Amanda Bell

Amanda Bell

I’ve been thinking a lot about how a line from one of my favorite musicals, My Fair Lady, pertains to arts marketing.  Bear with me.

Show-Me-StillFor those who don’t know it, the Lerner and Loewe musical based on George Bernard Shaw’s play, Pygmalion, tells the story of famed linguist Professor Henry Higgins and a cockney flower girl named Eliza Doolittle whose elocution improvement becomes his pet project.  Towards the end of the play, now a proper lady with perfect pro-noun-ci-a-tion, Eliza delivers the anthem, “Show Me,” admonishing her suitor, Freddy, for saying instead of demonstrating how he feels. “Sing me no song, read me no rhyme, don’t waste my time, show me!” Eliza berates Freddy. Why have I been thinking about this? Well, what Eliza delivers as romantic instruction was actually prescient advice for 21st century arts marketing.

We’ve all noticed the shift towards the visual.  It’s impossible not to.  Web pages have evolved rapidly to keep up—the more visual real estate the better. Take Facebook as an example: People may have fought the mandatory migration to the Timeline when it first rolled out, but now that it’s here, it’s hard to remember a time when prime real estate wasn’t allotted to visuals, right?  RIP-old-facebook And as curators and purveyors of content, our practices as arts marketers have also had to evolve. Marketing once concentrated on the way we talked about our products.  Now, it’s about making that message leap off the page—or more often, device—with bold visuals.  It’s about showing our audiences what we’re made of. Images have become their own breed of storytelling. We all love our Facebook banner image, our branded Twitter page and our Youtube channel because each offers the chance to distinguish ourselves.

As a content curator for artsmarketing.org and our NAMP Facebook page, I can say with certainty that posts featuring compelling visuals or video clips attract an enormous amount more attention than those that don’t.  I consider the visuals that accompany the articles I post as carefully as the posts themselves. I have to. In a world inundated with images, the trick is to catch people’s eyes. Once you do that you have already increased your potential influence. Visuals are a language quickly understood and, thanks to mobile devices, easily shared, so their impact—and your reach—can grow exponentially. Read the rest of this entry »

Ron Evans

Ron Evans

I remember three or four years ago when the big push for many arts groups was the learn to embrace social media. Facebook was booming for both business and personal pages, and nobody wanted to be left behind. Back then, you could still get a good bang for no buck on Facebook if you created helpful, personal posts. Sadly, recent changes to Facebook tell a different story. Facebook can still be an effective visibility tool, but only if you are willing to allocate a budget to Facebook to be able to reach not only new people, but increasingly to reach the people who have already connected with you.

While I think we’ve all known that not everyone sees our posts when we post on Facebook (Facebook has an algorithm called EdgeRank that defines who will see your posts), we used to be able to reach most people for free. In May 2012, Facebook launched a new feature called “promoted posts,” which allows a user to pay money to make sure that his/her posts will reach his/her audience. For example, if you have 1000 people who had liked your page, and you want to make sure 90% of them see your post, you pay for that service. Facebook is traded publicly and they need to make money, I think we all get that. But what also seems to have happened (although Facebook denies this) is that the percentage of your connections who will see your post if you don’t pay has been reduced more and more since then. Some reports claim that as few as 16% of your connections will see a post if you don’t pay. That’s a big drop from 1000 connections – that’s only 160 people seeing your post. While these might be the “top” people from Facebook’s perspective, it sure cripples unpaid outreach potential.

But let’s forget about percentages for a minute. Let’s compare Facebook marketing to email marketing. Say I offered a new, free email marketing service. You put in 1000 email addresses and send out a newsletter. I then tell you that only 160 people on your list got your newsletter, but if you want to pay, you could reach 900 or so of your 1000 like Facebook does. Would that be acceptable to you? I want to reach all my people if I pay. To me, it sounds like a business that wouldn’t be in business too long as a free service, and questionable as a paid service. But that Facebook gets away with this shows how powerful many of us feel social media is. Read the rest of this entry »

Participation is Power

Posted by Amanda Bohan On October - 10 - 2013No comments yet
American Museum of Natural History Whale Tweetup

American Museum of Natural History Whale Tweetup

The National Arts Marketing Project Conference is just over 1 month away and I’m thrilled to be both attending and speaking for the very first time. But what I’m most excited about is the theme: “Powered by Community.” Already, I’ve met so many amazing new people online through the conference Twitter hashtag (#NAMPC) and the Linkedin group. And meeting these people has reinforced just how powerful the online world can be in forging meaningful, long-lasting relationships.

