“You must remember, when I was in college, there was no such thing as an arts management major. You’re lucky…”

In the past two years as an arts management masters student, I have heard this phrase come from more arts leaders in my community than I can count.

If it keeps up, this phrase will soon oust the old saying, “When I was your age, I had to walk to school in five feet of snow. Uphill, both ways!”

Needless to say, I hear it a lot.

I say this with a slight amount of tongue in cheek, but I honestly have heard this sentence come from the mouths of many substantial lecturers the past two years. Read the rest of this entry »

Emily Peck

Emily Peck

In 2008, if you were to talk about the auto industry, you’d probably talk about the emergency bailout from the federal government that impacted auto companies around the world.

The auto industry was struggling and as a result drastically pulling back their funding from the Detroit arts organizations that depended on this support.

These companies began looking for new ideas and they seemed to have found solutions through the arts. The new language coming out of the auto industry includes words like “creativity”, “innovation”, “design” and even “arts”…words that I’m sure most of us can get behind.

Here is just a sampling of ways the auto industry is showcasing the arts and being creative. Read the rest of this entry »

Kristy Callaway

My southern heritage speaks, “I’m not one to talk, but…” then proceeds to the insult and ends with “…bless their heart.”

What I know for sure is that the scientific method should be trusted and I like micro advocacy. Our ancestors could mark on cave walls, create flutes from bones, and push their humanity forward through oral and physical traditions, mostly improving their lot along the way. We have been governed by scientific methodology since we hungrily poked sticks in anthills a million years ago.

Today, the wiggling things are us.

What is at stake?

Our legacy and future humanity!

In a recent op-ed piece to The Washington Post, Bill Gates detailed research findings for student achievement. The single most decisive factor is excellent teaching. And learning can only happen in the third space between teacher and student. Read the rest of this entry »

Feeding the Arts

Posted by Jeff Hawthorne On March - 7 - 20113 COMMENTS
Jeff Hawthorne

Jeff Hawthorne

In another evolution of our partnership with Burgerville (see Burgers, Fries and the Arts), we here in Portland are gearing up to enjoy a guilt-free day of locally-grown fast food.

For every purchase on March 10, Burgerville will make a donation to Work for Art, our united arts fund, and we will be on hand in as many of the 39 locations as we can muster to greet restaurant-goers, and talk about the value of arts and culture in our community.

This is all a precursor to the employee giving campaign that will take place at Burgerville later this month, and reflects the company’s strong commitment to outdoing themselves for the arts each year.

For example, in 2008, the employees (many of whom are part-time) of this sustainable food chain donated almost $8,900 to their employee giving campaign for Work for Art. Just last year they raised almost $16,000 for Work for Art, and we’ll let you know how much they surpass that total this year by offering this special benefit day! Read the rest of this entry »

During my career as Director of Bands for a high school, the need for advocacy and awareness for arts education became ever more prevalent as state-initiatives focused on standardized testing.

Wanting to do more on a larger level, I discovered there were opportunities in arts management beyond the classroom for preserving quality arts programming in our public schools.

Upon much self-reflection and consultation with friends and family, I moved to Washington to further my education in arts management. I knew that this career change would provide an opportunity where I could fulfill these new ambitions.

Career shifts are a difficult process for most people, and the ability to improve and expand upon one’s knowledge of a new field, on the fly, is imperative to maintain a competitive edge in the new industry one works for.

I hope by sharing my experiences in changing career paths from music education to arts management that you will gain some insight on how you too can survive your own career transitions. Read the rest of this entry »

Marete Wester

Marete Wester

I don’t have a Twitter account. I’m not morally opposed to it, or taking an anti-technology political stance—I’m merely a social media “slow adapter.” Since it’s one of those things I know it will take me a while to learn, it’s not high on my priority “to do’s”—at least for now.

Which is why I’m always amazed when a colleague emailed me that I’ve been quoted on Twitter, as I was recently speaking on a panel at the Face to Face conference hosted by the Arts in Education Roundtable in New York City (Feb 22 & 23).

