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.
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.
I first realized I had the power to create change through the arts in a small camp in my hometown, Rockford, IL. I was just a little girl trying to muster up the courage to get on stage and perform when I attended the Rockford Area Arts Council Camp for Young Creatives. Waiting backstage with knots in my stomach, fingernails digging into my fingertips to distract from my nerves, I reassured myself I knew all the moves. “I got this,” I thought to myself, “...but wait! What’s step one again!?” The music starts and my body takes over, making all the right decisions on time. All that was required of me was trusting my capacity to pull it off. It was before I knew what it meant to be a woman of color and the importance of representation in leadership roles, and before I could speak intelligibly about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts.
The Oak Park Concert Chorale (OPCC), led by director Paul Lindblad, is hosting a Early Music Choral Festival on Saturday, May 12, 2018 at the Oak Park Public Library – Main Branch, 834 Lake Street in Oak Park. The Early Music Festival begins at 10:00 am until noon, followed by a short performance in the library. The workshop, which is free and open to the public, is intended for singers who are interested in singing madrigals, cannons and other early choral music. No experience is required.
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.
Monday, February 12, 2018
Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch released a statement following the release of the Trump Administration’s proposed FY2019 budget.
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.
Snow City Arts has been providing arts education and creative inspiration to youth in Chicagoland hospitals for 20 years! Come celebrate our 20th anniversary at our A Room Without Walls series of special pop up events around Chicago. Each event will represent the disciplines in which Snow City Arts works: Creative Writing, Visual Arts, Teaching Artistry, Theatre, Film, and Music. Because Snow City Arts works in a private setting at the bedside of our student's hospital beds, an outside look into their stories and work is rare.
The Oak Park Concert Chorale (OPCC), conducted by director Paul Lindblad, will present O Magnum Mysterium on Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 4:00pm, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1025 West Lake Street, Melrose Park, IL. General Admission is $18 in advance and $20 at the door; Seniors (age 65+)/Students (age 13+) are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Children age 12 and under are free. Group Rates are available. To order tickets, call 708.848.2130 or email info@OakParkConcertChorale.org.
The Oak Park Concert Chorale (OPCC), conducted by director Paul Lindblad, will present O Magnum Mysterium on Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 4:00pm, at St. John Lutheran Church, 305 Circle Avenue, Forest Park, IL. General Admission is $18 in advance and $20 at the door; Seniors (age 65+)/Students (age 13+) are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Children age 12 and under are free. Group Rates are available. To order tickets, call 708.848.2130 or email info@OakParkConcertChorale.org.
By wishing to incorporate youth and their communities in decision-making for initiatives that are intended to engage them and their peers, organizations and program managers are (knowingly or unknowingly) giving these young people a lesson on power dynamics, the power of organizing, and policy development via focus grouping, researching, and consulting with experts (aka themselves). By welcoming youth into the decision-making process, we can begin to show them how decisions—within our organizations and more broadly in society—could be made differently. Let’s lean into it and, in fact, give these young folks more power over programs that are meant to be for them, particularly in organizations that have little or no history of incorporating young people in admin-level spaces.
Elevate Chicago Dance is a citywide festival with public performances and studio showings at nine creative spaces around the city, featuring close to forty Chicago choreographers and dance companies.
The Arts & Business Council of Chicago is pleased to be a co-sponsor of the 2017 Illinois Gubernatorial Arts Forum!
Please join us for a public conversation on the role of arts, culture, and creativity in Illinois communities on Monday, September 11, 2017 at 7:30pm at The Albert Theatre at Goodman Theatre located at 170 N Dearborn St, Chicago.
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.
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.
Study Demonstrates That Nonprofit Arts Are An Economic, Employment Powerhouse
Saturday, June 17, 2017
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.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Erika Holst, Curator of Collections at the Springfield Art Association, contributed this piece to the Illinois Times.
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.
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.