Americans for the Arts celebrates the life of Nelson Mandela, a man who inspired so much art - plays, movies, biographies - about his life. While many know how important he was to art, not as many people know how important art was to him. Playwright Emily Mann writes to the LA Times about the theatre served as a mirror for Mandela during the apartheid era, "each side influencing and reflecting the other, placing them both in time."
It's not the performing stage but the world stage where Nelson Mandela's work was done, but he will be remembered in the arts world for both the work that influenced him and the work he influenced. Mann puts it best: "his legacy continues to inspire those who work in the theatre for social justice."
In honor of Veterans Day on Monday, November 11, Americans for the Arts CEO and President Bob Lynch and Ret. Brigadier General Nolen Bivens, U.S. Army co-authored an article to the Huffington Post about the unique challenges our military members face today and how the arts are helping them heal. The National Initiative for Arts and Health in the Military, a partnership between Americans for the Arts and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center seeks to advance the arts in health, healing, and healthcare for military service members, veterans, their families and caregivers. Especially on Veterans Day, when we remember those who have fought and who are presently fighting to protect our nation's future, it is imperative that we ramp up our efforts as a country to extend access to arts resources and therapies to all our service members.
In Honor of Their Service, the Arts Answer the Call 11/11/2013
Gary Sinise and his Foundation were honored Wednesday, October 23 at a small lunch at the Park Hyatt Hotel hosted by Capitol File magazine, which was also the 30th anniversary of the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut. The Gary Sinise Foundation honors our Nation's defenders, veterans, first responders, and their families by "creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities."
As part of The Foundation's work, Gary Sinse and the Lt. Dan Band (named after his character in the famous award-winning movie Forrest Gump, who was a Lieutenant in the Vietnam War and then disabled veteran) travel across the country and deliver entertaining and inspirational live shows for military veterans. The Foundation also partnered with Tunnel to Towers Foundation to create Building for America’s Bravest™, "a program designed to construct custom Smart Homes for our nation’s most severely wounded veterans," and established the Gary Sinise Foundation Relief & Resiliency Outreach program "to provide complete support to military and first-responder families recovering from trauma and loss during times of urgent need."
During National Arts and Humanities Month, a nonprofit organization in Venice, California used art to help survivors of domestic abuse express painful feelings and heal from their truamatic experiences. On Saturday, October 26, A Window Between Worlds (AWBW) - a nonprofit organization dedicated to using art to help end domestic violence - held a special art exhibit called Art Works for Healing, where established and emerging Los Angeles-based artists created artwork that reflects their viewpoint regarding AWBW's I CAN WE CAN socially engaged art project and will speak to what they personally can do to end violence in LA communities.
According to AWBW's website, art helps survivors of domestic abuse achieve critical milestones in trauma-informed care, such as rebuilding their self-esteem, that initiate and speed recovery from abuse and help survivors embrace a violence-free future. As one Women’s Windows participant shared, “The art allowed me to let go of my past. It made me responsible for myself to decide how I wanted to live my life… to have a better future."
Artworks for Healing: 50 Established and Emerging LA Artists Create Original Works To End Abuse 10/16/2013
Americans for the Arts' CEO and President, Robert Lynch, was selected to be on the 2013-2014 Advisory Committee for the Commitee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), along with 13 other members from the coporate, government, nonprofit, consulting, media, and academic fields. Said CECP's CEO, Daryl Brewster, "we are thrilled to have these 14 cross-industry leaders, who represent a diverse set of backgrounds, points of view, and skills, join our 2013-2014 Advisory Committee."
CECP empowers senior executives of the world’s leading companies to achieve unprecedented progress on society challenges while driving business performance, acting as a strong and irreplacable catalyst for change.
After the 16 day shutdown, Congress voted late last night to reopen federal agencies, raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit, and call hundreds of thousands of civil servants back to work. An agreement struck by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ended a stalemate created last month when conservative GOP members used the threat of a shutdown in an attempt to block Obamacare. Sixteen days later, republicans were ready to give President Obama what he asked for month ago - a bill to fund the government and increase the Treasury Department’s borrowing power. Payback for government employees and money for the floods in Colorado, among other things, were included in the bill - read in full here.
The Senate overwhelmingly ratified the deal Wednesday evening, 81 to 18, with more than half of Senate Republicans voting in favor of the bill. A few hours later the House did the same, voting 285-144, 87 votes Republican. The majority of House republicans - the majority of the majority - still opposed the bill, which bodes an unlikelihood for progress come Dec 13, Jan 15, Feb 7.
The good news it that the country's arts and cultural insititutions are re-open for business today. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services tagged the shutdown taking $24 billion in total out of the economy. How did our nation's valuable art galleries, museums, zoos, etc. fare?
The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees estimated that as of last week, more than 7 million visitors had been barred from national parks due to the shutdown, resulting in the loss of an estimated $750 million in visitor spending. However, many states used state funding during the shutdown to open parks given the substantial cultural tourism economic losses.
The National Tour Association testified in a House Oversight and Gov’t Reform Committee hearing on 10/16 and provided survey results and data estimates from the U.S. Travel Association that the country lost $152 million daily.
