“Mrs. Murphy! I never knew there was so much art!”

Posted by Amanda Murphy On October - 24 - 2014
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 »

Pro Bono Phoenix 2014

Posted by Robin Hanson On October - 23 - 2014


Robin Hanson

Robin Hanson

Arizona Citizens for the Arts and the CO+HOOTS Foundation are two of the nonprofits partners presenting the 2014 National Pro bono Week. Our goals for the week are a) increase visibility of existing pro bono service activity, b) increase understanding of pro bono needs in the community, and c) increase pro bono service being provided in the high need areas for nonprofits.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tax Policy Time: Take Two

Posted by Kate McClanahan On October - 22 - 2014
Kate McClanahan

Kate McClanahan

If you saw my first post this week, Tax Policy Time: Who wants that?!, you’ll know that an entire bullet was saved for later discussion on tax treatment of donated artwork—perhaps another yawn-inducing subject to some, but wait until I tell you that it’s been said in Congress that there is nothing more permanent than a temporary pilot program, and nothing more temporary than permanent law. Despite the humor, a quick search of “permanent than a pilot program” turns up these truth-verifying headlines:

Why is this relevant? Because in 1969 Congress permanently changed tax law to prohibit artists from being eligible to take a fair-market value deduction for their works donated to a museum, library, or archive. Many are now working to revert the law, including the Art Dealers Association of America and the American Alliance of MuseumsLegislation is pending in Congress, and many have hope that “permanent” only means until Congress changes its mind—and are counting on that fickleness. Read the rest of this entry »

Tax Policy Time: Who Wants to Read That?!

Posted by Kate McClanahan On October - 22 - 2014
Kate McClanahan

Kate McClanahan

Perhaps at root, some elected officials, bureaucrats, and armchair analysts consult with sociologists, economists, and mathematicians to consider how human behavior might be influenced in a desired manner—say for creating a coveted public good that otherwise might not materialize. For example:

  • Want homeowners to buy more expensive, but energy-efficient appliances? Tax credit!
  • Want drivers to get rid of their “gas guzzlers” and buy more expensive, but more environmentally-sound hybrid automobiles? Tax credit or “cash for clunkers!”
  • Want first-time homebuyers to be able to buy that home and try to live the “American Dream?” Tax credit!

Read the rest of this entry »

4 Reasons for Volunteering with Emerging Arts Leaders

Posted by Ethan Clark On October - 21 - 2014
Ethan Clark

Ethan Clark

As a fellow emerging professional in the field of arts management, we may often think of ways to emerge or advance our careers.  I believe that we can do this by learning about current issues/trends, practicing/exploring new skill sets, networking with a purpose and gathering insights from experienced professionals. I’ve found all these opportunities for career development in one place, the Emerging Arts Leaders DC (EALDC).

EALDC is a volunteer-led initiative that provides professional development, networking, and information relevant to emerging arts professionals in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. EALDC is part of the national Emerging Leaders Network, a program developed by Americans for the Arts. Read the rest of this entry »

Cross Collaboration for Tapping Into New Pools of Talent

Posted by Robin Hanson On October - 21 - 2014
Robin Hanson

Robin Hanson

According to Taproot Foundation, 92% of nonprofits across the nation say they do not have enough pro bono support. Of the 500+ companies who pledge to support pro bono volunteering through A Billion + Change, 14% are Fortune 500 companies.

If you take the need for pro bono volunteers and the pool of corporations who support pro bono volunteering, there are not enough volunteers. Furthermore, if you reduce the pool of potential volunteers to businesses who support the arts, the pool becomes a pond.

So how do you attract a different kind of pro bono talent to fill the pond? By forming cross-collaborations with other partners focused on skills-based volunteers and introducing those volunteers to the arts world. Read the rest of this entry »

Grinding Gears for the Arts

Posted by Kyle Dlabay On October - 21 - 2014
Kyle Dlabay

Kyle Dlabay

When you think about the performing arts, the first image that comes to mind probably isn’t thousands of cyclists. But in Milwaukee, bike riding and the performing arts have been connected since 1981 when the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) started the UPAF Ride for the Arts, sponsored by Miller Lite. Back then it was known as “Arts Pedalers,” then it grew immensely as “Uecker’s Ride for the Arts” and “Miller Lite for the Ride for the Arts.” The current name, which our title sponsor graciously agreed to in 2010, ensures the focus of the event is on its reason for being–to support the performing arts in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Founded in 1967, UPAF is an umbrella fundraising United Arts Fund with a threefold mission: 1) to raise much-needed funds to ensure entertainment excellence, 2) steward the dollars our donors so generously give, 3) promote the performing arts as a regional asset. As the single largest funder to 15 of the largest performing arts organizations in our region, including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Ballet, and Milwaukee Repertory Theater, UPAF is essential to sustaining the valuable asset that we have in the performing arts. Read the rest of this entry »

Raymond James and the Arts

Posted by Emily Kapes On October - 20 - 2014
Emily Kapes

Emily Kapes

Since the late 1950s, Tom James, our chairman at Raymond James, and his wife, Mary, have dedicated themselves to the acquisition of artwork from American artists, with a current focus on the art of the American West. Their collection has grown steadily over the years, and is now considered to be one of Florida’s largest private art collections.

