A Sea Change in the Volunteer Landscape

Posted by Amy Webb On October - 24 - 2014

Adapting to a shift in the volunteer landscape is one of the exciting challenges that the Arts & Business Council of New York (ABC/NY) and many arts organizations now face. As a new team running ABC/NY, my colleague Caleb Way and I are putting our heads together to come up with innovative ideas to expand and modernize our local volunteer matching program. To give some context, the Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA) program was founded by ABC/NY in 1975 with the mission of serving to connect nonprofit arts organizations with pro bono volunteers. However, as web-based volunteer matching services such as VolunteerMatch and Taproot have taken off, and businesses expand their volunteer or corporate responsibility (CSR) programs to include more expansive and flexible options for employee engagement, the old model of staff-managed volunteer matchmaking is simply not enough. ABC/NY’s new strategic direction combines the idea of volunteer matching with a much broader menu of employee engagement options. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Dismiss Digital Experiences

Posted by Aaron Bisman On October - 7 - 2014
Aaron Bisman

Aaron Bisman

  1. The average American adult spends 11 hours per day with electronic media.
  2. 58% of adults in the United States own a smartphone and 40% own a tablet. Cellphone adoption transcends race, location, and income level.
  3. 73% of adults use at least one social media channel.

These facts help to establish a truism of life today. We live in an augmented reality; for more and more of us, we value and desire digital experiences alongside “real world” ones. And one need not negate the other. Our lives do not only take place in the physical world; why should our experiences with art and culture? Read the rest of this entry »

The Cohort Club

Posted by Sean Daniels On October - 6 - 2014
Sean Daniels

Sean Daniels

For Geva Theatre in Rochester, NY, I created an engagement group that has significantly impacted the way we interact with patrons and stakeholders, it’s called The Cohort Club.

I started with four ideas:

1)   Education breeds excitement.

2)   People wanna see how the sausage is made.

3)   If you want people to come see your shows, you need to speak their language, or teach them yours.

4)   “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”—Chinese proverb. Read the rest of this entry »

Caleb Way

Caleb Way

Last Wednesday morning, New York City’s newly instated cultural commissioner, Tom Finkelpearl, greeted representatives from numerous local institutions for the Crain’s Arts & Culture Breakfast: A New Future for New York’s Culture Industry. Finkelpearl, formerly the executive director of the Queens Museum, opened the event with comments on the current landscape of the arts in New York City, a few of the challenges it is facing, and some of the “cultural perks” his office plans to introduce to address them. The commissioner touched on the roll-out of new Municipal ID Cards, saving the finer details for the Mayors announcement on Thursday, and commented on the newly allocated $23M to arts and cultural education throughout the city. Read the rest of this entry »

NEA Supports Creative Youth Development

Posted by Terry Liu On September - 19 - 2014
Terry Liu

Terry Liu

As an Arts Education Specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts, I am fortunate to see new blooms in the field of education.  Earlier this year, I was honored to join more than 200 national, state, local, and community-based youth arts leaders for the National Summit on Creative Youth Development in Boston, sponsored by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the National Guild for Community Arts Education.

It’s exciting to have a quorum of leaders who are committed to taking creative youth development to the next level.  We came with decades of experience in this field, and we left with a clear policy and advocacy agenda that our respective organizations could implement at the local, state, and national levels. Read the rest of this entry »

Making Arts Education Count

Posted by Adarsh Alphons On September - 17 - 2014
Adarsh Alphons

Adarsh Alphons

The key to building support for arts education lies in the unlikeliest of places: numbers. 

There is beauty in numbers. One under-emphasized aspect of arts education that holds tremendous influence in conveying its invaluable and irreplaceable role is numbers. The power of digits to specify impact (however myopic we consider that point of view) is formidable and surely, not to be underestimated. The statistics that substantiate the holistic impact of arts education are staggering. Sometimes, so much so, that even arts professionals are genuinely surprised. As an education reformer who has been advocating for arts education for over a decade, this post discusses two approaches arts organizations are using to create measurable and tangible support for arts education from funders, policy-makers and everyone else. Read the rest of this entry »

Caleb Way

Caleb Way

This summer, eleven students descended upon New York City from all over the country with an arts administration gleam in their eyes. Different backgrounds, interests, schools, majors, and futures all converged at Con Edison’s headquarters in Union Square to kick off what would prove to be a very rewarding shared experience.

