2009 national arts news archive
YouTube Creates a Symphony
YouTube’s call last week for auditions for the world’s first online orchestra may help level the playing field for aspiring musicians, as well as expose a new generation to classical music. Invited to submit video entries for the newly created YouTube Symphony Orchestra channel, winners will perform at New York City’s Carnegie Hall next April. Applicants will download the appropriate sheet music for their instrument and practice with a video of Dun conducting for their part. Next, they will film themselves and upload the video to YouTube. Then, they will upload a second performance, a classical piece of their choosing to show off their interpretive skills.
Christian Science Monitor 01/01/2009
GM Foundation Yanks Arts Funding
A decision by the General Motors Foundation to sharply cut back on its multimillion-dollar sponsorship of metro Detroit's top cultural institutions puts Michigan's nonprofit community on notice that it stands to lose millions in philanthropic dollars as the auto industry fights for its life. GM has already notified about a dozen arts and cultural groups, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Music Hall, the Michigan Opera Theatre and the Detroit Institute of Arts, not to expect any annual support from the company in 2009. That loss of more than $1 million -- confirmed by GM Foundation Chairman Rod Gillum -- is another blow to the cultural treasures and could mean more program cuts and red ink.
The Detroit Free Press 01/08/2009
Musicians Add Second Career to Repertoires
Many successful musicians who lead parallel lives, carrying on two or more high-powered careers simultaneously. Blasting through stereotypical images of the starving artist, these top studio, symphonic and theater musicians explore multiple passions without compromising their musical integrity. In doing so, they also hedge their bets against the economic downturn that is eroding arts budgets and threatening employment. Yet musicians often excel equally in two discrete worlds, their pursuits complementing each other. For example, mathematics and proportion learned through musical form may plug directly into another field, such as architecture or computing. Other musicians find more abstract uses for their musical training, citing the competitive nature of performing, the discipline of practicing and flexibility learned from irregular scheduling as among their professional assets.
Los Angeles Times 01/11/2009
Arts are Economic Stimulus in France
The French government has allocated an extra €100m to the ministry of culture to spend on arts and museums. The supplementary funding, which complements the 2009 Culture budget of €2.9bn, is part of a plan to help revive the ailing economy. The funds will be used to preserve 150 historic monuments and “speed up major cultural projects, such as the planned Museum of European and Mediterranean civilisations”, says the ministry. The museum is scheduled to open in Marseilles in 2012.
The Art Newspaper 01/11/2009
Art Groups Keep Building Through Recession
Construction spending by New York City cultural institutions will have an economic impact of $2.2 billion and create 2,500 full-time jobs per year in the period from 2006 to 2010, according to a report released Wednesday by the Alliance for the Arts. The report, Culture Builds New York: The Economic Impact of Capital Construction at New York City's Cultural Institutions, also determined that the construction projects will generate around $28.5 million in local taxes for the city.
Crain's New York Business 01/14/2009
NEA Awards 1st Grants: Creativity & Aging
The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the recipients of the first Creativity and Aging in America grants. Fourteen projects were funded out of 55 applicants, for a total of $330,000. The program supports projects that involve older Americans as creators through literature and music, and that promote lifelong learning in the arts.
API News 01/15/2009
Tax Credits Reward Supporters of Local Art
West Virginia’s only touring professional dance company is now a participant in West Virginia’s Neighborhood Investment Program, according to company officials. The program provides tax credits as an incentive to stimulate and increase donations from the business community to qualifying 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, according to West Virginia Dance Company’s founder and co-artistic director, Toneta Akers-Toler.
The Register-Herald 01/15/2009
Does U.S. Need a Culture Czar?
The idea of a Cabinet-level official for the arts has gotten some buzz lately. After all, many other countries have ministers of culture. High-profile artists such as Quincy Jones think it's necessary in the U.S., but not everyone agrees.
NPR's Morning Edition 01/16/2009
Idaho Cities Create Cultural Identities
Throughout history, people have been defining and refining their cultural identity through art and the cities of the Treasure Valley [Idaho] are no different. One tool that Boise, Meridian, Eagle and Nampa are using to create their own cultural identities is their local arts commissions.
Salt Lake Tribune (UT) 01/18/2009
7 Ways to Support Artists
Toronto Star (Canada), 1/19/2009
In Ireland, artists pay no income tax on earnings below 250,000 euros. In Scandinavian countries, artists deemed to have made significant contributions over the course of a lifetime receive special recognition – and income support – from the government. In Australia, legislation allows artists to average income over a five-year span, protecting them from the highs and lows of chosen careers that promise personal fulfilment at the cost of long-term security. In Canada, we have a lot to learn about how to nurture the people who help us define ourselves, say artists and experts who have studied their economic well-being." Bruce Demara offers seven ideas, ranging from income averaging for tax purposes to affordable live/work space to easier access to credit.
Toronto Star (Canada) 01/19/2009
NEA In Recovery Package
"The vast $825-billion economic recovery package unveiled by congressional Democrats on Jan. 15, 2009, does have a tiny little boon for the arts: a $50-million budgetary boost for the National Endowment for the Arts. Despite the modesty of the request -- about 3/500ths of one percent of the total -- some Republicans have already taken issue with the allocation."
