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.

We Should All Value the Artists and Their Vital Role in Our Communities

As we celebrate the holidays, I encourage you to think of all the ways artists have helped your company, organization, place of worship, community. How have artists bettered your family and your life? Think about the artist behind the public art mural as you pass by while running errands. Take a moment to listen to caroling. Take family and friends to galleries, a live music venue, or small theater production. Let’s all support these artists and community change-makers this holiday season. 

Looking Back and Moving Forward—Supporting Our Veterans Through the Arts

November is Veterans Month, a time to celebrate, honor, and reflect on the contributions of the men and women who have served our country in peacetime and in conflict. Earlier this month, I made my way to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for their 14th Annual Healing Arts Exhibit and Symposium, where I was met by the champion of this effort, Captain Moira G. McGuire, and had an opportunity to explore the art on display. My job there was to give the opening speech about the long history of connection between the arts and the military going all the way back to the days of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, but being surrounded by the incredible artwork produced by the wounded, ill, and injured members of the armed services and their families was the real benefit of being there.

Americans for the Arts Issues Statement in Response to Proposed Funding of $150 Million to NEA, NEH

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch offered a statement in response to the November 20, 2017 action on the FY 2018 Senate Interior Appropriations bill, which includes proposed funding of $150 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Artists’ Voices Ring Through Civic Dialogue and Municipal Engagement

The role of the artist is changing. In the midst of these challenging times, civic engagement has become the focus of attention across many sectors and fields. More than ever, the arts are promoting greater awareness and understanding of community issues, contributing to shifts in thinking and in attitude. I see artists and arts organizations across the country being integrated into practices of civic engagement, and applying the power of artistic imagination to inform, inspire, engage, and motivate social action. And I continue to applaud state and municipal governments across the U.S. for embracing such collaborations.

Arts Education Transforms Teaching, Learning, and the Lives of Our Young People

During this week of celebration, advocates in every state are working to secure equity in access to arts education and articulate the role of the arts as a pathway to academic success, specifically in the education of students of color, students in rural communities, students who are classified as low-socioeconomic status English Language Learners, or those who require special education. Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has stated, “This is absolutely an equity issue and a civil rights issue.” We recognize this issue. We stand against the barriers that cause this issue. And we are working to overcome this issue.

Message on the Impact of Public Art on the History and Pride of Diverse Communities

Friday, August 18, 2017


As communities are grappling with the existence and legacy of divisive monuments, Americans for the Arts president and CEO Robert L. Lynch issued the following statement about the impact of public art, including monuments to the Confederacy, on the history and pride of diverse communities.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi shares some thoughts about the role of the arts in politics (and vice versa) and is joined by Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch for a wide-ranging conversation and Q&A.

Bob Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, gives opening remarks at the Congressional Arts Kickoff on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

Americans for the Arts presents the 1st Annual David Rockefeller Lecture on Arts and Business delivered by Co-Founder and Co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, David M. Rubenstein.

The 30th Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy delivered by Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, with opening remarks by Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch.

Americans for the Arts Statement on Action by the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch offered this statement in response to today’s action by the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, which proposed funding of $145 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities in FY2018.

The Arts and Veterans: A Mighty Force

The Fourth of July is a time to honor and reflect on the determination and sacrifices of our service members in making our freedom possible. Over the years, stories have emerged of how veterans across the country come back—and what they give back—after overcoming sometimes decades of struggles with combat and service-related illness and injuries. Many of these veterans say that the arts saved their lives—but in finding their creative voice, they are also enriching our lives too.

From Jobs to Dinner to Even Milking Cows, the Nonprofit Arts Are a Multi-Faceted Economic Powerhouse

In 2015, Americans for the Arts set out to determine the economic impact of the nonprofit arts industry through Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5 (AEP5), the largest national study of its kind. It has been five years since the last such study, which came shortly after the Great Recession. We focused on 341 regions representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including 14,439 arts and cultural organizations, and an extraordinary 212,691 audience members. Surveys were collected throughout 2016, and results were revealed June 17 at Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention in San Francisco. The numbers are remarkable.

Americans for the Arts Unveils Findings from Fifth National Economic Impact Study of Nonprofit Arts and Cultural Organizations and Their Audiences

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. 

From Blues to the “Peanutcracker,” Government Support for the Arts Helps Create Access for All

It’s easy to rattle off numbers, but what does this increase in funding really mean? Great projects across the country will now get to continue. Last year, the NEA recommended more than 2,400 grants in nearly 16,000 communities in every congressional district in the country. A review of NEA grants shows that the majority go to small and medium-sized organizations, and the diversity among these grant recipients is unmatched by any other U.S. funder. One grant program, “Challenge America,” is dedicated to reaching underserved communities—those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.

Robert L. Lynch Submits Congressional Testimony in Support of the NEA

Thursday, May 25, 2017


With Congress now turning to work on the next fiscal year’s budget (FY2018), Lynch provided testimony in support of $155 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This funding amount is the position taken by the 88 national partners of Arts Advocacy Day and reflected in the numerous advocacy efforts being pursued currently by Americans for the Arts and dozens of other arts organizations.


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