The Arts and Business Council of New York’s Multicultural Arts Management Internship Program places students and recent graduates at host arts organizations throughout the city. Participants find themselves thrust into a bustling and fast-paced city while working in various departments of institutions that are doing great work to enhance every discipline of the arts. As the students settle into their various organizations and departments, from development to programming to marketing, they not only rely on the support of their fellow peers but also on support from a volunteer mentor from the New York business community. This relationship is another avenue of development and investment–one that provides guidance as each intern navigates a new role, a new city, and their future plans. Read the rest of this entry »

Public Art; a means for human development – The Artist as Social Animator

Posted by Alex White-Mazzarella On September - 6 - 2014
Alex White-Mazzarella

Alex White-Mazzarella

 

It was about six years ago, in 2007, sitting in my small Hong Kong apartment, that I put down ideas for a work practice that would use public art and modern culture as means of developing community and habitat. A practice where the arts would be used not just as an aesthetic to beautify or to activate space, but as productions of communality with the residents of a place and through a process that would open a space for community members to develop and connect. It came from contact with arts in public spaces. Read the rest of this entry »

158 Years: An NYC Public Art Journey

Posted by Jennifer Lantzas On September - 5 - 2014
Jennifer Lantzas

Jennifer Lantzas

I am a firm believer that you have to understand where you have been to know where you are going—and public art in NYC has changed drastically over the past century and a half. The first sculpture in a New York City park was George Washington by Henry Kirk Brown, which was unveiled in Union Square in 1856. For the next 100 years public artworks were predominantly commemorative or memorial in nature—realistic representations of notable politicians, soldiers, and leaders.

By the 1960s, new ideas about what constituted artwork freed artists to explore new forms of materials and exhibitions. Sculpture grew beyond the constraints of studio and gallery spaces, and people embraced the social and political impact of art. With big sculptures, big ideas, and performance artists’ impromptu “happenings” in the City’s public spaces, it was only natural that visual artists wanted to bring their artwork outdoors. Read the rest of this entry »

Forming a Workers Public Art Practice….

Posted by Barrie Cline On September - 4 - 2014
Barrie Cline

Barrie Cline

Some years back, I was fortunate enough to be asked to develop an arts course for the mainly rank and file construction workers that are required by their union to attend our Labor College. I chose to develop a class on public art seeing it as a vehicle to take up issues around working class studies by initially focusing on the built environment of New York City, thinking that engagement might be sought as my (sometimes reluctant) students were builders of that environment.

The emphasis on NYC’s built environment in Tom Finkelpearl’s text Dialogues in Public Art proved one way to introduce this study, as well as to take up issues of representation and to open up what art can be and whom it can be for. At some point, it became obvious that the class actually should allow for making art, particularly after incorporatingreadings from Larry Shiner’s The Invention of Art which helped us look at the possible re-elevation of the construction tradesperson’s own artisanship, given Shiner’s argument that Fine Art is a relatively recent construct of the west in the eighteenth century. We began to think about work as art, and about making their labor—and the worker—more visible. Read the rest of this entry »

Public Art: A Personal Journey of Discovery

Posted by Todd Eric Hawkins On September - 2 - 2014
Todd Eric Hawkins

Todd Eric Hawkins

My path to a career in public art was not by personal design. I moved to New York City to get discovered as a performer and live the dream I had cultivated since birth (or at least since seeing Jennifer Holliday sing on the Tony Awards.) There were a few steps in that strategic plan that I had not taken into account, like surviving in New York City. I needed a survival job.

