $12 million budget cut in the 2011 House Appropriations Bill.

Today the news is even worse.

The House has amended the same proposal, slashing the NEA budget by $22.5 million, leaving the endowment with a $145 million budget. This drastic measure would result in the largest cut to the agency in 16 years. Arts advocates have already sent 10,000 messages to Congress, but we need much more.

Next week, the proposal moves to the House floor, where we expect amendments for even more drastic cuts.

By taking two minutes today to send a customizable message via our E-Advocacy Center, we will automatically send letters on your behalf to both of your Senators and your House Representative.

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On April 3, the Sunday before National Arts Advocacy Day, the Arts Management Program at American University’s will host the 4th Annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium (EALS). My name is Zack Hayhurst, and I am the Chair of the Executive Committee for the event.

This year, in an effort to continue a more robust discussion within the emerging leaders community, I would like to start an online discussion around the symposium topics. This is why I am proposing this call to bloggers, and asking you to contribute to the conversation by submitting posts related to the three main areas being discussed on April 3.

Here is how it will work. Every Friday will be considered “EALS Day” on ARTSblog. Consequentially, we will post one submitted entry once a week on each Friday leading up to the day of the Symposium.

On the day of the Symposium, your posts will be used to spur conversation in the scheduled sessions and each registrant will receive copies of what you posted. The entries will be chosen based on quality of writing and relevancy to the topic. Read the rest of this entry »

Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Nina Ozlu Tunceli has recorded a podcast detailing the possibilities for federal action on funding for the arts in the upcoming week. On the short recording, Ozlu Tunceli explains the confusing budget process we currently find ourselves in and calls arts advocates into action to help make sure funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and other essential arts institutions and mechanisms remains in place for 2011 and beyond.

Robert L. Lynch

One of the largest arts audience activities of the year happened earlier this week. Thousands of artists from around the United States and throughout the world prepared for months for this single event on one night in February. It’s called the Super Bowl. Yes there was football, too and some pretty exciting football at that. But this is a televised sports event where no one leaves their seat during the commercials because they might miss some really cool, fun art. Graphic design, computer generated imagery, audio engineering, musical composition, actors, lyricists, script writers, musicians, lighting designers, dancers, fabricators of all kinds produce these tiny bits of theater we call advertising.

I’ve often heard–and even said–that the arts are America’s secret weapon in developing our communities and cities. But lately it’s clear that the secret is out because more and more mayors, community leaders and government officials are using the arts to transform communities. This theme played out in several of the ads on Sunday night. One wonderful piece showed the benefits that public art, performance halls, design, choral music, architecture, and cultural life in general can have in the animation of a downtown and for the image of an American city. This ad without the soundtrack could have been a video poster for our nation’s five thousand city arts commissions. The city turned out to be Detroit, and the spot featured Eminem, one of Motor City’s most renowned musicians. And the ad was for Chrysler. Read the rest of this entry »

Jay Dick

The Arts in Kansas took a heavy blow Monday when Gov. Sam Brownback signed an “executive reorganization order” abolishing the Kansas Arts Commission, transferring the state agency’s responsibilities to the Kansas Historical Society. The governor is also proposing cutting the arts budget from around $800,000 to $200,000, which will be used to assist in the transition from a state agency into a private organization, the newly-formed Kansas Arts Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. (It is unclear if this organization actually has its non-profit status, or will need to apply for it, a process that can take a year or more.)

This is sad news on several fronts.

Last year, Americans for the Arts and state arts advocates defeated  six serious attempts to eliminate state arts councils across the country. If the Kansas legislature fails to overrule the governor’s order, Kansas will be the first state in decades to not have a state arts council. Read the rest of this entry »

Randy Cohen

Randy Cohen

On January 31, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman posted a blog about (1) the issue of supply and demand in the arts and (2) the ratio of arts administrators to artists.  I had the opportunity to augment the first point using additional data as well as clarify the second in my posting.  Because these are two issues that may arise for you, we thought it worth posting here so you have the facts at your fingertips.

An examination of years of trend data indicate that demand for the arts is indeed lagging supply. The good news is that it also indicates that audiences are not walking away from the arts, but rather broadening how they choose to engage in the arts.

There is also one noteworthy correction to be made in the Chairman’s numbers and thus, one of his points.

On the supply side:

In our annual National Arts Index report, released just two weeks ago, we track the Urban Institute’s count of registered nonprofit arts organizations as one of our 81 national-level indicators. In the past decade, the number of nonprofit arts organizations in the United States has grown 45 percent (75,000 to 109,000), a greater rate than all nonprofit organizations, which grew 32 percent (1,203,000 to 1,581,000). Or to take the more startling look, between 2003 and 2009, a new nonprofit arts organization was created every three hours in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »

Wolf Trap Early Childhood LogoWolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts recently launched an innovative Early Childhood STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Learning Through the Arts initiative that builds upon its 30-year history developing and delivering early childhood arts education programs.

In this podcast, Arts Education Program Manager Tim Mikulski interviews Wolf Trap Foundation Senior Director of Education Mimi Flaherty Willis about the program. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stephanie Evans

Stephanie Evans

In January, most of the Americans for the Arts network councils gathered in Washington, DC, to participate in their annual Winter Meetings to share information and develop work plans for the year.

During the two-day Emerging Leaders Council meeting, we had a valuable discussion around connecting more deeply to the 32 Local Emerging Leader Networks that are currently in existence, while also providing resources and services to the individual emerging arts leader who does not have access to regular professional development or a local network.

In my two years of working with the Emerging Leaders Council, I have been excited about the evolution of their conversations as they develop strategies and ideas to reach out to the field, providing resources for growth and professional development.

Meanwhile, back at our offices in DC, one of our focuses within the Local Arts Advancement department at Americans for the Arts is the idea of moving from arts leadership to community leadership.  How does your job as the marketing associate at a local theater change when you begin to think of yourself as a community leader, now in the position of being able to connect with your community, and invite them to participate in an art performances that are relevant to them?
Read the rest of this entry »

Recently there has been some great buzz around the role of creativity and arts in the workplace. This topic was further explored with a Ready to Innovate panel at The Creativity World Forum this past November. The two-day conference drew 1500 entrepreneurs, business leaders, technology experts, educators, scientists, artists, students, and policy makers who came together in Oklahoma City to examine how creativity can drive commerce, culture, and education.

Watch the full conversation with panelists Randy Atkins, National Academy of Engineering; Itamar Kubovy, Pilobolus; Bart Conner, Bart Conner Foundation; David Lopez, American Fidelity Foundation; and Andrew Essex, Draga5; facilitated Ken Fergeson, Chairman, NBC Oklahoma and Chairman of the Americans for the Arts Board, and poet Amena Brown.