As we continue to hear more news about the devastating tornado that passed through the town of Moore on the outskirts of Oklahoma City yesterday, we at Americans for the Arts send our thoughts and prayers to the artists, administrators, and all those affected. When natural disasters strike, there is no way to fully comprehend or process the pain they inflict. They are arbitrary, and yesterday’s horrific storm makes us feel powerless. As we try to contact friends and colleagues in the area, and know that many of you are doing the same, we realize that while we can’t stop these tragedies from happening, we can join together to help others pick up the pieces. Moore and Oklahoma City are resilient, creative communities, and we are here to support them as best we can. Americans for the Arts staff have been in touch with many of our partners and colleagues in the area, including the immediate-past Chair of our Board of Directors, Ken Fergeson of Altus, OK, and continue to monitor the situation. We hope to be able to share more information soon, and in the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us directly.
Oklahoma, you are in our thoughts today. I have included below some emergency resources to help you start on the long road to recovery, and know that we are always here to answer questions, to help, and to send you our hopes for a brighter tomorrow.
Emergency Response Resources:
The Essential Guidelines for Arts Respondersis an immediate resource to help you determine your organization's response and work in the weeks ahead. It is an abridged version of a longer, more detailed handbook (now in development) that's designed to help local and state arts agencies, organizations, foundations, and other arts groups plan and administer a coordinated disaster mobilization system within their service area. We hope that it helps you, and we welcome your comments and additions.
We also encourage you to visit our National Coalition Partners: CERF+ and ArtsReady for resource links and more disaster relief information.
Please let Theresa Cameron, Local Arts Agency Services, know how you are doing and if you have other information you would like to share. In these days after the tornado, our thoughts are with you, your families, friends, and colleagues.
Bob Lynch, President and CEO Americans for the Arts
Missed Arts Advocacy Day? Visit Our Recap Page for Videos, Pictures & More
April 23, 2013—The 26th annual Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, DC, brought together a cross section of America's cultural and civic organizations, along with more than 500 grassroots advocates from 40 states, to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts and arts education.
If you missed out on our first live stream of the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy or Google Hangout, those videos are available on the recap page along with interviews featuring Congressional Arts Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer Matt Sorum, musician Cristina Pato, and dancer Lil' Buck. In addition, a Flickr photo stream, related ARTSblog posts, and major news coverage of the events can be found on the page.
While our recap doesn't do the full event justice, it provides a sense of the energy and excitement that arts advocates bring to Washington each year.
Vote Today! Vans Custom Culture Narrows Field to Top 50 Shoe Designs
April 22, 2013—As a Vans Custom Culture national charity partner, Americans for the Arts is proud to work closely with the brand to reinforce the importance of arts education in schools across the country.
With the launch of the 2013 Vans Custom Culture competition on January 2, budding artists and designers entered to become the first 1,500 U.S.-based public or private high schools to enter. And now that field has been narrowed to the top 50 schools and designs in five regions: California, Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast.
The five schools as determined by online voting will be notified on May 14 and provided with a travel budget to fly to New York City for the finals later this summer with the winning school receiving $50,000 for its art program!
To find out more about our partnership with Vans Custom Culture and to check out our Arts Education Navigator e-book series visit http://bit.ly/vanscc.
Bob Lynch Addresses Sequester Cuts & Federal Funding on "PBS NewsHour"
April 15, 2013—Bob Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, was interviewed by Jeffrey Brown last week for the PBS program NewsHour's Art Beat segment discussing how the federal government sequestration is affecting the arts in the United States.
Bob describes in detail how funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is leveraged across the country on a state and local level. They also talk about the history of funding for the NEA and President Obama's proposed FY2014 budget. See the full segment below:
April 10, 2013—Americans for the Arts will participate in the 2nd National Summit: Arts, Health and Well-Being Across the Military Continuum hosted by the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is a by-invitation event focusing on the benefits of arts exposure, active art-making, and issues related to research, policy, and practice in arts and health across the military continuum. The summit is part of the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military, a collaborative effort to advance the arts in health, healing, and healthcare for military service members, veterans, their families, and caregivers. Over 200 leaders from the military and arts community will be in attendance to share their experience, findings, and solutions for moving forward. The results of the discussions will be summarized and included as part of the findings of the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military White Paper, to be released in late Spring, 2013.
