A Week of Arts Education in Washington (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Robert Lynch On April - 25 - 2012
Robert Lynch and Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin and Robert Lynch speak during the Arts Advocacy Day Congressional Arts Kick-Off.

This week I’m in Los Angeles attending a meeting of the U.S. Travel & Tourism Advisory Board and hosting an Arts Action Fund event with Los Angeles arts leaders. As I flew out here, I was thinking about the incredible events of last week that impacted arts education.

It all began with the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) Spring Forum April 12-13, followed by a combined meeting of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network and our Americans for the Arts State Arts Action Network on April 15. The week concluded with our 25th Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy and Arts Advocacy Day on April 16-17.

For those that weren’t able to attend these events, I thought I would share some of my experiences with you.

The AEP forum began with an exciting announcement—the National Endowment for the Arts named Ayanna Hudson, currently with Arts for All in Los Angeles, as their new director of arts education. Ayanna has been a program partner with, and a congressional witness for, Americans for the Arts during her time at Arts for All, and I’m really pleased she’s moving into this national role.

PBS NewsHour education correspondent John Merrow was the closing keynote at the forum, reminding us to let the 80 percent (the percentage of Americans that do not have school-aged children) know the good work that we are doing and how they can support us. In his words: “Don’t plead, lead.”

The next morning, I had the pleasure of speaking to forum attendees, reminding them that their voice is important in supporting arts education and that they are not alone. Read the rest of this entry »

Just outside the Arts Advocacy Day Congressional Arts Kick-Off event on April 17 in Washington, DC, Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe (executive producer/judge on So You Think You Can Dance and executive producer of American Idol) braved the wind to talk about their greatest arts experiences, arts education, and whether or not Alec could be a dancer:

The two clips below capture more of Alec Baldwin’s Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy given as part of Arts Advocacy Day on April 16 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

During this clip, Baldwin makes the case for the the support of arts funding:

And for the coda of his lecture, Baldwin summarizes the main points of his journey through the arts during his life and utters the most memorable quote of the speech (besides the gang dancing line much earlier…): Read the rest of this entry »

Here is another portion of the Nancy Hanks Lecture given by Alec Baldwin on April 16 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

This time he addresses the evolution of his appreciation for dance:

Thanks again to our friends at Ovation for providing us with the clip.

You can also listen to Alec’s interview with National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on April 17 as a podcast on that program’s website.

Here’s a sample of his wisdom:

HOST STEVE INSKEEP: Why do you think arts funding is periodically a political lightning rod?

ALEC BALDWIN: It was easier before, and I think now you still have these kind of vapors in the air from old battles, which when there were individual grants and you could say those hot button words, like Karen Finley. And you could say Mapplethorpe and you could talk about individual grants that went to people…

INSKEEP: Artists whose work (unintelligible) were considered obscene in many cases. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Advocacy Day 2012: The Congressional Arts Kick-Off

Posted by Tim Mikulski On April - 17 - 2012

Our Arts Advocacy 2012 advocates at the Congressional Arts Kick-Off.

It’s difficult to write an event recap post when you are still energized/exhausted as a staff member often can be following 48 hours of festivities surrounding Arts Advocacy Day, but I will certainly try.

Following last night’s Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy by Alec Baldwin, the Congressional Arts Kickoff brought together our 500+ arts advocates in the Cannon Caucus Room alongside our artist-advocates and friends from Ovation and elected officials stopping by to express their support for the arts.

Armed with my smartphone in one hand and a flip cam in the other (several flip cams actually—batteries drain very quickly in those things), I witnessed an outpouring of support and passion for the arts like I have never seen (including an amazing performance by VSA artist Alicia Ucciferri).

In addition to our own President & CEO Bob Lynch and Ovation Chairman Ken Solomon (and encouraging words from Rep. Jim Moran, Rep. Todd Platts and Rep. Rosa DeLauro) the following artist-advocates took to the podium to give brief remarks:

  • Hill Harper (“I’m an arts advocate and I vote”)
  • Nigel Lythgoe (“I believe you’re losing your musical heritage”)
  • Alec Baldwin (“I’ll be having lunch with Rocco [Landesman] to talk about using the profits from Book of Mormon to settle the national debt”)
  • Pierre DuLaine (“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get the republicans and democrats to dance together?”)
  • Melina Kanakaredes (“If it wasn’t for the NEA in Akron, OH, where I grew up, I never would have gotten my start”)  Read the rest of this entry »

Our friends at Ovation work quickly.

