Are the voices of emerging leaders in the arts too loud or not loud enough? The grumblings of both young arts practitioners and discerning seasoned veterans raise a number of important questions: Are we squelching the voices of emerging professionals in the arts field? And are we causing an exodus of committed young talent to leave the field for work in other domains?

For the first time in history there are four generational cohorts in the workplace.  The residual clash of generational perspectives has surfaced a number of undeniable challenges—and opportunities—for arts professionals and organizations. Unlike other industries, the arts sector seems to be struggling particularly hard with the inevitable generational shift in leadership.

Join the Emerging Leaders Network of Americans for the Arts and the 20UNDER40 anthology for the Emerging Leaders Salon on ARTSblog the week of October 19-23. Nearly 20 diverse arts professionals from across the country will discuss the impending generational shift in arts leadership, the value of emerging leaders to the field, and the necessity of a platform for young arts professionals. We invite you to follow these posts and continue the conversation through your ideas, comments, and personal stories.

  • Are you a young arts leader? Does the field value your creativity, innovation, and professional experience?
  • Are you a veteran arts practitioner? Does this view of the field as an entity unable to let loose the reigns of leadership resonate with you?
  • Is the arts field successful in its attempt to foster young leaders? Is something out of synch with our planning for succession—or is it an unwarranted overdose of arrogance being exercised by those new to the field? Read the rest of this entry »

Bob Lynch, President & CEO of Americans for the Arts, discusses the recent National Arts Awards which took place on October 7th in New York City. In this podcast he focuses on the value of honoring partners for the work they do and making sure their advocacy stories gain attention in the media.

Find more information on the 2009 National Arts Awards here.

National Arts & Humanities Month is in full swing, and new Creative Conversations are rolling in by the day.  It’s fantastic to see so many communities engaging in such interesting and important discussions concerning emerging arts leaders.  Listed below are the scheduled events coming up in the next two weeks!

There’s an interesting blog discussion on Huffington Post about Cultural Diplomacy–a really hot topic right now.

Tell us what you think about Karen Brooks Hopkins’ blog post or about the opportunities and challenges of cultural diplomacy.

This is an advanced way of attracting people into the vision. When people know they could lose something big they take action.

More people are motivated by what they stand to lose than by what they stand to gain. And your members take the results of their membership in your cause personally. They co-own the accomplishments you create.

That’s why sharing the stories with them is sooooo powerful. I’ll write more about how often I communicate with my Cause, Keep the Arts In Public Schools, in a future post. For now, let’s stay focused on giving.

When I first set a Donor Match, I put $250 of my own money into my “Give” account. I wanted to be sure that I could live up to my end of the bargain. The second time I set a Donor Match, I had no money in there. Read the rest of this entry »

Saving Souls

Posted by Adam Thurman On October - 10 - 20092 COMMENTS

There’s been a bit of talk in the blogosphere lately about how sports have been able to make themselves part of the fabric of mainstream American culture in a way that the arts have not.

In many ways I love the sports comparison, but there is a vital difference between the two that we should discuss. So let’s do that and then I’ll offer a different industry that I think the arts could learn from.

Part of what sports offer to us is a clear outcome. I know, for a fact that the Chicago Bears beat the Seattle Seahawks a few weeks ago Sunday 25-19. This is our starting point. If I’m talking about the game with anyone in the world, we all can agree on who won the game and who lost.

Now what we can debate in the sports world, and debate endlessly, is why certain things happened during the game and how those things could impact the next game. We can talk about whether the Bears need to run the ball more effectively, or whether the Seahawks have a viable backup quarterback in Seneca Wallace.

But when I call my friend to discuss those things, we both know the context of the discussion. The Bears won. The Seahawks lost. Both teams are trying to do the same thing, win the Super Bowl. Now imagine if I called my friend and we first had to discuss whether the Bears won or lost, or the standards for winning or losing, or whether winning or losing was important in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

Bob Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, discusses how arts organizations and citizens can take part in National Arts & Humanities Month–what he calls, “a month-long national arts festival.” Listen to the ways you and your community can help celebrate the Arts and Humanities this October.

Find the map of National Arts & Humanities Month events and all the other information you need on our website.

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When I first started as an Administrator on the Cause that speaks loudest to me, Keep The Arts In Public Schools,  I didn’t know the first thing about organized giving.

I contributed a big chunk of change and then I learned about how to leverage it. Since then, I’ve spoken with people at foundations who have both good and bad things to say about setting unreasonable goals and creating matching grants.

We’re SO fortunate in our Cause because there is no amount of giving or striving that hinders the benefit we provide for our benefactor. Just because we are lucky, doesn’t mean everyone will be, so please apply the following experience I share with a bit of perspective on how it can truly serve you.

Before I was an administrator of my Cause I wanted to organize what I called A Day of Giving. Mostly because I was interested in generating a result with the Cause to make other people take notice. We were brand new into a new administration and I could tell the national thermometer was still taking the temperature. Read the rest of this entry »

The 51st Annual Meeting of the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) is taking place this coming weekend in St. Louis. If you think this might be an unusual place to be rewarding artistic excellence along with business and economic acumen, think again.

Sharing the awards spotlight with venerable economist Dr. Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council, who will receive the Adam Smith Award. Dr. Summers will be justifiably honored for his “leadership in the profession and the use of ideas and knowledge in the workplace and policy arena.” As a main member of the Obama team whose mandate is to help guide the country out from under the crippling effects of a deep recession, we are counting on his innovativeness and leadership skills.

