Climate Change Impact: New Mexico with Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández

Posted by Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, Nov 17, 2022

Climate change is chipping away at our cultural heritage. A place to live, eat, and watch the next generation grow, that’s not something we want to lose. We want to preserve the cultural heritage of our beautiful state, and that includes protecting our air, land, and water for generations to come. When you begin to lose your land, you begin to lose a piece of yourself. New Mexicans are strong. We take an enormous amount of pride in living in this state. You can see that in the different regions and in our communities, no matter what district you visit. There are dozens of murals spread out across our neighborhoods. You may pass a giant, majestic roadrunner with carefully painted blue and yellow feathers on the way to the grocery store, or a wall that depicts Zuni dancers and the pueblos painted in yellows. There are so many representations of our beautiful landscapes as well. Through them all, our devotion to the region is palpable. Our diverse culture, intimately tied to the well-being of the environment, is what frames conversations on climate change in our community. Our ranchers and farmers are an important part of New Mexican culture; they feed us and contribute greatly to our economy. They are key voices at the table when thinking of solutions. New Mexico is getting hotter. Our droughts and wildfire seasons are getting longer, and we are seeing the effects of climate change become increasingly more damaging. We know that if our families want to continue to call this beautiful place home, we have an obligation to address these issues.

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Climate Change Impact: Louisiana with Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser

Posted by Billy Nungesser, Nov 15, 2022

Louisiana is on the forefront of climate change in the United States. The frequency and intensity of storms are increasing. Coastal land loss is increasing. More inland, cycles of drought and extreme precipitation is increasing. For every temperature degree warmer, we are seeing 7% more water falling from the sky. As a result, we are seeing more flooding. The Louisiana Folklore Society began the Bayou Culture Collaborative (BCC) in 2018 to provide a means to connect those interested in the human dimension, especially the impact of climate change on our culture. Louisiana participates in in SouthArts disaster preparedness programs and also has Creative Relief, a statewide system to respond to disasters. Each regional arts council has a means to receive donations to support arts organizations and artists. Within the Division of the Arts grants department, conversations have begun around the topic of requiring some of the larger (according to budgets) arts organizations to have disaster plans in place as a requirement for eligibility. This may take a few grant cycles to implement. Arts councils have also provided arts activities at evacuation sites. Dialogues with the Governor’s Office are beginning concerning how to help artists and arts organizations that have to relocate and how to help communities relocate together in order to support community connections and culture.

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Climate Change Impact: Michigan with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell

Posted by Rep. Debbie Dingell, Nov 10, 2022

A love for the arts instills important values within the community, including an appreciation of the beauty and importance of nature. Michigan is home to some of the most breathtaking waterways, coastlines, and forests, and many artists take inspiration from these natural treasures. Protecting these valuable and life-sustaining resources is critical in preserving Michigan’s vibrant art and cultural heritage. We had an art exhibit in Ypsilanti—Interdependence at the Riverside Arts Center—that demonstrated the connectedness of every person, animal, and living creature on our planet. The Huron River Watershed Council has also partnered with arts organizations like the Michigan Theatre to screen films including “An Inconvenient Sequel,” and host conversations on how we can engage at a community level to address these challenges. Communities across the nation are experiencing the effects of climate change firsthand, and Southeast Michigan is no exception. During Dearborn’s historic flooding in summer 2021, I heard from artists with flooded basements who incurred thousands of dollars of losses, not to mention the heartbreak seeing the damage to their life’s work. 

