Why You Need to Be in Washington, D.C. this June!

Posted by Mr. Clayton W. Lord, Ms. Patricia Walsh, Mar 02, 2020

In 2020, the convergence of Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention with the refreshed and expanded Public Art & Civic Design Conference will spark a new level of conversation and thinking. The new shifts in format and structure that we’re setting up this year will make for an even more interactive and energizing conference, with over 50 sessions, more than 1,000 professionals from across a variety of sectors, and more opportunities to learn and network with colleagues from all 50 states and around the world. These two annual events—happening June 26-28 in Washington, D.C.—are the best place to come together with the full spectrum of people who are working to center the arts in equitable community development and creative placemaking. We are excited about holding these meetings in Washington, D.C. because the city and surrounding communities are about much more than national politics. It is a great place to engage in really deep and meaningful conversations about how we all work to make our communities the best they can be.

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A Strong Equation: How State Arts Advocacy Efforts are Paying Off!

Posted by Mr. Jay H. Dick, Feb 21, 2020

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) recently published their FY 2020 State Arts Agency Revenues Report. By any measure, the report paints a very positive picture for state funding of the arts, with year-to-year appropriations increasing by more than 37% to a grand total of almost $495 million in total legislative appropriations. Because the economy is doing well, it stands to reason that SAA appropriations would be higher. While it is true that a strong economy makes increases more likely, a strong economy alone cannot explain this year’s massive increase. There in an interesting equation at work: If your state has a State Arts Agency that is engaged in thoughtful programming, a strong statewide arts advocacy organization, and advocates who are proactively engaged with your state’s existing political leadership, more funding/pro-arts policy are possible! 

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Record State Investment in the Arts!

Posted by Mr. Jay H. Dick, Feb 12, 2020

I was very happy to see the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) report on the status of state support for the arts and culture, specifically the amount of funds each state’s governor and legislature is providing to their state arts agency (SAA). According to the report, the 50 states and 6 territories appropriated almost $495 million for SAAs in FY2020. Total state appropriations increased by $134 million from FY 2019 to FY2020, a 37 percent year to year increase. This achievement was not realized in a vacuum, but because of the tireless work from people like you—arts advocates who have reached out to your state elected officials to let them know the importance of the arts and culture to your state. You have taken the great research provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and other organizations to make your case that the arts are good for business, employ millions of people, help our veterans, and give students a well-rounded education.

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Balancing Mission and Revenue: The Quest for a Sustainable Model in the Arts

Posted by Mrs. Kelly Lamb Pollock, Jan 29, 2020

There is no “one size fits all” model when it comes to arts organizations. From performing arts, to museums, and arts education, our structures and operations vary widely; yet we often are melded into one pool of “arts organizations” when it comes to checking boxes for funding and other nonprofit classifications. As the Executive Director of COCA – Center of Creative Arts, a multifaceted, hybrid organization, I know first-hand how difficult and unhelpful it can be to benchmark our organization against others with different approaches and measures of success. One such benchmark is the ratio of earned to contributed revenue. Our operating budget is approximately 42% earned to 58% contributed revenue. Is our earned revenue too high? Too low? What should it be? The verdict is still out. Even when you encounter information on financial health of arts organizations, it tends to be more diagnostic than prescriptive. Despite the lack of definitive benchmarking data, I think most of us would agree that a diversified revenue portfolio is a positive step toward sustainability.

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The 10 (plus two!) most read ARTSblog posts of 2019

Posted by Ms. Ann Marie Watson, Jan 06, 2020

As we ring in 2020, it’s the perfect time for a little hindsight (get it?)—so let’s get the year started with a look back at the most-viewed ARTSblog posts from our last trip around the sun. I know what you’re thinking: “It’s 2020 … you still have a blog?” We do, dear reader! Competition for online attention is fierce, and most virtual conversations (civil or not) seem to be happening in the comments of social media posts—and yet, ARTSblog clearly is still a valued place for our field to share experience and expertise as we navigate the varied complexities of what it means to work in the arts. There is no better place to learn from your peers, whether you’re an artist, administrator, educator, city planner, arts marketer, or countless other careers that intersect with the arts—and we’re grateful for all of the writers and readers who continue to make ARTSblog both a vibrant and practical space.

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Arts integration brings added value to development

Posted by Mr. John T. Paradiso, Dec 10, 2019

When I moved to Brentwood, Maryland in 2004, I had no idea it was an arts district. As it turned out, the Gateway Arts District is a two-mile stretch of US Route 1 starting on the border of Washington, DC into Maryland, running through four municipalities (Mount Rainier, Brentwood, North Brentwood, and Hyattsville). Long before I moved here, a group of folks including local artists, community leaders, and elected officials came together to create a vision for future development along Route 1. They knew that these working-class neighborhoods, although overlooked by developers at that time, would someday be appealing. For years the story has only been, “Artists move into a neighborhood and make it attractive, and then the developers come in and move the artists out.” But because of the high concentration of artists located in these neighborhoods for years, the community put its energy towards cultivating “arts-driven economic development” to attract developers that would embrace the artistic community and keep what was so attractive: the arts itself.

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