Welcome to National Arts & Humanities Month!

Posted by Cristyn Johnson, Oct 01, 2019

It’s officially October, which means National Arts and Humanities Month has arrived! We’re excited to have you with us for the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the nation. NAHM is coast-to-coast recognition of the importance of arts and culture in the United States. Launched by Americans for the Arts more than 30 years ago as National Arts Week, this celebration began in honor of the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and the tremendous work that they have done in every congressional district across the country. In 1993, the week was reestablished as a month-long celebration, and we want you to get involved! We’ve worked hard to make participating in NAHM easy for you. Read on for ways that you can be involved as an individual, an organization, or a community, including joining in our special NAHM events, and for inspiration from communities across the country that are celebrating. 

Read More

A Reflection on the Current Climate for Arts Educators in Schools

Posted by Ms. Argy Nestor, Sep 10, 2019

Summer is coming to an end and schools across the country once again are opening their doors and welcoming learners of all ages. The education systems of 2019 are shifting to meet the needs of these learners, and this is an ongoing and huge challenge for school leaders. Some students aren’t returning to a traditional school, while others never stopped their learning when the last school year was “officially” over. Fortunately, we have excellent educators across the country leading with innovative ideas to tackle aspects of these differences. As a veteran arts educator of 43 years, this blog is a reflection of what is circling around in my head.

Read More

August Arts Advocacy Challenge!

Posted by Lauren Cohen, Jul 31, 2019

So far, 2019 has been a banner year in the world of federal arts advocacy. Throughout the spring, we saw promising bipartisan benchmarks for support of an increased budget for the NEA in FY 2020. However, our work advocating for pro-arts policies doesn’t stop with funding for the NEA. Americans for the Arts, along with national coalition partners, has pursued more federal legislative priorities this year than ever before. From tax policy to transit, healthcare to education, we’re working to ensure expanded arts access and opportunity throughout the country. You can get more information and send a message to your congressional delegation about any of these bills through our Action Center.

The U.S. Congress will take its traditional month-long recess in August. Members of Congress will be in their home states and districts holding town halls, making visits to local organizations and businesses, and taking meetings in their local offices. Wondering how to continue your arts advocacy momentum during the long recess? Participate in the August Arts Advocacy Challenge to stay involved and make an impact.

Read More

The U.S. Census and the Arts

Posted by Mr. Clayton W. Lord, Jul 11, 2019

At the Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention this past June, quite a few members voiced concern about the upcoming U.S. Census. In many communities, there is worry that an inaccurate count could negatively impact towns, cities, regions, and even states, and disproportionately affect people who are already marginalized. This blog is meant to give information on the Census, its impact, and what arts and culture agencies across the United States are doing to ensure a comprehensive and equitable count. The U.S. Census is a consequential tool for distributing time, attention, and money in all sorts of ways—including ways that are deeply impactful on the arts. It is also an increasingly politicized tool, and as we round the corner into the 2020 U.S. Census, it is important to understand what the U.S. Census is, what it influences, what the implication of certain proposed changes could be both generally and for the arts, and how arts and culture agencies and organizations are mobilizing to ensure a fair, full, and unthreatening U.S. Census count.

Read More

The Impact of TCJA on Individual Giving and a Plan to Do Something About It

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Dr. Patrick Rooney, Jun 21, 2019

Donations by individuals are the oxygen of nonprofit organizations. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) has added new urgency to the question of what is the future of charitable giving by individuals in the United States. Specifically, how large of an impact, and for how long, will the new tax law affect individual giving—and which charities will be most adversely affected? In 2018-19, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Americans for the Arts set out to understand the challenges that TCJA could pose on the philanthropic landscape. We reviewed philanthropic trends, donor behavior research, data-lag issues, tax policy, and economic models of the TCJA’s impact. After careful consideration of this material by academics, fundraising professionals, and tax policy experts, it is clear there are troubling phenomena in motion that, without intervention, could bring the nonprofit arts sector to a critical tipping point. 

To address the issue in a timely manner, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Americans for the Arts have designed a research solution that will bring reliable data to the table within a single year of deployment. It is built around a national panel study of 2,000 nonprofit organizations representing the full range of size, subsectors, and geographic regions. We will track key fundraising metrics and pair those with a qualitative on-the-ground perspective about shifts in contributions by individuals, changes in demand for services, and the ability to meet that demand. In other words: Real people at real organizations telling real stories about the impact of the tax law changes.

Read More

10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2019

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Feb 25, 2019

The arts advocacy season is upon us once again. It’s time to meet with your legislators to help them understand the value of investing in the arts. How to prepare? Start with this list of “10 Reasons to Support the Arts.” It can feel intimidating walking into a legislator’s office—even to experienced advocates. To always feel prepared, I break the advocacy process down into three simple questions: Who gets the message? What is the message? Who delivers the message? Remember the Golden Rule: No numbers without a story, and no stories without a number. The arts are all about stories—often small, always meaningful. Share yours. It’s engaging and draws your listener in—and then pair it with the research-based findings in “10 Reasons to Support the Arts.” Yours will be an advocacy visit that is not soon forgotten.

Read More