Eight for 2018: New Obstacles and Opportunities in the Arts

Over the first quarter of 2018 I’ve had the great opportunity to spend time listening to the wisdom of my colleagues in the field. From these gatherings, I continue to see first-hand the spectacular array of work and service offered by the non-profit arts community in our country. It is a vibrant, effective, optimistic, inciteful, and growing field that uplifts our communities across the country. Despite challenges in funding and support, the creativity of our arts field surges forward. There are new benchmarks to celebrate and new obstacles to overcome, all leading I hope to new opportunities for the arts. Here are eight observations for 2018.

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.

Americans for the Arts Announces Inaugural Johnson Fellowship

Johnson Fellowship Awarded to Los Angeles-Based Artist and Designer Tanya Aguiñiga

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Americans for the Arts announces today the inaugural Americans for the Arts Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities. The new annual fellowship celebrates the legacy and work of the late Robert Leroy “Yankee” Johnson. Americans for the Arts also announces that Los Angeles-based artist and designer Tanya Aguiñiga has been selected as the inaugural fellow. 

Nation's United Arts Funds Raise $85.5 million for the Arts in 2016

Monday, December 18, 2017

Throughout the summer of 2017, the Americans for the Arts Private Sector Initiatives department solicited responses to the FY2016 United Arts Fund Campaign Survey. In FY 2016, the 37 participating UAFs reported aggregate campaign revenue of $85.5 million during their campaigns that ended during 2016. These findings suggest that the united arts fundraising sector is continuing its recovery from the Great Recession. 

The Arts Are Part of the Solution

To recognize the important role of the business community in advancing the arts, Americans for the Arts annually presents the BCA 10 awards celebrating ten businesses for their innovative partnerships with the arts. These businesses range in size and location but share a passion for engaging with the arts to advance their companies and communities; and from our work around the country, we know that they are not alone and that there is increased engagement from the business community in support of the arts. That is why it is not surprising to see that the 2017 edition of Giving in Numbers produced by CECP, in partnership with the Conference Board, showed an increase in arts funding from the corporate community between 2014 and 2016.

Latest Giving in Numbers Survey Shows Corporate Sector Giving to the Arts on the Rise

Thursday, October 26, 2017


The latest report showed that arts funding increased from the corporate community between 2014 and 2016. The results align with Americans for the Arts and the Conference Board’s survey of Business Contributions to the Arts released in June. Both corporate giving surveys demonstrate that businesses are recognizing the role the arts play in advancing corporate goals, including increasing employee engagement and creativity.

Congress Renews Push Towards Tax Reform, Impacting Charitable Giving

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


The latest congressional plan for advancing tax reform continues calls for preserving the charitable tax deduction, a key provision and an important inclusion. The framework, however, also proposes to double the standard deduction, which would have the impact of moving taxpayers away from itemizing their deductions (like charitable giving). Americans for the Arts has joined a large and diverse coalition of non-profits in support of a universal charitable tax deduction that could be made available to all taxpayers.

“Ink For The Arts” Campaign Bolsters Efforts to Save Arts Funding

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Americans for the Arts is excited to collaborate with Cuseum on Ink For The Arts, a new initiative to unite people in the fight against the elimination of federal arts programs. The campaign comes in reaction to the ongoing threats to cut funding for the arts, which would put the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and other programs at risk.

Impact Investing in the Arts: Bringing arts and business together for economic and social impact

Arts organizations are situated in a prime spot in society for changing community outcomes, but are not recognized or leveraged by impact investors as a critical resource. Can you imagine a world in which capital is connected with arts organizations that dually function as social entrepreneurship firms, B Corps, and employee-owned co-ops? This very well could be the future of social impact investing. There is a rising tide of organizations working to facilitate the interaction between investors and arts organizations that create a social and financial return, both in the USA and abroad. We could be finally witnessing the genesis of a trend that whittles away the wrongly perceived line dividing artists from economic contributors. 

Americans for the Arts Releases Statement on Tax Reform and the Charitable Deduction

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

As the Trump administration and Congress begin to work on tax reform, Americans for the Arts releases a statement about the importance of preserving tax deduction incentives for charitable giving to all nonprofit charities in the United States.

Americans for the Arts Ads on Capitol Hill: The NEA Supports America

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

To kick off National Arts Advocacy Day on Tuesday, March 21, Americans for the Arts sent a message in three frequently read newspapers to legislators and staffers on Capitol Hill about the importance of the National Endowment for the Arts.


About this Webinar


#GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration, is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year.

Do your part for public art—check out the #KRISArtofGiving campaign

KRIS Wines has partnered with Americans for the Arts to celebrate the value of public art in American communities, and reward the artists who create it. They’re giving away $25,000 in prizes to artists who have recently completed projects in the United States, and your votes—up to once per day at kriswine.com/giving—will determine the winners.

Fifteen Things Americans Believe About the Arts

From tattoos to political candidates to arts education, here are 15 things we heard from the American public in our most recent public opinion survey.

Americans Speak Out About the Arts: An In-Depth Look at Perceptions and Attitudes about the Arts in America

How does the American public feel about the arts? Do they value artistic activities and arts education? We asked these and other questions in one of the largest public opinion studies about the arts ever conducted.

Author(s): Minnesota Council on Foundations
Date of Publication: 2014

This report summary by the Minnesota Council on Foundations highlights charitable giving trends of grantmakers, foundations and individuals in Minnesota in 2012 and 2013. We learn that individual giving has been rising consistently since 2009, however grantmakers gave less charitable donations in 2012 than they had in previous years. We also see that individuals make up over 70% of charitable giving annually and that grant makers and individuals alike consistently give most to  Education.

Author(s): National Endowment for the Arts
Date of Publication: March 17, 2016

National Endowment for the Arts' Your Federal Arts Agency infographic shares its totals of grants given in numbers, dollars and location. They share their mission statement as well as the most commonly attended NEA supported events. 

All Things Being Equal

“To support a full creative life for all, Americans for the Arts commits to championing policies and practices of cultural equity that empower a just, inclusive, equitable nation.”

This week, Americans for the Arts released this statement along with a detailed explanation of how it came into being, and why it’s important. You can find all the details here. I was pleased to be one of the 150 participants who gave input on the statement, helping craft a message that is in line with my work in the arts and arts education–to make the arts accessible to everyone, regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic circumstances.


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