Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2015

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Mar 13, 2015

With the arts advocacy season fully upon us, the following is my updated “10 Reasons to Support the Arts.” Changes this year include updating #3 with the BEA’s new Arts in the GDP research, #8 to include a statement about the benefits of the arts in the military, and #10 includes the new Creative Industries data (now current as of January 2015).

This is just one of many arrows to include in your arts advocacy quiver. While it’s a helpful one, we know there are many more reasons to support the arts. What are yours? Please share your #11 (and more!) in the comments section below. What a great collection we can build together.

Please feel to share and post this as you like. You can download a handy 1-pager here.

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Arts Education Poised for Comeback in Nation’s Largest School Districts

Posted by Doug Israel, Apr 07, 2015

Urban school districts, such as New York and Chicago, are taking bold steps to expand the school day curriculum and once again invest in arts education. After years of budget cuts, and a narrowing of curriculum at public schools across the country, cities are taking action.

Owing largely to mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, school districts of all sizes spent recent years focusing educational goals very narrowly on improving test scores in just two subject areas—English Language and Math. This focus came at the expense of the arts, music, and other subject areas that were not being tested.

Fortunately, the tide may be turning, and arts education may be making comeback.

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Back to the Future: Where Our Conversation about Documentation and Archiving Began

Posted by Ms. Pam Korza, May 12, 2014

Pam Korza Pam Korza

In early December, during the first of many icy weather events of this past winter season, Animating Democracy co-directors Barbara Schaffer Bacon and Pam Korza participated in an national gathering at Virginia Tech (VT), warmly orchestrated by Bob Leonard, Professor of Directing and Director of Community-based Arts in VT’s Theater and Cinema Program.  A couple dozen artists, cultural workers and intermediaries, communications and technology folks, and scholars participated, united in their commitment to community cultural development as essential to healthy communities and artistic practice.

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Where is the Archivist in Community Archiving?

Posted by Lindsay Mattock, Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz, May 13, 2014

As an archivist, one way I can contribute to this conversation is to suggest ways we can define our terms and models for archival practice. What do we mean by “archive” and why do it? What are different forms which the archive can take, and what is lost and gained in each approach?

1. Archivist on Archives

Archives are records of enduring value. Records that warrant continued preservation. This not only includes the administrative records from community organizations, but also the art, artifacts, and ephemera, as well.

Archives are about history and documentation as much as they are about accountability and evidence. Archives not only serve as a means for documenting the history of organizations and individuals, but also serve as evidence of the impact of community organizations for both the short and long term.

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Documenting Community-Based Arts and Funding Inequities

Posted by Sonia Manjon, May 14, 2014

Sonia BasSheva Manjon Sonia BasSheva Manjon

The discourse, documentation, research, archiving, and communication about community cultural development are indeed vast and deep. Within this multilayered, diverse, and complex field of community-based art are artists and organizations that represent the diversity and complexity of communities and neighborhoods in the United States. The urgency for documentation, archiving, and communication are, at times, limited to those organizations that represent a more mainstream paradigm. The creation and introduction of multifaceted arts institutions is important to the building of community based arts organizations with social justice and cultural equity foci. Art institutions that address a holistic aesthetic perspective that embrace the complexities of their cultural communities are rooted across the country.

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Stewardship: Culture Wars 2.0 and Placemaking

Posted by Mr. Roberto Bedoya, Dec 12, 2011

Roberto Bedoya

I ended my previous blog post with a reference to the San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Grants (CEG) program that I want to expand upon in the context of the democratic ideals of inclusion and stewardship.

CEG is a national model of excellence that shows the cultural sector, how through grantmaking one can address the systemic roots of inequity in society. CEG’s 19 years of service illustrates how the stewardship ethos of taking care is made real through programming strategies that serves our culturally diverse society.

This cheerleader moment for CEG is tied to the backlash being felt against the equity conversation that is heating up in our sector and the nation. CEG is a reminder of what’s possible -- that citizens can manifested their passion for equity in a cultural policy designed to serve all.

Let’s call this backlash an example of “Culture Wars 2.0.” The first Culture War of the 90s was an attack on art and artistic free speech. Cultural War 2.0 attacks are against our civil and cultural rights -- the right to be taught the works of Latino playwrights in high schools; a women’s right to control her body; the right of gays and lesbians to marry their loved one; the right to be free from racial profiling that is happening within intensity to America’s Muslim and Latino communities; the right of collective bargaining...Attacks by whom? --- The 1%, the “me and my friends” of a privatized a “we” of self-interests, the intolerants?

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