40 Years Young: The Evolving Practice of Cultural Planning

Research released this week by Americans for the Arts sheds light on the aspirations, accomplishments, shortcomings, and methods used in cultural planning over the past decade and compares findings with Craig Dreeszen’s similar—although more extensive—study from 1994. The data reveal that expectations of cultural planning have increased significantly over these 20-plus years, and that the greatest change is in the emphasis on serving community interests rather than a focus on the arts and cultural sector’s own needs. While community-wide cultural planning helps formulate aspirations and action strategies, it doesn’t ensure results. Where cultural plans also set their sights, but where outcomes fell short, is in the area of cultural equity—expanding resources for under-represented groups including immigrant populations, removing barriers to participation, and bolstering education and youth development. Fewer than half of cultural plans included specific actions to address diversity, equity, and inclusion—a surprising finding in 2017.

What’s so important about creativity?

No matter what industry you work in, Americans are seeing the value of creativity in their jobs. From our recent public opinion poll, Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2018, 55% of employed Americans agree that their job requires them to be creative. And an even larger percentage, 60%, believe that the more creative and innovative they are at their job, the more successful they are in the workplace. And how are they finding their inner creative spark? For many businesses, the answer lies in partnering with the arts. Our recently released Business Contributions to the Arts 2018 Survey, conducted in partnership with The Conference Board, asked business leaders if the arts contribute to stimulating creative thinking and problem solving—and 53% of them agreed that it does.

The Ohio Arts Education Data Project

All students deserve high quality arts education that develops important skills needed to succeed in today’s competitive workforce. Many of the skills developed through arts learning—collaboration and cooperation, problem identifying and problem solving, decision making, design thinking, articulation and critique, constructive communication—are considered key attributes by employers around the world in the 21st century. After all, they are the skills of leadership. Since 1989 the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Department of Education have worked together to gather data and report on the status of arts education in Ohio’s schools. The Ohio Arts Education Data Project launched in September 2018, and Ohio is proud to be among the first few states in the nation to provide online arts education data dashboards available to the public!

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. 

Americans for the Arts Introduces the Arts + Social Impact Explorer

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Today, Americans for the Arts unveiled the Arts + Social Impact Explorer, an interactive online tool that draws together more than 1,000 data points on how the arts impact and integrate into 26 different sectors ranging from education and innovation, to health and wellness, immigration, faith and environment. The tool provides quick top-line research, example projects, core research papers, and lists service and partner organizations doing this work, as well as provides printable PDF fact sheets to share with decisionmakers.

Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2018: An In-Depth Look at Perceptions and Attitudes About the Arts in America

In a society struggling to find equity and social justice, Americans believe the arts improve the quality of our communities. How do we know? We asked. Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2018 is the second in a series of national public opinion surveys conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Americans for the Arts. One of the largest ever conducted, it gauges the public perspective on (1) personal engagement in the arts as audience and creator, (2) support for arts education and government arts funding, (3) opinions on the personal and well-being benefits that come from engaging in the arts, and (4) how those personal benefits extend to the community. Here are some findings of the survey. 

Americans Speak Out About the Arts in New Public Opinion Poll

Americans Believe the Arts Strengthen Communities Socially, Educationally, Economically

Thursday, September 27, 2018

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Americans for the Arts today released Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2018, one of the largest national public opinion surveys of American perceptions and attitudes towards the arts and arts funding. The new research demonstrates that Americans continue to be highly engaged in the arts and believe more strongly than ever that the arts promote personal well-being, help us understand other cultures, are essential to a well-rounded education, and that government has an important role in funding the arts.

Cyclical Mentorship in Action: Crafting this Toolkit

While helping with research for Americans for the Arts’ Emerging Arts Education Leadership toolkit, I was able to find the true potential in the reciprocal exchange and cyclical mentorship of arts leaders in the field. Originally, I came to this project as just an artist and, therefore, a believer in the power of the arts, but I knew very little of the landscape and infrastructure of support for the arts in my region or my nation as a whole. I lacked that knowledge of how to create coalition as an arts leader, how to inspire others to action in the best way, or that there was even a cycle of mentorship that could tap into. Through this project, I realized how many resources and how much support there really is (and how much support there can be) for the intersections of identity and culture within arts education programs in America.

Americans Speak out About the Arts in 2018

Americans for the Arts Previews National Survey on Arts Attitudes, Perceptions in America

Friday, June 15, 2018

Today at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado, Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch announced the completion of a new in-depth study of American perceptions and attitudes towards the arts and arts funding and revealed three highlights of the study during his State of the Arts speech.

Ten Reasons to Support the Arts in 2018

The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. The arts bring us joy, help us express our values, and build bridges between cultures. The arts are also a fundamental component of a healthy community—strengthening them socially, educationally, and economically—benefits that persist even in difficult social and economic times. The arts are all about stories—often small, always meaningful. This advocacy season, find your stories and pair them with the research-based findings in the “10 Reasons to Support the Arts.” Yours will be an advocacy visit that is not soon forgotten.

Americans for the Arts Releases 2018-2020 Strategic Plan

Friday, January 19, 2018

The three-year planning document describes how the organization—in alliance with our members, partners, and stakeholders—will build recognition and support for the extraordinary and dynamic value of the arts, and lead, serve, and advance the diverse networks of organizations and individuals who cultivate the arts in America.

Dance for Brain and Body Health

As an undergraduate student at Wake Forest University studying Health and Exercise Science and aspiring to be a future physical therapist, I was excited when I learned about a pioneering Parkinson’s Disease dance class developed by Associate Professor of Dance Christina Soriano, which is now trademarked as her own IMPROVment™ method. Soriano has crafted a pedagogy of improvisational dance movement that aims to improve the mobility, balance, and overall health of older adults, giving participants a beautiful and joyous way to practice how to handle the challenges that a life with Parkinson’s—or any neurodegenerative disease—brings. 

Why I support Americans for the Arts

The arts are important to me, and if you’re reading this, I bet they’re important to you too. I know you’ll agree that the arts help communities heal, learn, and grow. And that’s why I'm proud to support Americans for the Arts: because they help make it possible for arts organizations and artists in communities all over the country to do what they do better, through education, advocacy, professional development, case-making research, and more. I hope you'll join me.

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.

Americans for the Arts Reports 673,656 Businesses Involved in Creation or Distribution of the Arts in America; Employ 3.48 Million

Americans for the Arts Unveils More Than 11,000 Individual Reports on Nation’s Creative Industries

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

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A new research study published by Americans for the Arts uses statistical data to quantify the scope and economic importance of the arts across America. Creative Industries: Business & Employment in the Arts in 2017 demonstrates that nationally, 673,656 businesses are involved in the creation or distribution of the arts, and they employ 3.48 million people. This represents 4.01 percent of all U.S. businesses and 2.04 percent of all U.S. employees. 

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