Preparing Your Organization and Your Donors for Shifts in the Charitable Tax Deduction

On January 1, the 2018 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act went into effect, a substantial change to the U.S. tax code which has the potential to negatively impact arts and culture nonprofit organizations in a variety of ways. One of the most significant impacts will come in changes related to the thresholds and amounts associated with the charitable tax deduction. This 100-year-old provision was designed to stimulate giving to charities and other organizations serving the public good by providing an opportunity to claim a deduction as a reduction in an individual’s tax burden. While the repercussions of the federal tax code changes are still emerging, and corresponding shifts in state-by-state tax policy may impact your situation, the notes that follow are an introductory primer. If you have questions about state-level implications, we recommend you reach out to your state comptroller or state association of nonprofits.

Arts Advocacy Day Is Coming

Although years may really just be a number, in its 31 years, Arts Advocacy Day has seen six different U.S. presidents spanning both political parties. It’s witnessed sixteen different congressional sessions and eight different Speakers of the U.S. House. Through it all, every year, attendees hear that “the arts are bipARTtisan.” Because, no matter who’s in office, arts advocacy matters. Funding decisions are made every year. Who’s deciding this year may not be deciding next year. Who’s to remember what happened before? Who’s to know why it matters? Who’s to learn from each other? The answer is us. All of us. All of us together.

Tucson’s culinary prestige and heritage food movement has been growing each year, and now is the time to SAVOR. Indulge in the flavors of Southern Arizona’s culinary arts at the 5th Annual SAVOR Southern Arizona Food & Wine Festival surrounded by the colorful floral blooms of the Tucson Botanical Gardens. 

Featuring over 75 of the region’s finest chefs, wineries, breweries, local foods and restaurants highlighting exceptional menu tastings.  This foodie festival will showcase the diversity of the heritage foods and ingredients throughout the Southwest region.

Why?

Prototyping: Again, with feeling!

An iterative process is often useful, especially in the context of interactive public art: the collective public has a genius ability to subvert or repurpose objects and installations from their intended purpose. It can therefore be very helpful to periodically get something into the hands of someone who hasn’t been immersed in the project since its conception to see what they will do with it. Workshops with the communities that will ultimately be served by a project can serve as valuable de facto prototyping sessions as well.

Got Water?

“My Your Our Water” evolved from a residency with Salt River Project and Scottsdale Public Art that was primarily focused on the far-reaching functions of SRP and a seemingly invisible desert water delivery system, to a conversation about water issues on an individual, communal, and global spectrum. “My Your Our Water” is forever growing and shifting with each encounter. It shapes how I perceive water, how I perceive myself in relationship to water, and in turn, I like to believe it causes shifts in perception and action in those that engage with it.

Public Art Blooms in the Arizona Canal

As an artist whose work addresses both the natural elements of a site as well as its history, Bruce Munro was intrigued by the history of the Arizona Canal and indeed the entire canal system. Respectful of and intrigued by the history of the prehistoric, indigenous people who farmed using a canal system that brought water to the desert landscape, Munro brought to life floating pontoons of fishing rods that sparkled by day in the Arizona sunshine and lit up at night like chandeliers floating atop the canal waters. The result, Blooms, was a stunning acknowledgment of the natural environment.

The Spirits Sitting on My Shoulder

Maybe these are familiar to you: you have a great idea but you cannot get it off the ground because funders cannot see its worth; or, worse yet, you cannot get the community you want to come see it to actually come. Those are real problems. So, that’s when the Aesthetic Perspectives: Attributes of Excellence in Arts for Change could beautifully help guide our creations, and to truly engage community. 

New Resources Summarize IMLS Support for Museums and Libraries in Each State

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) released reports with detailed views of IMLS funding for the past six years (FY 2011 through FY 2016) for every state across the nation and the District of Columbia, including total dollars and counts of IMLS grants and awards, as well as amounts of grantee matches or state government maintenance of effort levels.

Cuts to the Arts will Make our Communities Less Vibrant

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

This op-ed was contributed to The Arizona Republic by James K. Ballinger is director emeritus at Phoenix Art Museum; Brenda Thomson is executive director of Arizona Humanities; and Thomas H. Wilson is president of Arizona Citizens for the Arts.