Furthermore, it has reminded me how crucial participation is to the success of an event, beyond just the act of attending of course. So I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite examples from arts and culture organizations who have successfully encouraged their audiences to participate on a deeper level:

  1. American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) Tweetups: AMNH understood the significance of Twitter from an early start. Since 2010, they’ve been holding special tweetup events that offer a behind-the-scenes look at various exhibits. Most recently, they held the Whales Tweetup, allowing visitors to view whale specimens and listen to whale vocalizations after hours. And prior to Whales, they invited guests to explore Our Global Kitchen , where guests enjoyed wine, chocolate, and cooking lessons, all while tweeting. These Tweetup events result in hundreds of tweets, with the potential to reach thousands.
  2. Diablo Ballet’s Crowdsourced Ballet: At the beginning of 2013, California-based Diablo Ballet asked their Facebook and Twitter followers to suggest ideas for a brand new ballet by tweeting to their page, using the hashtag #DiabloWebBallet. Followers were asked to suggest the theme and mood of the piece, as well as specific dance moves, ultimately resulting in the creation of the first-ever crowdsourced ballet. Read the rest of this entry »

Rebecca Burrell

Rebecca Burrell

At The Right Brain Initiative, an equity-based arts-in-schools program in the Portland area, we’re committed to marrying marketing and community engagement in the organic sort of way they were meant to be. As I advocate for arts education throughout the community, I’m really excited about developing sincere relationships and substantial partnerships. In fact, this month we’re finally reaching the apex of a really fruitful long-term collaboration with Design for Good committee of AIGA Portland, the professional association for design.

Early on, we identified our dynamic creative business community as a key outreach target. Whether they become Facebook fans, volunteers, friends, or maybe donors someday, it is a natural affinity group for us. These folks have personally benefited from the kind of education we promote.

Fortunately, our friends at AIGA wanted to do something to make a genuine impact on both our organization and arts education at large, but arriving at a collaborative model for this partnership wasn’t easy. While the global design sector has expressed great interest in addressing arts education, real partnerships between the design and non-profit communities are really hard to find. Socially focused designers are used to donating services to non-profits (Thank you! Please keep it up!), but those relationships can create an uneven power dynamic that prevent true collaboration. Designers are also fond of gathering to generate ideas to address social problems, but there is often no plan to bring those solutions to life. We had look for a new standard. Read the rest of this entry »

Sara R. Leonard

Sara R. Leonard

A few weeks ago “Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling” was making the social media rounds. The album was inviting and eminently repost-able, but days after reading it, one of the points was still nagging at me. “Number two: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.” A similar mantra could be useful to those of us marketing the arts.

There’s just one thing: it’s not quite right.

The problem is that it’s actually rare for those of us who work in the performing arts to resemble our typical audience members. And it’s even less likely that our interests as audience members will align with the interests of those who aren’t currently attending events at our organizations. Last year I wrote about the perceptual and psychological barriers that keep audiences away. Just as those of us who work in the arts tend not to think enough about those barriers to participation, it often doesn’t occur to us that prospective audiences might attend a performance for reasons quite different from ours.

Read the rest of this entry »

Will Lester

Will Lester

Arts marketers are often in the business of predicting the unpredictable:  “If I do (insert tactic), will they come?”  The question applies to every piece: an expensive brochure, a low-cost email campaign, a Tweet or Facebook post—just about anything in the marketing arsenal.

Arts marketers aren’t psychic, but you can predict how your direct marketing campaigns will fare. Analyzing who took you up on your past offers tells you where your base of support for future campaigns lies.  Tracking response gives you predictive power for future campaigns:

  • We got almost a 1% response… We can expect a similar response on future mailings to these types of patrons, then.
  • We sold about $90,000… Historically, similar renewal campaigns have done the same. Let’s use this number in revenue projections.
  • Our ROI was 3-1, but we made a lot of revenue…When we spend more on acquisition campaigns, we make more.

Understanding response to campaigns, like so many things in arts marketing, is dependent on using good methodology to track patron behavior. At TRG, we research the behavior of patrons within individual organizations’ databases, as well as aggregate data in 20 community networks across the country. Our research helps arts marketers harness the power of their local arts market by describing how patrons behave across organizations in their city or region. Using this individual and aggregate data, we’ve been able to find the best ways to track patron behavior and start finding meaning in those numbers, including some I talked about in a recent webinar.