More than 2,400 pieces, hand-selected by Mr. James, line the hallways of our international headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida. Of course, we’d never want to keep the collection all to ourselves. With guided tours available during business hours and open to the public, our hallways sometimes seem more like a museum than a corporate workplace. We prefer it that way. Read the rest of this entry »

Investing in the Artists and Fans of Tomorrow: StubHub’s Story

Posted by Emma Leggat On October - 20 - 2014
Emma Leggat

Emma Leggat

I have the pleasure of serving as StubHub’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and in September 2012, had a life-changing opportunity to visit New Orleans with a special mission.

New Orleans was to host Super Bowl XLVIII, meaning it would also be the site of StubHub’s annual Super Bowl Pregame Bash, which attracts some 7,000 attendees each year. The city of New Orleans has given so much to sports and music fans alike, and as the world’s largest ticket marketplace, these very fans are the core of our business. Naturally, we wanted to give back.

While considering ways to narrow StubHub’s CSR focus to increase our positive impact, we uncovered findings any Americans for the Arts member knows all too well: while more research than ever before demonstrates how vital the arts are to youth development and future achievement, budget cuts continue to threaten arts education in schools across the country, particularly those in underserved communities. These findings further spurred our drive to give back. Read the rest of this entry »

Giving Time and Treasure to the Arts

Posted by Abel Lopez On October - 20 - 2014
Abel Lopez

Abel Lopez

Edgar Smith

Edgar Smith

Welcome to Americans for the Arts’ latest blog salon, hosted by a hybrid of development and private sector partners. “Giving Time and Treasure to the Arts” can be interpreted in many ways depending on who’s doing the talking. It can mean raising support from corporate partners, building relationships with passionate individual philanthropists, engaging employee volunteers, or harnessing the power of creativity to increase productivity and happiness in the workplace. We welcome you to join us throughout the week to learn what “giving time and treasure to the arts” means to our members around the country, as well as some of our sector’s greatest supporters. Read the rest of this entry »

People Make Places

Posted by Carol Jones On October - 11 - 2013
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

I live and work in a small city, the capital of a small country that has four times more sheep than people. Cardiff (www.visitcardiff.com) has a population of less than 350,000 but has a growing reputation as a vibrant city where people want to live and visit. It has, as we say in Wales, ‘hwyl’ – a complex and intangible mix of passion and sense of belonging that isn’t easy to translate but has been said to sum up Welshness in a word.

The contribution of creativity to the social and economic success of cities is a hot topic. And that’s no surprise…CREATIVITY MATTERS. It can drive economic opportunity, aid social problem solving and cohesion, generate new ways of thinking or bring together established ideas in new ways to drive things forward.

But it’s not just about economic growth – creativity can make our cities a better place to live and somewhere more exciting and stimulating to be, to work and contribute. Creative cities are also often better governed and better organized places – though perhaps it’s difficult to discern if better government produces more creativity or more creativity makes better government. (Though I know what I think.)

Either way our cities can be hotbeds of creativity – full of the buzz of arts venues, bars and restaurants and awash with architect-designed buildings. But it’s about more than that, more than being a hub for enterprise and culture even. Creative cities provide countless opportunities for everything from accidental connections to formal collaborations. And it’s those opportunities, those sparks that act as a catalyst for new thinking and innovation. Read the rest of this entry »

Creative Placemaking As Continuous Exchange

Posted by Laura Ng On November - 12 - 2012

Laura Ng

Arts administrators, emerging philanthropists, cultural patrons, and arts practitioners converged at the Atwater Village Theater on October 20 for Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles‘ full-day Creative Conversation, asking again, what is “creative placemaking”? Or, in the long-form title, to explore “Sparking Inclusive Dialogue Through Creative Placemaking.”

Dan Kwong, project leader for Great Leap’s COLLABORATORY, may have put it best when he compared broaching the question to the ambivalence and trepidation felt when one is asked to measure the impact of arts on social building.

With disciplines as divergent as Anne Bray’s work in media arts, Dan Kwong in performance, and Brian Janeczko in architecture and industrial design/fabrication, one unifying outlook voiced by the panelists was that creative placemaking must happen organically with a collaborative conscientiousness responsive to a specific community.

Keynote speaker John Malpede framed the particularity of elements needed to come together by sharing his own experience at the Los Angeles Poverty Department, which he founded almost serendipitously.