The Washington City Paper reported that of all the museums and exhibits effected by the shutdown, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, which should have been opening their blockbuster “Yoga: The Art of Transformation” exhibit - several thousand years worth of Asian artwork that tells the history of yoga. They'll be unlikely to recover completely from the shutdown occuring in what was supposed to be their large opening month.
Ironically, during the shutdown, Members of Congress were seen taking constituents on capitol tours of student artwork. During this trying time, even as the shutdown negatively effected the arts industry, art provided our lawmakers - and us all -with some relief from the stress of our political atmosphere.
It's the 16th of October, and also Day 16 of the government shutdown.
The House discharge petition (the Miller/Van Hollen effort mentioned in our last update) that would provide a “clean Continuing Resolution” now has 196 signatures, short of the 218 needed to move to a vote on the House floor. No Republicans have signed.
Various proposals continue to be rejected and eyes are now mostly on the Senate as a group of a dozen Senators from both parties attempt to find a compromise. As the Senate still works on a bipartisan compromise, the House is still doing their partisan piecemeal approach and GOP leaders are advancing this as their latest proposal: Reopen government until Jan. 15, raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7, eliminate health care benefits for lawmakers and cabinet officials, require income verification for Affordable Care Act subsidies, and suspend the medical device tax for two years. It’s not going to fly as the White House immediately issued a veto threat.
Tomorrow is still the date the federal government will be unlikely able to pay all our bills, but some estimate that there’s enough funding in the Treasury until the end of the month. We will see if tomorrow ends up being a hard deadline for making a deal to avert national default.
On October 3rd, top White House economic advisors expressed the seriousness of getting a short term Congressional appropriations resolution passed to re-open the federal government immediately. They also confirmed that October 17th remains the deadline for when the executive branch of the government will have exhausted all of the “extraordinary measures” available to them to secure credit, borrow from various accounts to pay interest on the government’s debt, and to keep all parts of the government fully running. They anticipate that by that deadline, the federal government will be left with only $30 billion of cash on hand, which is less than 1 percent of the federal government’s annual operating budget of $4 trillion. Advisors were reluctant to discuss a Constitutional 14th Amendment argument that could be interpreted to allow the President to bypass Congressional authorization to raise the debt limit.
On Friday October 4th, House Democrats, led by Reps. George Miller (D-CA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and others, announced in a press event plans for another way to try to end the current federal government shutdown through a procedural process called a “discharge petition.” Although numerous waiting periods are required before this could work (and no sure chance of success), if a simple majority of House members sign the petition, all House Democrats with 18 House Republicans (thus reaching a simple majority) could force a vote on the Senate-passed “clean” Continuing Resolution (CR) no sooner than October 14th, which happens to be a federal holiday. On Saturday October 5, the House unanimously passed a bill that provides back pay for furloughed federal workers during the government shutdown.
In the meantime, House Republicans continue to stand by and try to advance piecemeal CR funding bills, now shrinking in size down to individual programs in some case, and the Senate leadership continues to block those and call on the House to vote on a clean CR. Examples of this piecemeal approach an “Open Our Nation's Parks and Museums Act" which was stopped by the Senate because of its limited impact. It would have provided funding for national parks, the Smithsonian Institution, Holocaust Museum and National Gallery of Art – not impacting the National Endowment for the Arts nor the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
The congressional debate has officially led to a government shutdown as of 12:01 a.m. this morning, after the House and the Senate were unable to come to an agreement over legislation for the 2014 Fiscal Year Budget over the weekend.
After weeks of debate, on Friday, the Senate amended and passed legislation -a “stop-gap” Continuing Resolution (CR) - to keep the federal government open until Nov 15. It was a narrow vote, 54-44. The House’s provision to defund the Affordable Care Act was removed. The revised legislation went back to the House for consideration over the weekend, which was to avoid a government shutdown, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). Unfortunately, both the House and the Senate were unable to concede to the changes in the Continuing Resolution, so we are at a standstill.
The immediate effects on the arts community will not be severe, although closures of federal museums and national parks will occur. It should be noted that the Office of Management and Budget posted Agency Contigency Plans here. But as it goes longer, NEA grants will be delayed, international artists’ visas could be delayed, the majority of federal workers and contractors are likely to be furloughed and are unlikely see retroactive pay, Head Start won’t have funding, and more. The Smithsonian and National Gallery are already closed. Read more on ARTSBlog from our Director of Federal Affairs, Kate Ostrander, about the potential impact on the arts if the shutdown continues.
Yesterday, the National Endowment for the Arts released this year's Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. From 2009 to 2012, musicals faced a 9% participation drop, and straight plays did even worse with a 12% drop. Researchers are unclear about the cause for these results, but the story isn't as grim as it might appear at first.
Our CEO, Robert Lynch, explained to the New York Times that there are many art forms today that are included in the definition of "the arts," and participation in these previously-ignored art forms could account for the shift in rates. This is consistent with the good news the report had to deliver - that a larger proportion of African Americans and Hispanics attending arts performances than ever before. Classical music followers have remained steady in their attendance and jazz performances have even picked up some followers. Our Vice President of Research and Policy, Randy Cohen, summarizes the findings best: "People are not walking away from the arts so much as they are walking away from traditional delivery mechanisms. People are engaging with the arts differently."
