How a Local Business Chamber & the Arts Work Together as a Vital Emergency Response and Long-Term Economic Vision

Posted by Mr. Adam Knapp, Ms. Renee Chatelain, Jul 08, 2020

Unprecedented … resilient … essential … are words we have heard much about during the COVID-19 crisis. These words, in fact, describe every artist, arts educator, and arts organization—and not just during an emergency. Each of us as human beings are heard, healed, uplifted, and empowered by and through the arts. In both unprecedented crises and unprecedented times, ART is essential. With a growing understanding of the vital role the arts play in successful communities, Baton Rouge Area Chamber has sought to better understand and formalize its relationship with the arts sector. Baton Rouge Area Chamber has been a phenomenal arts sector partner in the response to COVID-19. The Chamber has put their strategic planning process into action by looking to the arts community for responses to medical shortfalls in personal protective equipment, maintaining the gig economy, and creating campaigns which promote safety and healing for the community.

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Business Spotlight: Hotel Leverages Arts to Welcome Community and Social Transformation

Posted by Deborah Briggs, Jun 08, 2020

For over 10 years, The Betsy has been celebrated as one of the world’s great art hotels, known for a unique artist in residence program, high profile exhibitions by globally-known artists, creating and nurturing a place for poetry in Miami, and placing classical music and jazz side-by-side in daily performances by the best and brightest players in all genres. We live in challenging times. We need the arts (and artists) more than ever, but at the moment almost 62% of artists are unemployed. Even when they were working, many were in a struggle to survive. This needs to change, and here’s why: To solve the problems of our world—whether one is thinking macro or micro—we need to include individuals who think in new ways. Keeping the status quo just is not going to work when the stakes are so high. So, our challenge is to continue to advocate for the power of the arts. Even as we recognize that although artists “will always find a way” to do their work, we need to support creative enterprise at the highest levels.

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10 Reasons to Invest in Your Local Arts Agency During a Crisis

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, May 26, 2020

Cities are in trouble. A new report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities—The Economy and Cities: What America’s Local Leaders are Seeing—shows that effectively every city, county, and town in America is expecting a budget shortfall this year. “[The] coronavirus will have a staggering impact on municipal employment,” notes the report, with about half expecting layoffs or furloughs. Depending on population size, 50% to 75% of municipalities will cut public services—and more than half expect that to include police. With cities facing their most severe budget headwinds in generations, every sector of government can expect to be scrutinized to gauge impact on the community, including the nation’s 4,500 local arts agencies (LAAs)—arts councils, arts commissions, cultural affairs departments that lead, cultivate, and support an environment in which arts and culture can thrive. They ensure vibrant and accessible arts experiences for all. LAAs are an essential tool for local leaders as they work to rebuild their economy and promote social cohesion in the wake of COVID-19. Here are 10 reasons why investing in LAAs benefits everyone.

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Business Spotlight: Engineer Calls for Fusion of Arts and Technology in Human-Centered Design

Posted by Domhnaill Hernon, May 07, 2020

I currently lead the art and technology program at Nokia Bell Labs. We call it Experiments in Art and Technology in honor of the seminal bringing together of engineers and artists in the late 60s and 70s within which Bell Labs played a crucial role. So, in my current role, I am a champion of the arts—especially new media art, art that involves emerging technology, and musical composition and performance. I lead our artistic collaborations and projects and act as a “curator” and “matchmaker” bringing together the very different worlds of art and technology. I believe that the arts could be (should be) more transformational in the way they inform more human-centric design. I believe that the arts should be deeply integrated into all companies but especially technology companies. I believe it is critical that the voice of the artist be heard and taken seriously in the context of business and in understanding the role that technology can play in influencing humanity.

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New Report on Arts/Non-Arts Partnerships Digs Into How They Work Best

Posted by Mr. Clayton W. Lord, Jessica Stern, Apr 29, 2020

Ninety-one percent of all local arts agencies (LAAs) in the United States have at least one partnership. It is one of the most prevalent and consistent strategies for LAAs to expand their influence and address community issues. A just-released study from Americans for the Arts, available as part of the 2019 Local Arts Agency Profile, dives into how, when, and where LAAs in the United States enter partnerships with for-profit businesses, government or public sector entities, and non-arts nonprofits. Overall, it indicates that while almost all LAAs enter partnerships, the alchemy of pursuing, setting, and sustaining those partnerships varies. At the same time, with a few marked exceptions, the goals that the LAAs and their partners are pursuing in those partnerships are relatively stable, regardless of the type of partner involved. Collectively, LAA partnerships are a common and useful technique for expanding the impact and influence of LAAs, particularly in efforts to address non-arts issue areas in the community. 

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10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2020

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Mar 23, 2020

The effective arts advocate needs to articulate the value of the arts in as many ways as possible—deploying the right case-making tool in the right situation. Consider these “10 Reasons to Support the Arts” as your Swiss army knife for arts advocacy. Like so many sequestered at home during COVID-19, I write this while mindful of our challenging times, and yet inspired by how the arts still have found a way to permeate our lives. I have watched Yo-Yo Ma concerts online, visited the Smithsonian Museum with a click, and joined my neighbors for daily 6 p.m. outdoor singalongs. Even in this difficult environment, the arts are providing personal experiences and promote social cohesion (see tools #2 and #8 on your army knife!). While I am uncertain what we will look like on the other side of this crisis, tool #1 makes me optimistic that when it is time to stop practicing social distancing, it is the arts that will unify us. 

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