Amanda Alef

In today’s uncertain economic times, a college degree can be considered the key to success. In fact, a new study conducted by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce indicates that college graduates overall make 84 percent more over a lifetime than those with only a high school diploma.

Furthermore, the study proves that the age old question “What will I major in?” has become increasingly more important when making decision about undergraduate education, as the findings reveal that not all Bachelor’s degrees are created equal.

What’s it Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors, based on United States Census data available for the first time, analyzes the economic value of specific college majors in order to help connect the dots between college majors and career earnings. The report presents data pertaining to earnings potential, employment rate, likelihood to obtain a graduate degree, and occupational trajectory across 171 specific college majors (categorized into 15 different fields).  Read the rest of this entry »

Artist-Centered Business Models

Posted by Rebecca Novick On May - 18 - 2011

Rebecca Novick

In the chapter I contributed to 20under40: Reinventing the Arts & Arts Education for the 21st Century, I highlighted a theater company called 13P, a group of 13 playwrights who came together with the intention of producing one play by each of them and then disbanding. In that context, I was celebrating their interest in a mission that could be accomplished in a limited timespan, but they also serve as an astoundingly successful example of an organization centered on artists and driven by the agenda of its founding artists.

The 13P model relies on placing its resources in the hands of each playwright in turn, and hiring administrative and producing help show by show, depending on the needs of a particular project. In Minneapolis, the Workhaus Collective is exploring a similar model while in residence at the Playwrights Center (also a good example of a larger organization offering umbrella services to a smaller one).  Read the rest of this entry »

Sorting the 501(c)(3) Arts Basket

Posted by Claudia Bach On May - 18 - 2011

Claudia Bach

We might look more critically at how our current structure lumps radically different entities into this  single basket labeled the nonprofit arts organization: very large institutions such as the Metropolitan Opera or the Getty Museum; regional theaters and community art centers; tiny fringe theaters, artists’ start ups, and community festivals all share nonprofit arts organization status. Some of these, especially the longstanding institutions, seem to handle the 501(c)(3) structure with success. At the other end of the spectrum we find artistic work that seems to have woken up to find itself carrying a big heavy carapace made up of 501(c)(3) regulations and practices.

Perhaps it is time to stop assuming that one 501(c)(3) basket is the right container for all nonprofit arts entities. Maybe we can start to sort arts groups into a greater diversity of structures while still assuring that we have mechanisms to encourage artistic work and access. Here are some things I find interesting as we navigate this terrain.  Read the rest of this entry »

Incubators – Not Just for Chickens

Posted by Valerie Beaman On May - 18 - 2011

Valerie Beaman

Arts incubators are not a new model, but it seems to me that recently some of them have taken on a new joie de vivre. I attribute this to the fact that they are no longer necessarily focused on developing artists into new 501(c)(3) organizations, but empowering ordinary mortals to try their hand at creating something for their own imagination and amusement.

The success of organizations like Brooklyn’s 3rd Ward is confirming research which finds that the younger generation wants to participate in art, not passively observe it. 3rd Ward is a for-profit membership organization which provides space, back office services, food, galleries, a supportive community, and top-of-the-line creative resources, including photo studios, media lab, jewelry studio, wood & metal shops, along with a huge education program. You don’t have to be a member to enjoy the classes, but membership gets you access to the studios.  Read the rest of this entry »

Over or Under Modified?

Posted by Claudia Bach On May - 16 - 2011

Claudia Bach

The nonprofit arts organization. An ungainly set of modifiers. But in the pre-professionalized mid-1970s, when I had to create my own bachelors degree in arts administration, I felt like I was part of an exciting evolutionary force, helping to grow the structural integrity and value of the arts within the conceptual and legal arts nonprofit corporate framework.

At that time it appeared to be a boundless horizon: a corporate structure where artists could gather force to develop and publicly share their work, communities could access entertainment and elucidation, and where we could rest assured that cultural legacies would inspire us and be preserved for future generations. I don’t think I, or my fellow travelers, questioned this as a common good. It was the chosen path and our work was to use it to good advantage in service of the arts.  Read the rest of this entry »

Lessons from Harvard’s Arts in Education Program

Posted by Stephanie Riven On May - 10 - 2011

Stephanie Riven

I have just spent three months as a visiting practitioner at the Harvard Graduate School of Education/Arts in Education (AIE) Program. Steve Seidel, director of AIE, extended an invitation to me to study, teach, and serve as a resource for students during the semester.

