Good Tidings from SAAN

Much has happened since last I wrote, including the 2018 Midterm Elections, in which: Over 113 million citizens nationwide turned out to vote; a record-breaking total of 107 women were elected to serve in Congress; Democrats now control the U.S. House and Republicans retain hold of the U.S. Senate; key congressional arts supporters like Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) on Ways and Means Committee will be the new chairs; at the state level, there will be 19 new governors, 27 new state legislative leaders, and 1,700 new state legislators—resulting in a 23% turnover; and more than 2,000 women will serve in state legislatures in their upcoming sessions and will hold the majority in two state legislative chambers—the Colorado House and Nevada Assembly. On top of getting out the vote for this year’s midterms, State Arts Action Network leaders had noteworthy advocacy gains in their communities.

Arkansas Celebrates First Statewide Arts Day

Friday, December 7, 2018

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Arkansans for the Arts held its first annual Arts Advocacy Day on November 7, 2018 at the Arkansas State Capitol. More than 353 advocates came to voice support of the arts and culture sector as a leading creator of jobs in industries such as health, education, agriculture and tourism.

Americans for the Arts Presents 2018 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership to California Senator Ben Allen

Friday, December 7, 2018

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In partnership with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Americans for the Arts is pleased to present California Senator Ben Allen with the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership. The award honors state officials who effectively lead the arts advancement movement in their region. The ceremony took place this morning at the NCSL Capitol Forum in Washington, DC.

Breaking Down the South Dakota v. Wayfair Decision and Its Impact on the Arts and Small Business

On June 21, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in the case South Dakota v. Wayfair. In essence, the Court ruled that state and local governments can require retailers with no physical presence in the state to collect sales tax on those sales. The Court ruled that the standard for determining the constitutionality of a state tax law is whether the tax applies to an activity that has “substantial nexus” with the taxing state; i.e., the Court threw out a previous requirement for “physical presence.” Previously, if the vendor didn’t have physical presence in the state where the buyer was, there was no requirement on the business to collect the tax.. Now, practically, how does a seller know in which state to collect tax? Is it where the seller is shipping it? Is it the billing address? And what does this mean for artists and art sellers?

Pre-Election Activities for Arts Organizations

Recently, I sat down with former Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg to talk about what arts organizations should be doing in preparation of the upcoming elections. Here are highlights of our conversation.

North Carolina State Legislature Forms Arts Caucus and Increases Arts Grants

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

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Arts North Carolina launched a new legislative campaign in early 2018 that aims to increase state arts grants by nearly 60%, from $6.3 million to $10 million; and collaborated on the creation of the Caucus for the Arts and Arts Education in the NC House of Representatives.

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.

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. 

National Coalition for Core Arts Standards Releases New Report on The Status of Arts Standards Adoption

28+ States Have Adopted New Arts Education Standards Since 2014

Friday, April 6, 2018

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More than 28 states have adopted new arts education standards since 2014. The NCCAS report includes a comprehensive list of states that have revised their arts standards and an up-to-date status of other states that are currently working on standards revision. 

SAAN By Me: The Good Arts Advocacy Work Happening in Your States

Advocacy promoting arts and arts education funding and policy doesn’t just exist at the federal level. While the federal government funds the NEA at $152.3 million, state governments invest $357.5 million into state arts agencies. However, like the NEA, state arts agencies cannot lobby regarding appropriations, law, legislation, or policy, in their official capacity. Enter the State Arts Action Network—a professional development network of Americans for the Arts comprised of 53 state arts advocacy and service organizations from 42 states. SAAN members work around the clock advocating for pro-arts and pro-arts education funding and policies in their home states. Here’s just a sample of the great work happening at the state level! Here’s just a sample of the great work happening at the state level!

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.

Governor Larry Hogan Honored for Arts Leadership

Governor Hogan Receives Award for State Arts Leadership; Civic Leaders Receive 2018 Public Leadership in the Arts Awards at The United Conference of Mayors’ Winter Meeting

Friday, January 26, 2018

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Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors today awarded Maryland Governor Larry Hogan the 2018 National Award for State Arts Leadership. The award, along with three other arts leadership awards, was presented at The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Winter Meeting in Washington, DC. 

Leading from the Front: Arts Advocacy Strategies for the Public Sector

What does adaptive leadership and effective advocacy look like for those working in the public sector? Over the course of the past year, I began seriously wondering how public employees might be able to take an active role in raising political support for cultural agencies and state arts councils, within the legal restrictions that apply to their self-advocacy. I interviewed arts leaders in six states to find out how they were steering their agencies to serve many diverse publics within their state in spite of significant political and economic challenges—and in some cases, a lingering threat of elimination.

Americans for the Arts' State Arts Action Network Council Elects New Leadership

Sarah Gonzales Triplett and Ann S. Graham Named Chair and Vice Chair of Council

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Americans for the Arts today announced the election of Sarah Gonzales Triplett, director of public policy for Creative Many Michigan, and Ann S. Graham, executive director of Texans for the Arts, as chair and vice chair respectively of the State Arts Action Network (SAAN) Council. Each will serve a one-year term from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

Statement on the Intersection of the Arts, History, and Community Dialogue

Friday, August 18, 2017

Americans for the Arts releases a statement about the complex and important impact of public art, including monuments to the Confederacy, on the history and pride of diverse communities, and encourages ongoing civic dialogue around the removal and replacement of these monuments.

National Lieutenant Governors Association and Americans for the Arts Sign State Military and Veterans Arts Initiative

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

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On Friday, July 28, the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) and Americans for the Arts signed a first-of-its-kind collaboration supporting the military and their families. The State Military and Veterans Arts Initiative seeks to increase visibility, understanding, and support for the care of persons across the military continuum (to include active duty and reserve service members, veterans, their families, and caregivers) and the role the arts can play in their health and wellness. 

Strategizing on the Future of the Creative Workforce

A recent publication, the Future of Jobs Report, aimed to alert those leaders about current stock of knowledge around anticipated skills needs, recruitment patterns, and occupational requirements on labor market from the perspective of some of the world’s largest employers. Both Creativity and Cognitive Flexibility made the list of top 10 skills. This is great news for education where the arts are present, since they are the springboard of creativity, innovation, and cognitive flexibility; but strategy to implement arts-infused curricula more fully in public education is needed to educate the workforce of the future. The call for strategic local arts advocacy is warranted.

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