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5: How the Nonprofit Arts & Culture Industry Impacts the Economy in Your Community

When recently asked how best to advocate for the arts in the current environment, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (NM)—co-chair of the Senate Cultural Caucus and chief sponsor of the CREATE Act—was unequivocal: “Start by telling every one of your Senators about the economic benefits of the arts.” This familiar refrain is one we have heard for decades from city council chambers to governor mansions to the halls of Congress—and it works. Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 does just that. It changes the conversation about the arts from that of a “charity” to one about an “industry” that provides both cultural and economic benefits to the community.

Americans for the Arts Unveils Findings from Fifth National Economic Impact Study of Nonprofit Arts and Cultural Organizations and Their Audiences

Study Demonstrates That Nonprofit Arts Are An Economic, Employment Powerhouse

Saturday, June 17, 2017

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A new national study by Americans for the Arts finds that the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion in economic activity in 2015—$63.8 billion in spending by arts and cultural organizations and an additional $102.5 billion in event-related spending by their audiences. This activity supported 4.6 million jobs and generated $27.5 billion in government revenue. 

8 Ways the Arts Can Boost Your Local Economy

The arts and culture sector is often looked at through a very narrow lens. Theatre productions, museum exhibitions, and symphony orchestras typically comprise the average person’s concept of the arts. What’s more, the arts are often viewed as isolated instead of being seen as part of a larger economic ecosystem. But key decision-makers and leaders understand that the arts can be an important part of a city’s economic development and growth strategy—and this growth often comes without huge price tags or tax concessions.

The Art of Science

Too often, the realms of art and business are separated from one another—dismissed as being two entirely different worlds that don’t belong on the same plane. There are those, however, who see the importance of building bridges between these two realms, and see how these bridges can better the two sides, if they are partnered together in the right way. Roche Tissue Diagnostics (known locally as Ventana Medical Systems, Inc.) in Oro Valley, AZ is one such company that seeks to join the worlds of art and business.

Annual Convention Saturday Keynote Announced

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will share her thoughts on the role of the arts in today's political climate

Monday, May 8, 2017

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will share her thoughts on the role of the arts in today's political climate in the June 17 keynote plenary session at Americans for the Arts' Annual Convention.

Americans for the Arts Statement on Bipartisan Agreement to Fund the Nation’s Federal Cultural Agencies and Programs for FY2017

Friday, May 5, 2017

Americans for the Arts president and CEO Robert L. Lynch issued a statement following the signing of the bipartisan agreement. 

Pre-Order Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Materials

Fifth National Arts and Culture Economic Impact Study to be Released June 17

Friday, May 5, 2017

Now is the time to preorder study publications detailing results of  the fifth national Arts Economic & Prosperity study, with data from 341 partners across the country to share with stakeholders in your community, including mayors, board members, business and community leaders and other elected officials.

Save the NEA!

The NEA is the only arts funder in America, public or private, that supports the arts in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. The NEA also has an exemplary partnership with the states, with 40 percent of program funds distributed through state arts agencies. This federal-state partnership supports tens of thousands of grants in communities all throughout the U.S.

For more info, years of NEA’s grants are also fully searchable online.

New Data Showcase Economic Impact of Arts and Culture in U.S. and States

Arts and cultural economic activity accounted for 4.2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product—$729.6 billion—in 2014

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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Sure, Broadway and Hollywood employ lots of creative people. But when it comes to artistic and cultural work, not all the action is on the coasts. New data show arts and culture account for a larger share of jobs in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado than they do nationally. For the first time, the Bureau of Economic Analysis has produced statistics spotlighting the economic impact of arts and cultural activities in each state and the District of Columbia.

The Nation’s Report Card in the Arts is Released

The 2016 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in the Arts is Released by the National Assessment Governing Board

Monday, April 24, 2017

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On Tuesday, April 25, the National Assessment Governing Board and the National Center for Education Statistics releases results of The Nation's Report Card: 2016 Arts. This report will demonstrate national Grade 8 results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, including findings by demographic subgroups and region. The release event will explore what the data show about student skills and how the availability of resources and opportunities in arts education may shape these skills.

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