The problem that inevitably arises with response tracking is that many methods don’t accurately capture response. Promotional codes can be mis-categorized or typed in wrong at the point of sale. For example, if there’s a discount offer associated with the promo code, you’ll often get “hidden responses” where people received your piece but don’t use your discount code; instead, they choose to pay full price for a different date, seating section, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Aryana Anderson

Aryana Anderson

Before the Apollo Theater opened for its inaugural performance on January 26 1934, Harlem’s 125th street was a shopping center for residents in the mostly white upper-middle class neighborhoods surrounding Columbia, Barnard, and the City College. The theater that became the Apollo was erected in 1914, designed by a prominent architect whose projects included the Belasco and later the Selwyn (now known as the American Airlines) Theaters. From 1914 to 1934, the theater served as a venue for burlesque and vaudeville performances. In the early 1900’s developers had invested substantially in the Harlem community in anticipation of the 1904 opening of an elevated subway line connecting uptown with downtown. By the early 30’s 125th street had become a substantial commercial and entertainment center. At the time that the Theater was re-christened as the Apollo, the real estate bubble brought on by the prospect of growth in upper-Manhattan had burst. White New Yorkers did not move to Central Harlem in the numbers anticipated by developers leaving many newly constructed residences empty. Rather than lose out on their investments owners then rented their properties to African-Americans who had been living in the area of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Lincoln Square and Hell Kitchen neighborhoods, and who were arriving in New York from the South and Caribbean. This took place over the period of time known as the Great Migration.

Looking back on this period of history, it is apparent that waves of change we face today echo the challenges of generations past. Whether the changes are social, technological, or physical, the only thing leaders are guaranteed to face over time is change. Read the rest of this entry »

Tuck-resized

Doug Tuck

Vancouver Opera recently received a grant from OPERA America’s Building Opera Audiences initiative, funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, to help us address three major audience-development challenges:

  1. The lack of opportunities for potential audiences to sample opera, in programming that will give people an affordable, accessible “first step” between no involvement with us and the purchase of a ticket to a mainstage performance. The best seat to an opera is the highest priced ticket in town, with the exception of decent seats at a Canucks game, so you can see our problem. A normal first step is in fact a leap, of both faith and investment.
  2. The vast untapped audiences in outlying municipalities, which are home to culturally diverse populations with little familiarity with the art form and little inclination to explore it. Metro Vancouver’s demographics are continuing to shift rapidly. Very soon, those whom we have traditionally called “visible minorities” – mainly people hailing from Asia and South Asia – will be the majority.
  3. The practical obstacle to attendance in the form of distance from those outlying areas to downtown Vancouver and our opera house.

We have devised a two-part project, which begins in February 2014. In part one, we’re going to transport opera to this untapped audience, by producing affordable sampler concerts in popular community venues: “400 years of opera in 75 minutes” or “Opera’s Greatest Hits”. In part two, we’ll sell them discounted tickets to a mainstage opera (rendering their sampler concert ticket effectively free). At the opera house, they’ll be “transported” by Mozart’s Don Giovanni or Verdi’s Don Carlo and become instant and lifelong opera lovers.

That, at any rate, is the plan. But here’s the cool part: an optional mode of transport downtown will be on specially arranged “Opera Trains.”  We’re working with our regional transit authority to create programming in the departure stations and on board the Skytrains while they ride downtown. They’ll get a pithy and playful introduction, with music, over the P.A. system, or on their smart phones, to the performance they are about to see.

There will be a splashy media launch, we’ll “wrap” Skytrain cars with all sorts of branding, we’ll give draw as much attention as we can to opera and our transit partners, and it will be a transporting experience for everyone.

Stay tuned. I’ll report later on how it goes.

Doug Tuck will be presenting the following sessions at our National Arts Marketing Program Conference November 8-11 2013 in Portland, Oregon:

Megan Wendell

Megan Wendell

Today’s media landscape of shrinking newsrooms, thinner newspapers and less in-depth arts coverage poses challenges for cultural organizations. It also offers new opportunities — as long as you’re ready to act by anticipating the needs of the press and public.

