Reflections on Over 20 Years of Americans for the Arts Conventions

In 1993 I became the Director of New York Programs of the Arts & Business Council Inc., and as head of a national partner arts service organization of Americans for the Arts, I began what has become a very long association with the organization and its Annual Convention, literally attending the first Convention under the Americans for the Arts name—and nearly every one since. I have watched the organization, and its signature convening, grow and evolve over time—responding to the field’s changes and the external environment we all operate in. Now in my role as president of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation in Denver, Colorado, I have become one of the hosts and funders of the 2018 Annual Convention in Denver. We are so excited to be hosting this conference, and know that the content will be informative and inspirational, and that the City and its cultural assets will enchant. 

Bridging the Nonprofit/For-profit Arts/Creative Industry Divide

We recently ran a Creative Economy Workforce grants program with funding provided by the special Community Development Block Grant allocation increase under the Recovery Act (CDBG-R). Quite a mouthful, and quite an ordeal in terms of paperwork to administer. BUT, what operating this program highlighted was the need to move beyond our traditional definition of how we define the arts, and the sorts of activity that is funded or supported.

Arguing for Arts Education in Philadelphia

Recently I was interviewed for a piece on the Keep Arts in Schools website and thought it might be useful to adapt that conversation for this blog conversation. The focus was on the establishment (ore re-establishment) of my office and the specific case-making needed to support the value of arts education from a public policy perspective.

New Research on Arts Audience Attitudes and Behavior

LaPlaca Cohen, in partnership with Discovery Communications and Antenna Audio, has recently released Culture Track 2007, a new national study (actually the fourth done by them since 2003) looking at attitudes and behavior of cultural audiences.  (The report is available from the LaPlaca Cohen Web site) Conducted by e-mail, the results are unusually immediate, and because of the previous research, historical trends can also be reviewed.

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2008 Predictions for the Arts

Barry Hessenius's Barry's Blog recently featured "year-end" predictions for the arts sector for 2008 from a number of participants in the "Hessenius Group" which he hosts on his blog. I thought I would share my contribution to his list. To read all the contributions, visit Barry's Blog.

Happy New Year!

High Net-Worth Philanthropy and the Arts

A new study, Portraits of Donors, conducted by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University was recently released by Bank of America, looked at the philanthropic patterns of high net worth households.

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Is Support for the Arts NOT Philanthropy?

A recent opinion article by Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Clinton, in the LA Times, echoing opinions he has expressed earlier and elsewhere, has stirred up quite a debate. The various threads include an article in The New York Times about a month ago that touched on similar themes, and an article in the Washington Post.

Arts-based learning in business

As many of our blog readers may know, the Arts & Business Council of Americans for the Arts has been a leader in exploring the world of arts-based learning in business through our Creativity Connection program. This program matches artist-practitioners with corporations interested in their services, provides consulting services to artists, arts organizations and businesses, and works to advance the field through publishing, disseminating information, convening and research.

Article Round-up - Cause-Marketing Fatigue? Creativity Thrives? Second Life - Alive or Dead? Boomers Volunteer? Doctors and Art?

Well, the slow days of summer, as always, prove to be anything but slow. And probably like all of you I am continually snowed under by mountains of articles, magazines, newspapers, books, research studies and other reading material that seem to sit there threatening me with some dire consequence if I don't get to them.  Herewith, in no particular order of priority, a round-up of what I have been reading and clipping:

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Do the arts really foster creativity and innovation in business?

I recently had the pleasure, with an Americans for the Arts colleague, of participating in a "stakeholders convening" for The Conference Board on the issue of workforce readiness. Their recent study, "Are They Really Ready to Work," found that businesses rate their incoming workforce (college educated, 2-year college educated, and high school educated) as poorly prepared with the skills needed in the workplace today.

Communicating the Value of the Nonprofit [Arts] Community

I have been serving on the Communications and Marketing Advisory Task Force for Independent Sector, which met today and I thought would be a good opportunity to share some thoughts on our Blog about their efforts to change public perceptions of the sector.

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Some Quick Post-Convention Private-Sector Thoughts

So the convention has now faded a bit into the past, and visions of pink flamingos (and slot machines) have stopped haunting my dreams. Now I can try to put the frenzy of activity in Las Vegas into some perspective. All in all, I thought the convention was a great success. I was especially pleased with how the new track structure worked.  For the first couple of conventions after the Arts & Business Council merger, I was not sure we had really delivered on the promise of the convention adequately representing the addition of a Private-Sector focus.

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Why Business Should Care About Arts Education - thoughts on a Dana Foundation Symosium

The Dana Foundation recently convened a symposium in New York on "Transforming Arts Teaching: The Role of Higher Education" as part of their ongoing commitment to arts education, as well as to the role the arts play in the development of the brain.

Corporate Foundation Giving Is Up - But What About The Arts?

Recently Americans for the Arts released The Future of Private Sector Giving to the Arts in America, a report on the proceedings of the 2006 National Arts Policy Roundtable, produced in partnership with The Sundance Preserve.  I encourage everyone who cares about the arts to carefully read this report. In addition to reporting on the recommendations of the Roundtable, it also provides a summary of the research that was done as part of the process.

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