Counties poised to pursue solutions through Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge

Posted by Jack King, Apr 29, 2022

The National Association of Counties (NACo) and Americans for the Arts are pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. NACo and Americans for the Arts invited small- and medium-sized counties to assemble a team of county leaders, local artists and community stakeholders to imagine how art can be used to solve local challenges. From Potter County, Pa.’s “Highway to the Stars” through Cherry Springs State Park to the storied and breathtaking beaches of Hawai’i County, Hawai’i’s Puna district, the winners represent the geographic and social diversity of the nation as a whole. The teams will seek to address a wide array of challenges confronting their local communities, from drug addiction to climate resilience. Over the next 10 months, Americans for the Arts experts will provide virtual training and mentoring of these teams as they explore the arts as an applied strategy for meeting policy objectives. On July 25, the counties will participate in an in-person convening in Adams County, Colo., in conjunction with NACo’s 2022 Annual Conference.

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Member Spotlight: David Ross

Posted by David Ross, Linda Lombardi, Mar 08, 2022

As creative placemaking coordinator for The Arts Commission in Toledo, Ohio, David Ross is a community artist turned advocate for youth and creativity. An alum of The Arts Commission’s Young Artist at Work program, he has been a member of the creative placemaking team since 2020, working to connect visual art and social issues. Ross also chairs the City of Toledo Human Relation Commission’s Stop the Violence Committee, co-chairs the Toledo Racial Equity & Inclusion Council, and is the founder of a local celebrity basketball charity contest, Dunkin 4 Donations. “Creative placemaking is the answer to social justice artistically filling in the gaps and barriers in equality and opportunity. Not knowing how to express yourself or not having pride will make you not see the value of the land or opportunity to flourish. Creative placemaking directly addresses those issues with a creative and sustainable approach.”

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Member Spotlight: Elizabeth Reitz Mullenix

Posted by Linda Lombardi, Nov 23, 2021

Elizabeth Reitz Mullenix is the Dean of the College of Creative Arts and a professor of theater at Miami University in Ohio, where she teaches courses in world stages and American theater. As a theater historian, Mullenix writes about Antebellum culture/theater, cross-dressing, the American Civil War, first wave feminism, and gender/feminist theory. “I think theater has always been a great way to promote social change because it has the power to educate, raise consciousness, and emotionally impact audiences. The intimacy created by live theater affects people—audiences experience stories shared in real time by real people, stories about oppression and prejudice and how the world needs to change. Good theater can make people care and make them think.”

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Shooting for the Moon with the STAR Act: How an Arts and Transit Provision was Protected

Posted by Lauren Cohen, Jul 19, 2021

On the morning of June 30, 2021, a new and unexpected threat to a pro-arts piece of federal legislation became apparent. The full U.S. House of Representatives was beginning final consideration of the INVEST in America Act of 2021 (H.R. 3684), which included an arts and transit provision that had not attracted any opposition—until an amendment from Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) aimed to strike the pro-arts provision from the bill. Rep. Gibbs argued that that federal dollars shouldn’t be used for “feel-good frescoes and metro station murals.” What Rep. Gibbs and other opponents fail to realize is that the provision does not require art projects, but rather allows local transit authorities the option to hire artists and install public art in transit projects if they wish. And it doesn’t cost the federal government money, but rather allows local transit authorities the option to spend their budget hiring an artist if they want to. Arts-related votes on the floor of either chamber of Congress are a rarity, so a dynamic advocacy strategy becomes extremely important when one occurs—and in this case, Americans for the Arts marshalled every arts advocacy tool in our war chest in response.

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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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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.

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