Today’s journalists are doing more with less, often providing photography, video and/or audio to go along with their written stories. Many of the reporters I talk with are under tighter deadlines to publish content to the web and under pressure to attract more clicks on their articles. As both the media and arts organizations navigate the demands of the 24-hour news cycle with fewer resources, a proactive and collaborative approach to communications can benefit everyone.

Cultural organizations hoping to land media coverage today must anticipate the needs of the press and be a valuable resource to reporters and editors. This includes offering multimedia content, which can include b-roll footage of a performance or event, behind-the-scenes preparations and Q&As with artists and organizational leaders — anything that offers an intriguing and relevant audio/visual component. The more “packaged” your pitch is with resources you can provide to a reporter or editor, the more likely you are to secure coverage in a variety of outlets.

Much of this multimedia content can then be taken to your own web and social media platforms, giving you opportunities to directly tell the story of your organization and create deeper understanding and engagement with audiences.

Almost anyone in your organization can be a source of compelling content if you collaborate across departments — and not all of this content needs to be created from scratch. For example, an exhibition’s curatorial essay can become a blog post of excerpted material, which can be shared in your email newsletter, while an interesting essay quote or related question can be posted to Facebook and Twitter. Perhaps that curator can also give a 2-minute video “tour” of the exhibition that gets posted on YouTube, with a still photo or video clip on Instagram. All of these pieces come from the same source material but are then interpreted for how audiences communicate and engage through each of these media platforms.

Just remember that, as any good publicist knows that pitches need to be tailored to individual journalists and outlets, organizations must understand how content translates across different direct-to-audience platforms. Don’t try to communicate an overly complex idea in a tweet or Facebook post, and watch your analytics to evaluate what content is actually creating engagement.

As you plan the media relations calendar for your year or season, consider how your story pitches and the content you’ll need to provide to the press can work for your other audience communications. Programming, artistic, and educational staff should be part of this planning process — and those departments should be discussing ideas with the PR team as their programming is being developed, not as an afterthought.

This is a holistic approach to communications that requires time, effort and cross-departmental collaboration, but it is a method that pays off over the long term — ultimately cutting down on the duplication of efforts among staff, producing consistent and proactive communications and putting you one step ahead.

 

Let’s Explore: Engagement

Posted by Melanie Harker On October - 8 - 201310 COMMENTS
Melanie Harker

Melanie Harker

I am an arts explorer. Investigating ideas, pursuing new bits of information, engaging in conversation, or listening to the buzz around me; I thrive on discovering new perspectives and navigating new concepts. Through much personal exploration, I have realized what I loved most about the theater was not performance (I hold a degree in Acting) but instead the art/artist/audience community that surrounds all art in general. As a twenty-something arts professional, I have decided to dedicate myself to the pursuit of all ideas encompassing this fascinating intersection.

A couple of weeks ago I saw this New York Times (NYT) op-ed, “High Culture Goes Hands-On” by Judith Dobryanzki. In it, Dobryanzki makes the case that museums are trying too hard to create space for “visitor engagement” which augments (even tarnishes) the purpose and reputation of museums; “It changes who will go [to museums] and for what.” She even adds in a follow-up article on her personal blog that, “Art museums are… luring visitors by giving them participatory art experiences rather simply providing them with the opportunity to experience viewing glorious works of art.” While this piece references the museum world, I would like to challenge this community of arts marketers to think about its broader impact and how its claims can map directly to all arts audiences.

Linda Essig responds to Dobryanzki’s point of changing “who will go and for what” on her Creative Infrastructure blog. She writes, “That, it seems to me, is a good thing.  Arts organizations have for years been decrying their declining and graying membership and subscription bases.  If visitors change and visitors change their expectations, perhaps the sound of membership rosters circling the drain will not be so loud.”

Deborah Markow, in contrast to Essig, responds with a letter to the NYT editor agreeing with Dobryanzki, and makes the case that creating visitor engagement opportunities (like meeting the artist or interactive art installations) is not the way to help the public “appreciate and feel at ease in the presence of the great art of the past.”

