Using Data to Advance the Arts: A Legislator’s Perspective

If it’s true, as some say, money is the mother’s milk of politics, then I would argue that data, anecdotes and experience are the meat and potatoes of good policy. And since policymakers are driven to do the right thing and want to meet the expectations and needs of their constituents, they will choose the will of their voters over those of special interests whenever they have the data, anecdotes, and experience to back up those decisions. This is especially important when advocating for the arts. Americans for the Arts’ Research Department has made policymakers’ jobs a bit easier by placing a variety of tools and services literally at our fingertips.

And the Award Goes To...

We all know those hard working teachers who get up extra early and are in their classrooms long before students have arrived, preparing for the day’s lessons. These are the same teachers who spend their own money on extra supplies for their students. They stay after school advising various clubs to provide students more experiences in the arts. They go the extra mile to take their students on field trips to hear the local orchestra, or attend the art museum in their community. These are the amazing educators who love and care about the welfare of their students. How do we honor these individuals? I suggest an Awards Alternative.

We Love You: Photographer Bryon Summers Honors 1,000+ Black Males

Photographer Bryon Summers is traveling around the country with his camera in hand, taking intimate portraits of more than 1,000 Black males of all ages for his We Love You project. Summers aims to dispel the often dehumanizing and negative stereotypes of Black males portrayed in mainstream media. Summers wants to remind Black males of all ages that they belong, they are seen, and most importantly, that they are loved.

Pointers for Investing in Emerging Technologies

How can an arts marketer keep on top of the emerging tech while staying strategic, mission-centric and goal-oriented?

Why Data is Essential for Marketing Success in The Arts

The reason gathering data is so important is because it can help your organization understand your community needs, interests and how to better target your marketing efforts. With the rise of social media, there are more ways to reach your constituents than ever before, but it also means there is more data available than ever before.

Is Arts Marketing Knowledge Being Marginalized?

Frequently, those with less marketing knowledge are able to influence organizational decisions about which photographs to use, what copy should communicate, where paid ads are placed, what is posted on social media, and so on. And marketing staff is often blamed for ineffective marketing over which they had less than total control.

Innovation in the Digital Arts

The most important part of content today (besides telling an incredible story) is how audiences are able to engage. Engagement is one of the primary keys that has bolstered the success of digital content. 

Great Public Art Has the Power to Change Communities

Artistically, we want to provide Spartanburg residents and visitors with unique and dramatic experiences while redefining public spaces, reducing crime, re-energizing our neighborhoods, educating, and fostering greater pride of place.

Making Connections through Radical Hospitality

City Lights Theater Company treats patrons, artists, staff, and board members with the utmost warmth, respect, and what we call “radical hospitality.” Since we have established this core value, we have seen a significant increase in ticket sales, season-pass holders, individual contributions, and board engagement. 

Tooting Our Own Horns: Sharing Campaign Success Stories

Let’s talk about all the work you’ve put in during the last year. Your successes. Your failures … er … learning opportunities. I can’t stress enough how valuable this information is to your peers. If you’ve found something that works, let the sector know! 

Is Your Organization More Maverick than Iceman? Tips on Avoiding the “Danger Zone”

Simply by attending this year’s NAMP Conference, you’re already identifying yourself and your organization as interested in being at least a bit more like Iceman: you are undoubtedly interested in picking up some best practices on how to run your organization or department better over the long term. 

Are the Arts in America Really for Everyone?

Despite the fact that minority communities are the emerging majority, diversity in the arts isn’t growing at the speed of reality. This paints a very troubling picture of what can be the “future” of arts in America—a future which, if trends continue, is less diverse than the American public.

Social Media Is Your Mission. Your Mission Is Social Media.

As an arts marketer, if you're not getting great at social media, you are cheating yourself, your organization, and your audience. Saying that the interfaces and jargon aren't relevant is comparable to blowing off email in the 90s, the fax in the 80s, or telephones before that.

The Audience of the Future: <strike>Out</strike> In With the Old, In With the New

Only when arts organizations seek to grow the loyalty of every person who walks through the door—from the first-timers to the long-timers—will we see the sustainable revenue that allows us to innovate and grow.