The Face to Face conference had several hundred attendees, with a significant number of first-timers. While many of the panels were thoughtfully focused on building skills and improving practice in delivering solid learning in the arts, others were targeted towards advocacy and making the case.

The comment that made the tweet was something I said as a member of the Arts Education Advocacy panel moderated by Doug Israel of the Center for Arts Education, featuring NYC Councilman Robert Jackson and NYS State Alliance for Arts Education Executive Director Jeremy Johannesen.

In response to a question about how we would describe the current environment for arts education from our respective vantage points at the local, state, and national level, I apparently said something tweet-able. Read the rest of this entry »

Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

Although Congress quickly avoided a government shutdown this week, arts education funding somehow managed to get caught up in the two-week continuing resolution Band-Aid that was passed by both the House and Senate yesterday.

While the Continuing Resolution (CR) keeps the government running for another two weeks, it also makes a $4 billion cut in domestic spending, including a number of federal education programs.

Among the programs designated for cuts is the total elimination of funding for the Department of Education’s $40 million Arts in Education program. This program funds a large number of arts education activities across in the country, including the Kennedy Center’s arts education efforts and VSA, the international organization on arts and disability. Read the rest of this entry »

Catherine Brandt

Catherine Brandt

The good people at Hyundai have generously offered to help Americans for the Arts in curing our nation’s Crampomitosis problem. Never heard of it?

Here’s how Hyundai describes the condition:

“Millions of compact car drivers are fighting against leg-buckling Crampomitosis, caused by a chronic lack of leg room. These choice-starved people have knees riddled with teeth marks, toes pointing in impossible directions, and seemingly no choice when it comes to a comfortable car to drive.”

Still wondering what in the world Crampomitosis has to do with Americans for the Arts? Let me explain. Clearly, Crampomitosis isn’t really a medical condition. It’s actually Hyundai’s way of giving back. Read the rest of this entry »

Apologizing for the Arts

Posted by Ken Busby On March - 1 - 201113 COMMENTS

Ken Busby

We in the arts spend a lot of time apologizing…at least I do. I find, however, that when I apologize for something, I usually can gain some empathy for my position. Let me illustrate.

If you are speaking to a congressman or senator that isn’t especially receptive to public funding of the arts or arts education, I often ask if he or she were able to participate in the arts when they were in elementary school and middle school. Invariably, in one way or another, these “adults” had some form of quality arts experiences growing up–going to the theater, attending a ballet performance, a field trip to the museum, etc. And so I ask them what that experience meant to them.

Usually, the response is something like, “It was great. I really enjoyed it!” At that point, I generally offer my apology–saying something like, “I’m sorry that your children or grandchildren won’t be able to have that same experience.” Read the rest of this entry »

Less than a week ago, something happened in Chicago that hadn’t happened in more than 20 years — we had a race for mayor … without Richard M. Daley on the ballot!

I know many cities and towns elect a new mayor — or at least seriously consider it — every four years. But the last time we voted for a mayor who wasn’t “Da Mare” was in the 1980s.

Whether the election was actually “competitive,” well, that’s debatable. With Rahm Emanuel, one of six candidates, capturing 55 percent of the vote, the Chicago Sun-Times called the election a “rahmp!” (Get it?!) Emanuel needed “50 percent plus one” to avoid a run-off with the next highest vote-getter.

What will the election of Rahm Emanuel mean for the arts and arts education in Chicago? Read the rest of this entry »

Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

It’s hard to believe, but six months has passed since we celebrated the first National Arts in Education Week (as declared by Congress). As we all know, legislative bodies don’t often operate on a timeline that is convenient for the rest of us (i.e. the fact that our federal government runs out of money in just a few days).

Because of that, a group of us on Twitter that gets together for arts education chats on Thursdays (search #artsed) came up with the idea of using that week to start projects that could be celebrated later in the year, or more specifically, a half a year later during what is known as Arts Education/Youth Arts/Music in Our Schools Month – March.