As I read about all of these heated and contrasting ideas, I saw that words such as “activation,” “engagement,” and “participation” were being dropped into a bucket of full of buzzwords. Over the past two years of working for various Washington, DC theaters who are all energized by the support of their community*, I have come to know these words beyond their empty buzzword-y shells. Read the rest of this entry »

Allison Houseworth

Allison Houseworth

In the hours before Barry Hessenius’ Dinner-Vention this past September, Devon Smith wrote a post in which she asked “What if an arts organization employed a user experience designer?” As defined by Wikipedia – the dictionary powered by community – User Experience Design is “any aspect of a person’s interaction with a given system, including the interface, graphics, industrial design, physical interaction, and the manual.” Apple is the best example of a company that excels in the area of UX design. Everything they create is based on user experience – your iPhone, its packaging, the stores themselves. But how do arts organizations embrace the user experience?

For the last four years, I have taught a course called “Audience Engagement: In Line and Online” to MFA Theatre Management and Producing students at Columbia University. (You can follow us on Twitter at #AlliClass.) Each semester we discuss “Service Mapping,” which is identifying each touchpoint the audience member has with your organization from the moment they decide to go to the theatre to the moment they get home. We start with exposure, move on to research, purchase, and include moments like entering the venue, exiting the venue, pre- and post-show activities. Traditional tech-world UX designers – and often arts marketers! – will focus often on the two stages of service mapping we call “research” and “purchase.” This is where we analyze how easy is it for your customer to find what what’s playing, when, where, and how to buy tickets. Where I see arts marketers – and yes, arts fundraisers, producers and programmers too – really struggle is when we bring the audience into our home – “entering the venue,” “getting to your seats,” “intermission.” Once the audience gets in the door your job is not done. Your audience is, in perhaps not the kindest of terms, held captive. They are, more positively, your captive audience. So what are you going to do with them? Read the rest of this entry »

Amelia Northrup-Simpson

Amelia Northrup-Simpson

One of the pleasures of attending the NAMP conference is seeing how the field of arts marketing evolves each year as new technologies emerge. Social media, mobile technology, database systems, and video (as well as print and mass media), along with the role these play in our work, have changed considerably since the first time I attended just 3 years ago.

Changes in technology must always be viewed through the lens of what audiences (and prospective audiences) expect of your organization. As technology evolves, patron expectations and preferences change as well. In the mid-90’s, having a web presence was optional. Nowadays, not so much. Or, think back to when arts organizations were creating MySpace profiles. This was OK in 2006, but it would certainly raise patron eyebrows today. When you have so many marketing technology options at your disposal, you need a way to prioritize.  Thinking about patron expectations can help you separate the “gotta have it” options from the ones that fall under the category of “not necessary right now”.

At the NAMP conference this year, I expect to hear about the following 4 technology expectations that many patrons now have:

Read the rest of this entry »

Laura Kakolewski

Laura Kakolewski

Portland, Oregon is the home to this year’s National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP) Conference: Powered by Community. You can look forward to conversations about audience diversification, strategies for engaging college students, using augmented reality, the top telemarketing tips, and so much more.

This year’s keynote speakers are creative change agents, community builders, and marketing gurus – Kevin Carroll, Matt Stinchcomb, and Pamela Moore.  From Matt’s lessons on community building from the D.I.Y marketplace Etsy to Pam’s arsenal of tactics to keep your online communities striving, this year’s keynotes will leave you inspired and recharged to collaborate with your communities on a more meaningful level.

So to kick off the 2013 NAMP Conference, 20 of the top marketing practitioners and consultants in the field will be blogging right here on ARTSblog all week. Bloggers include Will Lester, Doug Tuck, Rachel Grossman, Ron Evans, and many others.

Here’s a taste of what you will read during this week’s Arts Marketing Blog Salon:

- How one community created and arrived at a collaborative model for partnership.

- Participatory arts programs across the nation that are connecting and interacting with audiences in new ways.

- Strategy for predicting patron behavior and future marketing campaigns.

- New technology and social media trends that are changing the landscape of audience engagement.

We hope you will visit us in the salon and take a moment to leave a comment, share an opinion, or ask a question.

Then come to Portland, Oregon, the home of the 2013 NAMP Conference, November 8-11Register today if you haven’t already – we’ll see you there!

Michael Stroik

Michael Stroik

While a new report shows that the global recession shifted funding away from the arts, is there a silver lining in how companies have changed their view of investing in communities?  CECP, in association with The Conference Board, recently released Giving in Numbers: 2013 Edition, an annual analysis of corporate giving trends among the world’s largest businesses. Despite a slow economic recovery, the majority of companies gave more in 2012 than in 2007, before the recession, yet the majority of funders decreased their funding of the arts. Companies decreased arts funding annually in each year from 2007 to 2012. The steepest declines occurred in 2008 and 2009, at the height of the global recession.