So what did I discover after three months of talking and meeting with young people, auditing classes, and attending forums, lectures, and workshops on arts education, education reform, and leadership?

Three takeaways, among many, include:

1) With changes in the economy, the influence of technology and the expansion of entertainment and leisure options, there is a need for bold ideas and creative leadership in shaping a new vision to move the arts and arts education forward. It is our young leaders who possess many of these ideas. Edward Clapp’s collection of essays from emerging leaders in the field entitled 20UNDER40 is quite simply one of the most exciting and hopeful set of ideas for our field that I encountered. I encourage everyone to get your hands on a copy of this book and pass it around to your staff and board members to create an intergenerational dialogue about how to conceive of, program, and sustain the arts and arts education in the future.  Read the rest of this entry »

To Face Ruin is a Victory

Posted by Kenji C. Liu On April - 29 - 2011

Kenji C. Liu

This post originally appeared during the Emerging Arts Professionals/San Francisco Bay Area’s blog salon entitled “Cultural Policy 101″ earlier this month. You can view all of the postings from that salon on their website.

In my last post [for the salon], I suggested framing art as a human right, in the sense that community art is a practice that can sidestep or challenge the spreadsheet mentality that exists in the United States when it comes to arts and culture policy.

This is not to say that we can completely escape this mentality, as recent proposals to zero out arts grants by the City of Oakland show.

Oakland is a vibrant arts city despite the lack of robust institutional support. With some notable exceptions, much of it is grassroots or on the down-low.

Although we need this kind of city and state support and should advocate for it, if arts looks for its value only through the affirmation (funding) of the state, we are in dangerous territory.    Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Wonk

Posted by Rebecca Nath On April - 25 - 2011

Rebecca Nath

*This post was originally published on Arts for LA’s blog on April 18, 2011. Click on their organization names for more information on Arts for LA or Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles.

As my long weekend in DC came to a close, I removed the ‘Arts Wonk’ button I had proudly worn as I strode through our nation’s capitol.

Merriam Webster defines wonk as “a person preoccupied with arcane details or procedures in a specialized field; <a policy wonk>; broadly : nerd” (italics mine).

Yes, for three straight days I had self-identified as a nerd—and I was more than happy to do so.

I received the pin earlier where my weekend as a bona fide arts wonk began: at the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University.   Read the rest of this entry »

We’ve Got a Hotbed to Harness Here

Posted by Letitia Fernandez Ivins On April - 13 - 2011

Leticia Fernandez Ivins

Southern California is dense with MFA programs – so dense that these artists are a cornerstone of the creative economy and help define the creative capitol that is Los Angeles.

Then, why am I not working with more (any, frankly) of this fresh post-grad crop of creative thinkers?

This is not out of ageism (and I adore the artists that I work with today), but yesterday I started to wonder how the 50+ public art programs in the region might better harness this concentration of creative talent in our own backyard?

Though graduate-level curriculum tends to be concept-based, some art professors have cleverly inserted the “art of business” into the MFA formula.

Yesterday, I lectured for an MFA course called, Graduate Professional Development.

This is the second course that I have instructed on the topic of public art history and practice to fine arts students.

To start the class, I asked everyone to state their name, current media, and either talk about a public artwork that they created or to relay a powerful public art encounter.   Read the rest of this entry »

Sending the Elevator Back Down (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Stephanie Hanson On April - 6 - 2011
Stephanie Evans

Stephanie Evans

On Sunday, April 3, I was excited to participate in the 4th Annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium hosted by American University.

This event is timed each year to correspond with Arts Advocacy Day, and it’s a fantastic way for emerging arts leaders across the country to come together, network, and participate in professional development prior to the advocacy activities taking place.

This year, I spoke on the What Makes a Good Arts Leader panel, along with Ian David Moss (Fractured Atlas and Createquity.com), Jamie Bennett (National Endowment for the Arts), and Michael Bobbitt (Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo, MD), and moderated by Michael Wilkerson (American University).

As a 2008 graduate of American University’s Arts Management program, and the staff liaison at Americans for the Arts to the national Emerging Leaders Network and Council, I was excited to be part of this conversation.