Marketing in Pursuit of Purpose

Many nonprofit arts organizations would say they are just like REI—driven by values, and focused on the community. But as a unique co-op retail business, REI has succeeded in showing their members what it really means to belong to something bigger than themselves.

Reflections on SXSL: Art, Technology and Possibility

When the arts are used to connect the work being done on the edge of science, government, and technology, this is how change begins. This is the sense that the first South by South Lawn (SXSL) inspired in many of those who attended. 

Healing Trauma through the Arts in Chicago and Beyond

This year, our Sweet Home Chicago also recorded its most violent and deadliest summer on record—with no end in sight. For too many of Chicago’s children, the wealth of opportunities this city provides is seemingly too distant to access due to the many barriers that remain in place.

Lessons Beyond the Playa: Bringing Burning Man Home

Fundamentally, as we celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month in October, we celebrate creativity and what it means to be human today. We celebrate everyday creative expression in all of its forms—from the amateur to the master artist and his/her craft. Burning Man celebrates that, too.

Seeking Leaders for the Arts Education Advisory Council

I’m entering my third year on the council, and it’s been a valuable experience to grow in my field. It’s provided me the opportunity to meet and work with people from across the nation who focus on the same goals and face similar challenges. We have meaningful conversations about where we are and where we need to go—individually, as a group, and as a nation.

For a Startup, the First is Everything

The mission was to use the insertion of art and beauty to transform a community and change public narrative. By moving this practice into a corporate setting, limeSHIFT was testing a new idea, using public art methodologies in a private community.

Celebrating National Arts and Humanities Month with an Eye to a New Cast of Characters

We are at the edge of a changing political tide, whereby elected leaders and administrations will change and support mechanisms for the arts will necessarily evolve. We have one last shot in 2016 to show our future elected leaders the importance of the arts in America.

Give the Arts Day is October 6. Show your support!

Give The Arts Day is a 24-hour giving campaign to bring together arts supporters from all over the country, who support the arts in their communities every day. Help us by supporting Americans for the Arts on Oct. 6, so that Americans for the Arts can continue to support you every day of the year. 

The Art of Creative Conversations

There are a lot of different ways to have a Creative Conversation—you can do brown bag lunches, panel discussions, longer workshops, and even full day symposia—but the most important thing is to have one!

The Great Equalizer

We know arts education levels the playing field and gives those without hope, hope; those without opportunity, opportunity. As arts educators, we must continue to promulgate the same messages over and over—to each generation, to each politician, to each school principal, to each parent. 

The Royall Art Walk

When opening a new Royall & Company office building south of the campus on Parham Road in Richmond, Virginia, the idea of an employee art gallery came to life. The Royall Art Walk invited employees to actively participate in the creativity, inventiveness and raw talent that is such an essential aspect of the workplace.

More Than Crafty Chaos—Afterschool Art Matters!

Not only can such programs nurture the creativity of kids without art education in school, but afterschool art enrichment is a powerful compliment to classroom learning, allowing the seeds planted in art class to grow and flourish over time. Put another way, informal art education is the practicum for the young artist-in-training! 

Columbia, South Carolina

On a trip to teach and learn about cultural districts in South Carolina, I was struck by the desire of each district to develop relationships with the others and to work together to promote each other’s cultural assets and build knowledge about the state across the state.

Do your part for public art—check out the #KRISArtofGiving campaign

KRIS Wines has partnered with Americans for the Arts to celebrate the value of public art in American communities, and reward the artists who create it. They’re giving away $25,000 in prizes to artists who have recently completed projects in the United States, and your votes—up to once per day at—will determine the winners.


Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined arts education would have resulted in a professional career enabling me to work with with renowned artists including Kennedy Center Honorees Arthur Mitchell and Yo-Yo Ma to plan and deliver arts education programs.

Agency to Craft Change

If I can pinpoint one thing #BecauseOfArtsEd—its that the arts is a connector, its the social tissue that binds us together, it makes us human. When I think about my life and my education, I cant separate the arts from it.


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