Also, the entire Hanks presentation is currently available for archival viewing on our YouTube channel.
Americans for the Arts to Livestream Nancy Hanks Lecture and Host Google+ Hangout on Arts Education
April 03, 2013—For the first time in history, Americans for the Arts will livestream the annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy, at 6:30 p.m. EDT from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (courtesy of Google).
This means you can watch the Lecture on YouTube regardless of whether or not you're in Washington, DC, for National Arts Advocacy Day! The Lecture, delivered this year by Yo-Yo Ma, will address what kind of education will best enable today's students to develop creativity, flexibility, and the ability to innovate and work collaboratively.
And, if you have a burning question that arises during the Lecture, you can ask Yo-Yo Ma the next day.
On April 9 from 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m EDT., Yo-Yo Ma, along with Matt Sorum (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer for Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver and Co-Founder of Adopt the Arts in California) and Damian Woetzel (former principal dancer at New York City Ballet and the director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program), will participate in Americans for the Arts’ first Google+ Hangout. They will discuss the need to develop strong public policies for arts education and field questions from Google+ Hangout attendees. Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, will moderate the event.
To submit a question for the Hangout, please send a Tweet using #AskYoYo, or send an email to email@example.com. Just write #AskYoYo in the subject line and then write your question in the body of the email. We'll take questions anytime from now until the Hangout.
Register Now for the 2013 Americans for the Arts Convention!
This year, arts leaders from across the country will gather in Pittsburgh, PA from June 14-16 to find ways to improve the story of how the arts build better lives, communities, and workplaces. A series of exciting speakers and arts innovators will discuss why the arts are the best kept secret when it comes to building healthy, diverse, and engaged communities. Our Annual Convention also provides an opportunity for peer groups interested arts education, cultural diversity, emerging leaders, public art, fundraising, and more to meet each year to connect and share their work.
In addition, three preconferences offer attendees a chance to dig deeper:
The Public Art Network Preconference explores critical issues facing the field and includes case study tours illustrating how Public Art contributes to Pittsburgh’s distinction as America’s most livable city. The Public Art Network Preconference is generously sponsored by McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory.
Our first ever Cultural/Arts and Entertainment Districts Preconference examines Pittsburgh in depth—and is your opportunity to see up-close how arts & entertainment and cultural districts work. The Cultural/Arts and Entertainment Districts Preconference is generously sponsored by The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Emerging Leaders Preconference teaches participants to adapt at the individual level in order to more effectively lead change in their communities. The Emerging Leaders Preconference is generously sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University Master of Arts Management Program.
Sixty organizations submitted their projects to be judged through votes by Ovation community members and viewers on Ovation's Facebook page. The site received an average of 25,000 votes a day over the course of the two-and-a-half-month voting period. Northside Workshop, which highlighted its "Beautification of Vacant Space" program, was the clear winner.
Northside Workshop's "Community Build the Arts" initiative includes the "Beautification of Vacant Space" program, which teaches middle school students to develop creative strategies for addressing urban abandonment in their community by incorporating into their curriculum socially engaged art and education courses like studio art, beekeeping and gardening. In addition, Northside Workshop created "The Year of Listening Project," which consists of a creative survey to help identify community needs by listening and sharing stories in order to co-generate ideas that have the potential for the most positive impact.
Ovation, the only multi-platform network devoted to artists and every kind of artistic expression, developed the innOVATION Grant Program to fund and recognize the impact of artists and the arts in communities’ revitalization efforts in partnership with Americans for the Arts.
Don't Miss the Deadline to Nominate Someone for the Annual Field Leadership Awards!
March 21, 2013—Time is running out to nominate the great work of an individual, organization, or program in your community for one of the 2013 Americans for the Arts Annual Leadership Awards:
For more information about the nomination process as well as award rules and regulations, click here.
Board Member Liz Lerman Launches National Civil War Project
March 05, 2013—Liz Lerman, renowned choreographer and Americans for the Arts board member, is launching a new project commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
The National Civil War Project begins on March 6 and events will take place throughout the DC/Baltimore Metro area for the next two years.