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A new “Warrior’s Circle of Honor” at the National Native American Veterans Memorial

Posted by Mr. John W. Haworth, Nov 07, 2022

Designed by Harvey Pratt (Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma), the National Native American Veterans Memorial is located on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall and was commissioned by Congress to give all Americans and our international visitors the opportunity to learn more about the proud and courageous tradition of service of Native Americans in the Armed Forces of the United States. As a tribute to Native heroes, this work of public art recognizes, for the first time on a national scale, the distinguished service of American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian veterans in every branch of the U.S. military. Given that Native Americans have a long history of service dating back to the Revolutionary War, and also serve at the highest per capita level of participation of any demographic, it is especially appropriate (and it’s about time!) for Native American veterans to be honored with this memorial. Public art in the 21st century is playing a key role in creating meaningful places for gathering and contemplation. Many memorials created in the not-so-distant past are figurative statues of heroic and historical figures. By contrast, both the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the National Native Americans Veterans Memorial are abstract works that are meditative in tone and rich in symbolism. The National Native American Veterans Memorial also serves as a place of reverence and honor, a commemoration of people who served with honor, and a site of celebration.

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Colorado Representative Leslie Herod Advocates for the Arts in General Assembly

Posted by Mr. Jay H. Dick, Nov 03, 2022

Americans for the Arts, in partnership with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), presented Colorado State Representative Leslie Herod with the 2021 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for her work in advancing arts and culture, especially during the pandemic to help artists and arts organizations survive. As Chair of the Colorado House Appropriations Committee, she has used her influence to ensure that arts and culture are not only seen as economic engines but are treated with the respect they deserve. Rep. Herod is fond of comparing the economic impact of the state’s arts and culture sector to its ski industry. Aware that everyone in Colorado knows that the ski industry is huge in the state—supporting jobs and bringing in tax revenue—she notes that the ski industry is $4.8 billion dollars, while arts and culture is a $14.4 billion dollar industry, generating about three times more than the ski industry. Rep. Herod believes that the arts bring diverse groups of people together to inspire connections, create change, and support economic vibrancy. She believes that the shortest distance between people are their stories, and the arts open doors to conversations that define us as a community and address complex issues to create greater understanding. 

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Americans for the Arts Partners with Free People to Advocate for the Importance of Arts in Early Public Education

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Text graphic with a neutral colored background and pink and yellow painted smudges at left and right. Stylized text reads: Free People x Americans for the Arts Presents The Creative Spirit Fund, supporting the arts in public schools across the nation.

Americans for the Arts and lifestyle brand Free People today announced a first-time partnership, which includes a Creative Spirit Fund that empowers public school arts educators to fund the next generation of diverse creators. The partnership advocates for the importance of arts in early public education. Through this program, Free People will be distributing 10 awards of $4,000 each to public school educators across the United States in great need of support in teaching art, music, dance, theater, and creative writing and other artistic disciplines.

Climate Change Impact: Minnesota with Commissioner Toni Carter

Posted by Toni Carter, Nov 01, 2022

Minnesota, known for its cold weather, snow, and ice, is now rapidly warming—particularly during winter months. It is also becoming much wetter. Twin Cities winter traditions, including our Saint Paul Winter Festival and Minneapolis Aquatennial events—tooled and refined over time as cold weather events—must accommodate weather that melts traditional ice sculptures and castles, and often makes snow largely unavailable for hosting sled and sleigh creations or for snow scavenger hunts—all a part of our winter cultural expectations. Accustomed to festivals, parades, Pow Wows, and such activities over summer months, people in our communities are finding more frequent rain disruptions or cancellations—and more sweltering days, dangerous particularly to elderly artists and observers. Both the more frequent rain and more severe heat episodes are also a challenge for outdoor tapestry maintenance and longevity. With summer temperatures over the last two years more regularly registering over 90 degrees Fahrenheit the amount of time artists can spend outdoors installing or creating artwork is becoming more limited. And paradoxically, with more tolerable (warmer) winter weather, some attractive outdoor spaces for artmaking are now occupied by people in tent encampments, which rose in number during the pandemic.

