Tuesday, April 13, 2010

press releaseContact:

WASHINGTON, DC — April 13, 2010 — Americans for the Arts, in conjunction with the Congressional Arts Caucus and 86 national co-sponsors, celebrates Arts Advocacy Day 2010 today. More than 500 arts advocates from across the country are meeting with their representatives on Capitol Hill, calling on Congress to support arts-friendly legislation and policies. A highlight of the day is a congressional hearing entitled “Arts Build Communities” hosted by Rep. James P. Moran (D-VA), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior. Advocacy has been at the core of Americans for the Arts’ history and is one of the many milestones being celebrated during the organization’s 50th anniversary year. Arts Advocacy Day 2010 brings together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations, along with hundreds of grassroots arts activists.

For the fourth year in a row, Americans for the Arts has assembled witnesses to testify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior. The witnesses at the “Arts Build Communities” hearing are:

  • Terri Aldrich, Executive Director, Minot Area Council of the Arts (North Dakota)
  • Brig. Gen. Nolen V. Bivens, U.S. Army (ret.)
  • Jeff Daniels, Golden Globe-nominated actor, Founder and Executive Director of Purple Rose Theatre Co.
  • Kyle MacLachlan, Golden Globe-winning TV, film, and stage actor
  • Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
  • Charles Segars, CEO, Ovation
  • Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Art

Arts Advocacy Day attendees from across the country will be meeting with their members of Congress about the importance of developing strong public policies for the arts, increasing public funding for the arts, and incorporating the arts in education reform. The Arts Advocacy Day legislative call to action includes:

1. Promote Creativity and Public Access to the Arts—Americans for the Arts is urging Congress to support a budget of $180 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in the FY 2011 Interior Appropriations bill.

2. Support America’s Creative Industries in Stimulating the Economy—The nonprofit arts community asks that as Congress considers legislation that would invest in the workforce and economy, it also needs to recognize and support the creative industries through these specific provisions.

3. Improve Access to Arts Education for All Students—Americans for the Arts is urging Congress to appropriate $53 million for the Arts in Education programs in the FY 2011 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill.

4. Strengthen Arts Education in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—Americans for the Arts urges Congress to include the following provisions when reauthorizing the ESEA:

  • Retain the arts in the definition of core academic subjects of learning.
  • Reauthorize the Arts in Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Improve national data collection and research in arts education.
  • Require states to annually report on student access to all core academic subjects.

“The continued success of Arts Advocacy Day is the result of collaborative work between arts groups and their partners in government across the country. Because of the commitment from Congress, our sector has been able to respond to the challenges of depleted private, state, and local governmental funding sources in supporting nonprofit arts programming and education initiatives in our communities,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts.

Arts Advocacy Day starts on Tuesday morning with the Congressional Arts Kick Off in the Cannon Caucus Room, organized by Americans for the Arts in conjunction with the Congressional Arts Caucus. At the event, Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors presents the 2010 National Award for Congressional Arts Leadership to U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), for her commitment to the arts as an outspoken defender of the creative industries in her home of San Francisco and across the country.

Speakers at the Congressional Arts Kick Off include:

  • Jeff Daniels, Golden Globe-nominated film and stage actor
  • Kyle MacLachlan, Golden Globe-winning TV, film, and stage actor
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Congressional Arts Leadership Award honoree
  • Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Senate Cultural Caucus
  • Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Congressional Arts Caucus Co-Chair
  • Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts
  • Chad Gutstein, Executive Vice President, Ovation

Advocates will present their representatives and senators with copies of the 2010 Congressional Arts Handbook that includes information on important issues affecting the arts. Issues covered in the handbook, and to be discussed on the Hill, cover topics such as national service, arts education, tax policy, cultural diplomacy, and healthcare.

Arts advocates urge members of Congress to support these additional policies:

  • Co-sponsor the IRA Charitable Rollover provision, allowing individuals to roll funds from their Individual Retirement Accounts to charity.
  • Support an appropriation of $50 million for the Office of Museum Services within IMLS to promote lifelong learning and protecting our national heritage.
  • Co-sponsor the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, which allows artists a tax deduction for charitable gifts of their own work.
  • Improve the visa process for foreign guest artists.
  • Increase funding by $10 million for the Cultural Programs Division of the State Department’s Office of Citizen Exchanges in the FY 2011 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.
  • Support the creation of an Artist Corps within the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), similar to the Education Corps, Healthy Futures Corps, Clean Energy Corps, Veterans Corps, and Opportunity Corps.
  • Request that the Government Accountability Office conduct a study to assess the current status of federal support of creative arts in healthcare programs to improve the quality of healthcare services.
  • Enact the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, which sets a uniform national policy for all airlines regarding musical instruments as carry-on luggage on airplanes.
  • Protect “White Spaces” for the performing arts.

On the eve of Arts Advocacy Day, Charleston, SC, Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. delivered the Americans for the Arts 23rd Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. This leading national forum for arts policy serves as an opportunity for public discourse at the highest levels on the importance of the arts and culture to our nation’s well-being. Mayor Riley’s speech focused on the art of city design and the role mayors can play in transforming their cities into dynamic and more livable cultural communities. A transcript of the lecture and photos are available upon request.   

Arts Advocacy Day is supported by Ovation, the only national cable network dedicated to art and contemporary culture.

“The rapidly evolving global economy demands a dynamic and creative workforce. The arts and its related businesses are responsible for billions of dollars in cultural exports for this country. It is imperative that we continue to support the arts and arts education both on the national and local levels. The strength of every democracy is measured by its commitment to the arts,” said Charles Segars, CEO of Ovation.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With offices in Washington, DC, and New York City, Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Visit us online at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.

# # #