bca10_2009Bob Lynch, President & CEO of Americans for the Arts, discusses the recent BCA TEN Awards which were held in New York City in November. He focuses on how these awardees–both large and small–all support the arts in unique ways in their own communities. While the economy in the United States has proven financially challenging for the arts, many partners across the country in the private sector are continuing, and stepping up, their support of the arts and arts education.

Find more information on The BCA TEN.

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Since it feels like Halloween just passed, it came as a bit of a shock to me that it’s already December. With Thanksgiving now also behind us, the celebration of the holiday giving season can begin. I know that I do not have to remind you that it is a great time to give last-minute donations to your favorite arts organizations, but it is also a perfect time to support your local artists.

As I have been catching up on my Google News searches from the past week, I noticed a number of articles in both major and local newspapers encouraging people to buy their holiday gifts at local craft fairs, galleries, and the like. While the members of the arts community might think of this as a no brainer, a simple letter to the editor from a local arts council chair or statewide arts organization director encouraging the rest of the public to do the same could do wonders for the individual artists who have scraped by through this interminable recession. Read the rest of this entry »

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Doing Our pART

Posted by Tim Mikulski On November - 30 - 2009No comments yet

For the second year, the Vermont Arts Council is holding an online auction called Doing Our pART for the Vermont Foodbank. Last year, the arts council raised $10,254 for the foodbank, providing over 27,000 meals to those in need – and this year the need is even greater.

Although it has been said that recession is fading, this commendable initiative comes at a time when families, and the donating artists, are still reeling from these difficult economic circumstances.

Over 100 items are up for bid on the auction website through December 4, 2009. Included are original pieces of art, dance lessons, tickets to shows, jewelry, and at least two private concerts.

This auction is an excellent example of our community coming together to help others, but I’m sure there are other philanthropic endeavors of which we are unaware.

Have any arts organizations or artists in your area teamed up to help the less fortunate? Do you have an alternative idea that has or could work for others?

How are funders—public and private sector alike—thinking about and supporting arts and culture as a strategy for civic engagement and social change? That’s what some funders and Animating Democracy want to find out as we launch a survey of local, state, and regional arts agencies, private and corporate foundations, and other funders as part of our Arts & Social Change Mapping Initiative. The survey for funders will be available online from December 1–18, 2009.

Some of our recent inquiries suggest a shift within the funding community to more support for the arts as a strategy to meet community change goals:

  • The arts funding program officer within a community foundation is asked by trustees to make the case for sustaining an arts and civic engagement funding initiative only two years old. To help make her case, she wants to find out what peers have learned about impact of comparable grantmaking.
  • A social justice funder is looking for examples of projects that employ arts and culture to address issues related to immigration. Learning about the role the arts can play will inform how to integrate arts and culture into grantmaking strategies.
  • In line with a recent cultural plan, a local arts agency is revising guidelines and grant review criteria to encourage civic engagement through the arts. The agency wants to identify funders whose guidelines can inform their own. Read the rest of this entry »

waterfireIn this audio podcast, Bob Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, discusses the recent National Arts Marketing Project Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. He argues that because most arts organizations rely heavily on earned income, innovative marketing techniques are even more critical in today’s tough economic climate.

Five hundred arts professionals, artists, and others attended CollaborAction: Arts Marketing, Sponsorship and Fundraising Strategies that Work to gain crucial training for their organizations. You can find tweets, videos, and pictures from NAMP Conference on our website.

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Emerging Leader Survey

Posted by Stephanie Hanson On November - 23 - 20092 COMMENTS

The Emerging Leader Council and Americans for the Arts needs YOUR help!   As we celebrate the last few months of the Emerging Leader Network’s 10th Anniversary, we are launching a survey to identify the current professional development needs and trends of emerging arts leaders. 

This survey has a few objectives:

  • To strengthen the connection between Americans for the Arts and the Emerging Leaders Council and Networks, as well as to connect with new emerging leaders
  • To help shape future emerging leader professional development offerings
  • To help form and prioritize Emerging Leaders Council goals
  • To provide insight to Americans for the Arts on how to better assist emerging leaders in their career development

Click Here to access the survey.

And use this link to share the survey with your community and colleagues:  http://research.zarca.com/k/SsVWVWsSRsPsPsP 

We hope to reach as many Emerging Leaders as possible, and we encourage you to invite others to participate. The survey should take you about 15 minutes of your time to complete. 

Individual survey responses will be anonymous, but combined results will be shared with the field. 

Email Stephanie Evans, Local Arts Agency Services Coordinator, at sevans@artsusa.org with any questions.

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Listen to Part 2 of this podcast interview with Edward Clapp, Editor and Project Director for 20UNDER40. This conversation is a follow-up on the great discussions we had about emerging leaders in the arts during the 20UNDER40 Blog Salon on ARTSBlog, October 19-23. Edward discusses the initial actions that sparked the idea of 20UNDER40, and recounts some other discussions and debates that took place after he launched the project.

With more than 70 blog posts and 150 reader comments, the Salon offerings can still be found using the tag Salon_Oct_09.

Listen to Part 1.

