Scenes From San Diego (#afta11)

Posted by Candace Clement On July - 13 - 2011

Candance Clement

In mid-June I flew from my tiny western Massachusetts town all the way to San Diego for the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention (click here for information on how to buy the Convention On-Demand). Though I have been to their annual advocacy day in D.C. before, this was my first AFTA event that wasn’t focused exclusively on policy. And though I may be able to slap the label “artist” on my life for all those hours I clock playing music in the DIY scene, I’m no “arts professional.”

That meant that I did a lot of listening for three days. As someone who tends to be a bit of a talker when I’m in my element, there’s something to be said for sitting quietly, absorbing, and identifying themes.

The conference brings together about 1,000 people from the arts world – most of them administrators from local and state arts councils, but many serving double duty in the world as artists, too. Read the rest of this entry »

Taking the Hassle Out of Giving

Posted by Roger Vacovsky On July - 12 - 2011

Capital One No Hassle Giving Widget

As many of you know, Capital One has recently partnered with Alec Baldwin and Americans for the Arts to promote nonprofit arts funding with their No Hassle Giving Site.

Now, you can get potential funders closer to the GivingSite and supporting the arts with a Capital One Custom Charity Widget on your webpage, Facebook site, etc. It’s an easy and effective way to allow those that believe in our cause to advocate for the arts help to support us in these seemingly tumultuous economic times for artists and arts professionals.

Show that you believe in Americans for the Arts’ and Mr. Baldwin’s unified vision to keep  arts funding of the utmost public importance by following just a couple of quick steps. Read the rest of this entry »

Basic Online Fundraising for Busy People

Posted by Rich Mintz On June - 20 - 2011

Rich Mintz

At the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, I had the pleasure of listening to Camille Schenkkan of Arts for LA giving an unusually lucid and helpful introductory summary to online tools for donor development and management.

I think those of us who work in online fundraising for a living — especially those of us who mostly work with large organizations, the kind that have a dozen or more people in the marketing department, and technical staff to handle the donor database, and so forth — sometimes forget how mystifying all of this stuff is to a lot of people.

If you’re doing three jobs at once, in an environment where there’s never any extra money lying around, with a board of directors (or a major donor, city council, etc.) breathing down your neck — sound familiar? — what you want is not a bunch of platitudes about the “next generation” and the “new normal.” You want someone to tell you the dozen or so things you need to know, and the half-dozen or so things you should try to do this month or this quarter. Read the rest of this entry »

Join Us in San Diego (Virtually, at Least)

Posted by Tim Mikulski On June - 14 - 2011

It’s hard to believe, but another Americans for the Arts Annual Convention is about to begin.

A portion of our staff has been on the ground in San Diego for the past few days, while others (like me) will be heading out bright an early tomorrow morning. (Well, it’s not that bright at 6:00 a.m., but it will definitely be morning.)

While we still have another 1,000 or so attendees joining us at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront and the surrounding area from Wednesday through Saturday, you can still participate from your own offices and/or living rooms throughout the country (or even come down and register on site).

Here are just some of the many ways you can participate:

  • ARTSblog – We have a number of staff members, presenters, and attendees lined up to write posts during and after the Convention. They will be writing about sessions, meetings, networking events, and our host city. Read the rest of this entry »

Grand Rapids Fights Back…With Music

Posted by Theresa Cameron On June - 9 - 2011

Theresa Cameron

“I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore” was a famous line from the 1976 movie Network, but it could also be the theme for the folks in Grand Rapids, MI.

Newsweek’s website published an article declaring Grand Rapids a dying city on January 21, 2011 (along withfellow Michigan cities Flint, Detroit, and 7 others).

The mayor, citizens, and most importantly an artist decided to fight back.

Artist Rob Bliss (a college-aged musician, social media expert, and event planner) and a friend, raised nearly $40,000 to make a LipDub video of DonMcLean’s classic “American Pie” as a way to demonstrate the vibrant community that GrandRapids is.  Read the rest of this entry »

Navigating the New Fundraising Climate

Posted by Helena Fruscio On May - 23 - 2011

Helena Fruscio

In The Arts & New Philanthropy, James Underclofer’s states that “philanthropy/investor sites such as Kickstarter are revolutionizing giving.”

Delegation of an individual’s dollars is less tethered to incorporation status, and more to the donor/investor/client’s “personal motivations” – as Underclofer noted in his students.

So how do both for-profit and nonprofits adjust to this new climate?

They must change the way they communicate their message and engage potential donor/investor/clients.

So what is that change that equals success in this shifting environment?  Read the rest of this entry »

The Arts Innovation Challenge

Posted by Scott Provancher On May - 19 - 2011

Scott Provancher

Why is it so rare to find successful examples of innovation and entrepreneurism in the arts industry in America? The arts industry, after all, is filled with creative individuals who are working in a country that idolizes the lone entrepreneur business leader (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, etc…).

After watching this video about Google Art Project and realizing disruptive innovations that could change the way we experience art are not coming from the arts industry, but from for-profit technology companies, I began searching for answers.

Though we often like to believe innovative ideas that turn into successful businesses or products happen from a solitary “eureka” in one person’s head, the fact is that they usually don’t. Organizations and individuals who successfully produce game-changing innovations have very disciplined approaches to nurture creative ideas, assemble the right minds to develop them, put the necessary financial resources behind them, and most importantly are comfortable with taking risks.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Arts & New Philanthropy

Posted by James Undercofler On May - 18 - 2011

James Undercofler

Perhaps the most significant and radical departure from the traditional 501(c)(3) (NFP) are the direct to consumer internet businesses, such as artistShare , Etsy, etc. In addition, philanthropy/investor sites such as Kickstarter are revolutionizing giving.

