Nina Ozlu Tunceli

Culture equals jobs. This was the theme of the 2012 World Cultural Economic Forum hosted by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who is one of the most enlightened and empowered elected leaders that this nation has ever seen regarding strategically investing in his city’s cultural economy in order to move it forward.

As chief counsel of government and public affairs at Americans for the Arts, I can’t begin to tell you how refreshing it was to be at a two-day conference filled with elected officials and diplomats from around the world, focused exclusively on how these leaders are incorporating public policies to showcase the arts and culture for both its social and economic powers.

Mayor Landrieu did an amazing job of showcasing New Orleans’ investment in arts education to develop the next generation of culture workers; its investment in building local film and recording studios, performance centers, and clubs to attract current culture workers; its investment in tax credits for both film production and post-production editing, marketing, gaming, and software to attract culture businesses; and its investment in tourism marketing and branding initiatives, such as JazzFest, to attract out-of-town visitors, especially from abroad, in order to grower larger audiences for its cultural industries. You can catch up on more news about the forum on Twitter by searching #WCEF.

Below is an excerpt of Mayor Landrieu’s opening address at the 2012 World Cultural Economic Forum:

“Recently, the world has seen dramatic changes in political, social, and cultural landscapes. These changes have been fueled not only by political and economic factors, but also by social and cultural issues. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2012 (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Randy Cohen On April - 11 - 2012

Randy Cohen

Almost one year ago, I posted The Top Ten Reasons to Support the Arts in response to a business leader who wanted to make a compelling case for government and corporate contributions to the arts.

Being a busy guy, he didn’t want a lot to read: “Keep it to one page, please.”

With the arts advocacy season once again upon us…(who am I kidding, it’s always upon us!)…here is my updated list for 2012 which now includes new stats from our Arts & Economic Prosperity IV Study.

10 Reasons to Support the Arts

1. True prosperity. The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. They help us express our values, build bridges between cultures, and bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, or age. When times are tough, the arts are salve for the ache.

2. Improved academic performance. Students with an education rich in the arts have higher GPAs and standardized test scores, lower drop-out rates, and even better attitudes about community service—benefits reaped by students regardless of socioeconomic status. Students with four years of arts or music in high school average 100 points better on their SAT scores than students with one-half year or less.

3. Arts are an industry. Arts organizations are responsible businesses, employers, and consumers. Nonprofit arts organizations generate $135 billion in economic activity annually, supporting 4.1 million jobs and generating nearly $22.3 billion in government revenue. Investment in the arts supports jobs, generates tax revenues, and advances our creativity-based economy.

4. Arts are good for local merchants. The typical arts attendee spends $24.60 per person, per event, not including the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and babysitters. Non-local arts audiences (who live outside the county) spend nearly twice as much as local arts attendees ($39.96 vs. $17.42)—valuable revenue for local businesses and the community. Read the rest of this entry »

Put a Little Gaga in Your Marketing Strategy (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Tim Mikulski On February - 22 - 2012

Tim Mikulski

As I continually seek new information to contribute to our various electronic and print publications, I come across a ton of info that I want to pass along to the field, but they end up sitting on my desk waiting as other topics or projects rise to the top over that information.

In light of that, I thought this blog post can serve as an early spring cleaning (we definitely haven’t had a real winter in D.C. this year) of some of the marketing content I’ve been holding onto.

These two items are from Fast Company, a publication I highly recommend subscribing to if you are looking for different ways to address technology, design, or business issues within your own organization—particularly in the marketing realm.

When it comes to personal branding, an article from early January discusses five steps to building a better personal brand:

1. Have a home base online. While Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are excellent destinations to promote what you do, make sure that you also invest time and energy into your own personal website. Whether you take advantage of easy-to-use tools such as Squarespace or WordPress, a simple and clean online home for all your professional information and social streams is a necessity.

2. Be a better blogger. Although online pundits regularly declare that blogging is dead, such as Jason Calacanis did at a tech conference toward the end of December, blogging has simply become much more diverse. It’s no longer necessary to write multi-paragraph posts (but of course, that’s why you still come to ARTSblog), but instead services such as Tumblr make it easy for individuals to share shorter entries or snippets of text that often include photos and other multimedia. A weekly blog update (or more frequent if you can afford the time) that includes some shareable content is a useful way to drive traffic back from social channels to your website (and to establish yourself as an expert on a topic). Read the rest of this entry »

A Standing Ovation for Clever Branding (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Laura Kakolewski On February - 8 - 2012

Laura Kakolewski

As an arts marketer, I made sure to pay particular attention to the commercials during the Super Bowl.

