Recognizing the Value of the Arts in Oxford, Mississippi

Posted by Oliver Nell, Nov 28, 2022

Only a few years ago, the business community in Oxford skewed heavily toward traditional notions of economic growth and profitability, which inevitably bred a bias toward large manufacturing businesses, insurance, finance, and healthcare. A smaller-scale entrepreneur community, particularly more creative and artistic entrepreneurs, was not cultivated to the degree it should have been. This community didn’t attract attention because it wasn’t necessarily seen as vital to the health of the local economy. In 2015, Oxford’s local arts agency, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council (YAC), recognized this was an issue for the community. They saw that a major part of the local economy—the arts sector—was not being taken seriously as an economic driver. The numbers, they found, were on their side, demonstrating that the arts made up more than a negligible portion of the local economy. The YAC began strategizing with the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce on how they could best capitalize on the arts ecosystem in town, which was finding a way to survive even without the necessary value placed on it. Together they began looking for ways to integrate the separate arts and business communities such that their complementary skill-sets and capacities could meet their mutual goals and needs.

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Arts in Juvenile Justice Working Group Provides Advocacy and Services

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Photo looking through large glass windows into an art gallery. Text on the glass reads: Can you see me?
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The Arts in Juvenile Justice Working Group is a conglomerate of organizations and stakeholders that are passionate about the Juvenile Justice system, as it relates to the integration of creative arts therapies. Working Group member SkyArt in Chicago provides visual art programming to young people ages 5 to 24 and is currently featuring an exhibition focused on artwork from incarcerated youth and explores the impact that incarceration has on the youth population.

New Report on Creative Placemaking and Land-Use Development from Urban Land Institute Released

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Night photo of a city building covered in a brightly painted, random pattern.
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In Creative Placemaking: Recommendations from and Impact of Six Advisory Services Panels, Urban Land Institute uses six case studies to demonstrate how creative placemaking can spark a cultural rebirth in real estate projects, revitalize communities, and boost returns on investment for developers.

Celebrate National Arts & Humanities Month with Americans for the Arts in October!

Americans Are Encouraged to Explore the Arts in Their Communities

Friday, September 30, 2022

Orange star with "national arts & humanities month" in blue text below it
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Americans for the Arts today announced its October celebration of National Arts & Humanities Month (NAHM), a time for communities to come together to celebrate the power of the arts and humanities in promoting individual wellbeing, addressing trauma, connecting cultures, highlighting inequities, and making the nation’s communities healthier and stronger.

Announcing India Carney as the 2022 National Arts & Humanities Month Ambassador

Friday, September 23, 2022

Black and white photo of a person with lush curly hair wearing a dark turtleneck shirt and resting their head on a propped up arm.

Americans for the Arts is thrilled to collaborate with musician India Carney as our 2022 Ambassador for National Arts & Humanities Month. India will use her platform throughout the month of October to advocate for artists and share her love of culture and journey to becoming a professional musician as we promote the crucial role of the arts and humanities.

The Power of Culturally Specific Artistry

Posted by Jade Cintrón Báez , Sep 20, 2022

As founder and director of ¡Looking Bilingüe!, a storytelling platform for Latinés who feel ni de aquí, ni de allá (neither from here nor from there), I have the pleasure of listening to people’s stories, exchanging perspectives on issues our community faces, and uplifting the U.S.-born Latinés who can’t speak Spanish fluently, face racism, and/or who generally feel they can’t claim their Latiné culture. These guests and I amplify these topics, archiving where they are on their journey, and acknowledge the patchwork quilt that is Latinidad: not a melting pot, but how we stitch together who we are today based on our shared and distinct multicultural and multirace histories. This work was once something I ran from. The idea of using my cultural identity professionally was something I felt embarrassed about. It felt inappropriate, rude, and something I had to keep neutralized for the sake of homogeneity. As an actor, I’d been conditioned to think of how I could fit in certain “ideal” boxes, and this had bled into my personal life. I’d grown weary of 30-second elevator pitches of my cultural identity and artistry. I wanted to find a way to be myself in both professional and personal spaces without having to tick everyone else’s boxes—to make my story mine.

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Can Art Help Fight A War?