A New Survey Finds a Drop in Art Attendence 09/26/2013
The Right Brain initiative is a sustainable partnership between public schools, local government, foundations, businesses and the cultural community to teach to children using the arts, creativity innovation, and whole-brain thinking. It is a project of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, and was started in the Portland area in January 2009.
This year, in honor of National Arts in Education week last week, The Right Brain Initiative will be serving 11,500 more children than last year by adding six public schools in the Portland area as partners. Between September and June, the integrated arts program will bring music, dance, theatre, visual and media arts to 14,000 K-8 students in 49 schools and six school districts total, throughout the Portland metro area. Also significant is Gresham-Barlow School District becoming the first to incorporate the Right Brain Initative at every Elementary school in their district this school year.
For more information on the Regional Arts Council and the Right Brain Initiative go to TheRightBrainInitiative.org.
Photo by Amy Graves, courtesy of The Right Brain Initiative.
The Right Brain Initiative slated to serve 14,000 children this school year 09/17/2013
Council Members Stephen Levin and Jimmy Van Bramer have introduced legislation at the New York City Council that would require the City to have a cultural plan. The plan calls for the city to go out to neighborhoods in the five boroughs to learn what each community wants and needs in a cultural plan, and incorporate those findings into their plan. This bill was the result of New York City being behind the curve in terms of creating a systematic cultural plan based on what the city residents want. Cities across the country routinely make cultural plans that reflect the needs and desires of their residents for a robust and effective cultural policy.
Americans for the Arts’ own Karen Zornow Leiding, Director of the Arts & Business Council of New York, is quoted in the press release: “A robust arts and culture policy is a critical component of New York City’s economic development strategy. It is a well-documented fact that a vibrant arts scene is essential to the health of any area seeking to draw employees who want to live and work in a creative and vibrant community. The arts create jobs, spur urban renewal, attract new businesses, draw tourism dollars, and enhance community development. It takes a team to create and sustain an arts sector as rich and diverse as New York’s, and I want to thank New York City Councilmembers Stephen Levin and Jimmy Van Bramer for their tremendous work on behalf of the arts in New York City.”
Council Members Levin and Van Bramer introduce bill requiring city to have a cultural plan 08/26/2013
Barry's Blog, a service of the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), posted their Fifty Most Influential People in the Nonprofit Arts (USA) list this Sunday, August 25. Congratulations to all five of our AFTA staff members and our two AFTA Board members who made the list this year:
Robert Lynch, CEO and President
Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research and Policy
Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs
Narric Rome, Vice President of Government Affairs and Arts Education
Clayton Lord, Vice President of Local Arts Advancement
Michael Spring, AFTA Board Member
Michelle Boone, AFTA Board Member
We thank our wonderful staff and Board members for their hard work and dedication towards advancing the arts in America.
2013's Fifty Most Powerful and Influential People in the Nonprofit Arts (USA) 08/26/2013
Congratulations to our long-time Board Member Bill Lehr and his wife, Beverlee, who will receive the Patron Award, one of the PA Governer's Award for the Arts at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg on Oct. 22. The Awards will be presented by First Lady Susan Corbett, who is chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts. The Lehrs established the Americans for the Arts Foundation, as well as the Bill Lehr Fund, which supports our Professional Development Programs. We are lucky to have them on our team of strong supporters, and AFTA CEO Bob Lynch looks forward to celebrating all that they have contributed to the arts at the Awards Banquet.
Palmyra couple among those to receive Governor's Awards for the Arts 08/15/2013
Agnus Gund from the Huff Post reacts to the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approval of cutting the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities by 49 percent, and contests with a strong argument in defense of the arts. In response to the Chairman's stating that the arts were nice to have but not a critical part of American's everyday lives, she mounts "a more vigorous, vital, real-life defense," stating that the arts are particularly essential to our kids, our servicemen and women, and our communities.
Healing Newtown, a project of the The Newtown Cultural Arts Commission, is focusing on the power of music and art to connect and heal a community that was shocked and devastated by the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook School. Since December, Healing Newton has been offering classes and workshops as well as hosting community events.
"There is real healing when the community comes together," said Jennifer Rogers, NCAC's vice-chairman and a member of the Healing Newtown team. "The arts help you process your emotions when you can't talk about it, when it's just too hard to say what's on your mind."
They recently rented space in the Newtown Congregational Church, where children's arts classes and weaving workshops are on the schedule through July and August. The hope is to eventually move from their temporary space here and to establish a sustainable, permanent cultural arts center in Newtown. The center would not only allow them to expand their art therapy offerings but also provide a haven for local artists.
Healing Newtown: Local Artists, Supporters Seek Permanent Home 07/26/2013
Technology Inspiring Young Artists
Even with arts education on the wane in many public schools, a new study by The Wallace Foundation suggests that digital technologies are changing the artistic landscape for many young students. "New Opportunities for Interest-Driven Arts Learning in a Digital Age" offers a new take on arts learning based on innovative efforts to bring kids, the technology they are constantly using, and the arts together. In the age of do-it-yourself and tell-your-own-story, this is a new approach - technology-based arts learning.
