How to Secure a Local Proclamation for National Arts & Humanities Month

Posted by Mr. Jay H. Dick, Sep 08, 2020

Proclamations are a wonderful way that your mayor, city council, or your city (or county) in general can easily show its support for the arts and culture. Each year, Americans for the Arts encourages advocates to work with their local and state elected officials to issue a proclamation declaring October National Arts & Humanities Month in their city, county, or state. They allow elected officials to easily demonstrate their support for the arts, offer a written document for advocates to use year-round to demonstrate the value of the arts and culture, and serve as a tool to engage other arts advocates in their local communities. For those who have never done this before, I thought that I would offer a how-to guide help you understand the process of obtaining a proclamation.

Read More

Spotlight on 2020 Johnson Fellowship Nominees: Celebrating How Artists Transform Communities

Posted by Ms. Pam Korza, May 19, 2020

We need to celebrate the important work that artists do every day. They imagine creative courses to solve problems. They create welcoming spaces to exercise cultural and civil rights and to challenge the status quo. They orchestrate rituals of spiritual and emotional healing. They configure single words, movements, marks, sounds to make meaning, purpose, and full-on expressions of beauty that remind us of the most fundamental things we humans share. Especially now, as we strategize to ensure that artists are supported and integrated into COVID-19 recovery and reconstruction, we need ready stories of their unique contributions substantiated with the real impacts of their approaches. Beginning with this post, a new ARTSblog series will celebrate the 11 music artists who were the exemplary nominees for the 2020 Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities. Vastly different in their artistry—from classical orchestral work and blues, gospel, and American roots traditions to punk rock, improvisational, and genre stretching forms—each artist in their own right is advancing community, civic, and social goals.

Read More

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! 

Read More

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.

Read More

From the Barre to the Boardroom: The Power of Arts-Based Learning for Business Professionals

Posted by Will Bonfiglio, Sep 12, 2019

Arts education certainly doesn’t have to (and really shouldn’t) end after high school. At least that’s our belief at COCAbiz, the arts-based business training division of COCA-Center of Creative Arts in St. Louis. COCAbiz provides immersive arts-based training, programming, and consulting for business professionals. We are constantly exploring how to unlock creative energy and build skills to meet today’s business challenges by providing leaders with new tools, techniques, and perspectives from the arts. COCA’s Executive Director, Kelly Pollock, wrote about COCAbiz for Americans for the Arts back in 2011, suggesting “businesses might be more innovative and achieve greater success when they give their employees all of the tools that the arts and the creative process have to offer.” She’s right. As we round out our first decade of COCAbiz, we have learned that arts learning is powerful and needed with business professionals. In a world where automation and technological dependence are becoming the norm, human creativity still reigns as the ultimate competitive advantage.

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