Theresa Cameron

Theresa Cameron

Wow!  What a great week of blogs in our first Blog Salon on Rural Arts. Thanks to our bloggers and all our commentators, followers on Twitter, and Facebook fans.

As I read each of these blogs, I was inspired and encouraged about ways the arts are helping the economy, improving place, and creating change for rural America. I am from Wyoming and was an arts administrator on the frontier there for several years, so I especially loved Michael Lange’s blogs about how the arts are playing a leading role in revitalization efforts. This is especially challenging since Wyoming enjoys “the smallest population of any state, with 575,000 people and of the 99 incorporated municipalities, only about half have populations are over 1,000 people, and only a handful of those have a population over 10,000”.

Did you know that 2014 is the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act? And that the Cooperative Extension Service is celebrating through a partnership with Imagining America called Extension Reconsidered? Thanks to Savannah Barrett for her wonderful post on how important Cooperative Extension Service has been to rural arts and economic development.

Other highlights: Michele Anderson’s blog about Fergus Falls and the steps the community is taking to save the former state mental hospital-the Kirkbride Building was inspiring. I loved how this project has helped Fergus Falls re-invent itself using this magnificent building and the arts. Gorgeous photos accompanied many of our posts, including Anderson’s and Michael Lange’s (which can also be viewed on our Instagram) and I loved watching videos from the Higher Ground project in Mark Kidd and Ada Smith’s piece on the Kentucky coalfields. Janet Brown’s blogs informed by her 26 years of work in rural arts – and how she is still impacted by the Declaration of Dakota Cultural Identity – amazed me because it still resonates today and it obviously had an impact on Janet.

Finally, thanks to you – our readers – for participating in this great week of rural arts. I hope that you will continue to revisit this blog salon in the future for more creative ideas and inspiration. Fortunately, all of the posts will be archived here. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, we’re holding a webinar series on Rural and Small Communities THIS week, Wednesday-Thursday-Friday – sign up today! Also, there will be Annual Convention sessions dedicated to rural arts, so consider joining us in Nashville in June.

And if you are ever interested in blogging yourself, just send us an e-mail. Keep in touch!

Arts Resources for Rural America

Posted by Savannah Barrett On February - 21 - 2014
Savannah Barrett

Savannah Barrett

From the coalfields of Appalachia to the lumber mills of the Cascades, rural people across the nation share a common desire to see the places where they live grow and prosper as livable, energetic communities. Many small communities in rural America have witnessed dwindling philanthropic investment in the twenty-first century. Although rural communities, labor, and expertise remain vital to health of our nation, reports of philanthropic investment in small communities average between 1-5%. As Rick Cohen referenced in the Non Profit Quarterly earlier this year, “Many rural nonprofits have probably given up on seeing philanthropy double its rural grant making in five years, as per the challenge issued by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) to the Council on Foundations seven years ago, because of the historic underfunding of rural communities by foundations.”

Thankfully, this narrative is beginning to shift. While inequity in resource allocation to rural communities persists across the arts and culture sector; agencies, foundations, and support organizations are beginning to take note of the value of rural arts and humanities organizations, and are increasing their investment in rural communities. This blog post is aimed to inform rural arts and culture practitioners of the opportunities available for capital, human, and social investment in rural organizations.

The Year of the Rural Arts and the Rural Arts Resource Directory
2014 marks the inaugural Year of the Rural Arts: a biennial program of events, conversations, and online features celebrating the diverse, vital ways in which rural arts and humanities contribute to American life. This inaugural effort connects citizens, artists, scholars, designers, and entrepreneurs and meets with audiences on the grounds of universities, museums and galleries, cultural organizations, and across rural and urban communities. Coordinated by Art of the Rural and organized by a collective of individuals, organizations, and communities; we utilize a digital platform to elevate the rural arts field by facilitating rural-urban dialogue and cross-sector exchange.

Each time we partner with regional organizations to build digital networks on the Atlas of Rural Arts and Culture, we attempt to strengthen those networks on the ground by connecting rural organizations and individuals to one another, and to regional and national associations and opportunities. Through this process and the contributions of many advisors and stakeholders, we’ve created an online rural arts resource directory, complete with a variety of helpful toolkits, funding opportunities, networks and associations, conferences, webinars, professional development opportunities, websites, books, and articles related to rural arts and culture.