Posted by Mrs. Iryna Kanishcheva, Sep 08, 2022

Russia’s assault on Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, with a series of missile attacks and the use of long-range artillery. My mother called me from Ukraine in the middle of the night, crying. I assured her that everything will be alright. The next day I was headed south from my home in Florida for a ribbon-cutting event and the idea of war seemed to be surreal. How can we celebrate a new mural when people are being killed by invaders from a neighboring country? I thought of Shepard Fairey because he is well known for his involvement in social issues. He had some political ideas for a mural but it never happened because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When asked to paint a mural for Ukraine, he replied that he couldn’t but was releasing the Make Art Not War design for free for non-commercial purposes to support Ukraine, and allowed me to execute the mural using local resources. As a result of this project, money was raised and sent to some individuals in Ukraine directly, just to provide some immediate support. Even in a small town like Gainesville, Florida, a small group of people was able to collect some funds and help to buy a helmet, shoes for the frontline soldiers, and also contribute to fixing the damaged roof of an apartment complex. Maybe it is just one insignificant action, but there are many of us and we are powerful together.

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Member Spotlight: Megan Berner

Posted by Megan Berner, Linda Lombardi, Aug 09, 2022

As Arts & Culture Manager for the City of Reno, Nevada, Megan Berner manages a public art collection of over 200 artworks, project manages all new public art projects, works with artists, manages the City’s Arts & Culture Grants program, oversees the City’s various gallery spaces, and serves as staff liaison to the City of Reno Arts & Culture Commission and their Public Art Committee. She is also a visual artist. “The best part of what I do is working in the community. I am originally from Reno and feel very connected to this place. It is exciting to work in a position that helps facilitate art and creative placemaking and to see ideas come to life. It’s especially rewarding to have the community be a part of the process, for them to interact with the artists, and to witness the transformation that takes place when art projects are implemented.”

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Minnesota Commissioner Toni Carter to Receive Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Arts Leadership

Friday, July 22, 2022

Smiling person with long dark hair, wearing black-framed glasses, a black and red blazer, a black shirt, and a silver necklace.
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Americans for the Arts and the National Association of Counties (NACo) award Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter of Minnesota the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Arts Leadership. The award recognizes an elected official who has advanced the arts within their community and whose vision and leadership provide heightened visibility to the value of the arts.

Alaska Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer Receives Award for State Arts Leadership

Thursday, July 21, 2022

A smiling person sitting at a desk, hands clasped, wearing a white shirt, black blazer, and a patterened, light blue tie.
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Americans for the Arts and the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) today announced Alaska Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer as the recipient of the 2022 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership. The annual award honors a public official who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts at the state/territory level.

Member Spotlight: Lucy Gellman

Posted by Lucy S. Gellman, Linda Lombardi, Jul 20, 2022

Lucy Gellman is the editor of the Arts Paper and co-founder of the Youth Arts Journalism Initiative at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. As a reporter and editor, she covers arts, culture, and community with an eye toward social justice and anti-racism. Prior to her time at the Arts Paper, she worked as a general assignment reporter for the New Haven Independent and a station manager at WNHH Community Radio. She holds degrees from Washington University in St. Louis and the Courtauld Institute of Art, both in art history, and is a former Fulbright fellow and the winner of a 2020 Connecticut Arts Hero Award. This year, she received recognition from the Elm City Freddy Fixer Parade Committee for her work. “Last week, my Friday began at a theater summer camp and it ended with a march against police brutality in which song, poetry, and sidewalk art were all used in the streets. In between, I talked to a singer/songwriter about how the pandemic changed his practice. The arts are essential to every one of those stories.” 

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New Report Shows How Cities Are Using ARPA Funds to Promote Equity

Monday, June 6, 2022

Report cover with text that reads: The American Rescue Plan Act, Promoting Equity through ARPA Implementation. The United States Conference of Mayors, June 2022.
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In collaboration with The Kresge Foundation, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released a new report, “Promoting Equity through ARPA Implementation,” which documents 20 city case studies and details how mayors are using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to invest in underserved populations and address the disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on low and moderate-income people and communities of color.

Americans For The Arts Debuts Improved Arts + Social Impact Explorer

Friday, May 20, 2022

Screenshot of the Social Impact Explorer wheel, with 30 wedges in a rainbow of colors.

