Yesterday I attended the “City as a Stage: Placemaking for the Performing Arts” convening presented by the Music Center/Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County.  This was the second gathering in a series of three using arts and culture as a lens for re-imagining cities.  A cross-disciplinary group of civic, economic, health and philanthropic leaders gather to craft a new interpretation of urban vitality for the next decade.

Two wonderful examples of the “city as stage” were given: Barnaby Evans’ Waterfire, a series of 100 bonfires that burn on the surface of three rivers in downtown Providence and are accompanied by live music and performance on a biweekly basis from April through October. On the other coast, the Los Angeles County Music Center’s Active Arts Program takes a “do-it-yourself” approach with dance, instrumental and vocal music, and storytelling programs on the plaza where participants actively engage in these art forms.  Both projects move the arts out of the four walls and stages of performing arts centers and more importantly reclaim public space—in these two cases, the streets of downtown Providence and the plaza of the Los Angeles County Music Center and democratize participation in the arts. Read the rest of this entry »

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I’m sitting in the auditorium at Cullman High School in Cullman, Alabama, while over 100 middle and high school musicians rehearse on stage.  There are wind, brass, and percussion players; a full choir; drums, guitar, and bass; and of course, the string section.  Right now Mark Wood, formerly of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Laura Kaye are putting the group though its paces.  They are cranking out an energetic version of “Born to Be Wild,” the piece that will close the first half of tonight’s performance.  Everyone is involved.  Everyone is engaged. 

I’m here because the orchestra director at Cullman Middle and High Schools asked me to bring my students to help support her young orchestra program.  We have worked with Mark several times in the past, and we always have a great time performing with him.  When we received the call, we jumped at the opportunity.  In the process, our musicians have had the opportunity to meet other players who share the common interest – a love of making music.  At the end of the night, when the final chord has sounded, and the thunderous applause had faded, my students will have met new friends, new connections, who share this common bond.  Read the rest of this entry »

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In a fun, new video Americans for the Arts talk about the diversity and breadth of the annual convention programming and schedule from great session options and dynamic speakers to special events in Baltimore. To find out more about the convention go to http://convention.artsusa.org

by Emily Spruill and Stephanie Evans

As the Americans for the Arts’ Emerging Leaders Council started to develop our focus for the coming years, we kept asking ourselves, who is our audience?  What do they need?  So before we start assuming how we can help emerging leaders, we decided to ask you.  The Emerging Leaders Council spent 2009 drafting the questions for an Emerging Leaders Network Field Survey.  By January 2010, 554 of you had let us know about yourself and what’s on your mind.

The survey confirmed a lot of what we thought to be true:  Most of you are very active in seeking out professional development – either within your community or at national convenings.  The majority of you (over 75%) are also very involved with advocating for the arts at the local and/or national level.

While the survey results indicate that emerging arts leaders want and need professional development, only 31% of you indicated that there is a budget line for professional development in your organization’s budget. It is clear that organizational support for employee’s professional development has been reduced or eliminated entirely in 2009/2010 budgets. Read the rest of this entry »

Green Paper: Art Therapy

Posted by Michelle Dean On April - 26 - 20101 COMMENT

Welcome to the Green Paper discussion on the future of Art Therapy. We encourage you to read the full Green Paper available in the tab above and make general comments at this time. Be sure to keep your comments brief—Michelle Dean, the Ambassador for this Green Paper will begin deeper, threaded conversations around specific paragraphs, sections or themes that appear in this Green Paper. Follow this conversation thoroughly by adding the Art Therapy feed to your RSS reader!

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Questions that I ask myself

Posted by Alix Refshauge On April - 22 - 20101 COMMENT

Do community based residencies serve the academic artist?

How can community based residencies enable the critical conversations that serious artists need to challenge their work and keep them up to speed on contemporary issues in the arts? Can we provide both a forum where the serious contemporary artist can transform while making their art or their services accessible to the general public? Are these two practices worlds apart or do they coexist? Does this apply to location too? Is an artist at a disadvantage if they arent living somewhere that has direct access to a contemporary art scene; or does technology provide enough access to the information they need?

What do you think?

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The Deal Breaker

Posted by Michael R. Gagliardo On April - 22 - 2010No comments yet

Today I took about 60 fourth, fifth, and sixth graders to hear a performance by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.  For most of these students, it was the first time they had ever heard a live performance by a symphony orchestra – for some of them it may be have been the first time they had heard a symphony orchestra AT ALL.  The funny thing is, they’re all string players.  They are all a part of our in-school string program, and they’ve all been playing for at least seven months.  But if it weren’t for today’s performance, they may have gone through their two years of string classes without ever hearing an orchestra perform.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Just last week, Independent Sector released the estimated value of a volunteer hour in 2009. What’s an average hour of our volunteer time worth? $20.85 in 2009, up from $20.25 in 2008. And according to the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteers across the country spent 8 billion hours volunteering in 2008. That’s $162 billion worth of volunteer time! Now those are some impressive numbers but I have a feeling we can make 2010 count even more.