The direct to consumer businesses are organized either as limited liability corporations (LLCs) or individually-organized entities (individuals file IRS, Section C, 1040). Assessment of risk determines whether to form an LLC or not. What’s particularly interesting about these sites is their range: from those that involve “audience” in the artistic process, to those that aggregate artistic products in an almost social network sort of way. From my limited knowledge of their net revenue, I do know that some of these sites are producing significant profits to their owners/creators.

Some assert that the “new investors/donors” resulted from Hurricane Katrina and the massive earthquake in Haiti, that technology that made it easy to give small amounts through one’s cell phone.  Read the rest of this entry »

Business Models vs Good Business

Posted by Janet Brown On May - 17 - 2011

Janet Brown

The issue of new business models is a topic with which I am losing patience. To me it’s a “red herring” actually, when we should be discussing new product delivery models that engage more audiences, both young and old, utilize technologies, and update the organizational structures and attitudes that may have worked forty years ago but are not working today. These are huge issues of leadership, boards of directors, management, community relevance, and understanding audience trends.

“Money follows good ideas” is a mantra I’ve used most of my career. What we need are leaders who are seriously challenging programming, marketing, and governance protocols put in place years ago. Whether the legal pot the money goes into is a 501(c)(3), L3c, fiscal sponsorship, or sole proprietorship is best determined by what gives the artist or organization the greatest flexibility to raise funds, reach audiences, and fulfill their missions.  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 »

Art of the iPad

Posted by Jonathan Gay On April - 22 - 2011

Jonathan Gay

When the iPad was introduced in 2010, the evolution of computer made five giant steps forward.

We were presented with a variety of uses including board games, books, and media.

This technology had its hand in the growth of business and pleasure, but what could this device mean for education, or even more specifically, in early childhood education?

As an art project manager for a preschool in Newtown, PA, I took that question one step further in a project I titled, “Art of the iPad.”

I believe that instead of fearing technology, now is the time to embrace it. I believe we must take steps to harness and adapt technology for children.

Something as simple as a touch screen device can have an impact on a child. The question that remained was how could I use this device in a way that would take a snapshot of the artistic mind of a child?   Read the rest of this entry »

Top Technology Trends: What You Need to Know Now (from Arts Link)

Posted by Tim Mikulski On April - 15 - 2011

If you’re wondering what your organization can do to take chances and make the most of future, it is probably time to try out group discounts, mobile apps, QR codes, etc., check out this new post by tech-pert Amelia Northrop.

The post is an expanded version of an article in our latest members-only newsletter, Arts Link.

For those of you with smartphones, use your barcode app to scan this QR code: 

To find out more about the benefits of becoming a member of Americans for the Arts, visit our Membership page!

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Helen Lessick

There are three reasons public art file searches are performed: Cultural Tourism, Community Practice, and Critical Assessment.

1. Cultural Tourism: Where is the artwork (GPS/location info), what is it (art work title sometimes is what is being searched), who made it (artist’s name), and what does it look like (a clear image of piece as experienced by the viewer)?

2. Community Practice: How the community achieves the project, a lessons-learned toolkit, documenting what was done, who did it, and how. This type of material includes artist selection, proposal, contacts, contracts, maintenance report, community engagement, and fabrication records.

3. Critical Assessment: These are materials generated outside the work of the artist and any commissioning agency. They may include critical writing mentioning the project, press releases, art dedication, and project description. Currently, art administration educators and their TAs are building courses about our practice. Art critics and bloggers are writing about stuff in public. Professional media outlets seem to shout the loudest, and turn up first in online searches.   Read the rest of this entry »

cultureNOW’s Museum Without Walls

Posted by Abby Suckle On April - 14 - 2011

From Albuquerque to New Haven, from Providence to Portland, from Kansas City to Culver City, from Toledo to El Paso, from New Orleans to Albuquerque, over 28 public art collections across America are collaborating with cultureNOW to create a digital National Gallery of art and architecture in the public realm.

Already one of the largest and most comprehensive compendiums in the country, the online collection encompasses more than 6,000 sites and 11,000 images.

The website and iPhone app were created for people who are curious about the world outside of gallery walls.

It is meant to tackle some of the challenges of visiting works of art and architecture.

Is the piece where it’s supposed to be? If you make an excursion to a specific artwork, is something else interesting nearby? How can you minimize schlepping heavy guidebooks around the city?

Would it be possible to actually stand in front of a work of art and see the rest of the pictures, the drawings, the installation photos while you were listening to the artist explain the vision?   Read the rest of this entry »

My Latest Website Crush (From Arts Watch)

Posted by Joanna Chin On April - 13 - 2011
Joanna Chin

Joanna Chin

In the past few weeks, I’ve become addicted to this new online thing.

And by addicted, I simply mean that participating in it has sort of taken over my free time.

No, it’s not Twitter or Facebook or Linkedin or FourSquare…in fact, it’s not any of the usual suspects.

My latest web crush is called OpenIDEO.

It’s an online platform developed by the design firm, IDEO, as a way to include a broader range of people in tackling significant global problems through the design process.

Basically, it works like this:   Read the rest of this entry »