As an actor, I found a home with a children’s theater company, and paid my bills as an Executive Assistant. During the week I worked for the Dean of Columbia Business School, where I studied how he dealt with a Board and a staff, while on the weekends I was a beast, a mermaid king, a rocking horse, or a giant.

As the years and survival jobs passed, I began to realize that the arts field was much broader than I had realized. It offered many meaningful opportunities to engage with all types of audiences beyond the stage. Read the rest of this entry »

Are We Okay?

Posted by Jessica Wilt On August - 21 - 2014
Jessica Wilt

Jessica Wilt

With all the not so good news happening in the world lately – war along the Gaza Strip, new tensions flaring in Iraq, the aftermath in Afghanistan, and nationally; the racial chaos unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri along with the devastating passing of comedian and actor Robin Williams to depression and suicide – I find myself asking the question, “Are we okay?” The world could use a giant hug right now. I know I could use one.

If we’re not okay, what are some things we can do to make ourselves and our kids feel better? The combination of Arts Education with Social Service or Creative Youth Development are not necessarily partnerships we think of when it comes to the arts, but really, they are critical. We can talk all day until we’re blue in the face about the value of arts education in K-12 and higher education, arts integration, the new arts standards and common core, arts advocacy and many other reasons why we support arts education, but how often do we actually talk about the arts being a critical part of our daily physical, emotional and mental health? Read the rest of this entry »

Wearing MoMA, By UNIQLO

Posted by Caleb Way On July - 17 - 2014
Caleb Way

Caleb Way

As the Arts & Business Council of New York Program Coordinator for Americans for the Arts, I’m always on the lookout for great examples of partnerships between the arts and business. If you have found yourself on Fifth Avenue recently, you may not have had to look very far. You probably noticed a large “SPRZ NY” advertisement accenting the window of UNIQLO’s flagship store on the corner of 53rd Street. You may have also turned that corner and continued on to the Museum of Modern Art. This close proximity is just the start of a dynamic partnership between the two. SPRZ NY, UNIQLO’s latest collaboration with MoMA, its midtown neighbor, merges the worlds of visual art and fashion. The now global project, unveiled this past spring, celebrates innovative artists like Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock. The result is a line of clothing and accessories featuring art work from MoMA-approved artists originally and exclusively produced and sold in New York. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Only Make Believe…or is it?

Posted by Megan Stewart On July - 15 - 2014
Megan Stewart

Megan Stewart

Only Make Believe (OMB) is a non-profit that creates and performs interactive theatre for children in hospitals and care facilities in New York and Washington DC. OMB is dedicated to the principle that freeing the imagination is a valuable part of the healing process. We send a team of three professional actors into a hospital once a week for six weeks and the actors engage the children in a performance where each child becomes an integral part of each show. The children get to dress in a costume, take on different roles, and really just take an hour to laugh, play, and enjoy being a child rather than thinking about their treatment or being a patient. We want them to just have fun with “laughter being the best medicine” through the joy and escape that the theatre can provide.

My role at OMB is to manage our corporate relations efforts through volunteerism and sponsorship, and to coordinate OMB events including the annual gala on Broadway, young professionals and networking events, cocktail parties, and other various events. The majority of my job is spent running our corporate volunteer program which has grown steadily over the past six years. Read the rest of this entry »

Intro to the Arts Programs Enhanced by Vans Custom Culture Grants

Posted by Jeff Poulin On July - 14 - 2014
Jeff Poulin

Jeff Poulin

Earlier this summer, you may have read Kristen Engerbretsen’s, Americans for the Arts’ Education Program Manager, blog post about the final event of the 2013-14 Vans Custom Culture program in NYC. It was an exciting, inspiring and high-octane event honoring some of the most innovative shoe designs I have ever seen. Being able to spend time with Vans employees – a company that values the arts as a vital part of education, community and life as told by their Brand Manager in this blog – and the students whom they work with as part of this program, was definitely one for the books!

However, did you know that the Custom Culture program doesn’t end with a big party in NYC? Read the rest of this entry »