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Cooperative Economics: Balancing (in)equitable advocacy in Black art communities

Posted by Ms. Keya Crenshaw, Oct 27, 2022

Whether or not you practice Kwanzaa, the celebration's Seven Principles apply to all areas of life, including the arts, industry and economics, healthcare, and education. These actions can look like developing community-wide initiatives, such as those that center on art; creating community-led and focused direct impact service organizations; establishing businesses; educational and cultural events; and other enterprises that celebrate and center sustainable economic growth for and within the Black Diaspora. Like the art we create—be it murals during protests, artist community services rebuilding after a natural disaster, micro-grants for entrepreneurship, or any of the multiple ways creatives show up and produce work—Ujamaa, or Cooperative Economics, teaches us that this fundamental drive should grow out of the communal concept that it is for the betterment of our communities. Nobody should be under- or misrepresented, exploited, or oppressed; no one person, business, corporation, nonprofit, or organization holds the power to an unequal distribution of wealth, opportunity, recognition, or expression. As a practice within and among Diasporic populations, this principle asks us to understand that when we share our talents for growth and continued development of our environments, we establish the blueprint for how we survive and thrive.

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Rep. Bonamici Introduces CREATIVE Act to build on the NEA’s Support for Local Arts Agencies

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

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On October 14, 2022, Representative Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) introduced the Capital, Repairs, and Employment for Art Talent to Improve Visibility Everywhere (CREATIVE) Act. The CREATIVE Act would expand access to capital for facilities by allowing local arts agencies, museums, and 501c3s to receive grants of up to $5 million to construct and acquire new facilities, maintain and improve existing facilities, or hire staff or produce art at existing facilities.   

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

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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

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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.

New online tool available to help arts organizations with emergency planning

Thursday, September 22, 2022

D Plan Arts Ready logo
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By taking preparedness actions and creating a disaster plan, cultural heritage and arts organizations can reduce the risk of disaster and minimize their losses. dPlan|ArtsReady is an online emergency preparedness and response tool for arts and cultural organizations—regardless of size, scope, or discipline—to prevent or mitigate disasters, prepare for the most likely emergencies, respond quickly to minimize damage, and recover effectively while continuing to provide services to your community.

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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Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright Ayad Akhtar to Deliver Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

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Americans for the Arts today announced that acclaimed novelist and playwright Ayad Akhtar will deliver the 34th Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy. Akhtar will be introduced by Rockefeller Brothers Fund President and CEO Stephen Heintz, and the evening will feature a performance by artists Rez Abbassi and Kiran Ahluwalia. The lecture will take place at the Kennedy Center on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. ET. The lecture will also be livestreamed for nationwide accessibility with ASL interpretation. Registration to attend is FREE.

Teaching Artist Resource Supports Inclusive Education Practices

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Logo for GIVE - Growing Inclusivity for Vibrant Engagement
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GIVE (Growing Inclusivity for Vibrant Engagement), created by New Victory and a consortium of teaching artists and arts administrators, is a free guide that supports Teaching Artists in the creation of liberated learning environments and vibrant arts experiences within inclusion settings.

Americans for the Arts Welcomes New Vice President of Strategic Communications

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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Americans for the Arts is pleased to announce that Mariaesmeralda Paguaga has joined the organization as its new Vice President of Strategic Communications. Paguaga comes to Americans for the Arts with a broad and deep cultural foundation from which to build Americans for the Arts’ strategic communications plan that meets the needs of the organization’s diverse audiences internally and externally. Bringing over two decades of social impact leadership, Paguaga has an extensive and proven record in achieving transformational change via strategic communications, program innovation, brand positioning, integrated marketing campaigns, strategic partnerships, celebrity and dignitary relations, creative production, and mission-driven events.

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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Americans for the Arts Members Give Feedback

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

At a conference, a person sits at a table piled with swag listening to two standing people having a conversation. All three wear business casual attire and masks.

A survey was distributed to members in June 2022 and the results revealed a variety of needs in the membership population. The membership team plans to use this data, along with input from a membership coalition made up of Americans for the Arts staff, to create a new membership program that will launch in 2023.

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

Friday, July 22, 2022

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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.

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