Art Performs Life on the 10th Anniversary of the Fukushima Disaster

Posted by Mr. John R. Killacky, Mar 12, 2021

Ten years ago, on March 11, 2011, Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants suffered massive damage in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami. A dance artist, Eiko Otake, long familiar to audiences at the Flynn Center in Burlington, Vermont where I live, felt compelled to perform in the irradiated disrupted landscapes. “By placing my body in these places,” she says, “I thought of the generations of people who used to live there. I danced so as not to forget.” Joining her was a colleague from Wesleyan University, William Johnston, professor of Japanese history. The two co-teach a class on Japan’s nuclear disasters, with Fukushima now added into the curriculum along with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Johnston, also an esteemed photographer, journeyed along to document Eiko’s performances as an artistic collaborator. Art performs life in this luminous project, reminding us that the role artists play in commemorating losses can never be underestimated. 

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The Social Impact of COVID-19 on Intentionally Marginalized Artists and Creative Workers

Posted by Isaac Fitzsimons, Mar 02, 2021

As we continue to report on the dire impact that COVID-19 has had on the arts and cultural sector, one question that frequently comes up at Americans for the Arts is: What can be done to prevent this from ever happening again? I won’t attempt to tackle that question in this blog post, but I will be discussing some of the lived experiences of artists and creative workers that emphasize the need for building an infrastructure where artists and creative workers can thrive. Our survey findings shed light on the hardships that artists and creative workers are facing. It’s important to note, however, that many of these conditions have existed long prior to the pandemic. We must work to dismantle the systems that have allowed these conditions to continue and rebuild anew to create a better future for artists and creative workers in this country.

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The Intersection of Place and Process

Posted by Christy Bolingbroke, Feb 26, 2021

As the second choreographic center of its kind in the country, NCCAkron often asks what it means to be a “national” center that is neither in the physical center of the country nor the perceived center of the dance universe. Being based in Akron affords us (and by extension, the artists with whom we work) the emotional, mental, and physical space to create from a place of abundance inherent to our Northeast Ohio stomping grounds. Being national in our scope allows us to stretch—to engage artists from all over, to hold even more capacity for ideas larger than ourselves, and to be the connective thread between communities. We refer to this as operating in both the hyperlocal and the national spaces. I felt a spirit of possibility immediately upon arrival in Akron, and try to underline it in everything we do.

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Introducing Americans for the Arts’ Inclusive Creative Economy Plan

Posted by Jessica Stern, Feb 25, 2021

For the last two years, we at Americans for the Arts have spent significant time listening, learning, planning, and in consideration to engage in a multi-pronged, multi-year effort to support inclusive creative economies at the local level, encourage stronger unification between the for-profit and nonprofit arts sectors, and pursue federal-level policies that support creative workers. With encouragement from current and former members of the Private Sector Council, a broad cross-section of local, state, regional and national advisors, and through consistent commitment from the Board of Directors, we sought to identify our unique role and where we can effect change alongside the many organizations, coalitions, and individuals doing this work. COVID-19, and its irrefutable disproportionate effect on communities of color, has only increased the urgency of these efforts. We know that we must, with intention and alongside new alliances and relationships, design strategies for the aspiration of an inclusive creative economy—recognizing that our current economy does not equitably support all people to reach their creative and artistic potential. This is an exciting and critically important journey. I’m pleased to share our plan on behalf of my colleagues, and to invite participation and feedback in it. 

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Answering the Call to Be the New Dawn

Posted by Ms. Donna Walker-Kuhne, Feb 09, 2021

In addition to the elevation of Vice President Harris, a woman of both Black and South Asian descent, to the highest position in U.S. government history, the highlight of Inauguration Day for me was the recitation of the poem “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman. At the age of 22, the nation’s first Youth Poet Laureate called to us to “rebuild, reconcile and recover” as we, “diverse people,” work to emerge “battered and beautiful” from the weight of all the pandemics. I have tremendous and unlimited faith in young warriors like Amanda. One thing I know for sure is that it is imperative for all of us to listen to our youth; to give them the platforms to be heard, and allow them the opportunities to lead the way. Let’s support and encourage our young artists. Let’s make sure we make available the resources to mentor and foster their development. Let’s be bold enough to run side-by-side with them, and humble enough to stand behind them.

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The Financial Impact of COVID-19 on Intentionally Marginalized Artists and Creative Workers

Posted by Isaac Fitzsimons, Feb 09, 2021

It’s been almost a year since the coronavirus put the U.S. arts and culture sector in lockdown. At Americans for the Arts, we spent the last year surveying artists and arts organizations across the country. There can be no doubt that artists are suffering financially due to the coronavirus pandemic. Disabled and BIPOC artists especially are feeling the strain. While weekly research updates are available on our website, this new blog series on the impact of COVID-19 on intentionally marginalized artists and creative workers does a deeper dive into the data that we’ve collected from April 2020 through now. The results are clear: artists in the United States are hurting, and those who are intentionally marginalized have been hit harder, likely because of inequities that have long existed prior to the pandemic. 

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