The news is not all bad for arts organizations. While the majority of arts funders have decreased funding, many continue their support today. In fact, behind only education and health and social services organizations, more companies supported the arts than any other program area in 2012, albeit at lower financial levels (Giving in Numbers, page 20). Revenues and profits have increased for large businesses since 2009, and giving budgets are expected to grow in coming years.

The shift away from the arts is likely related to many factors and trends occurring across the corporate philanthropy field. Companies aim to drive measurable societal impact with each grant, and many focus efforts on single program areas with the hope of moving the needle on specific societal problems. So why haven’t arts agencies reaped the benefits of an increased focus on individual program areas? Based on our research, there are a variety of reasons. Most notably:

  1. The Recession: During the recession it was no surprise that the fastest growing program area was community and economic development. The world’s largest businesses aimed to support community efforts to rejuvenate local economies. The hope was that economic growth, no matter how small, could spur consumer confidence and pay dividends for companies in the long-run. Many companies prioritized these programs over arts initiatives in the last half decade.
  2. Education Issues in America: CECP’s research sample is global but 92% of companies are based in the United States and focus the majority of funds domestically. In 2012, education support topped the list of program areas supported by large businesses for the first time since CECP first published Giving in Numbers in 2006.  American students are falling behind global peers in math and science achievement, and companies are concerned about the future of the American employee base. In addition, the racial achievement gap in student test scores (click here for more information) spotlights the social justice factors that are at stake when dealing with education programs.
  3. Non-Cash Giving: In-kind contributions, consisting primarily of product donations and pro bono service, accounted for more than 95% of aggregate giving growth from 2007 to 2012. Arts agencies often have fewer opportunities to work with bulk product donations; only 4% of corporate contributions to arts agencies came in the form of non-cash gifts in 2012. See Figure 11 (page 20) for more details. Read the rest of this entry »

Marete Wester

Marete Wester

The purpose was to get control of my problems, medical, personal, at home, family…basically trying to fight and conquer my demons. The angel has the authority, the power over this demon. That’s where I want to be. I want to have control over my problems, to have resiliency. It’s a struggle all the time but I’m slowly learning to control these issues I had before. Pinning down the demon, pinning down my problems…” SM, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune

“St. Michael Conquers the Demon,” photo courtesy of The Art Therapy Program at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune (NHCL)

“St. Michael Conquers the Demon,” photo courtesy of The Art Therapy Program at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune (NHCL)

Since 2001, more than two million U.S. troops have been deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF, War in Afghanistan), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation New Dawn (OND). The nature of these conflicts is unprecedented in the history of America’s all-volunteer force: over the course of more than a decade of war, America’s military service men and women have endured extended and multiple deployments, exposure to nontraditional combat (e.g., use of improvised explosive devices) and shortened time at home between deployments. The number of service members returning home who suffer from both physical and psychological traumas, including post-traumatic stress, loss of a limb, brain injuries and depression, has increased.

With the conflicts winding down and more troops returning home, there is a growing awareness among the public and private sectors, and the military itself, that the challenges facing service members, veterans, and their families require more than medical treatment to resolve.

Is there a role for the arts to play in addressing these challenges? Over the past two years, that question has been posed to more than 500 thought leaders, practitioners, and decision-makers from the military, government, corporations, foundations, and nonprofits  through a series of national convenings under the auspices of the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military. The results have been released this week in the new report, Arts, Health and Well-Being across the Military Continuum—White Paper and Framing a National Plan for Action.

Co-chaired by Americans for the Arts and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the National Initiative represents the first time the military has come together with a coalition of civilian public and private sector partners to ensure quality access to the arts for the health and well-being of service members, veterans, and their families in communities across the country. The White Paper chronicles the more than 2-year investigation and national conversation on how the arts help mitigate the challenges our military and veterans communities face. It provides a framework for how various stakeholders can work together to remove barriers and engage in greater cooperation and partnerships. It summarizes the extent of what we know about the National Initiative’s three critical areas of interest—research, practice, and policy—and provides an introduction to the kinds of programs and services currently taking place in the realm of arts and health in the military. The recommendations it contains are bold and inspirational. They are intended to stimulate further conversation and inspire action among all stakeholders, military and civilian. Read the rest of this entry »