Increased Scope of Legislative Priorities Bears Fruit

Posted by Mr. Peter Gordon, Feb 05, 2020

In a process that began over a year ago, the Arts have gained increased support and funding through the Congressional appropriations process. While traditional legislative priorities—the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, arts education, etc.—garnered increased funding and support language from legislators, new areas—creative arts therapies for veterans and service members and arts programs for at-risk youths—also were recognized and encouraged by appropriators for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 funding cycle. These additional legislative wins were made possible by an active Congressional Arts Caucus and Senate Cultural Caucus, a growing coalition of pro-arts organizations, and motivated grassroots advocates in every state. As the FY 2021 appropriations process is set to begin next week with the delivery of President Trump’s budget to Congress (scheduled for Feb. 10), our work to build off last year’s successes has already begun. Collaboration with our National Partners on the key issues for the 2020 Congressional Arts Handbook are ongoing, and we are gearing up for the 2020 National Arts Action Summit. 

Read More

The Arts Unify Communities

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Dec 06, 2019

157 years ago next week, the Battle of Fredericksburg took place—one of the bloodiest of the Civil War to that point. Following the battle, the giant Union and Confederate armies were camped mere shouting distance from each other, separated only by the Rappahannock River in Virginia. On a cold and wet evening, with both armies hunkered down and tending to their wounds, a band in the Union camp struck up a patriotic tune in hopes of lifting their side’s spirits. The Union soldiers cheered in appreciation. Not to be outdone, the Confederate band across the river then played their own patriotic tune—and the “Battle of the Bands” was on. 

In a society struggling to find equity and social justice, the arts improve the quality of our communities. They unify us and help us understand other cultures—benefits that persist even in difficult social and economic times. Like the thousands of soldiers celebrating that cold December evening, the research shows today’s public understands this as well. 

Read More

Music Engagement for Health and Wellness Across the Military Continuum

Posted by CW2 Jonathan L. Crane, Nov 26, 2019

Humans’ entire recorded history revolves around wars as different cultures and ideologies collided. As sound is an intrinsic part of culture it was only natural for us to use music to rally our tribes and intimidate the “others.” Just as sound (music) continues to be used as motivation before battle, it also is used as recovery after conflict. There is a wealth of organizations, both within government and the non-profit sector, dedicated to providing music-based health services across the spectrum of need. Over the past two years I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the national initiative to advocate for these services and increase collaboration between organizations. It has been a journey of amazing discovery that I wish all people could take. So much advancement has been made in improving our health. The combination of modern medicine and age-old understanding of wellness are creating better lives across the globe. The need for creative arts therapies across the military continuum will increase. I envision a world where a member of our Armed Forces has a partner in music from the day they join and throughout the rest of their lives.

Read More

Business Spotlight: Financial Institution Champions Arts for Company and Community

Posted by Heidi Jark, Nov 25, 2019

I’ve been called the “artsy-fartsy banker.” I started playing piano at age 5 and never looked back. As a farm girl from a rural town in South Dakota, the arts saved me. I’ve been in my role at Fifth Third Bank for 21 years and the company has grown to be an impressive arts champion. That’s not who our company was 21 years ago, but this is who we are today, and I couldn’t be prouder. With the right messaging, people now understand about the power of the arts: it’s an economic driver. People who have a love of the arts have more creative skills—they are more diverse, more innovative, and thus better businesspeople. When we have talent come in, they want to know about the arts scene in our company and community. We know quality of arts enhances quality of life of employees. We are at a critical juncture. Communities need to be strong and vibrant, which means we need the arts—and we must ensure that arts are accessible to everyone. In the future, I can see our relationships deepening and growing with the arts in our community to further achieve our civic and social priorities.

Read More

Music Bonds Veterans Across Generations: The Essential Role of Music in the Military

Posted by CW2 Jonathan L. Crane, Nov 08, 2019

Since the beginning of military conflict, music has played an essential role. Humans have been using their voices and creating instruments to produce sound for at least 10,000 years. It was inevitable that our need to create organized sound would extend to war. Before the advent of electronic communication, drums, fifes, and bugles were used to give commands in training and in battle. Along with this functional use of music, traditional songs were carried into the military for comfort and camaraderie. Shared song was a distractor on long marches, a way to bind Soldiers from different backgrounds, and a source of motivation to fight the enemy. Those shared musical experiences provide context and meaning that is vital to psychological and emotional recovery after war, and helps Veterans stay connected to each other and their service. This bonding force helps them tell their story to the public at large so the public truly understands the sacrifices they made, which can help to bring us all together as a nation.

Read More

The Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center: Storytelling, Art, Music, and History in Tijeras, NM

Posted by Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, Nov 01, 2019

It generally happens like this: The door to our museum opens—and in comes … a former military brat … or spouse … or a veteran with his or her family. Most of the time, they’re from out of town and have been following us on Facebook, planning a trip to our museum when they visit Albuquerque—or they were just driving along Route 66 and happened to see our sign. No matter how they got to the Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center, their reactions are almost always the same: “I had no idea what to expect…” and then “Oh—this is amazing!” Because people process things differently, we capture military family history in as many formats as possible. The museum is educational, experiential, and interactive. It’s a mixture of practicality and whimsey—take our living room, for example—with its props of starched uniforms on an ironing board complete with iron, starch bottle and laundry basket, its cozy sitting area where we have discussion groups or watch DVDs on TV, or its exhibits, with panels of facts and figures. Visitors become a part of the museum, by simply being there.

Read More