It’s Time for the Arts to Rally Around Standardized Outcomes

Like many social areas, the arts have struggled to reach consensus on impact measurement metrics. Certainly, considerable progress has been made in terms of measuring economic impact as a result of the arts, led by Americans for the Arts and its Arts and Economic Prosperity series of research reports. But, as Business Contributions to the Arts: 2018 Edition reiterates, most companies are not measuring a standard set of social outcomes when it comes to the arts—and that could be holding the sector back. Our data also show that corporate funding for the arts is in a strong position. That means that now is the time to take on the challenge of being more rigorous in the measurement of arts programs to help ensure sustained contributions over the long term. Companies would benefit from stepping up to the plate.

Private Sector Shows a Steadfast Commitment to the Arts Built on Long-Term Partnerships, According to New Survey by The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts

Manufacturing companies lead total contributions with an average of $4.6 million to arts organizations

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

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According to a new survey by The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts, nearly a quarter of companies expect to increase their funding for the arts in the next 12 months and only 7 percent expect a decrease. These increases will likely be driven by increased overall philanthropy budgets. The study also found that nearly all companies are engaged with the arts community, complementing the support for the sector delivered through the National Endowment of the Arts.  

Arts & Business Partnerships Continue to Strengthen Both Sectors, Research Finds

Last week, we celebrated arts and business partnerships at our annual BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts gala. We heard inspiring stories about why businesses value the arts. BCA Leadership Award winner Chandrika Tandon shared how her passion for music provided passion and engagement at her job. Fifth Third Bank spoke about how the arts helped them heal and respond after a mass shooting at their headquarters. Phillips66 shared how the arts create a strong company culture. These stories align with the data from the just released Business Contributions to the Arts survey, which found, among other positive results, that business support for the arts is on the rise. 

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.

Building Courageous Business/Arts pARTnerships

Earlier this year, I was invited by the Utah Cultural Alliance and Utah Division of Arts and Museums in Salt Lake City for a professional development convening to present on the pARTnership Movement, a campaign by Americans for the Arts to teach business and cultural leaders alike how arts and culture can offer businesses, through pARTnership, a competitive edge. With over 50 executive directors and marketing staff in the room, my aim was to communicate that arts and business pARTnerships can look like so much more than a transactional relationship. I’ve often heard (and experienced as an arts fundraiser), “Why can’t they [the businesses] just give more cash? We need cash.” While the need for cash is real, our approach with the pARTnership Movement is broader.

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 Hustle—Economic Sustainability in the Arts Education Field (Part 2)

As we uncovered in our previous post, creating a sustainable living from a long-term arts education career can be difficult whether you’re a teaching artist, public school art teacher, or arts education administrator. However, we believe there is great work and inspiring advocacy being done around pay equity in our field that we want to share to inspire the new generation of arts education leaders to continue to invest in the future of our field. 

Leaders in the field must stop accepting the culture of scarcity that has become our norm in the arts and education field. It is our job to stand up and ask for compensation for our time and expertise, finding value in our work and articulating it. Otherwise, when the young people we work with say they want to go into a career in the arts, we won’t have any other response than, “What’s your back-up?”

The Hustle—Economic Sustainability in the Arts Education Field (Part 1)

A short play:

Me: I want to go into the arts.
Teachers/Friends/Family: What’s your back-up?

All three of us have had this conversation in some form at various points in our lives. We did it anyways. Pay equity for race and gender have been at the forefront of many national conversations, which has led many in arts education to question our own pay structures. In this two-part blog, we explore three different points of view on how pay equity issues affect arts education professionals, whether they are teaching artists, public school arts teachers, or arts education administrators.

Win More Grants: Integrating Evaluation with Stories

Do you want to wow your donors and secure more funding? Arts programs that consistently attract more funding intentionally combine evaluation results with stories to inspire action.

How Technology Supports Becoming a More Resilient, Innovative Arts Funder

The Ohio Arts Council was an early adopter of online grants management technology back in 2005, reflecting its belief that up-to-date tools can play a big role in helping it achieve its mission. That early work was successful, and the agency’s subsequent upgrade to an online system built by SmartSimple in 2015 has now paid dividends as well, contributing to recent increases in service to OAC constituents, streamlining of panel processes and costs, and improvements in end-user satisfaction with the grant application process.

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.

New Federal Arts Education Grant Competition Announced

Thursday, May 3, 2018

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The U.S. Department of Education announced a new round of grants for the newly-named “Assistance for Arts Education Development & Dissemination” grant program. In total, about $14 million will be awarded to 20-25 grantees, each receiving about $575,000 per year during their 4 year project cycle. 

Tennessee Governor and Country Music Association Announce New $1 Million Music and Arts Education Initiative

Thursday, April 12, 2018

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Called "Tennessee: State of the Arts," the program is an unprecedented public-private partnership to provide school districts statewide the opportunity to apply for funding to improve or develop their music education programs for the 2018-19 school year. 

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. 

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

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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

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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.

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