New Report: Arts Learning in a Digital Age 07/24/2013
Art is crucial to the economic well-being of a city, and Detroit is no exception – but where does the art bring in the most revenue? The Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) is considering selling its treasured paintings to help balance the bankrupt city’s ledgers. Columnist Nora Caplan-Bricker of the New Republic argues in favor of keeping the paintings in-museum, for both cultural and economic reasons. Maybe the art is worth more in the museum than on the auction block, where experts have estimated it could fetch a cool $2 billion. However, with The New York Times placing the DIA’s annual attendance at 600,000 and results from our own study on cultural tourism in Michigan finding that tourists spend an average of $16.65 a head, the DIA brings in almost $10 million a year in tourist dollars.
“The thread that unifies all great artists is their passion. It’s contagious. Just be near them for a moment and you’ll see that you’ll get swept up in their vision.” — Lin Arison
In an interview with 2012 National Medal of Arts honoree Lin Arison, she speaks with "Art Works" writer Paulette Beete about the importance of mentorship and her work with both the National Young Arts Foundation and the New World Symphony. Arison talks about what links artists and art education, and how first became an art-lover and eventually a passionate advocate of arts education.
Art Works The Oficial Blog of the National Endowment for the Arts 07/16/2013
Collaboration – central to both the arts world and the NGen Initiative – is foremost in Johnson’s work at Carnegie Hall. The Weill Music Institute serves over 400,000 annually with programs and partnerships that allow people of all ages and backgrounds to explore their potential as performers and audience members. One notable project, the award-winning Musical Connections program, partners with over 20 social service agencies to serve people in healthcare settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and senior service organizations.
Nominations for the NGen Leadership Award were evaluated by a committee of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders. Finalists submitted essay answers and participated in a Twitter Townhall to share their views on leadership, impact, and opportunities and challenges within the sector. Johnson will receive the award at the Independent Sector National Conference in New York City in September.
Philanthropist, life-long friend of the arts, and proud Idahoan Velma Morrison died last week in Boise at the age of 92. A former board member of the American Council for the Arts, one of the founding organizations of Americans for the Arts, Morrison’s commitment to the arts in Boise was perhaps unparalleled.
"Velma Morrison was a good friend to Americans for the Arts and a trusted adviser for me," said Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "Her wise counsel and vision will be missed."
As chair of the Harry Morrison Foundation, Velma Morrison lead a funding campaign that raised nearly $15 million from the Foundation, the Idaho Legislature, and the community, to build a performing arts center on Boise State University’s campus. The Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts opened in 1984 at the University and Morrison was awarded the Silver Medallion by the University that same year, the highest honor it awards for service.
Idaho Press 06/24/2013
Dance Co. Teaches Creativity to Businesses
"Most dance companies make money by selling tickets to their performances. Boise-based troupe Trey McIntyre Project has a more expansive business model: 'We've decided that we have a real asset, which is the creative process itself. We're selling that,' says John Michael Schert, the company's co-founder and executive director.
Some corporate giants are interested in the pitch. The University of Chicago Booth Business School recently brought Schert in for advice on getting inspired, and several Boise businesses have teamed up with the dance company.
'Artists live the whole process of inspiration. We decided to refine it as a tool,' says Schert, a former dancer himself. 'We want companies to understand what they are creating, whether it is a marketing strategy or a healthcare policy, and get them to think about where they get hung up, and how to find ways around those stopping points to come up with new ideas.'
...At Aetna, the dance troupe's work is intended to be more hands-on—literally. The health insurance company's philanthropic foundation is in discussions with TMP about training thousands of the company's doctors and nurses on improving their patient interactions. The goal, says Schert, would be to help them learn to ready body language and reduce their patents' stress.
The troupe's creativity about its own business model has certainly helped its bottom line: The group is aiming to have its corporate business account for a third of TMP's $2.25 million annual budget.
Schert is bullish about how the business-and-art synergy can pay off for both sides.
'We're changing the role of the artist,' he says. 'We can help with how ideas are generated and harnessed. It helps companies, and it helps artists state their value.'"
CNN Money 04/24/2013
Obama Proposal Slighty Raises NEA Budget
"Federal funds for the National Endowments for the Arts and for the Humanities would remain stable under President Obama's proposed budget for the 2014 fiscal year.
Mr. Obama's budget proposal, released on [April 10], would raise each endowment's budgets by roughly $200,000, to $154.5-million for the coming fiscal year. The two endowments offer grants to colleges for research and fellowships in the arts and humanities, among other activities.
Under the federal spending cuts that took effect on March 1, known as the sequester, both endowments took budget reductions of $7-million, though Mr. Obama's proposal does not reflect those cuts.
Nearly 81 percent—about $125-million—of the proposed arts-endowment budget would be allocated to direct grants as well as state and regional partnerships. Of the $75-million set aside for direct endowment grants, $10-million would support the arts endowment's nationwide Our Town program, which aims to strengthen communities through the arts. About $50-million would finance state and regional partnerships.
With the proposed budget for Our Town, the arts endowment estimates that it could extend the program to as many as 115 additional communities throughout the country.
Of the proposed humanities-endowment budget, $106.8-million would be allocated to grant programs, $43.4-million of which would finance the operations, projects, and programs of state and territorial humanities councils. The proposed budget would also set aside $9-million for the endowment's Bridging Cultures program, which seeks to increase awareness of various cultures, and $11.3-million in federal matching funds, including the endowment's Challenge Grants program, which matches private donations in support of humanities organizations."