Americans for the Arts has introduced a new 2.0 version of the Arts + Social Impact Explorer, the most comprehensive clearinghouse of example projects and research about the role of arts in community life available today. The Explorer provides examples, datapoints, links to research papers, and lists of active organizations to illustrate the impact of arts and culture in 30 aspects of community life from public health to transportation, safety, community cohesion, and innovation. 

Four Ways The Arts Are Serving Veterans and the Military

Posted by Mr. John W. Haworth, May 16, 2022

As the nation observes Military Appreciation Month in May, it feels an appropriate moment to give attention to arts programs that support our military-connected communities, especially Veterans. The cultural sector plays an active and meaningful role serving Veterans and their families, and it is important to put this work within a broader context of both key challenges and issues. Of the more than two million American troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, about a third have symptoms of post-traumatic stress, depression, and brain injuries. Many cultural organizations and individual artists have the capacity and interest to serve Veterans by providing them with opportunities to gain experience, new skills, and stronger ties in their home communities. For the cultural sector, the challenges of collaborating effectively with Veterans are demanding, and the work requires us to build relationships with Veteran organizations and develop specialized skills in how we serve Veterans. Given the special hardships and challenges members of the military face—including dealing with extreme stress and trauma issues and finding the wherewithal to reconnect with their daily routines, family and personal relationships, and their communities—the arts certainly play an integral role in advancing health and wellbeing. 

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Counties poised to pursue solutions through Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge

Posted by Jack King, Apr 29, 2022

The National Association of Counties (NACo) and Americans for the Arts are pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. NACo and Americans for the Arts invited small- and medium-sized counties to assemble a team of county leaders, local artists and community stakeholders to imagine how art can be used to solve local challenges. From Potter County, Pa.’s “Highway to the Stars” through Cherry Springs State Park to the storied and breathtaking beaches of Hawai’i County, Hawai’i’s Puna district, the winners represent the geographic and social diversity of the nation as a whole. The teams will seek to address a wide array of challenges confronting their local communities, from drug addiction to climate resilience. Over the next 10 months, Americans for the Arts experts will provide virtual training and mentoring of these teams as they explore the arts as an applied strategy for meeting policy objectives. On July 25, the counties will participate in an in-person convening in Adams County, Colo., in conjunction with NACo’s 2022 Annual Conference.

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Centering Equity and Inclusion, Americans for the Arts Launches ‘Arts & Economic Prosperity 6’ Study

Data Collection for Sixth National Study of Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry Set to Begin May 1

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Americans for the Arts logo
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Americans for the Arts is pleased to announce the launch of Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), the sixth national study of the economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture industry. Building on its 25-year legacy, AEP6 will examine the economic power that the arts and culture wield in 387 participating communities representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each community will receive a customized economic impact report about the number of jobs supported, government revenue generated, and economic activity of its nonprofit arts and culture sector.

Counties Poised to Pursue Solutions Through the Arts

Six Counties Selected to Receive Specialized Resources

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Text graphic that reads: Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge, Building Arts-Driven Community and Economic Development Solutions

The National Association of Counties (NACo) and Americans for the Arts today announced six winners of the 2022 Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. In the coming months, Americans for the Arts will provide virtual training and expertise as the teams explore arts-based strategies to meet policy objectives.

American Planning Association Announces New Division on Arts & Planning

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

People look and point at a large colorful mural painted to resemble a neighborhood street map.
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The American Planning Association recently announced the formation of a new Division focusing on the intersection of the arts and planning to provide a unique opportunity for artists and culture bearers to achieve more effective engagement between the two disciplines, as well as a stronger platform to influence the planning profession within the American Planning Association and beyond.

From the Elected Official’s Perspective: Why Arts Advocacy Matters

Posted by Mr. Jay H. Dick, Mar 25, 2022

There is a great deal of information on arts organizations’ websites about why and how arts advocacy is important, along with suggestions for best practices for advocates. Here is an opportunity to switch up the perspective from the arts advocate and learn about the elected officials’ thought process. I recently interviewed Iowa Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg (R), whose relationship with Americans for the Arts through the National Lieutenant Governors Association has helped him understand that the arts are everywhere in our economy, how they play a huge role in education and rural development, and the ways they can support other areas such as health care and community cohesion. We discussed the importance of building relationships with elected officials in order to educate and advocate for issues that matter, how the arts make an impact in all 99 of Iowa’s counties, why it’s crucial for advocates to come together and work toward a common cause, and more.

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