A Tending

Posted by Aracelis Girmay On November - 18 - 2014No comments yet
Aracelis Girmay

Aracelis Girmay

I begin with that which is languageless. Gesture, wordless calls of grief or joy, exclamation, a dancer’s body moving in time. What John Edgar Wideman calls, in his essay “In Praise of Silence,” “the entire body’s expressive repertoire, subversive, liberating, freighted with laughter, song and sigh, burdened and energized by opposition.” Which means: not words alone, but every mark we make in the landscape, in the air. I begin here because when I think about the art and resistance work I am most enlivened and taught by this moment, I think about the Turf Feinz and Yak Films. Read the rest of this entry »

Denise Brown

Denise Brown

A decade ago, when the Leeway Foundation decided to support artists and cultural producers interested in community transformation and working at the intersection of art, culture and social change, there were a lot of questions raised about the aesthetics of such work. The general presumption of the majority of our critics was that our interest and appreciation for the aesthetic value (aka artistic excellence) of the work would be lost and, as a result, the nature of the work we supported would take on a more didactic form. This was a nice way of saying it would be bad art, because there seemed to be a belief that both things – beauty and social change intent – could not exist in a work of art or cultural act that would satisfy an aesthetic ideal. Read the rest of this entry »

Living Into The Questions

Posted by Arlene Goldbard On November - 17 - 20141 COMMENT
Arlene Goldbard

Arlene Goldbard

The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers. – James Baldwin

Baldwin’s epigram reminds us that to thrive, we must be able to see through imposed realities and prefab solutions. We may be tempted to seek definitive answers, but what we really need now is to live into the questions.

To inhabit questions means to first unpack their assumptions and implications.

What’s the context for an inquiry into aesthetics and social justice? When I speak on this topic, someone from the “establishment” arts world always asks me this: “What about standards? What about excellence? A lot of this work isn’t very good.” Read the rest of this entry »

Alicia Gregory

Alicia Gregory

“This feels a bit like falling down Alice’s rabbit hole,” said one contributor to this week’s blog salon on the role of aesthetics in arts for social change work. Indeed, it is no light matter. Despite this, we are pleased bring you 17 thought pieces from a diverse lineup of artists, cultural leaders, funders, and activists who have weighed in on why and how aesthetics are important in understanding, valuing, and advancing arts and social change work.

The questions we posed catalyzed some interesting critique and debate. In the weeks since we set them down on the page and said “Go!” to our generous bloggers, I’ve been thinking about these questions. I’ve thought about the time, in my days as an editor in graduate school, I went to bat for a piece on the 2011 Egyptian Revolution because it was urgent and moved me, despite falling short technically and in clarity. Read the rest of this entry »

Clay Lord

Clay Lord

The pursuit of forward progress in issues of diversity, access, and equity in the arts in America is a difficult and frustrating business. A conversation that starts with, say, a lack of racial diversity on an organization’s staff can quickly move from hiring practices to a perceived lack of qualified candidates of color in the pool, to a discussion of the systemic devaluation of the arts as a career option in certain populations, which may or may not stem from systemic inequalities in the American education system surrounding arts education, which in turn is representative of a society built from bottom to top on the creation of privileged class predominantly defined by the unequal distribution of wealth and access to opportunity across hundreds of years and dozens of generations. And suddenly you aren’t talking about a problem you can do anything about, and you feel either overwhelmed or off the hook. What can I do about that, anyway? Read the rest of this entry »

Janet Starke

Janet Starke

An Arts Educator’s Report from NAMPC 2014

I had the privilege and honor to attend this past weekend’s NAMP (National Arts Marketing Project) Conference in Atlanta. I co-presented a session with AFTA’s Arts Education Program Coordinator, Jeff Poulin. This stemmed from a conversation we first began last winter, when we discussed the concept of the “shared space between arts marketing and education.” Mind you, even as we might picture the “center” of the highly-valued Venn Diagram, there are varied tracks within that center:

1) Marketing arts education for the advancement of the programs

2) Using education as a tool for marketing the organization

3) Using education as a vehicle for increased audience development and ticketing sales Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Olivier

Sara Olivier

We’re sitting in a local diner in Atlanta, trying to summarize what we gleaned from the National Arts Marketing Conference in a short blog post. Like it’s possible. Actually, we can’t seem to get away from #nampc this year in Atlanta. Seriously. We cannot leave. During Sha Hwang’s brilliant keynote, in which he rhapsodized about the brave pilots who were the first to “fly west with the night,” United airlines texted that our westbound, evening flight home was canceled. Oh the irony.

Our twitter feed is full of Rapid City, South Dakotans documenting the ensuing polar vortex. The public library’s handyman, Wade, is plowing the streets around the building. Eager librarians invite you to come in and warm up (this is the truth…no slant. Wade is a real person, and librarians in South Dakota tweet AND have 3D printers. Deal with it). Read the rest of this entry »

Sarah Sidman

Sarah Sidman

You probably already know that Starbucks sells coffee*.

And even if you don’t know us, you can probably guess that ArtsFund has something to do with funding the arts.

But what you might not know is how coffee, crowd-funding, community radio and a cool arts presenter are connecting to empower music lovers and make a difference for Seattle youth.

It’s a pretty good story, and it’s not over yet! Read the rest of this entry »

Wendy Taliaferro

Wendy Taliaferro

For those readers who may not know a ton about Fort Worth, our city has an incredibly unique and growing arts and culture scene. Approximately 40 minutes from Dallas, Fort Worth has a little bit of everything. From world-class museums, eclectic gallery spaces, and an emerging music scene, this city has a fantastic variety for arts lovers.

