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.

Arts Advocacy Day Is Coming

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.

Memphis to Host Nearly 500 Arts Marketing Professionals at Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Marketing Project Conference

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

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Americans for the Arts and ArtsMemphis will host the annual National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP) Conference in Memphis, Tennessee, November 10-13, 2017. The largest gathering of arts marketers in the country, the conference is a critical forum for arts groups to discuss the rapidly changing demographics and behaviors of U.S. consumers, as well as how arts and culture organizations can remain relevant in the era of consumer control. 

Advocating for the Every Day Advocate

I often have students or fellow artists ask me how I got into advocacy, and I’m happy to share my experiences and strategies with them. This year, I launched a whole new advocacy campaign: I reached out to my friends, family, peers, and more and shared with them my everyday advocacy efforts that were more traditionally focused on legislators and policy makers. My hope was that by de-mystifying the advocacy process, more people would get involved. I wanted to inspire a whole new group of Every Day Advocates.

Facing History Mural

At the beginning of this project, I thought about how murals serve as tools to strengthen narratives about place. This “Upstanders Mural” is no exception. In addition to strengthening the narrative of Memphis as a place of Civil Rights struggle and heroism, this mural should shift the narrative. It should widen the scope of the history of Memphis’ civic engagement from one predominantly focused on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to one that includes a wider range of Memphis activists and “upstanders.”

If Not YOU, Then WHO?

When one of my dear mentors asked me to participate in my first Arts Advocacy Day, I demurred, saying that I wasn’t anybody special. I wasn’t an Executive Director! I didn’t work for a Local Arts Agency! I wasn’t an expert on Congressional Law! But my mentor looked me straight in the eye and said, “If not YOU, then WHO?” That hit home. It made me realize that I was EXACTLY who our political leaders needed to hear from.

TN Arts Advocates Successful in Ending Termination Language

Harmful Language Removed from Congressional Report

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

For the first time in recent years, a report from the U.S. House Budget Committee accompanying a budget resolution no longer includes language supporting the termination of our nation’s cultural agencies. This action comes after 35 Tennessee organizations sent a letter in May to the new Chairman of the House Budget Committee, urging removal of this harmful language for fiscal year 2018. 

Artists, Arts Patrons, and Access to Capital

Several community organizations are working to create innovative solutions that improve access to capital related to Memphis’s creative class.

Data makes a strong case for the arts in Hamblen County

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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Morristown resident Drew Ogle believes that funding nonprofit arts and cultural organizations pays off, and he has the data to prove it. Ogle is the executive director of the Rose Center for the Arts, one of 250 local partners in Americans for the Arts’ latest research study, Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5).

National Endowment for the Arts: What Is It? What Does It Do? Why Do We Need It?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Jennifer Cole, Executive Director of Metro Nashville Arts Commission contributed this piece to the Nashville Arts Maganize. It's part of a two part series.

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5: How the Nonprofit Arts & Culture Industry Impacts the Economy in Your Community

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.

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

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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. 

Annual Convention Saturday Keynote Announced

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.

Advocacy & Arts: Have You Seen the Ads?

Elected leaders care deeply about the areas they represent and the views of their constituents who elect them every few years. They may not agree with what they think, but they do care to know what they think—and it is certainly one key factor that weighs on how they cast their votes, what issues they focus on, and what areas they deepen their knowledge. Since we know that ads bring attention to issues, inspire and educate the public, and mobilize grassroots, they are one great way to invite data and impact stories that can lead to policy change. And, we know that legislators read their local newspapers, so the message gets through.

New Data Showcase Economic Impact of Arts and Culture in U.S. and States

Arts and cultural economic activity accounted for 4.2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product—$729.6 billion—in 2014

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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Sure, Broadway and Hollywood employ lots of creative people. But when it comes to artistic and cultural work, not all the action is on the coasts. New data show arts and culture account for a larger share of jobs in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado than they do nationally. For the first time, the Bureau of Economic Analysis has produced statistics spotlighting the economic impact of arts and cultural activities in each state and the District of Columbia.

Artists + Mini-Golf + Baseball = Successful Arts/Business Partnership

In Nashville, baseball season just opened at First Tennessee Park, home of the Nashville Sounds. But baseball won’t be the only attraction at the park. The stadium is also home to a one-of-a-kind mini golf course that was designed entirely by artists. “Going to a gallery or museum can be intimidating especially for those that haven’t grown up with access to great art. This project was a great way to provide that access for people to experience outside of those parameters in their daily life.”

The Nation’s Report Card in the Arts is Released

The 2016 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in the Arts is Released by the National Assessment Governing Board

Monday, April 24, 2017

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On Tuesday, April 25, the National Assessment Governing Board and the National Center for Education Statistics releases results of The Nation's Report Card: 2016 Arts. This report will demonstrate national Grade 8 results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, including findings by demographic subgroups and region. The release event will explore what the data show about student skills and how the availability of resources and opportunities in arts education may shape these skills.

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