During that time, we have also been collecting signatures of advocates who promised to testify on behalf of arts education at their local school board meetings throughout the month of March. We just asked for regular people who support arts education in their local schools to show up to the meeting and say something positive about the arts during the public comment section, or even better, get on the agenda ahead of time. Read the rest of this entry »

Leadership. As someone who loves to lecture (sorry, students), even my own eyes glaze over at the word. Go to any business section of any bookstore and you can find hundreds of tomes that boil down to one extended metaphor in the form of a book length advice column:  “The fiction writer’s way of leadership,” The housewife’s way of leadership,” “Leadership:  the Mad Men Method,” “How Would Jesus Lead (HWJL)?”

Okay, I made those up, but among this blizzard of works on leadership, what actually helps? We’ll try to find some answers at the symposium. My views are too complex to reduce to sound bites or slick metaphors, probably because I believe leadership is not solely about the leader as much as it is his or her interaction with co-workers, or followers.

We make too many assumptions that the CEO is The Leader. But one can lead from the middle (director of marketing) or even below (program associate). The weird irony of organizations seems to be that those who hold leadership positions are not necessarily any good at leading. Yet spectacular feats of leadership can occur at any level. Followers influence leaders with their ideas and their ways of working, and more importantly, they influence each other.  Read the rest of this entry »

Alison Wade

Alison Wade

Back in January, while riding the subway, Philadelphia artist Amy Scheidegger overheard a conversation between two teenagers about the worthlessness of a degree in the arts. But instead of just stewing, Scheidegger sprang into action to create the Artistic Rebuttal Book Project—a collection of visually rendered statements about the importance of the arts, submitted by artists and advocates from all over the country.

Rebuttals run the gamut, expressing what we can quantify about the power of the arts (economic and social impacts) and what we can’t (“The music that gives you chills? An artist did that”). Viewed as a whole, the project is moving, funny, and a work of art in itself.

As of now, Scheidegger has 229 people confirmed to contribute from 53 American and Canadian cities; she plans to present an abridged version of the book to her representatives at National Arts Advocacy day in April and have the finished product find a home in galleries, arts councils, tourist departments and libraries across the country. She is also currently working with art and creative writing teachers and their students in several states to create a children’s edition of the Artistic Rebuttal Book Project. Read the rest of this entry »

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Accidental Arts Volunteerism

Posted by Catherine Brandt On February - 24 - 20111 COMMENT
Catherine Brandt

Catherine Brandt

My mother and I were recently discussing the uptick in arts volunteerism reported in Americans for the Arts’ latest National Arts Index. During our conversation, she lamented that she did not volunteer in the arts and made a resolution to get involved.

While I applauded her initiative and soon after sent her a link to her local art council’s volunteer page, I also reminded her that she was, in fact, an arts volunteer. She sings in her church choir.

Needless to say, she was shocked that singing hymns in front of a congregation was considered volunteerism.

It dawned on me at that moment that, like my mother, many Americans may not realize they are arts volunteers. To many, arts volunteerism is restricted to being a docent at local museums and ushering at theaters. It actually extends far beyond that! Nursing homes, hospitals, religious institutions, child mentoring programs—all promote arts-based volunteerism. Read the rest of this entry »

Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

Many of our loyal Arts Watch readers are familiar with Americans for the Arts’ national arts advocacy efforts, but in light of recent state-level budgetary threats, we wanted to make sure that all of our members and non-members were kept up to date on the latest information in your individual states and regions.

The State Arts Action Network (SAAN), a network of over 70 arts advocacy, services, and education organizations, has been active within Americans for the Arts since 2004, when two previously independent national arts organizations (the State Arts Advocacy League of America and the National Community Arts Network) ratified an agreement to become part of our organization. Over the past few years, SAAN has also grown to include the members of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network.

However, the SAAN isn’t left to its own devices, as two staff members from the Government and Public Affairs Department, Jay Dick and Justin Knabb, provide professional development, networking, and technical assistance to the organizations. Jay and Justin also monitor news and events in all 50 states, providing advocacy help to the SAAN member organizations when needed.

All of this background leads me to a brand new area of our website. Read the rest of this entry »