A Message to the Field from the Board of Directors of Americans for the Arts: Report to the Field on the Task Force for Racial and Cultural Equity

Posted by Julie C. Muraco, Mr. Nolen V. Bivens , Aug 18, 2021

To our members, strategic partners, patrons, artists, and the entire arts and culture community: Americans for the Arts Board of Directors and senior leadership want to share, with all sincerity, that we have used these last months of organizational transition to reflect on our actions, and their effect on those we serve. We have taken a deep and critical look in the mirror to better understand how our work is being impacted by the societal issues affecting our members, partners, and all those dedicated to the arts and culture community. In our introspection, we acknowledge the importance of shared advocacy and shared leadership within the broader arts and culture community. We want to be better partners in this regard, and we realize our best efforts can only occur by rebuilding trust and realignment with the field. We know that it will take time and, more importantly, actions. We have come to fully recognize that Americans for the Arts can do better in delivering consistent, high quality, and mutually beneficial leadership and service as a national organization. We want to begin this recognition by offering the findings from the board commissioned Task Force for Racial and Cultural Equity.

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A Letter From the Chair of Americans for the Arts

Posted by Julie C. Muraco, Jun 07, 2021

To all of those who champion and fight for the arts and cultural community in the United States; To all our members, our funders, our partners, and patrons who have generously supported Americans for the Arts; To the artists and arts professionals whom we represent: I have read your letters and comments over these last months as Americans for the Arts has faced challenges. Both I and other board members have talked with many of you directly. We have engaged thought leaders in the field for advice and wisdom as our organization grapples with dramatic change sweeping through society and our sector. We are committed to continuing this dialogue so that we can work together to find an equitable and sustainable future for Americans for the Arts. It would be easy to make incremental changes, but in order to catch up to the future, we know that what is now required is transformation.

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State Legislative Trends in 2021

Posted by Mr. Jay H. Dick, Apr 09, 2021

As we arrive at roughly the halfway mark of state legislative activity for 2021, I thought I would take a few minutes to highlight some legislative trends that we are seeing in various states across the country, along with the top arts related topics. Currently, 42 of the 50 states are in session with eight having already adjourned for the year. Most of the rest of the state legislatures will adjourn by July 2, with six meeting all year. While a firm number of bills being introduced is not readily available, the number is in the tens of thousands. As of this writing, Americans for the Arts is tracking 841 pieces of legislation across all 50 states, many of which could have an impact on the arts. While the vast majority of this legislation will not become law, it is always important to keep a watchful eye to prevent any bad legislation from being signed into law and to support legislation which is helpful. You can see which arts-related bills are in your state’s legislature by visiting your state page right here on our website.

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How the Work of Americans for the Arts Is Addressing the Urgent Challenges of 2020

Posted by Mr. Robert Lynch, Nov 16, 2020

Americans for the Arts is committed to a vision of the arts being recognized as integral to the lives of all people and essential to healthy, vibrant, and equitable communities across the nation. The work of the organization is guided by a board-approved strategic plan with the advice of our leadership councils, strategic partners, local and state arts agencies, and many other decision makers, all of whom have a stake in advancing the arts as core to transforming lives, communities, workplaces, and education systems. The urgency of this vision has never been more apparent than in 2020—amid a global pandemic, heightened focus on social justice and racial equity, a huge economic downturn, and a contentious presidential election. These issues have impacted every community across the country and devastated artists, nonprofit and for-profit creative businesses, educational systems, healthcare, and trust in government. And because of long-term systemic inequities, these challenges have more severely affected people and communities of color. In 2020, Americans for the Arts continued its commitment to our vision and planned work, while also pivoting and taking on new, urgent work like so many of our 5,000 member organizations. Here are highlights of some key areas of the new and urgent work of Americans for the Arts in 2020 that are in addition to our planned work portfolio.

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Strengthening Healthcare Systems Through the Arts

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Oct 29, 2020

The Ancient Greeks anointed Apollo as the god of both the arts and of healing—a hefty portfolio even by early mythology standards. As different as those areas may seem, new research suggests this was a prescient choice. When the arts are part of our healthcare experience, we have shorter hospital stays, less depression, and take less medication—all of which adds up to reduced healthcare costs. In recent years, there has been a growing understanding of the benefits, and prevalence, of arts in healthcare programs. When hospital administrators were asked, “Why the arts,” chief among the responses were that they aid in the mental and emotional recovery of patients (80%) as well as their physical recovery (41%). Many programs extend beyond the patients in order to strengthen the entire healing system: 80% of programs serve patients directly, 58% include the patient’s family, and 42% are for staff to help them deal with the stress of working in the healthcare environment. With these (and many more) benefits, it is no wonder that 68% of Americans agree that the arts improve health and the healthcare experience—and 73% favor government funding for arts in healthcare programs.

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Arts and Culture Sector Can Prepare for the Coronavirus in the United States

Posted by Ms. Ruby Lopez Harper, Mar 05, 2020

Like most of you, Americans for the Arts has been watching the breaking news about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and we are seeing inquiries coming in from the field and through our national service organization colleagues. While gathering and sharing pertinent information, we are also working to understand the long-term effect on arts and culture activities from performance to festivals, touring artists, and school field trips. We are monitoring responses and preparations and will share more information as it becomes available. You can help us and the nonprofit arts field by sharing with us how you are responding in the immediate and in the long-term. There is still much to learn about the outbreak, and we hope the following information assists you in preparation for both you and your loved ones, your organization, and your community. 

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