 The release of these figures was a great way to kick off National Volunteer Week, which runs April 18-24. National Volunteer Week is a signature event of Points of Light Institute which celebrates all those across the nation that volunteer to improve our communities.

Last night in Washington, DC, Points of Light Institute and Service Nation held “Inspire…Serve…Solve,” a reception to celebrate the accomplishments of the national and community service movement. Today, ServiceNation held a Leadership Luncheon and Solution Sessions. These important events were backed by major businesses from around the country including Bank of America, Gap Inc., and Target. Not only do these companies value volunteering, they are also huge supporters of the arts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Last week, Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., of Charleston, SC, delivered the 23rd Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy, focusing on the art of city design and the role mayors can play in transforming their cities into dynamic and more livable cultural communities. For those who were not able to attend the lecture, you can download or listen to it here. In addition, Americans for the Art was lucky enough to be able to interview Mayor Riley backstage before the show and ask him a few questions about the importance of the arts in cities and advocating for the arts on the local, state, and national level.

I feel slightly guilty not taking more time to post specifically about the Green Paper – which I believe is wonderful, makes some great points of discussion, and I highly encourage EVERYONE to read – but I must take the time, now, to focus on something that I am always an advocate for and is always on my heart …. Taking on the Leadership Role!!!

Most recently, I read a post by another individual on the ArtsBlog.  I tried looking his name up again, but had no luck in finding it.  Therefore, if you read this blog, please introduce yourself – it was refreshing to listen to you speak your mind.

Therefore, the topic of discussion I would like to bring up is this: Read the rest of this entry »

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Welcome to the Green Paper discussion on the future of Community Development in the Arts. We encourage you to read the full Green Paper available in the tab above and make general comments at this time. Be sure to keep your comments brief—the Ambassador for this Green Paper will begin deeper, threaded conversations around specific paragraphs, sections or themes that appear in this Green Paper. Follow this conversation thoroughly by adding the Community Development feed to your RSS reader!

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When I was asked to blog about a green paper on the future of state arts agencies (SAAs), I wasn’t sure the topic would attract much discussion. Most of the people who will read this paper will be grantees, I thought, so what do they care about SAAs as long as they get their grants? And then I read the paper and I realized I had been short-sighted. If you aren’t one of the few SAA employees in our country, you may not feel this paper is of interest to you. But I urge you to reconsider, read it, and join the discussion.

Mr. Tzougros’ thoughts about SAAs reach far into our society and ask what SAAs can be to the ever-changing landscape of the arts in America. His vision of the future SAA “sets our work in a broader ecology, allowing us to make more meaningful connections to other creative industries and public policy issues, enriching our work on behalf of all citizens.” Heady stuff for a government agency which may or may not be appreciated by the majority of citizens anyway. Read the rest of this entry »

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In this month’s ArtNews magazine, I read a book review covering In Curating: Interviews WithTen International Curators. Carolee Thea, author of the book, quoted one curator who shared his innate perspective that, curators are mediators between artists and the public. I couldn’t help but think, isn’t that what I do (at least part of what I do)?

For the last day-point-five, I have been attending the Arts in the Airport workshop presented by the American Association of Airport Executives. I posed these question over cheese and berries last night, do Public Art Administrators think of themselves as curators? Are we curators? The question evoked/provoked some rather lively discussion. We really delved into the highs and lows of elitism, juxtaposed the field of museology and shared challenging views of how the two fields compare. Read the rest of this entry »

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Welcome to the Green Paper discussion on the future of STATE ARTS AGENCIES. We encourage you to read the full Green Paper available in the tab above and make general comments at this time. Be sure to keep your comments brief—Leigh Patton, the Ambassador for this Green Paper will soon begin deeper, threaded conversations around specific paragraphs, sections or themes that appear in this Green Paper. Follow this conversation thoroughly by adding the future of STATE ARTS AGENCIES  feed to your RSS reader!

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GREEN PAPER: The Future of Jazz

Posted by admin On April - 19 - 2010No comments yet

Welcome to the Green Paper discussion on the future of Jazz. We encourage you to read the full Green Paper available in the tab above and make general comments at this time. We are currently looking for an emerging leader ambassador to help lead the conversation about the future of jazz. Please email greenpapers@artsusa.org if you are interested. Be sure to keep your comments brief—the Ambassador for this Green Paper will begin deeper, threaded conversations around specific paragraphs, sections or themes that appear in this Green Paper. Follow this conversation thoroughly by adding the JAZZ feed to your RSS reader!

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