At the beginning of the panel, I spoke very briefly on what I’ve learned about leadership since I graduated from American University, and I wanted to expand a bit on those ideas in this blog post.   Read the rest of this entry »

EALS Blog Salon Wrap-Up

Posted by Zack Hayhurst On April - 1 - 2011

Back on February 11th, I posted a “Call to Bloggers” as a way to drum up discussion around the topics being discussed at the 4th Annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium (EALS) at American University.  Every week since then, we have heard from unique and varied perspectives on issues concerning leadership in the arts, global arts management, and how exactly one bridges the gap between academia and the “real world” of arts management.

Throughout this series of posts we learned quite a few things.  Brieahn DeMeo pointed out that U.S. arts managers don’t always have all the answers, and reminded us of the importance of being open to learning from other culture’s styles of management.  Laura Patterson explored the challenges of presenting foreign artists and foreign cultures in a globalized world.  Michael Wilkerson asked the question, “What is Leadership?”, and gave an insightful explanation reminding us that leadership is not something that simply blooms forth out of someone, as a butterfly would from a cocoon, but is something that everyone must continually learn it as they go.  Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Management Grads: Let Your Unique Skills Shine Through

Posted by Abbie Kopf On April - 1 - 2011

For almost a decade, I smelled bad. After years in the food service industry, there was no amount of scrubbing that could erase the stench of grease and questionable meat product from my clothing. Maybe it was the fear that I’d die stinky and alone that led me to seek employment elsewhere.  The problem was, I had a college degree and the passion to be creative in my profession, but no practical knowledge in the big-girl office world. How could I trick an arts organization into employing an expert burger flipper?

Let me let you in on a little secret. There’s no secret knock for getting into arts management. It’s as simple as this: All industries, especially the arts, are downright thirsty – nay, parched – for the right kind of employee. If you’re considering an occupation shift into the arts, the first step is discarding the belief that the “right” kind of employee necessarily means someone with extensive knowledge in the arts or arts administration. Quite the contrary, successful arts organizations employ diverse candidates who bring different – and critically important – experiences or viewpoints. Read the rest of this entry »

Managing in a Global Arts World (An EALS post)

Posted by Laura Patterson On March - 25 - 2011

Every country, society, and culture places a different value on the arts.

It’s no secret that Americans love pop culture.  Meanwhile, our symphonies, orchestras, and ballets are struggling to stay in business.

In Holland, social workers are trained in the arts for the purpose of improving communities and everyday quality of life through arts learning and participation.

Meanwhile, in Bali, gamelan concerts can last for hours and sometimes days.

In Lima, Peru, concerts often start two hours later than scheduled.

No matter where you go, there may be subtle or obvious cultural differences from the way we do things in the United States.

Working in the realm of international arts management means learning to understand and work with those cultural differences.   Read the rest of this entry »

21st Century Skills – Not Just for Students Anymore

Posted by Lynne Kingsley On March - 17 - 2011
Lynne Kingsley

Lynne Kingsley

Though it’s a generally accepted concept that infusing 21st Century Skills into education for our nation’s students is vital for creating and maintaining a strong, globally competitive society, we, as a professional arts education field, are having a tough time letting go of 20th century habits.

What follows are three skills that come directly from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills Arts Map. I ask that we, as arts education professionals and managers, consider, “are we practicing what we teach?”

Collaboration:

Which one of us has not felt the pangs of anxiety (especially in such harsh budget times) in hearing news of project serving audiences similar to ours being funded or winning awards? Territorialism takes over and the tendency to work in silos to achieve more than our colleagues (or, cruder, competitors) lingers over us like a dark cloud of doom. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s the Best of Times, It’s the Worst of Times…

Posted by Marete Wester On March - 14 - 2011
Marete Wester

Marete Wester

When it comes to advocating for arts education, I think we are in the “best of the best”—and the “worst of the worst”—of times.

I’ll start with the “worst of the worst.”

The political environment for education is more hostile and corrosive than ever before.

The economy has not rebounded enough to help stave off what the loss of federal education funds to the states through the 2010 stimulus package will mean to local districts. Loss of teachers and programs are not just happening in the arts—they will happen system and subject-wide.

One recent example is the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to provide funds for FY 2011 (current year) for two weeks to avoid a federal government shutdown. The two weeks is up on Friday.

The CR actually makes a $4 billion cut in domestic spending, including a number of federal education programs—such as Teach for America.  Not surprisingly, among these programs designated for cuts is the $40 million Arts in Education program for which we advocate every year.
Read the rest of this entry »

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

Evaluation

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.