The Baltimore Sun's coverage of this exciting event follows:
"It's been a century and a half since the Civil War split the United States, and to mark the 150th anniversary of the country's bloodiest conflict, Baltimore choreographer Liz Lerman has founded a multi-sided commemoration called the National Civil War Project.
Lerman, a MacArthur Fellow, partnered with the University of Maryland, Center Stage, and Harvard University, among others, for the project, which launches Thursday with a presentation in Washington and continues with numerous events through 2015. It aims to raise questions about the war and its repercussions.
'This is an opportunity for Americans to reflect on our own history and present,' Lerman said, 'that it might make us more compassionate to what is happening around the world or open to the possibility to understand it in a different way...I know how powerful it is to bring people of different disciplines together, so I had a feeling artists and scholars would be fantastic.'
American culture has gone through remarkable shifts, such as the civil rights movement, since the Civil War's last major anniversary in the 1960s, Lerman said.
'It was 50 years ago that we were in the midst of the civil rights era, so the whole take on the war is different,' Lerman said.
Center Stage teamed up with the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center to present a day-long civil rights symposium September 6, along with a performance commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, said Paul Brohan, director of artistic initiatives at the center. The event will include speakers in partnership with the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, he said.
'It's a snapshot of where we are in relation to the historical aspect of civil rights and where we have yet to go,' Brohan said.
A commissioned piece opening in May 2015 will include music and spoken word, Brohan said.
A commissioned play at Center Stage will look at the war from a global—particularly British—perspective, according to Gavin Witt, the theater's associate artistic director.
George Washington University and Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater will host events including panel discussions, a national conference in December to discuss the civil war in Washington and a dance theater piece by Lerman about the civil war as well as wars today.
The project also has counterparts in Atlanta and Boston, with Emory and Harvard universities and other arts organizations in those areas participating."
Submit Projects for 2013 Public Art Year in Review
March 11, 2013—Since 2000, the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network's Year in Review has annually recognized outstanding public art projects through an open call submission and curation/selection process.
Up to 50 projects are selected through an open call application process and selected by three jurors. The 2013 jurors are: Justine Topfer, Curator, Out of the Box Projects and Project Manager, San Francisco Art Commission, CA; Norie Sato, Artist, Seattle, WA; and John Carson, Artist and Head of the School of Art, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.
Eligible projects must have been completed or debuted in calendar year 2012. There is no limit to the number of projects an applicant can submit, but nominate soon as the call closes on April 5, 2013!
*For specific questions about Year in Review and project submissions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For technical questions regarding the application and uploading of media and documentation please contact email@example.com.
NABE Foundation and Americans for the Arts Award College Scholarship to Paul Vancea
Vancea is currently a junior at Brandeis University, majoring in Economics, Business and Film. Upon graduation, he hopes to find a way to combine Economics and Finance with Film, whether this means making videos promoting certain policies or socially conscious businesses, short economics educational tutorials or a meaningful feature film depicting and encouraging new, more socially responsible business models.
In 2007, Vancea moved from Romania with his family and settled in San Diego. While in high school, he became involved with the San Diego Youth Council, learning about advocating for youth rights and issues. He still works with the group as a Youth Media Consultant. This experience has carried over into his film work including a documentary about Eli J. Segal, whose passion for citizen engagement led to the creation of The Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Program. In fact, he was one of the 2012 Fellows in the program. Vanca has also produced and directed videos for various departments at Brandeis for in-house use—a fitness video to motivate his fellow students to maintain an active lifestyle and a pilot video for a YouTube series.
Vancea will accept his award today during a luncheon at the NABE Economic Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. Americans for the Arts Board Member and BCA Executive Board Chairman William T. Kerr, president & CEO of Arbitron, Inc., will present Vancea with his award today at the luncheon.