The Chronicle of Higher Education 04/10/2013
Is an MFA the New MBA?
"Though it’s likely to reshape the workplace for years to come, many organizations say they aren’t prepared for such an unprecedented brain drain. The projections of younger workers entering the workforce are even more shocking.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for the 10 years between 2010 to 2020, the number of workers between the ages of 16 to 54 will decrease by about 1 million—while the number of workers over the age of 54 will increase by more than 11 million.
Statistics as bracing as those have many organizations redoubling their efforts at retaining older workers.
But as a leader, your biggest human capital challenge is this: Where will you find enough next-generation workers with the skills required for success? This challenge is even greater when you factor in the nature of today’s flexible and contingent labor market.
Consider this: Today’s contingent economy has people moving constantly from one job to another, one type of work to another, one industry to a different industry. In fact, on average, a person between the ages of 25 and 45 will hold 11 different jobs in their lifetime. Thirty percent of us will work in more than 15 different jobs over the course of our careers.
Organizations far and wide—perhaps even yours—will compete intensely for workers who are adaptable, resourceful, and can quickly learn and apply new skills to a variety of challenges. Where can you find such workers?
One answer runs counter to much conventional wisdom: Ask an artist.
Artists know the world of adaptability and resourcefulness very well. In fact, according to an annual survey tracking the career trajectories of more than 65,000 artists from hundreds of arts schools, the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), close to 60 percent of arts graduates hold more than two jobs at once, and approximately 20 percent have more than three.
What’s more, regardless of whether they work in the arts or in other businesses, more then three-quarters of arts graduates say that critical thinking, creativity, and the ability to work with others are skills they both learned in school and use on a regular basis in their current work. Arts graduates are plucky and understand how to use their creative skills in a variety of settings."
"Art museums, seeking the repeat and committed visitor, are experimenting with new ways to cultivate a closer relationship with the public—and, in essence, to become a welcoming extension of the living room, rather than a stiff, Sunday-best excursion.
The Dallas Museum of Art recently decided to offer free general admission and a no-cost 'friends' membership, aiming to encourage broader involvement and interest, said its director, Maxwell L. Anderson. Others, like the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, are trying to entice members into exploring their interest in particular collections, like contemporary American or African art.
Museums are relying less on attention-getting art or blockbuster exhibits and re-examining how they relate to the public as they compete with other kinds of entertainment, according to experts. While science museum and aquarium attendance remains strong, art museums are seeing mostly flat growth, with spikes in visitors for extraordinarily popular exhibitions like the recent 'Picasso Black and White' at the Guggenheim.
Museums are also finding that as baby boomers age and their money goes to other purposes or other generations, the institutions need to cultivate new groups as bases of support.
Mr. Anderson says he is upending the museum-world conventions of paid entry and paid basic membership in an attempt to bring in people who might find a museum visit too costly."
The New York Times 03/20/2013
WI: Filling the Arts Education Void
"Arts programming by nonprofit entities is becoming increasingly important in Milwaukee as the ranks of arts teachers shrink at Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) amid tight budgets. The district, with about 80,000 students enrolled, is down to 81 full-time visual and performing arts specialists, down from 135 in the 2008–09 school year. The district hopes to push the number to 106 by next school year.
To fill the void, the district and other Milwaukee area schools are partnering with numerous art organizations in the city to broaden their reach and impact. MPS partners with 41 organizations through the district's Partnership for the Arts and Humanities, which has an allocation of $1.5 million.
One of those is Danceworks Inc., which works with traditional MPS schools as well as charter schools and private schools in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. With its artist-in-residence programs and Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap program, Danceworks Inc. has programs in 45 schools across Milwaukee and is helping Milwaukee students branch out.
Amy Brinkman-Sustache, director of education of Danceworks Inc., said the company uses visual arts and dance to couple with the curriculum taught by teachers in the classroom.
'We are not trying to take the place of art teachers in schools,' Brinkman-Sustache said. 'What we try to do is accommodate, if we can, to what they are doing in the classroom and what we can tie into the curriculum.'
The partnership requires outside groups to match dollar for dollar Partnership for Arts and Humanities money, which allows the organizations to enter schools during the day and assist in the number of art related class opportunities, according to Kari Couture, assistant recreation supervisor and community arts specialist for MPS.
Artists Working in Education works in 20 MPS schools. For 15 years AWE has held an artist-in-residence program that places local freelance artists in MPS schools during the day; in 2010 it began dual programming by also offering classes after school.
Mary Osmundsen, program director of AWE, said these programs build on what students are learning in other classes and hopes the relationship between the company and MPS continues even if schools find themselves with a full arts staff."
For a moment, he is 7 years old again and spends his days playing baseball, comforting his little sister and sharing Sabbath dinner with his family. For a moment, there is no such thing as the Iraq war, and two Marines never showed up at his parents’ Manassas home early one morning to tell them that their 19-year-old son was gone.
Amy Wolfe knows these moments are fleeting, but they are why, despite the advice of those closest to her and the painful memories it would conjure, she has created an unusual tribute to her son: a ballet that captures the life of a young man who was a dancer before he was a Marine.
