Remembering to Celebrate the Victories: State Arts Action Network Members’ Advances for the Arts and Arts Education

First, I want to acknowledge that the past few months have been tough; it seems like anytime I refresh my web browser, there’s more bad news happening in our nation. Personally, I find some solace in the work that we as arts advocates do at the federal, state, and local levels in advancing the healing and transformative power of the arts and arts education. I think it’s important to remember the positive moments and for us to celebrate the victories that we as a field are achieving. In that spirit, I want to share with you a few stories about the current advocacy successes at the federal and state levels, spearheaded by the State Captains, State Arts Action Network (SAAN), and their states’ advocates.

The “50 States Initiative” Utilizes Public Art to Bolster Civic Engagement

Artist-run organization plans to mobilize public art to encourage political participation in the U.S.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

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The artist-run American nonprofit For Freedoms has announced the launch of “The 50 State Initiative,” a nonpartisan political and artistic campaign that will utilize public art to spark political engagement. Spanning the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections, the campaign’s focal point is the planned installation of political billboards in all 50 states, plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico.

Schools Must Be Safe Places for Students to Learn and Pursue Their Passions

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A nation plagued by school shootings watched the horror play out yet again in Southeast Texas when eight Santa Fe High School students and two teachers were killed and 10 others were wounded recently in the worst school shooting since the February assault on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Many of these victims were in an arts classroom making art at the time. Schools must be safe places for students to learn and pursue their passions in the arts and beyond. 

Americans for the Arts to Present Six Awards for Arts Leadership

Honorees to Be Recognized June 16 at Americans for the Arts’ Convention in Denver, CO

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

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Americans for the Arts announced today the recipients of the 2018 Americans for the Arts Leadership Awards. Given annually, these awards recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations committed to enriching their communities through the arts.

NEA Proposed at $155 Million in House Bill

$2 Million Funding Increase!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

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Under the leadership of Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Ranking Member Betty McCollum (D-MN), both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) are proposed at $155 million for FY 2019 in the U.S. House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee bill, a $2 million increase from 2018.

Arizona Arts Community Overturns State Arts Funding Cuts

Monday, May 14, 2018

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Arizona Citizens for the Arts rallied its advocates over Governor Doug Ducey's plan to eliminate $2 million in funding for arts grants, and the state legislature and governor heard from over 1,000 constituents speaking out against zeroing out state arts funding.

Oklahoma Arts Advocates In Solidarity with Teacher Walkout

Monday, May 14, 2018

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Partnering with Oklahoma A+ Schools, Oklahoma Art Education Association, and the Oklahoma Alliance for Arts Education, hundreds of arts and arts education advocates came to promote arts education funding on April 11 within the bigger picture of the Oklahoma teacher walkout.

Americans for the Arts Congratulates Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), New Congressional Arts Caucus Co-Chair

Thursday, April 19, 2018

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At a special Capitol Hill reception on April 18 to honor and remember former Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), hosted by Americans for the Arts in conjunction with the Congressional Arts Caucus, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) as the next co-chair of the Arts Caucus.

The Battle Wages On for the Arts

Our field collectively high-fived recently when Congress passed the long-delayed budget for fiscal year 2018. Together we beat back the Trump Administration’s proposals to terminate the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, funded now through September 30. Each will receive a total of $152.8 million, $3 million more a piece than last year. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, who passed away last month, was a fierce champion for the arts for decades, and this win is a very fitting tribute to her longtime leadership. It took the unified, tireless, and persistent work of the arts community and grassroots advocates nationwide to achieve this win. Strong activism resulted in a powerful bipartisan message that arts and humanities funding strengthens and enriches our communities and grows local economies. 

Remembering Louise (1929 – 2018)

On March 16, 2018, a dear friend, tireless advocate, and arts leader passed away, U.S. Representative Louise M. Slaughter. I have known Louise for 32 years. We’ve partnered in nearly that many Arts Advocacy Days. It has always been my honor to stand with Louise. I’ve stood with her on over 100 occasions in the last 23 years while she co-chaired the Congressional Arts Caucus. Americans for the Arts and the nation’s arts community owe a debt of gratitude to Louise Slaughter. There has never been an arts advocate with more tenacity, fight, humor, and spirit of generosity. May she rest in peace knowing that she made the world a better place through the arts, and may her trailblazing pave the way to more arts leaders recognizing the transformational power of the arts on our lives, communities, economy, and nation.

SAAN By Me: The Good Arts Advocacy Work Happening in Your States

Advocacy promoting arts and arts education funding and policy doesn’t just exist at the federal level. While the federal government funds the NEA at $152.3 million, state governments invest $357.5 million into state arts agencies. However, like the NEA, state arts agencies cannot lobby regarding appropriations, law, legislation, or policy, in their official capacity. Enter the State Arts Action Network—a professional development network of Americans for the Arts comprised of 53 state arts advocacy and service organizations from 42 states. SAAN members work around the clock advocating for pro-arts and pro-arts education funding and policies in their home states. Here’s just a sample of the great work happening at the state level! Here’s just a sample of the great work happening at the state level!

Americans for the Arts Reacts to $152.8 Million Funding Increase to Each NEA, NEH

Thursday, March 22, 2018

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Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch offered a statement in reaction to last night’s proposal by Congress to fund the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) at $152.8 million each. 

Arts Caucus co-Chair Rep. Leonard Lance Receives 2018 Congressional Arts Leadership Award

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

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Before a crowd of 650 arts advocates from every state, including a delegation of 30 from his home state of New Jersey, Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors recognized and thanked U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) for his congressional arts leadership during the 31st Arts Advocacy Day.

House “Dear Colleague” Letter in Support of Federal Funding for the NEA

New Record Support!

Monday, March 19, 2018

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For the fifth consecutive year, a new record number of U.S. Representatives has signed the annual “Dear Colleague” letter, led by the bipartisan Congressional Arts Caucus co-chairs.

Americans for the Arts Remembers the Powerful Advocacy and Tireless Work of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter

Friday, March 16, 2018

Americans for the Arts mourns the loss of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York, who died March 16, 2018 in Washington, D.C. at the age of 88. Louise has been a champion of the arts for decades and our organization and its members are profoundly saddened, but still spirited in her honor and grateful for all she has given in service to her constituents at home and nationwide through her passionate support for the value of the arts and arts education.

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