SphinxCon-Empowering Ideas for Diversity in the Arts
February 21, 2013—SphinxCon was created by the Sphinx Organization to convene a critical mass of performing arts leaders and practitioners on the topic of diversity and create a space for discussion and sharing. Leaders at SphinxCon presented a broad view of how diversity is happening in all disciplines. Robert Lynch participated in SphinxCon by speaking about the work of Americans for the Arts focusing on the broad spectrum of leaders who have inspired and informed his work over the years. The Sphinx Organization is a national non-profit founded in 1996 by Aaron P. Dworkin, a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy and the University of Michigan (B.B. and M.M) and Carrie A. Chester, a graduate of the University of Michigan (B.A. in Multicultural Studies and M.A. in Elementary Education). A violinist himself, Mr. Dworkin founded the organization to help overcome the cultural stereotype of classical music, and to encourage the participation of Blacks and Latinos in the field. Ms. Chester currently teaches at Burns Park Elementary in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. She is a strong proponent of public education and actively works to eliminate predictable racial disparities in our schools.
Americans for the Arts Salutes Launch of Congressional STEAM Caucus
January 30, 2013—A bipartisan team of members of Congress have launched the Congressional STEAM Caucus. The STEAM Caucus, a popular acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, which "aims to change the vocabulary of education to recognize the benefits of both the arts and sciences—and their intersections—to our country's future generations. Caucus members will work to increase awareness of the importance of STEAM education and explore new strategies to advocate for STEAM programs."
Robert Lynch, Americans for the Arts President & CEO, saluted this newly formed caucus, stating, "Thanks to the leadership of Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D–OR) and Aaron Schock (R–IL), the message of how the arts can help launch creativity and innovation among our nation's students will have a proper place in the halls of Congress. Having worked with both of them on these issues, we were excited to assist in establishing this new congressional policy effort in education."
Through its professional and advocacy programs, Americans for the Arts works to advance the cause of arts education at the federal, state and local levels. The Congressional STEAM Caucus, like the Congressional Arts Caucus, will serve as another point of contact for members of Congress dedicated to improving education and how the arts can be a part of their policy solutions.
Americans for the Arts Celebrates the Inauguration
January 24, 2013—On January 22, Americans for the Arts celebrated the inauguration of President Barack Obama, the success of ArtsVote2012, and the ongoing efforts of Americans for the Arts and the Americans for the Arts Action Fund to advance the cause of the arts and arts education with an intimate gathering of arts supporters and national arts leaders.
White House Social Secretary Jeremy Bernard, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO Tom Cochran, Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser, NASAA's Jonathan Katz, Public Broadcasting Service President and CEO Paula Kerger, NEH Chairman Jim Leach, Ovation President Charles Segars, and Acting NEA Chairman Joan Shigekawa were among the myriad guests who attended the gathering.
Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch and Chairman of the Americans for the Arts Board Abel Lopez each provided remarks, and Devon Martinez entertained the crowd with her vocal stylings.
January 24, 2013—Know of a business with exemplary support of the arts in your local community? Work for one? Nominate them now for The BCA 10: Best Companies Supporting the Arts in America!
The BCA 10 recognizes businesses of all sizes for their exceptional involvement with the arts that enrich the workplace, education, and the community. Nominations close Friday, February 15.
Past winners include Alltech, a leading animal health care company who partnered with the University of Kentucky’s Opera Theatre department to create the largest vocal scholarship competition in the world, First Community Bank who developed the annual South Texas Photo Contest and commissioned artwork for their local branches, and Earl Swensson Associates, Inc., an architectural firm who provided pro-bono design services within their community and sponsored a mentorship program for low-income and at-risk middle and high school students.
Winning businesses will be honored at the BCA 10 Gala in New York City on October 3, 2013.
Americans for the Arts and U.S. Conference of Mayors Present Public Leadership in the Arts & Citizen Artist Awards
January 17, 2013—Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors today announced that Grammy Award®-Winning Musicians John Legend and The Roots will receive the 2013 Citizen Artist Awards. In addition, Santa Fe, NM Mayor David Coss, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will receive the 2013 Public Leadership in the Arts Awards.
The awards honor elected officials and artists who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts. Recipients will receive the honor on Friday, January 18 at The United States Conference of Mayors' 81st annual winter meeting in Washington, D.C.
Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors have given out the awards annually since 1997.