She describes working on the ballet, titled simply 'Colin,' as simultaneously 'cathartic' and 'extremely difficult.'
'For me, Colin is alive again,' she says. 'So when it’s all done and put to rest, he will die for me again.'
Across the nation, parents of more than 6,600 service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan have found countless ways to honor their children—with benches, parks, poems, scholarships. But this weekend on a Manassas stage, an audience will see not just a production in Colin’s name, but his life story as choreographed by his mother.
'I don’t frankly know how she’s able to do it,' says Mark Wolfe, Colin’s father.
As executive director of the Manassas Ballet Theatre, the professional dance company where his wife is the artistic director, he has stood by her side through countless productions. But this one is different, he says. Early on, he advised his wife of 32 years against taking on such an emotional project, and he has since told her that he might not be able to watch it when it is performed [March 9 and 10] at the Hylton Performing Arts Center."
Lance, the group’s Republican co-chair, serves alongside Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-New York). 'I’ve had an interest in these matters in New Jersey and more recently in Washington. It’s important that our country be recognized for the arts and humanities, as well as in other ways,' Lance said. 'I’m honored to be the Republican co-chair.'
Before his election to Congress in 2008, Lance was a key Republican in Trenton and a valued supporter of the arts. In 2003, he cast the lone Republican vote for the Hotel-Motel Occupancy Fee, created to fund the state’s cultural agencies and tourism after then-Gov. Jim McGreevey cut arts funding from the state budget.
Lance has been a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus since 2009. The group has 185 members, including eight members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation.
Arts advocate Ann Marie Miller welcomed Lance’s appointment. 'It’s important for New Jersey and nationally as well,' Miller, executive director of ArtPride New Jersey, said.
'Leonard Lance has always supported arts and culture in New Jersey. It’s part of his fiber, his upbringing. He values how important the arts are to our lives.'"
The Star-Ledger 02/28/2013
MO: Arts Focus Turns Around Town
"In more than a decade, the Lee’s Summit Arts Council has helped shape the community’s direction in entertainment and cultural offerings, complimenting fast growth of housing and shopping centers, all the pieces which made Lee’s Summit one of the region’s booming cities.
The city now has a community symphony and theater group, building on longtime support for arts programs in schools.
Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street incorporates some aspect of the arts, either sculpture or music performance, into its events and sponsors a Fourth Friday event centered on arts.
The city has Got Art, also downtown, a gallery to provide space for visual arts, run by a juried, nonprofit arts organization of about 80 artists.
'It’s a turnaround,' said Syrtiller Kabat chairperson of the arts council. 'We were a simple community that’s grown in sophistication.'
The arts council didn’t make all those things happen, but its job has been to help create a climate and awareness to help them flourish, Kabat said.
It began in 2001, a result of the Lee’s Summit 21st Century Strategic Plan. Its charge was to coordinate efforts between agencies to promote the arts and educate the public regarding arts opportunities.
Kabat, one of the first Arts Council members appointed, said that in early years the council hit a rough patch, where its energy was sometimes blunted by members representing different groups vying for city funding. She was one member who resigned, discouraged, but was reappointed to the council two years ago.
The City Council continued to refine the council’s make up, changing member terms, and the council continued its work, finishing a Cultural Arts Plan adopted in 2007. The following year it became an adjunct of the Lee’s Summit Park Board and picked up additional staff support from that department to begin implementing that plan.
Last year it completed a Cultural Facilities Master Plan and visited several cities, including Paducah, Ky.and Ashville N.C. and the Americans for the Arts National Conference to get ideas.
It started holding arts summits to connect local artists with businesses and leaders."
"For the week, a section of the General Assembly Building has been transformed into an art gallery, with paintings, woodwork, quilts and other pieces for sale—all made by children and teens serving sentences in the Department of Juvenile Justice.
The Expressions exhibit has been a part of the annual legislative session for the past 21 years, said Reggie Branch, the department's program manager for career and technical education. The proceeds go into the artists' canteen accounts to pay for snacks and toiletries and to buy more art supplies, Branch said.
A number of the roughly 100 pieces had already sold by [the third] morning. There are cutting boards and baskets hand-crafted by boys from the Hanover and Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Centers. Most of the items cost between $5 and $15.
Ten bucks buys a painting of a quill tucked into an American flag ink jar—titled Live & Change—by a teen from the Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center in Richmond.
A colorful quilt—named No Place Like Home—sewn by a young man at the Culpeper Juvenile Correctional Center costs $100.
The program provides art and technical training for incarcerated juveniles as well as a therapeutic outlet, Branch said. Some participants have gone on to study art or graphic design after their release, he added.
Juveniles assigned to the Department of Juvenile Justice typically are between the ages of 11 and 21 and serving criminal sentences of at least six months, Branch said. The department has six active residential facilities."
The Virginian-Pilot 02/13/2013
Are City Orchestras a Dying Breed?
"The Minnesota Orchestra is far from alone: Symphonies in Detroit, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Chicago have all experienced strikes and/or lockouts over the past two years, and those in many smaller cities, including Miami, Honolulu, and Albuquerque, have folded altogether. In the spring of 2011, the Philadelphia Orchestra became the nation's first major orchestra to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy—it emerged from restructuring last July with 10 fewer musicians, and a 15 percent pay cut for the remaining players.