As an employee of the Arts Council of Fort Worth, I work in the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, a public space that promotes the talents of local artists, musicians, actors, and dancers. During my time at the Arts Council, I have quickly learned that public programs and spaces are a vital piece to Fort Worth’s cultural success. With that said, I started my job at the Arts Council of Fort Worth over six months ago with an inactive Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA) program on my desk. In the past, our BVA program had blips of success, offering assistance to local arts organizations here and there. However, I began looking into the chapters in larger cities and noticed that this program could and should have a greater impact on our community with the amount of artists and business professionals working closely together. Read the rest of this entry »

Nina Ozlu Tunceli

Nina Ozlu Tunceli

Narric Rome

Narric Rome

In this year’s midterm elections, Republicans took back the Senate, kept control of the House and won governorships in 31 states and counting. What does that mean for you and for us, as strong advocates of the arts and arts education? Here we break down the national, state, and local results – and their potential impact on the arts:

 

In Congress

The U.S. Senate will be Republican-led. This means all Senate committees will see new chairmen, and since those committees control and recommend federal spending, these new chairmen could have significant impact on federal arts funding. Read the rest of this entry »

ONE VOTE, ONE VOICE

Posted by Todd Eric Hawkins On November - 4 - 2014No comments yet
Todd Eric Hawkins

Todd Eric Hawkins

I became involved with the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Network in order to form stronger relationships with arts leaders on a local and national level. Over the past few years, the network has given me the opportunity to forge vitally important connections, both personally and professionally. In addition, the experience has provided me with the inspiration and tools to develop who I am as a leader.

For the past three years, I have had the privilege of serving on the Emerging Leader Council, a nationally elected body of individuals that advise Americans for the Arts on how best to serve the next generation of arts leaders. As a member, I was honored on multiple occasions to sit around a table with 14 of the most promising arts leaders I have ever met. Their dedication, wisdom, and first-hand knowledge of the struggles facing all of us as we grow as leaders, and their eagerness to find solutions and build a stronger future have been invaluable to my current and future success. Read the rest of this entry »

Kellyn Lopes

Kellyn Lopes

A guest speaker in one of my graduate courses recently said, “94% of people don’t care about the arts.” While it may be true that a portion of people don’t actively seek out and participate in the arts, or consider themselves to be “artsy,” there is a significant relevance in understanding and “caring” about the role of the arts in society.

Instead, maybe 94% of people haven’t fully recognized the transformative power and intrinsic value of the arts in their communities…and their businesses.

So how do we measure the value of the arts?

Read the rest of this entry »

Jordan Shue

Jordan Shue

Megan Bell

Megan Bell

Throughout the blog salon this week during National Arts and Humanities Month (and Pro Bono Week!), we hope these posts have demonstrated the value of giving your time and treasure to the arts. Whether you are an individual philanthropist, business volunteer, young patron, emerging art leader, or corporate sponsor, your contributions strengthen the arts across America.

As we saw this week, there are many ways to support the arts. We can encourage younger patrons to support the arts now and in future generations, engage the community in unique ways to raise awareness of the arts, donate time and volunteer skills to further the missions of individual arts organizations in your community, join the push for tax policy that favors the arts, recruit new supporters of the arts through workplace engagement and giving campaigns, and above all, become a passionate ambassador for such an important cause.

Volunteering your time provides capabilities and experiences that many organizations may not have the resources to otherwise procure, and donating your resources grants arts organizations the means to continue focusing on fulfilling their missions, growing their audiences, and producing great art. Did you know: Read the rest of this entry »

Amanda Murphy

Amanda Murphy

My two after school art clubs, six parent chaperones, and I were walking back from our enormously successful field trip when one of my students beamed: “Mrs. Murphy! I never knew there was so much art!” We’d spent the day elbow deep in art processes at The Shirt Factory in Glens Falls–a historic shirt factory turned haven for artists, crafters, and healers. If you find yourself in upstate New York, do yourself the favor of checking it out.

My students had the incredible opportunity to participate in hour long workshops in pottery, digital photography, felt making, flower pressing, and ‘plarn’ bracelet making–crocheted bracelets made from reused plastic shopping bags. My “art clubbers” were deeply engaged during each workshop, all of which were led by working artists. I excitedly traipsed through the stairwells trying to be in all the workshops simultaneously.

I loved watching them dive into the art making they’d only heard of in our pre-field trip meetings.

I loved watching students who weren’t typically friends bond without reservation over the processes they were sharing.

I loved watching them realize the arts are a viable career option, not only an activity to complete in the art room. Read the rest of this entry »

Lydia Zacharias

Lydia Zacharias

Many of the companies we work with at ArtsKC are engaged in a variety of programs, including our Now Showing program for emerging artists and businesses, Advocacy efforts, and workplace giving for the ArtsKC Fund. These corporate partners are not only passionate about supporting the arts in the Kansas City region, but are also achieving true employee engagement. Through their partnerships with ArtsKC, companies are able to provide unique engagement opportunities that encourage people to stay with the company longer, report higher levels of job satisfaction, and increase productivity through teamwork and a sense of personal investment from management. Many people are now more interested in working for companies in which they feel valued, and in which a certain level of work/life balance is encouraged, than ones that simply provide a paycheck. So, support of the arts is not only good for your corporate philanthropic efforts, it’s also good for your talent recruitment and retention efforts!

Read the rest of this entry »