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Jeanne-ClaudeI am personally saddened to learn that Jeanne-Claude, collaborator and wife of Christo, died late Wednesday at age 74. It is widely-known Jeanne-Claude was the passionate proponent and advocate behind the artist team’s spectacular works of art in public space. My life’s work has been dedicated to publicly-sited work in the environment after witnessing Jeanne-Claude and Christo’s Running Fence at the age of 10. The image of the white billowing fence stretching across the California hills was an experience that impacted me profoundly – a parallel experience of the many audiences that have witnessed the duo’s great works. The arts field will not forget Jeanne-Claude’s tireless advocacy, so many art leaders diligently trod, in pursuit of grand-scale creative works, realized in unique spaces for moments in time.  May Jeanne-Claude’s next gate of transition billow in spectacular saffron.

photo credit: Liesel  Fenner

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The NEA is inviting the public to watch a live webcast on Friday, November 20, 2009, about America’s artists and other cultural workers who are part of this country’s real economy.  Some of the topics the panelists will speak about include Artist Labor Markets, Artists and the Economic Recession, Artists in the Greater Economy, and a number of other important arts research and information topics.  For more information click here, and to watch this live webcast tomorrow from 9:00 am-4:00 pm, visit www.arts.gov.

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Earlier this week, I was able to attend the fall Cool Culture fair. Cool Culture is an organization that works with Head Start families to increase access to the arts. Founded by two dynamic educators, the organization has welcomed 50,000 underserved families in the New York City area to various cultural institutions. The organization uses a network of community liaisons to break down visitation barriers and provide free visits to New York’s cultural gems. This week’s fair was a chance for the Cool Culture stakeholders—child educators, community liaisons, and cultural organizations—to share best practices and highlights.

One of the highlights of the gathering was a panel describing partnerships between museums and early childhood programs throughout the city. A partnership between the Highbridge Nursery School in the Bronx and The Guggenheim Museum brought up some tactics that really reflect smart arts marketing. All of the panelists spoke wisely to the idea that entry barriers aren’t just for underserved children, they apply to all of us (and limit audience development for all of us). Read the rest of this entry »

This past Sunday, actors, actresses, musicians, and other celebrity artists turned out to show their support for arts education at  P.S. Arts Express Yourself 2009.  This annual event brings out well-known artists such as Jack Black, Lisa Kudrow, and Steve Carell, among others, in an effort to restore arts education programs to all California public schools and to support P.S. Arts programs for students who don’t have access to arts programs in their schools.  While celebrity artists certainly help spotlight the issue of arts education with their advocacy and willingness to speak up for the arts, you don’t have to be famous to be an effective arts advocate. Read the rest of this entry »

Take a listen to Part 1 of this podcast interview with Edward Clapp, Editor and Project Director for 20UNDER40. This conversation is a follow-up on the great discussions we had about emerging leaders in the arts during the 20UNDER40 Blog Salon on ARTSBlog, October 19-23. Edward discusses the initial actions that sparked the idea of 20UNDER40, and recounts some other discussions and debates that took place after he launched the project.

With more than 70 blog posts and 150 reader comments, the Salon offerings can still be found using the tag Salon_Oct_09.

Be sure to check back on ARTSblog for part 2 next Friday!

Pope to Convene with Artists

Posted by Sherri Ellerbe On November - 12 - 20091 COMMENT

Have you been invited to Rome to attend the Pope’s upcoming arts event?  The Catholic News Service reports in an effort to “renew friendship and dialogue between the church and artists and to spark new opportunities for collaboration,” Pope Benedict XVI will be meeting with artists from around the world November 21 inside the Sistine Chapel.  The guest list is comprised of 500 representatives from the visual and creative arts, architecture, literature, poetry, music and the performing arts.  At press conferences leading up to the event, Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, said, “Over the last century,…artistic excellence and faith have separated and it’s the job of people of culture to try to mend the rift.”  Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, announced that next week’s meeting was to be the “first of many initiatives aimed at bridging the gap that has developed between spirituality and artistic expression.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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Last week, I read in Arts Watch that the arts in my hometown of Fairfax County, VA, are threatened due to significant budget cuts. When I was in high school, the public schools in Fairfax County were ranked among the top in the country. We had access to band, orchestra, a great theater department, and many visual art courses to choose from. I took music theory, a course that put me ahead of my classmates when I started college as a freshman music major.

The news about Fairfax County saddened me, because I know that without access to the arts, my career would be very different then what it is today. It also led me to ask a question—if it’s not the public school system’s responsibility to provide a quality arts education for students, then whose is it? Is it the responsibility of non-profit arts organizations? Government? Parents?

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot, and also reminiscing about my own experience in the arts as a young child. While I recognize that the answer to my questions may differ depending on who is answering, when I ask myself again whose responsibility it is to provide quality arts education to children my answer is—it is everyone’s responsibility. Read the rest of this entry »

meandwellesWhen you look back on your love of the arts, was there one person who inspired you? Perhaps it was a high school English teacher that incorporated art history into the classroom. Or it was a dancer teacher that encouraged personal creativity in the dance studio, even among the younger students. Did you take a middle school drama class that allowed you to make lifelong friends and help set a course for your career?

The stars and director of the upcoming movie Me and Orson WellesClaire Danes, Zac Efron, and Richard Linklater—shared these personal stories and more at a screening in Washington, DC, in partnership with Americans for the Arts and Impact Arts + Film Fund on Tuesday night. The screening panel was moderated by Washington Post education writer Valerie Strauss and also included Bob Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts.

While in Washington, the filmmaker and actors joined Americans for the Arts and Impact Film + Arts Fund at advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill and at the White House to discuss with policy makers the critical issues facing arts education in schools today. They met with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Kalpen Modi, Heather Higginbottom, and Rachel Goslins, among others.

The group also sat down for a video interview for Americans for the Arts. Check back on ARTSblog in a few days for the interview and to find out who was inspired by each of the teachers mentioned above. Read the rest of this entry »