The range and diversity of resources included in this directory are exciting. We identified more than 50 funding and support opportunities for rural and cultural organizations from federal assistance programs, foundations, and corporate grant makers. Read the rest of this entry »

Planning for the Arts in Rural Wyoming Communities

Posted by Michael Lange On February - 19 - 2014
Michael Lange

Michael Lange

Planning for the Arts in Rural Wyoming Communities

Due to Wyoming’s population and rural nature, the arts and cultural entities have the ability to be considered in key community development strategies in Wyoming. Below are two of the ways that the Wyoming Arts Council (WAC) has been focusing on development of the arts in rural communities.

Wyoming is one of the largest states geographically, but has the smallest population of any state with only 575,000 people. Wyoming is better categorized as frontier or even remote. The largest populated city in Wyoming is the state capital Cheyenne, with a population just over 61,000 people. Of the 99 incorporated municipalities, only about half have populations more than 1,000 people, and only a handful of those have a population more than 10,000 people.

Getting the Arts in Community Plans

The Wyoming Rural Development Council (WRDC), part of the Wyoming Business Council, has developed a comprehensive assessment program to help communities develop locally conceived and locally driven development strategies, and provide a long term support system to help achieve development goals. Of the 99 incorporated communities, the WRDC has facilitated community assessments in almost 80 Wyoming communities, as well as revisited communities at five and 10 year increments. Read the rest of this entry »

Sahar Javedani

If you’re reading this now, chances are that you’re in a place of contemplative or active transition—and I commend you!

Many of you know that after seven years of working as a choreographer with parallel work in nonprofit arts administration and education in New York City, I recently moved to Philadelphia to start the next chapter of my life which included re-evaluating my commitment to a career in nonprofit administration.

In my last two years in New York City I had aligned myself with an organization that channeled some of my greatest strengths (dance education, career/professional development, nonprofit administration) into one role. After years working at least three simultaneous jobs, I convinced myself that I had “arrived.”

What followed was one of the greatest learning periods of my life.

Holding the reigns of running my own program within a larger organization confirmed that I was indeed entrepreneurial, self-driven, motivated, an excellent networker, etc. These talents were coupled with equal frustrations in communications, core values, and logistics within the organization.

I will refrain from going into detail, but I do feel compelled to share some valuable books that encouraged me along the way. Read the rest of this entry »

Our New Home for Animating Democracy: A 10-Minute Tour

Posted by Joanna Chin On March - 28 - 2012

Joanna Chin

As the lead for developing Animating Democracy’s new website, I can tell you that it’s filled to the brim with incredible resources from our Arts and Social Change Mapping Initiative and Arts & Civic Engagement Impact Initiative as well as earlier publications, tools, and resources from the program’s first decade of contributions to the field.

In fact, I’d wager that if you’ve gone to the site, one of the problems is that there’s too much there! Have 10 minutes?

Let me walk you through my shortlist of the top-5 things to do on our new website:

So Many Resources, So Little Time

Posted by Jessica Wilt On January - 20 - 2012

Jessica Wilt

As an arts administrator, I’m constantly bombarded with information coming from all directions every minute of every day.

With endless emails, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds, I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed.

Having the ”let’s get organized!” attitude that a New Year brings, I thought it might be nice to highlight some of the good work our colleagues are doing in the field with a condensed resource guide.

Which makes me wonder: Has anyone designed an app for this yet?

Arts Education Listservs: Two of my favorites are Kristen Engrebretson’s Arts Education Roundup from Americans for the Arts (an exclusive benefit of membership – join here or ask to be added to the arts education listserv if you are a member), and Arts Education Partnership’s ArtsEd Digest. The Center for Arts Education, Education Week, and Public Education Network’s weekly NewsBlast are also great sources of information.

Blogs:  It seems everyone is writing a blog these days! Who should we be reading? Americans for the Arts’ ARTSBlog and Artsjournal.com are terrific resources. Richard Kessler’s Dewey21C and Art Education 2.0 are good ones too. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting the Pulse: The Local Arts Agency Listening Post Part II

Posted by Theresa Cameron On April - 22 - 2011

Washington's Gorge Heritage Museum

As part of the Local Arts Agency Listening Post we asked if folks had additional comments beyond the specific questions in the survey, and several members took us up on it.

I had the opportunity to speak with Leigh Anne Chambers, the Executive Director of the North Central Louisiana Arts Council in Ruston, LA.

The North Central Louisiana Arts Council serves the five parishes of Lincoln, Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson, and Union – one of Louisiana’s poorest regions.

The council used to receive funds from two separate grants from the state, but now they receive about half of that. They filled in the gaps with fundraising and memberships but they are still haven’t made up for the loss of the state monies.   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

Early Arts Education

Common Core Standards

Quality, Engagement & Partnerships

Emerging Leaders

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.