Although a few stood out from the rest, Twitter helped me discover what I believe to be the smartest Super Bowl commercial that (unfortunately) only aired in Canada.

Before reading any further, take a few minutes to watch this matchless Canadian Budweiser commercial that I found straight from the twitter feed of Scott Stratten (@Unmarketing), author of UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging, and keynote speaker at the 2011 National Arts Marketing Project Conference:

In my opinion, Budweiser Canada deserves a standing ovation from the world of marketing and advertising. Read the rest of this entry »

Stop the Patchwork (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen On January - 25 - 2012

Kristen Engebretsen

Our patchwork approach to providing arts education has gotta stop!

I recently read an article about a school that won a $25,000 contest by HGTV to redesign their arts room, and it actually left me upset. Why, you ask?

The short answer? I’m tired of the band-aid approach. The stop gap measures.

It’s the same reason I had to stop watching Oprah’s Favorite Things and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. For every deserving person that is honored on these shows, I know someone who is just as needy and just as deserving.

As I watched the following video about makeovers, I couldn’t help but wonder if that money could be put to better use:

What would I do with $25,000? Read the rest of this entry »

Rewarding Sustained Attention (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Barbara Schaffer Bacon On December - 14 - 2011

Merit, Aesthetic and Ethical by Marcia Muelder Eaton

“Great art rewards sustained attention.” This simple theory comes from philosopher Marcia Muelder Eaton, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota.

In my personal experience, it is true. Eaton has been considering art and writing about aesthetics for a few decades. Her early publications get to the heart of this definition but a later book, Merit, Aesthetic and Ethical (Oxford Press 2001) offers an inclusive concept of art, aesthetics, and value that is very relevant to the themes of Fusing Arts Culture and Social Change.

In that book, Eaton suggests that “formalists in the world of aesthetics ignore the roles that artworks play in the life of community and conversely, ignore the ways in which communities determine the very nature of what counts as artistic or aesthetic experiences that exist within them.” I recommend her writings in general and this book specifically.

I share Eaton’s work here because my enthusiasm for the conversation raised by Fusing Arts Culture and Social Change is not to call out the major institutions and question whether they deserve support, but rather to encourage sustained attention for small, mid-size, and community-based arts groups that are rooted in communities, neighborhoods, ethnic, and tribal traditions. Read the rest of this entry »

Embracing the Velocity of Change (Part 3) (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Emily Peck On October - 26 - 2011
Emily Peck

Emily Peck

The theme of this year’s Grantmakers in the Arts Conference reflected the big challenges facing arts funders and also arts organizations. The changes in demographics and changes in technology are issues that are being confronted across the country.

It seemed appropriate to gather for these conversations in San Francisco, a city in close proximity to the technological advances coming out of Silicon Valley and a state which became a majority minority state in 1999, about 42 years before we will become a majority minority country.

That last fact came from the keynote speech by Dr. Manuel Pastor, professor of American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Dr. Pastor successfully managed to make census data entertaining and relevant as he addressed how California and the rest of the country will need to address shifting demographics in order to stay relevant. The ideas presented in his speech resonated throughout the conference as funders reflected on how to address these changes in their grantmaking.

The James Irvine Foundation has been keeping close watch on these changes and the impact of these changes on the arts organizations they fund. In a breakout session, Arts Program Director Josephine Ramirez provided an inside look into how the Irvine Foundation evolved their arts funding guidelines to better address the needs of arts organizations and the community. Here is a video that does a great job illustrating the foundation’s arts funding priorities:

Read the rest of this entry »

Creation vs. Creativity vs. The Creative Habit (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen On September - 14 - 2011

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

I want to add to Mark and Eric’s sentiments that we need to be careful about the claims of arts education teaching the 4 Cs (critical thinking & problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity & innovation).

When claiming this monopoly on creativity, I think we need to refine our message.

So, here I offer a distinction about creation vs. creativity vs. the creative habit, and some research you can use to back up this advocacy message.

The Arts Standards
First, if you want some specific examples of how the arts teach creativity, look to your state standards. The California standards have an entire strand dedicated to creative expression, but you’ll notice that the word “creativity” does not appear. Rather it is words like “problem solving,” “motivation,” and “originality.” Being more specific in our message will help others understand what it is that we do.

Here are some more nuances to this message:

Creativity Correlation
In Robert Root-Bernstein’s work, “Arts Foster Scientific Success,” he shows that engaging in arts was a good predictor of future innovation for Nobel laureates. He then discusses the “tools for thinking” (empathizing, pattern recognition, and synthesizing) that enable these scientists to have innovative breakthroughs. Read the rest of this entry »

The Power of Networking (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Laura Kakolewski On August - 17 - 2011

Laura Kakolewski

Arrive early. Be Prepared. Wear something memorable. Have a firm handshake.