A weak economy, compounding the longstanding challenge of a dwindling audience, have brought about a massive identity crisis in the classical music world. Orchestras have high overhead costs, and they simply aren't as popular as they once were. 'We see them going, one after another, either into a wall, or to war,' says classical music writer Norman Lebrecht (one of whose books is titled The Life and Death of Classical Music). Lebrecht blames many of the problems on poor management and the fact that 'both sides are frightened of change.'
Negotiations for a new contract began last April in the Twin Cities, but the two sides can't seem to reach any agreement. The management contends that it has cut costs by laying off administrative staff and reducing their pay, among other measures. 'We've been very transparent with the musicians about these challenges for the last several years,' said Minnesota Orchestra president and CEO Michael Henson. 'To continue operating at these losses would not be sensible.'
Musicians' salaries—which ate up nearly half of the orchestra's $32 million budget last year—are a huge part of the equation. The players make $135,000 on average, not including benefits that include insurance policies for their valuable instruments, plus up to 26 weeks paid sick leave (to protect injured players) and 10 weeks paid vacation leave."
Rep. Josh Cockroft said House Bill 1895 has been assigned to the House of Representatives Rules Committee, where it is unlikely to get a hearing this year.
'They didn't have support for it,' said Cockroft, referring to GOP leaders in the House where Republicans have a 72-29 majority. 'It's dead on arrival, basically...I'm OK with that,' said Cockroft (R-Tecumseh). 'I wasn't presenting it just to get a bill passed. It's to merely point to a bigger conversation which I think we need to be having—which is, can we make sure that every dollar's going where it absolutely needs to go?'
House Majority Floor Leader Pam Peterson (R-Tulsa) said HB 1895 was assigned to the House Rules Committee because Cockroft listed the measure as his ninth priority. House members are limited to filing eight bills in a session.
'All bills over eight go to Rules,' Peterson said.
HB 1895 called for reducing state funding to the Arts Council each fiscal year by 25 percent. The appropriation from lawmakers was to end in 2017.
The Arts Council is seeking a $500,000 increase for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1. Half would be to pay for community arts programs and the other half would be for arts education programs. The council provides grants to communities and schools; grant money not spent is returned to the council and used in the next fiscal year.
Cockroft's measure was widely criticized. Several lawmakers said privately they would not have voted for it.
Sen. James Halligan, chairman of a Senate budget subcommittee on education, said he opposed the measure. He said he would have been surprised if the measure had passed the Legislature.
'If you're interested in economic development, you've got to have cultural development at the same time,' said Halligan (R-Stillwater). 'They're intimately linked.'"
SC: Governor Targets State Arts Agency
"Gov. Nikki Haley wants to fold the S.C. Arts Commission into the State Museum, a move that would eliminate the arts group’s board and director but leave intact its grants program.
Asked about Haley’s proposal by state House budget writers, Ken May, the commission’s executive director, said, 'It eliminates the Arts Commission, so you can imagine I’m not the biggest fan of that.'
Haley has proposed severe cuts to the Arts Commission before.
In 2012, the first-term Republican governor recommended eliminating the agency, saying its administrative costs were too high. When lawmakers ignored her, Haley vetoed the agency’s funding. Lawmakers overrode her veto.
According to Haley’s executive budget proposal, merging the Arts Commission and the State Museum would reduce the commission’s personnel costs by 30 percent, including eliminating the executive director’s $91,664-a-year position.
The agency’s grants program, and some associated employees, would be transferred to the State Museum, a move that May says would result in the loss of some services that the commission provides.
In 2012-2013, about $1.8 million of the agency’s $3.46 million budget went directly to arts organizations, including museums, arts councils, orchestras and schools, May said. The agency received about $1.9 million of its budget directly from the state.
The agency grants money to arts organizations statewide and provides professional development and grants to artists. It also develops education programming for public schools.
For 2013-2014, May is asking lawmakers for $1 million more for grants, $30,000 for ongoing professional development programs for artist-entrepreneurs, and $25,000 to create cultural districts that foster partnerships between arts and business communities across the state.
May worries that, under Haley’s proposal, the state may not be eligible for some federal arts grants."
The State 01/23/2013
Fundamental Flaw in Nonprofit Fundraising?
"A new national survey of nonprofit executives suggests it isn’t just the uncertain economy that’s making it hard for charities—including arts and culture groups—to meet their fundraising goals. The research says there’s something fundamentally amiss with the way many of them go about courting donors.
'This study reveals that many nonprofit organizations are stuck in a vicious cycle that threatens their ability to raise the resources they need to succeed,' begins the 36-page report commissioned by the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund and conducted by CompassPoint, a San Francisco-based organization that provides management advice to nonprofits.
Arts, culture, and humanities accounted for 11% of the 1,852 head fundraisers and 870 chief executives who responded to the 2012 survey, making it the second-largest sector. Human services was the largest sector, at 22%.
A key finding is that half the chief fundraisers, or 'development directors' as they're known in the nonprofit world, expect to leave their current jobs within two years due to an assortment of pressures, including a frequent feeling that they’re out on a limb because they're expected to produce results without having enough backup from bosses and boards that haven’t managed to put effective, systematic fundraising plans and approaches in place.