While Dr. Summers will be honored as the distinguished leader that he is, Allison Elder and Kyle Clifford O’Brien will be recognized as the leaders they promise to be. Read the rest of this entry »

The Philadelphia Inquirer just featured a great article about how five starting football players from a Pennsylvania high school are all heavily involved in the school’s upper-level art classes. Of these five students at Downingtown West High School, two are level-1 art majors, two are art advanced-placement studio majors, and another is preparing for the commercial art field.

While student interest in football and the arts certainly aren’t mutually exclusive, football coach Mike Milano was initially “surprised to find he had so many budding artists on the team.”

“I’m from the old school. I like competition [on the field], but I go to the art shows to support the kids,” he said. “My mother was an artist, but I didn’t inherit any of her talent.”

Read more about the students and their art teacher Becky Desmond here.

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Each September, thousands of parents, teachers, artists, and arts education advocates visit the Americans for the Arts site and PSA site, taking the start of the school year as an opportunity to ask questions about their children’s arts education. To address the questions and concerns of these arts education stakeholders, Americans for the Arts hosted an Arts Education Salon on ARTSblog from September 21 – 25, 2009. Twenty-four guest bloggers posted more than 70 blog entries during that week on one specific topic: what steps can people or organizations take to ensure the children of their community have access to a great arts education?

The Salon not only provided crucial information to our readers and ARTSblog visitors, but also offered a forum for discussion on the hot topics the bloggers addressed in their posts. The Arts Education topics which were touched upon were diverse, from arts activities at home and ways for parents to become arts smart to the value of arts education and the need for advocacy. Be sure to continue reading the posts at your leisure and comment as you like. They can all be found using the Salon Sept 09 blog tag.

What information from the Arts Education Salon on ARTSblog helped you?

Last entry we covered Personal Pledges. Those are great as an individual and encouraging people to do that is really powerful. It helps people see that the circumstances of their lives can align to support their goals, even when it seems impossible at first.

Its amazing what $10 can prove to people. Also, the feeling that people get when they give to something important to them is huge.

When I got started with Keep the Arts In Public Schools our average giving was around $400 per week. We now average around $1000 per week and its going up.

Another place to encourage people to go is to set-up a monthly contribution. This can make a huge difference for a Cause that genuinely wants to have an impact. With a membership that regularly contributes $10 a month, instead of twice or three times a year, the possible leverage can quadruple.

Our membership (they probably don’t even know this) have been recognized in national newspapers for their level of contribution, and most of them only give once or twice a year. Imagine if our Million plus membership gave $10 each a month. Read the rest of this entry »

Here are just few highlights of National Arts and Humanities Month events happening this weekend.

Charlestown’s Community Concert Series in Catonsville, MD, presents the Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition today, October 2. The concert begins at 7 pm and admission is $4.00. For more information visit

Art Detroit Now is this weekend in Detroit, MI. From October 2-3, 25,000 people are expected to attend contemporary art openings, exhibitions and demonstrations at 75 galleries, museums and nonprofit organizations that will showcase metro Detroit’s great contemporary art and artists. For more information visit

The City of Edmonds Arts Commission presents is annual Write on the Sound writing conference, October 2-4. This well-established conference, focused on the craft of writing, offers an affordable experience for writers of all levels, with a variety of intimate high quality workshops at the Frances Anderson Center in Edmonds, WA. For more information visit

Take a stroll through the Arts & Entertainment district of Frostburg, MD, at its last Arts Walk of the season on October 3 from 5-8 pm. The Arts Walks are self-guided walking tours that feature opening receptions and exhibitions at downtown art galleries, theater performances, live music at several downtown locations, hands-on art projects on the Arts Bus, shopping at a variety of retail destinations, and dining at some of the area’s finest restaurants. Click here for more information.

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As an arts marketing blogger I have covered a lot of stuff. But one thing I haven’t covered enough is how to bring in groups to see your work.

Having a group sales strategy is key for arts organizations, particularly ones that perform in smaller venues. Not only do groups feel up those seats, they also bring in a very nice energy to the event. So let’s talk about how to get them in:

1. Start early. Most organizations that bring groups to events starting planning those group outings months in advance. For example, the show my day job is running now starting contacting groups in late May.So if you want to start bringing in groups for your late winter, early spring events, the time to get moving on that is now. Read the rest of this entry »

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Girl Scout and VolunteerAt each level of Girl Scouts, the girls can earn their Music Badge, which includes requirements of learning how music is composed and created, and creating vocal and instrumental music of their own. The Florida State University chapters of Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI), a professional women’s music fraternity, and Tau Beta Sigma (TBS), a band service sorority, joined together to put on a free workshop to help over 100 Tallahassee Girl Scouts earn their music badge in a day-long event.

“We had 57 Brownies, 38 Juniors and 23 Cadets signed up to attend, as well as over 40 parent chaperones,” said SAI service chair Candice Netti, who worked alongside the TBS service chair to coordinate the event.  Some of the girls had participated in music lessons or music classes at school, but for others, this was their first experience with music.

Read this entire story here.

ARTSblog holds week-long Blog Salons, a series of posts by guest bloggers, that focus on an overarching theme within a core area of Americans for the Arts' work. Here are links to the most recent Salons:

Arts Education

Teaching Artists

Early Arts Education

Common Core Standards

Quality, Engagement & Partnerships

Emerging Leaders

Charting the Future of the Arts

Taking Communities to the Next Level

New Methods & Models

Public Art

Best Practices


Arts Marketing

Audience Engagement

Winning Audiences

Powered by Community

Animating Democracy

Arts & the Military

Scaling Up Programs & Projects

Social Impact & Evaluation

Humor & Social Change

Private Sector Initatives

Arts & Business Partnerships

Business Models in the Arts

Local Arts Agencies

Cultural Districts

Economic Development

Trends, Collaborations & Audiences

Art in Rural Communities

Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.