They just posted this video on YouTube covering the early part of Alec Baldwin’s presentation of the 2012 Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy given on April 16 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC:

More to come…

Notes from the 2012 Nancy Hanks Lecture: Alec Baldwin

Posted by Silagh White On April - 17 - 2012

A painting now owned by Alec Baldwin (details/reference to come in a future post): Ross Bleckner, "Sea and Mirrors" 1996, oil on linen 84" x 72"

I had a very strict usher shut down the very tool that makes live tweeting possible. Do attendants have issues with Alec Baldwin and wireless devices? Luckily, I was able to take notes in a different fashion without getting booted out of the theatre. I won’t reveal my secrets.

Mr. Baldwin’s speech was an “attempt to distill [his own] relationship to the arts.”

He divided a period of over 50 years into three groups:

1. “Art is all around me but I don’t know what art is.”

2. “Art is all around me so maybe I should introduce myself.”

3. “So much art, so little time.”

Consider the details of your own childhood. Mr. Baldwin’s past is not too unlike our own, if we grew up in a middle class family, in an age of television, movies, and popular radio. What were the moments that triggered a deeper appreciation for art?

What parts of your early awakening made you want to know more about art? What things made you dream of being an artist? What inspired you to envision a path to the improbable?

I remember singing into a hairbrush, and wanting to be Olivia Newton-John. Mr. Baldwin shared as much. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrating Arts Advocacy Day

Posted by Tim Mikulski On April - 16 - 2012

Advocates begin training for their visits to members of Congress.

Over 500 arts advocates are gathering at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC this morning to begin training for Arts Advocacy Day.

This annual two-day event brings together representatives from nearly every state to meet with their members of Congress to advocate for a number of issues near and dear to those who love the arts.

In addition to a day of training in preparation for those meetings, Americans for the Arts with support from Ovation and other partners, will host our 25th anniversary Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts just across town.

Tonight, we are honored to have arts champion Alec Baldwin as this year’s lecturer and singer-songwriter/composer Ben Folds performing (along with musicians from YoungArts).

Stay tuned to ARTSblog for Arts Advocacy Day information throughout the next two days or follow @Americans4Arts and #AAD12 on Twitter to receive up-to-the-minute reports.

You can also take action wherever you are by visiting our Arts Action Center and sending a message to your members of Congress.

Honoring Nancy Hanks & Our Annual Lecture on Arts and Public Policy

Posted by Kelly Fabian On December - 14 - 2011

Nancy Hanks

Americans for the Arts is proud to announce that 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy.

The lecture itself is dedicated to an impressive and influential individual — Nancy Hanks, former president of Americans for the Arts (then known as the American Council for the Arts) and chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Chairwoman Hanks was appointed by President Nixon in 1969, four years after the founding of the NEA, and served two four-year terms.

Under her tenure, the NEA’s budget grew by a staggering 1,400 percent! This budgetary expansion is demonstrative of the critical role Chairwoman Hanks played in the development of the NEA and the arts in America.

Hanks proved to be an articulate and effective advocate for the importance of federal arts support during an especially vulnerable time. As members of Congress continued to dispute the very existence of the NEA, she was able to personally persuade dozens of legislators to vote for increased appropriations. Read the rest of this entry »

Alec Baldwin: A Critical Time for Arts Funding

Posted by admin On July - 5 - 2011
Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin speaks at Arts Advocacy Day 2011.

Hello. I’m Alec Baldwin.

Over the past few months, you may have seen me on television doing a series of commercials for Capital One.

What you may not know is that I am donating all of the proceeds from this work to cultural charities, including some of the organizations with which I’m involved: Guild Hall of East Hampton, The New York Philharmonic, Roundabout Theater, the Hamptons International Film Festival, and of course, Americans for the Arts.

But these spots are not about me getting money and then giving it to charity. Actually, Capital One is partnering with me.

That’s right. Capital One has partnered with me to help the arts by letting these advertisements serve as a platform through which I can raise awareness about the need for public funding of the arts and arts education.

In these tough economic times, I don’t want people to forget about the arts and arts education. People need to understand what’s at stake. Read the rest of this entry »

An Eventful National Arts Advocacy Day (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Natalie Shoop On April - 27 - 2011

Kevin Spacey

Just a few short weeks ago, actors Alec Baldwin, Kerry Washington, Kevin Spacey, and Hill Harper joined more than 550 arts advocates representing 40 states from across the country on Capitol Hill for National Arts Advocacy Day 2011.

This year’s event took place at a critical time when legislators were battling over program cuts to reduce the deficit.

The day began with the Congressional Arts Kickoff where several members of Congress spoke to advocates about the importance of arts funding.

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), who chairs the subcommittee that oversees funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Smithsonian, said that while some in Congress believe that government should not support the arts, “I respectfully disagree.”   Read the rest of this entry »