Americans for the Arts' mission is to serve, advance, and lead the network of organizations and individuals who cultivate, promote, sustain, and support the arts in America.
Founded in 1960, Americans for the Arts is the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. From offices in Washington, DC and New York City, we provide a rich array of programs that meet the needs of over 150,000 members and stakeholders. We are dedicated to representing and serving local communities and to creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts.
We work hard to realize a vision for the arts and arts education. That vision is informed by our belief in the following core values:
- The arts are fundamental to humanity and have the power to transform lives.
- Arts education develops well-rounded children and citizens.
- Artistic expression connects people from around the globe.
- The arts, broadly defined, are essential to a thriving community, creating a sense of place and fueling social and economic growth.
- In order to thrive, the arts in America—and broad access to them—need an investment of a mix of public, private and consumer resources.
Our work translates national vision into local tools that can be used by the wide variety of organizations and individuals that are our members. They include cultural and arts service organizations as well as arts educators, arts administrators, artists, and the general public. Today, we have members in every state as well as 13 countries around the world.
Policy & Advocacy
We provide the tools necessary to empower people to make a difference in their communities. As the nation's leading advocate for the arts and arts education, we work to secure increased resources for the arts and arts education at the local, state, and federal level to influence public and private policy. Our programs include:
- Arts Advocacy Day
- The National Arts Policy Roundtable, Seminar for Leadership in the Arts, and other policy convenings
- The Arts Action Fund, our 501(c)(4) organization
- The pARTnership Movement
Research & Information
We champion a research-based understanding to how the arts are being used to address social, educational, and economic development issues in communities across the country. Ongoing initiatives include:
We create opportunities for experienced and emerging arts leaders to learn, dialogue, and network with colleagues throughout the year. Our professional development programs include:
- The Americans for the Arts Annual Convention
- National Arts Marketing Project Conference and regional training workshops
- Specialized peer-to-peer networks such as the Arts Education Network, Emerging Leaders Network, Private Sector Network, Public Art Network and State Arts Action Network
Recognition and Visibility
It takes a clear and persistent message to raise public awareness of the value of the arts. Through our national network and array of public and private sector partners, Americans for the Arts works to shine a spotlight on the contributions of the arts and arts education. We accomplish this through:
- National Arts & Humanities Month, a coast-to-coast celebration of culture every October designed to encourage all Americans to explore new facets of the arts and humanities in their lives
- Annual awards programs that celebrate public and private leaders for their contributions to the cause, including the National Arts Awards, BCA 10: Best Companies Supporting the Arts in America, the Public Leadership in the Arts Awards and our annual local arts achievement awards
- The Arts. Ask for More., a bilingual national public service advertising campaign