Americans for the Arts Is Celebrating National Arts in Education Week September 9-15

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

National Arts in Education Week Logo
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Americans for the Arts today announced its celebration of National Arts in Education Week. During this week, the field of arts education joins together in communities across the nation to celebrate the transformative power of the arts in education. 

Five Reasons Why Public Art Matters

Public art matters to me because I see it as a platform for civic dialogue and as the most democratic of art forms. When done well, a public artwork engages citizens in conversation that can vary from understanding historical and cultural backgrounds, to driving attachment to place and social cohesion. In a world struggling with new ways to connect, public art can make public spaces more approachable. In June of this year, Americans for the Arts worked in collaboration with the 2018 Public Art Network (PAN) Advisory Council to launch “Why Public Art Matters” to provide the field with a tool to help educate community members, local decision makers, and other stakeholders on the value that public art can bring to cities and towns. The resource document provides talking points, reasons, data, and examples of how public art can positively impact a community in five specific areas.

Creating the Conditions for Arts & Culture to Thrive: How can Arts Service Organizations Help Lay the Groundwork?

A few weeks ago, Genesee County, Michigan voters approved a millage to support their arts and cultural assets. Words can’t express how proud I am of Genesee County voters for investing in one of their greatest assets; however, they can express this: their collective investment has the potential to be a real game changer for Genesee County, the people who live there, and their arts and cultural community. How do I know this? Because that’s what happened in Cleveland following passage of one of the largest local option taxes for arts and culture in the country. Here are a few insights drawn from the work we did to stabilize our arts and culture sector and position it for greater influence in our community. Think of these as tips for fertilizing the soil to ensure arts and culture can thrive and grow in your city.

Pre-Election Activities for Arts Organizations

Recently, I sat down with former Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg to talk about what arts organizations should be doing in preparation of the upcoming elections. Here are highlights of our conversation.

Americans for the Arts Announces Annual Business Committee for the Arts Awards to Honor Exceptional Businesses and Leaders

Awardees to Be Honored on October 2 at Gala in New York City

Monday, August 20, 2018

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Americans for the Arts today announced this year’s BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honorees. Presented every year by the Business Committee for the Arts (BCA), a division of Americans for the Arts, the BCA 10 awards recognize 10 U.S. companies, a business leader, and an arts and business partnership for their exceptional commitment to the arts. The awards will be presented by Americans for the Arts on October 2, 2018, at a black-tie gala at The Central Park Boathouse in New York City. 

Americans for the Arts Partners with the National Consortium for Creative Placemaking to Develop the 2018 National Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit

Monday, August 13, 2018

Americans for the Arts will join NCCP as a Regional Partner to provide input on content; local insight to the Maryland, District of Columbia and Northern Virginia area; marketing support; and funding connections for the upcoming summit Oct. 5-7 in College Park, Maryland. 

Have Your Heard the Buzz About Creative Conversations?

Creative Conversations were launched in 2004 in response to feedback for a need for dialogue from the Emerging Leaders Network. Since then, they have been used as a catalyst in communities across the nation to unify groups of people engaged in arts and culture by sparking dialogue, spurring advocacy efforts, and creating networking opportunities for participants. Most Creative Conversations take place in October as part of National Arts and Humanities Month; however, now they are popping up more frequently at other times of the year. Interested in learning more about these community engagement events, or hosting one in your area? Read on for information and inspiration to help get you started!

How #my5days at Hallmark is Renewing, Inspiring, and Giving Back

“It was such joy to walk in with a certain set of expectations and walk away accomplishing far more than I even imagined.” This reaction from a designer at Hallmark Cards, Inc. underlines the spirit of a recent initiative that supports the creative culture at the company that has taken a new turn in 2018. Just two years ago, Hallmark created a program that would lead to new ways of thinking, personal inspiration, and growth for more than 800 members of its creative community. Now, it has grown to benefit nonprofit organizations in its local Kansas City community. Hallmark’s #my5days program offers five work days per year for creative employees to renew, explore, learn, and think differently about the world and work around them. 

A Public Art Passion Project Reaches its Halfway Point

Thursday, July 5, 2018

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On February 20, 2017, a 51-year-old man named Thomas Leeper set off to complete a public art-centric passion project: covering every linear mile of Detroit on bike, while also photographing and geo-tagging every piece of public art or graffiti he encountered along the way. Almost a year and a half later, Leeper is about at the halfway point, having biked through 2,200 of the 4,000 linear miles of the Detroit streets.

US Conference of Mayors’ 2018 Arts & Military Resolution

Funding Arts, Health, and Well-Being Across the Military Continuum

Friday, July 20, 2018

The resolution cites the potential of creative arts therapies and artist directed programs to positively impact the healthcare spending concerns, quality of care issues, and healthcare needs of active military and veteran populations.

Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston Expands Beyond Its Walls

Friday, July 20, 2018

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The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston, one of the city’s major museums, recently expanded beyond its main gallery in the South Boston Seaport District. The new Watershed building represents a turning point in Boston’s history as East Boston’s first major arts destination.

Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners Receive 2018 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Arts Leadership

Monday, July 16, 2018

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Americans for the Arts and the National Association of Counties awarded Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners of Tampa, Florida the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Arts Leadership at NACo’s annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The award honors an elected county board or individual leader who has significantly advanced the arts in the communities they serve.

Passion Works

This story is about what happens when the talents and interests of people with developmental differences are followed. In 1998 I was invited to set up an experimental art studio within a sheltered workshop in Athens, Ohio. A sheltered workshop is a day program for people with developmental disabilities that offers assembly line-like work options (capping pens, stuffing envelopes, bagging items). The work is repetitive with a clear expectation of the end product. In the back of the old factory was a 15’ x 25’ room where I was invited to set up a studio space through a grant from the Ohio Arts Council. When people were done with their work quotas they could come back to the art studio and explore. The enthusiasm and excitement that unfolded ignited something in me and I found my passion. This group was magical. They had talent, imagination, fearlessness, cooperation—everything needed to feed the creative process within a collaborative community making experience.

Denver Arts & Venues is the city’s local art government agency that seeks to enrich the community of Denver through supporting public venues, the arts, and entertainment.  The agency is responsible for the operation of some of the Denver area’s most popular and important cultural venues, including Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, Denver Coliseum, the Colorado Convention Center and McNichols Civic Center Building.

A Utah Business “Not Throwin’ Away its Shot” to Help Rural Students Experience “Hamilton”

When Zions Bank was approached by the Utah Division of Arts and Museums with a request to support the Hamilton Education Program, executives knew high school students from Title I schools and rural towns spanning the state needed to be in “The Room Where It Happens.” The $16 billion-in-assets financial institution based in Salt Lake City has a significant presence and market share in rural communities; because of its statewide network of branches, it is important to the bank to help promote rural populations’ access to the artistic treasures concentrated in Salt Lake City. Through the Hamilton Education Program, nicknamed “EduHam,” producers made tickets available at a discount, which was subsidized by Zions Bank and the State of Utah through a bi-partisan appropriation. After weeks of studying a special integrated curriculum about Alexander Hamilton, the May 4, 2018 performance provided more than 2,300 students an opportunity to experience the musical in person. 

Together We Rise: Convention Reflections

Whether you’re an arts advocate, creator, or funder, attending the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, held June 14-17 in Denver, felt like a rallying call for change, and each of the keynote speakers led us with hope and honesty. Each session bravely tackled the serious issues of equity and the power of art to nourish inclusivity, embrace humanity, and grapple with the complex issues facing us today. Like so many cities, Denver has recognized that the systems of power grant privilege and access unequally in our community. The more we acknowledge this, the more we understand the pervasiveness of inequity that impacts funding, programming, arts policy, employment, and nearly every aspect of our work—bringing us closer to the opportunity to emerge into a new space.

National Arts Marketing Project Kicks Off Second Pennsylvania Cohort

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Americans for the Arts, the leading organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America, is pleased to announce the second cohort of the Arts Marketing and Audience Engagement in the 21st Century: Building the Capacity of Pennsylvania’s Cultural Sector, a new, five-year initiative to strengthen and advance the arts marketing and audience engagement skills of Pennsylvania-based arts and cultural professionals. 

Americans for the Arts Recognizes 49 Outstanding Public Art Projects from Around United States

Friday, June 15, 2018

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Americans for the Arts today honored 49 outstanding public arts projects created in 2017 through the Public Art Network Year in Review program, the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art. Chosen by public art experts, the roster of selected projects was unveiled this morning at Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention in Denver. This is the 17th year that Americans for the Arts has recognized public art works.

Culture Notes

Art is a barometer of its time, providing the common ground for our shared humanity—essential in a vibrant democracy. I came of age as an artist and administrator in New York in the 1970s. Post modernists, punks, minimalists, and graffiti artists were deconstructing and distilling everyday actions. By the 1980s, some of these provocateurs mainstreamed into galleries and museums, theaters and opera houses. Many audiences were mystified, some transformed by the emergent forms. At the end of the ‘80s, I was performing arts curator at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the aesthetic zeitgeist had changed. 

Welcoming Travelers to a Community Through the Arts

As the gateway to a city, airports are the first and last place that air travelers experience; they are a doorway for passengers and visitors alike. An airport has a broad range of functions, but its visual impact can run the gamut from a blank canvas to a celebration of sights and sounds. As the canvas on which impressions of a destination can be formed, airports have an opportunity to tell their story through permanent and temporary installations as well as through performing arts. When an airport chooses to introduce travelers to the arts and cultural assets of a region and beyond, wonderful things can happen. Each artistic effort says to travelers that not only do the arts matter, but also that the aesthetics of an airport are important.

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