Only 58% of the development directors rated their organizations’ fundraising as 'effective' or 'very effective,' compared with 83% of the chief executives, and nearly a third of the fundraisers said they’d been given 'unrealistic' goals. Their average annual pay ranged from $49,141 at organizations with budgets under $1 million to $100,127 when budgets exceeded $10 million."
The legislation, written by state Rep. Josh Cockroft, R-Tecumseh, would reduce state government funding to the OAC each fiscal year by 25 percent, eventually ending the appropriation in 2017.
The first reading takes place Feb. 4. If passed, the bill will become effective July 1. Cockroft said the bill may be assigned to a committee next week.
Cockroft said his intent in writing HB 1895 is to simplify state spending and focus on funneling state tax dollars to core government functions like education.
'My goal with this bill isn’t to destroy the arts in Oklahoma. It’s actually quite contrary. I personally have been involved in the arts over the last couple of years,' Cockroft said. 'I think there is a need and an incredible desire for that here in Oklahoma. The question is: Is that the state government’s responsibility?'
The state appropriates $4 million to the OAC every year, Cockroft said.
According to the OAC website, $4 million is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the state budget, with 80 percent of funding going directly to communities across the state. Those funds support Oklahoma’s $314.8 million nonprofit arts and cultural industry and more than 10,000 jobs. The industry generates $29 million in state and local tax revenue."
NY: 1 Percent for Culture Campaign Begins
"Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair of the Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations Committee announced his support for the One Percent for Culture Campaign at an event at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, strengthening the growing coalition to support New York City’s cultural landscape.
The councilman’s support lends political clout to the rapidly growing coalition of cultural, business, civic leaders, and artists throughout all five boroughs who recognize the vital role of the city’s 1,200-plus nonprofit cultural organizations.
'Through a coalition of hundreds of nonprofit cultural organizations and tens of thousands of New Yorkers we will continue to fight for essential funding we so desperately need for the arts,' said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, 'By increasing funding for culture and the arts in all five boroughs we will sustain our New York City’s dominance as the world’s premiere cultural capital for future years to come.'
One Percent for Culture is an an unprecedented collaboration across New York City’s cultural and business communities aimed at educating New Yorkers about the value of non-profit culture to New York City. The city has made great strides by increasing capital support for cultural organizations over the past decade, and this campaign seeks to ensure that the next administration understands the vital role culture plays in our city. Only with future operating support can these investments in our cultural organizations provide long-term benefit to all New Yorkers.
The coalition, which has grown to 245 members, seeks to garner a commitment from the city to ensure that non-profit cultural organizations across all five boroughs receive one percent of the municipal expense budget annually. More than 25,000 New Yorkers have already signed the One Percent for Culture appeal in support of investment in cultural organizations."
MN: The Economics of Twin Cities Artists
It is commonly said among artists that they chose to work in the Twin Cities for the quality of life and the general health of the cultural community. It certainly isn't for the money.
'The majority of artists are not, quote, making a living from their art,' said Vickie Benson, arts program director at the McKnight Foundation. 'They are cobbling work together not so they can have opulent lives but so they can cover the basics.'
Here is the good news for those who want to make a living in the arts: There are dozens of theater companies and lots of dance troupes; two full-time orchestras (assuming the current troubles work themselves out) and a part-time opera ensemble; art galleries large and small; choral groups like few other regions, and decent state, foundation and private funding for arts groups.
Here's the bad news: If you quit playing your instrument after college, you have little chance of making the orchestras; acting jobs rarely last for an entire year; the average dancer earns about $7,000 annually; visual artists live by what they can sell; full-time choral work is extremely rare, and grant money is highly competitive.
A 2005 survey by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA) found that full-time artists in the state earned an average of $44,204 annually. But only $34,342 came strictly from their art. In addition to the 4,722 full-time artists surveyed, another 11,805 defined as part-timers fared a bit better overall ($45,888)—perhaps because they spent more time in better-paying day jobs."
"Longview Museum of Fine Arts (LMFA) is bringing art education back into Pine Tree schools.
Through a partnership between the museum and district, representatives from LMFA go to the intermediate and primary schools on a regular basis to provide arts education.
Pine Tree Intermediate School Assistant Principal Shannon Hennigan said the partnership formed after the Parent Teacher Association wanted to bring back art classes. Fine arts funding was among programs slashed two years ago by the state legislature.
'Art is usually one of the first things to be cut, honestly,' Hennigan said. 'But, it’s so important. We want kids today to have the opportunity to learn the things we learned about when we were kids. They’ve been learning about things like symmetry and primary colors.'
The idea helped the intermediate school find a time to coordinate its 18 third-grade teachers, she said. Pine Tree Intermediate School has about 350 third-graders in 18 self-contained classrooms, which means each teacher is responsible for educating the children in all of the core subjects...
The PTA helped with the partnership so the school didn’t have to budget funds for LMFA staff to come to the campus, she added.
'I know that if we didn’t have Ann here, we wouldn’t have an organized art activity for our students,' Hennigan said.
It also allowed Werline, a former third-grade teacher, to get back into a school. She wants to see the program expand, possibly with retired educators who want to volunteer taking the reins and preparing lessons."