National League of Cities Takes Message of Arts, Racial Equity, and Healing to Mayors

Posted by Mr. Jay H. Dick, Jul 15, 2020

Americans for the Arts partners with a range of associations of elected officials at all levels of government to promote the arts and culture as solutions to cities’ various issues or problems. The National League of Cities (NLC) is one such partner. NLC represents mayors and city council members of approximately 2,000 cities of all sizes in the United States. Recently, the League reached out to Americans for the Arts to write an article on how the arts can help cities through this time of social and civil change and the need for racial equity and healing. We work with NCL and similar organizations to promote arts and culture at the national level in order to get the attention of elected officials, which allows you, the local advocate, to follow up. In other words, the elected official hears our message from their national association (at conferences, through blog posts, and other channels), and then hears it again from their local residents. This two-pronged approach shows the elected official that the arts are indeed a powerful tool and an organized political constituency.

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Record State Investment in the Arts!

Posted by Mr. Jay H. Dick, Feb 12, 2020

I was very happy to see the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) report on the status of state support for the arts and culture, specifically the amount of funds each state’s governor and legislature is providing to their state arts agency (SAA). According to the report, the 50 states and 6 territories appropriated almost $495 million for SAAs in FY2020. Total state appropriations increased by $134 million from FY 2019 to FY2020, a 37 percent year to year increase. This achievement was not realized in a vacuum, but because of the tireless work from people like you—arts advocates who have reached out to your state elected officials to let them know the importance of the arts and culture to your state. You have taken the great research provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and other organizations to make your case that the arts are good for business, employ millions of people, help our veterans, and give students a well-rounded education.

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KRIS Pinot Grigio “Art of Education” program returns

Posted by Ms. Abby Lynch, Sep 21, 2015

All across the country, students are back in school and this month, and Americans for the Arts and KRIS Wine are teaming up again to support arts education.  The arts can positively impact the entire school culture—especially student motivation, attitudes, and attendance— and research further demonstrates the myriad benefits of an education in the arts.  Recognizing these facts, Americans for the Arts and KRIS Wine are proud to announce the launch of the sixth annual “Art of Education” contest. Through this program, KRIS will award 16 winning schools a total of $25,000 in grants to support their arts programs.

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A Look Back on National Preparedness Month: How Hurricane Katrina Gave Rise to ArtsReady

Posted by Mr. Omar Nelson, Sep 24, 2015

Did you know September is National Preparedness Month (NPM)?

Have you reflected on the significance of the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina? If so, have you been inspired to take steps in your arts organization to make it more resilient?

For South Arts, National Preparedness Month and the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina are momentous with the two occasion’s eventually giving rise to ArtsReady, a national initiative which has a mission to make emergency preparedness a high priority in the arts.

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Cooking up Frameworks - Inviting You to the Evaluation Test Kitchen

Posted by Ms. Pam Korza, Oct 29, 2015

At the October Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) conference, artist Rosten Woo described the Vendor Power! project, a poster/brochure initiated by the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) and designed by artist Candy Chang to make comprehensible New York City’s most commonly violated street vending rules which are buried in hundreds of pages of impenetrable bureaucratese.  For thousands of vendors whose first language is not English, the Vendor Power! poster became an essential tool, directly helping them to understand their rights, avoid fines, and know how to respond when approached by police. Woo reported with satisfaction that, following CUP’s distribution of 10,000 posters, the Dept. of Consumer Affairs seized the poster’s power to address a longstanding institutional problem and printed another 10,000. Here the system took action to change a problematic practice.  If only evidence of change was always so clear!

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Partnership and Shared Power in Evaluation

Posted by Carlton Turner, Oct 30, 2015

In this Blog Salon’s first post, Maurine Knighton opens with a quote from William Bruce Cameron, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” The second half of that quote – “not everything that counts can be counted” – speaks directly to why the work of the Evaluation Lab is so timely and essential to the advancement of cultural equity in the arts. Artists and cultural workers who are deeply embedding social justice in their work are at the margins of our sector in funding and their work is made invisible by the majority of established institutions. Additionally, the work they are doing is rarely summed up by the standard metrics that funders require –– statistics culled from box office receipts and demographic surveys. Measuring change is an admirable task that will be innovated from the ground, not the air.

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