Americans for the Arts Names Clayton Lord VP of Local Arts Advancement
January 15, 2013—Today, Americans for the Arts named Clayton Lord as its new Vice President of Local Arts Advancement.
In this role, Lord will be responsible for developing and executing all Americans for the Arts programs and services that strengthen and validate local arts agencies and the many other individuals and organizations that advance arts, culture and artists at the local level.
Lord comes to Americans for the Arts from Theatre Bay Area, one of the largest regional arts service organizations in the United States. As the organization’s director of communications and audience development, he oversaw marketing, communications, audience development initiatives, and research and business development. In addition, he spearheaded several research initiatives that investigated major issue areas in the American arts field, including impact measurement, diversity, strategy, advocacy, public goodwill, perception, and the psychology of artsgoing, including the landmark publication “Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the Value of Art.”
We’re very excited to welcome him to the Americans for the Arts team!
Americans for the Arts Strengthens Private Sector Programs & Services
January 14, 2013—Americans for the Arts is deepening its services for the advancement of private sector support for the arts and arts education by more fully integrating the programs and administration of two of its divisions: the Arts & Business Council of New York, a division of Americans for the Arts since 2005, and the Americans for the Arts Private Sector Initiatives division. Together, these resources and programming initiatives will form a more powerful, streamlined private sector advancement effort both in New York and throughout the United States.
Private sector support for the arts from individuals, foundations and corporations represents a critical piece of the arts funding puzzle in America. However, the larger private sector relationship with the arts has changed dramatically in recent years. Since the economic downturn and subsequent recession, fewer U.S. companies are making philanthropic contributions to the arts.
"The arts in America need enhanced and consolidated advocacy in the business community," said Robert L. Lynch. "By demonstrating how the arts can help businesses achieve business and community goals through enhancing the critical thinking, team building and creative skills of the corporate workforce while also enhancing communities to attract and retain employees, arts organizations have a tremendous opportunity to build successful, lasting partnerships with the business community and boost their standing as a charitable cause."
Standing Up for the Ovation Television Network
January 10, 2013—On the steps of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall earlier today, Americans for the Arts Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs Nina Ozlu Tunceli joined Academy Award nominated actress Rosie Perez and New York City Councilman Robert Jackson for a rally to call attention to the fact that Time Warner Cable eliminated Ovation from their cable television line-up on December 31.
While speaking at the podium during the Bring Back Ovation Rally in New York today, Nina was joined by actress Rosie Perez (pictured on the far left) and New York City Councilman Robert Jackson (over Nina's left shoulder).
As a national organization representing more than 250,000 arts advocates and local and state arts agencies in every city and state across the country, Americans for the Arts is very concerned about this action since Ovation is currently the only dedicated arts channel in the United States.
The mission of Americans for the Arts is to increase the American public’s access to high-quality arts in our communities, schools, and homes. Ovation has been an incredible partner in helping advance that mission thus far, but we also need Ovation to remain strong and accessible on the television airwaves. There’s nothing that will fill the void created by Time Warner Cable’s decision.
Vans Custom Culture Contest Offers $50,000 for School Art Programs
January 07, 2013—As a Vans Custom Culture national charity partner, Americans for the Arts is proud to work closely with the brand to reinforce the importance of arts education in schools across the country.
With the launch of the 2013 Vans Custom Culture competition on January 2, budding artists and designers are racing to have their teachers fill registration slots open to the first 1,500 U.S.-based public or private high schools (more than 650 have already entered!).
The program, in its fourth iteration, pushes students to compete and create a work of art from a blank pair of Vans shoes. Each blank shoe must be designed by using the following themes: Art, Music, Action Sports, and Local Flavor.
Students will have until April 5 to complete the shoes and submit their images online. The Custom Culture competition will generate $50,000 for the winning school’s art program at the final judging in New York this summer while simultaneously drawing attention to the importance of art as an integral part of a well-rounded education.
Artists, fashion designers, athletes, and local news anchors are all being tapped to create their own custom shoes as Ambassadors of the program. Eager to provide inspiration wherever possible, Ambassadors are tweeting images (#VansCustomCulture) of their own custom designs. Some of our favorites can be found on ARTSblog and on the Vans Custom Culture site.