The performance artist volunteered with a group of lawyers offering their services pro-bono to the residents of L.A.’s Skid Row until he became a de facto paralegal, who so galvanized the community that those same clients involved themselves into launching self-produced dramatic performances.

With no permanent headquarters, their activities attracted the attention of screenwriters from other parts of the city and instigating conversations with numerous neighborhood organizations, such as LAMP and the Skid Row Players’ drummers, materializing improvement amenities such as the “funky trash cans” provided by OG Man that would not be readily perceived as an urgent need to those outside in what they termed Normalville. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Creativity THE 21st Century Skill?

Posted by Janet Stanford On November - 6 - 2012

Janet Stanford

YES is the answer to this question judging from the enthusiastic audience response on October 10 to Imagination Stage’s Creative Conversation on the topic.

One hundred and forty parents, educators, and other stakeholders attended a panel discussion, moderated by Doug Herbert of the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Office of Innovation & Improvement, and then enjoyed breakout sessions that included sample sessions in professional development for teachers, creative parenting classes, and an opportunity to take the Torrance Test, the only nationally recognized measure for creativity that has been in use for more than 50 years.

Each of the four panelists described their viewpoint about creativity during the forum.

Developmental Psychologist Meredith Rowe debunked the commonly held assumption that creativity is a gift which cannot be taught.

Neuropsychologist Bill Stixrud spoke about what he sees daily in his clinical practice: that kids today enjoy less free play, feel more stress, are less motivated, and have lower self-esteem than past generations. His findings parallel data from the Torrance Test, which has noted a sharp decline in children’s creativity scores over the last 20 years, especially in the elementary grades. Stixrud recognizes that children are missing the benefits of creative play and arts education.

I discussed how theatre arts classes and arts integrated into the school curriculum can help children of all abilities to find motivation for their studies. Projects that are student-led and focused on creative problem solving have been shown to engage young people in ways that traditional modes of instruction no longer can. Read the rest of this entry »

The Creative Workforce in the Post-Recession Economy (A Creative Conversation Twitter Chat)

Posted by Victoria Plettner-Saunders On October - 17 - 2012

Victoria Plettner-Saunders

In celebration of National Arts and Humanities Month and the annual Americans for the Arts tradition of Creative Conversations, my colleague Ally Yusuf (Founder & Moderator of #ArtsMgtChat) and I are co-hosting the first national Creative Conversation on Twitter!

The Creative Workforce in the Post-Recession Economy is open to everyone and takes place today (October 17) for one hour starting at 3:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. PT using #NatCC12 as the hashtag.

Come share in 140 characters or less, your thoughts, resources and stories about your view on this fascinating topic. We all either know someone or are someone who has been professionally affected by the recession. Whether you are a staffer, freelancer, consultant, employer or recruiter—you probably have something to add to the dialogue.

(Editor’s Note: For a quick primer on how Twitter chats work, check out this ARTSblog post by Kristen Engebretsen.)

As an arts leadership and professional development researcher and advocate, I’ve been profoundly concerned about the effects of the recession on our nonprofit arts workforce. In response, I established the Art Career Cafe which has both a website with job listings and resources as well as a Facebook page to provide an interactive community.

Since its launch in late July, we have over 200 Facebook group members. Many members are young arts professionals with degrees in arts management looking for full time work; others are freelancers who have chosen a less traditional but equally viable path to a creative career. Read the rest of this entry »

Bill Rossi

One two three, one two three, one two three…Nate was in a groove, the ensemble was cookin’, and Miles Davis’ tune All Blues had never sounded better.

As the lead drummer, Nate stayed with that simple beat, rode it out to the end, then finished in perfect time. He beamed as the audience roared in appreciation, and if you hadn’t known him you would not have believed that one year ago he’d been unable to count rhythmically or sit still for more than five minutes.

But those who’d known him—who had seen his eyes light up at that first simple beat and watched over the year as he learned to focus, to listen, and to succeed—we knew what had happened. Nate had found himself through the arts.

The challenges Nate once faced are growing more common every day. Attention deficits, oppositional defiance, and incidents of youth violence and suicide have increased as our society has become preoccupied with materialism. As our focus has gone off taking care of our kids, the opportunities for to them to discover and express their voice have diminished. As ARTSblog readers know, the arts can fill this need.

I believe it’s also evident that any modality which can cause healing can also mitigate or even prevent illness. Unfortunately, our culture has segmented the arts, commercializing them into a “privileged” position. Perhaps we could learn from other cultures.

In many other cultures, the arts serve as a cohesive fluid in which the community operates. People get together informally through music, dance or song to relax and enjoy themselves and each other, with the performance aspect of art secondary to a self-participatory way of being together. Read the rest of this entry »