Recognize these phrases?

These are just some of the common practices that we all know and memorize when trying to get the most out of any in-person networking event.

Each year at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference, I am reminded that networking is both a powerful tool and advantageous activity; some of the most exciting activities the conference offers are the stellar networking events. And the activities in Louisville this year are sure to follow suit.

The conference’s networking events provide attendees with a platform to constantly engage and share fresh ideas while getting to know their colleagues from different sides of the country. Read the rest of this entry »

This is What Democracy Looks Like (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen On August - 3 - 2011

Kristen Engebretsen

This weekend I had the pleasure of experiencing my first authentic D.C. experience—the protest. I was drawn to the Save Our Schools March because I want to believe that America can still offer all students a quality PUBLIC education.

The Save Our Schools March (SOS) was a large umbrella event for anyone who is dissatisfied with our educational system. As a parent and an arts education advocate, my dissatisfaction has grown as our curriculum has dwindled. Cutting of subjects such as the arts, social studies, and science has been, to me, one of the worst consequences of No Child Left Behind.

So, on Friday my activism began with a screening of the film, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman. It was great to watch this film in a room full of frustrated teachers.

There was booing when Arne Duncan said that the best thing that happened to New Orleans schools was Hurricane Katrina. There was hissing when Michelle Rhee bragged about her own private school experience. There was cheering when the teachers in the film spoke about public schools’ responsibility to educate the poorest and neediest of students. Read the rest of this entry »

The Dutch Initiate a Colorful Stand for the Arts (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Anette Shirinian On July - 6 - 2011

An example of one Artbomb project.

On June 24, clouds of colorful smoke exploded throughout various arts locations across the globe in protest against the alarming budget cuts facing arts communities worldwide.

After the Dutch government proposed to cut nearly 40 percent of arts and cultural funding, arts activists in the Netherlands decided to call attention to this viral issue within the larger international community. They initiated Artbomb, a “peaceful art intervention” calling upon all individuals to set off bombs of colored smoke at their local arts and culture centers.

All participants were asked to submit their documentation to Artbomb’s official website as “a token of solidarity and a symbol of strength” for the world to see.

As written in their press release, “this visual act will be a sign of resistance against the growing disdain for the arts within societies and governments worldwide, and a sign of support for colleagues who face major cutbacks.” Read the rest of this entry »

Adriane Fink

Social Media. We know we need it. But are we really getting the most out of our Facebook accounts and Twitter feeds?

Corporations across the country are paying close attention to the online craze and have discovered that using social media to partner with nonprofits allows them to reach the broadest possible audience in a cost-effective way. The results show a stunning use of creativity benefiting the nonprofit world. Let me share a few statistics with you.

With over 500 million active users, one in every 13 people on earth now uses Facebook. Over 50 percent log in every day. 48 percent of 18-34 year olds check Facebook when they wake up, and 28 percent do so before getting out of bed. Not to be left behind, Twitter has also rapidly expanded, with over 200 million registered accounts and 155 million tweets per day. Read the rest of this entry »

Yes, Corporations Still Fund the Arts (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Jaclyn Wood On June - 1 - 2011

Spain's Landarbaso Choir

As this title suggests, corporations ARE still funding the arts, and they’re finding creative ways to do so.

Recent funding cuts have hit mid-sized and small cities throughout the country particularly hard. This is especially true in rural and underserved areas.

Although not quite underserved/rural, Cincinnati has become a great example of how cultural events, festivals, concerts, and competitions bring visibility, income, and fun to communities throughout the country.

Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G) recognizes the unique influence of the arts as well. The company has become the first major corporate sponsor for the World Choir Games 2012. The biennial choral music competition is the largest of its kind in the world and is expected to draw some 90,000 people to the Cincinnati area next summer.  Read the rest of this entry »

Of Karaoke, Older People, and Possibilities (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Barbara Schaffer Bacon On May - 25 - 2011

Barbara Schaffer Bacon

It was karaoke night when I visited my Dad at the Soldier’s Home last week.

During the thirty minutes it took for staff and volunteers to round up and assist about 35 elderly and infirm veterans into the canteen, the excitement was building.

“Where’s Joe? He usually does a song.”

Finally, with everyone assembled, Helen was invited to lead off the program. It was her birthday and 87-year-old Helen offered a pretty sweet rendition of “Harbour Lights,” originally sung by The Platters. Tom, 90, followed with a raucous interpretation of Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs’ “Lil’ Red Riding Hood” – complete with the best howl I have ever heard.  Read the rest of this entry »