School Hopes Music Boosts Test Scores
"All 130 kindergarten students at Schuylkill Valley Elementary School are receiving classroom instruction on the violin this school year. But the goal is more than just teaching them to play the instrument. The district is initiating a four-year study to examine if violin lessons boost performance on standardized tests. . . . The program will evaluate whether the students get better grades, stay on task longer, have higher self-esteem, better musical ability and need fewer special-education services."
York Daily Record - Reading Eagle (PA) 01/18/2009
Obama Team Convenes Arts Leaders
"Weeks before he took the oath of office, Barack Obama and his administration were laying the groundwork for sweeping changes -- even in the arts. On Thursday, Jan. 15, Bill Ivey, the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts who now heads Obama’s transition team for arts and culture, convened a meeting of about 20 arts-service organization heads at the Presidential Transition Team Headquarters on Sixth Street in Washington. . . . 'We didn’t begin by answering Bill’s question about the NEA,' says [LAO head Jesse] Rosen. 'I started by describing the surprising amount of commonality across disciplines and institutions about the challenges we face.' Those include understanding the new audiences they must attract, wanting to be closer to their communities, taking advantage of the new opportunities technology affords. 'There was a sense that our models and ways of doing business needed to be reconsidered and possibly redone or adapted. . . . 'Bill said at one point in the meeting that he was really surprised; he thought we were going to come in waving the banner for more money. He was pleased that we talked more about context and strategy."
Musical America 01/21/2009
European Schools Introduce Arts Subjects
"Grenoble Ecole de Management, the French business school, is offering its students the chance to graduate with joint honours in literature and management. More than that, the school is now making all first years do a course in management epistemology, to teach them how to analyse business issues and develop critical thinking. . . . Hard-bitten businessmen may scoff – but the move represents a coming sea change in business education, not just in France but across Europe, as schools open up to the humanities subjects in what some say is a reaction to the current financial crisis."
The Independent (UK) 01/22/2009
Art Funding Cuts Hurt Economic Development
"Advocates for the arts in South Dakota say Gov. Mike Rounds’ proposal to eliminate state funding for the South Dakota Arts Council is an economic development mistake. . . . Falling tax revenues and looming budget deficits forced Rounds to submit a revised budget Thursday to the 2009 Legislature. He called for eliminating $668,509 in state monies for the arts, effectively closing the office established in 1966 which is also partially funded by the federal government’s National Endowment for the Arts. Gov. Rounds agrees SDAC is a valuable program, but said he had to make tough financial choices."
Rapid City Journal (SD) 01/23/2009
Arts Leaders Urge Role for Culture
"In Congress the American Recovery and Reinvestment bill, approved last week by the House Appropriations Committee, includes a $50 million supplement for the N.E.A. to distribute directly to nonprofit arts organizations and also through state and local arts agencies. . . . Arts groups, meanwhile, are urging federal departments like Transportation or Labor to factor culture into their financing. A transportation enhancement program, for example, could pay artists for related public artworks; through the Labor Department displaced arts professionals could receive new training to stay in the work force. . . . The president is considering the establishment of an arts-and-culture portfolio within the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, according to Bill Ivey."
New York Times 01/25/2009
Unleash the Arts
The board chairman of the DC-Based Institute for Policy Studies calls for WPA-style support for the arts to be included in the stimulus package now before Congress. "The Institute for Policy Studies recently launched a petition calling for 1 percent of the stimulus package to be spent on the arts. This arts stimulus initiative wouldn't just boost funding for public programs. The money could create workplace arts and reading programs, increase fellowship and scholarship support for artists, foster cultural exchange programs with other nations and support artist- and writer-in-residence programs in schools and public libraries, and more."
Mansfield News-Journal 01/25/2009
GOP Weapon: Obama Earmarks Pledge
Some in the GOP are "using Obama’s pledge to keep earmarks out of the massive bill" to fight the inclusion of NEA funding in the stimulus plan. "At issue is a list of programs that Republicans say will do little to stimulate economic recovery, including $21 million to sod the National Mall, $50 million to fund the National Endowment of the Arts and $650 million for digital TV coupons. . . . The Senate version of the bill dropped some of the most controversial projects including the money for the National Mall and arts funding."
More Fine Arts Education Needed
"As Texas' education leaders focused on increasing standards and accountability in the 1990s, fine arts education was pushed out the door to make room for more intensive focus on test performance. On Monday, legislators heard that it is time to bring fine arts education back in from the cold. . . . Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, hosted the session with her House counterpart, Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, to begin the discussion of how fine arts education might be melded into the core curriculum, she said."
Longview News-Journal (TX) - Austin American-Statesman 01/27/2009
Stimulus Package Millions for the Arts
The current economic stimulus package includes $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and $150 million for infrastructure repairs at the Smithsonian. While some disagree that such funding is the best way to stimulate the economy, Bill Ivey, former chair of the NEA and a member of the president's transition team, points out that "a healthy arts community is important, especially during hard times. 'We're not going to be able to think about happiness and quality of life only in terms of the next vacation or the bigger house or the new car,' Ivey says. 'Once we move away from a consumerist view of a high quality of life — once we're forced away from it — arts and culture, creativity, homemade art, those things can begin to come to the fore.' Ivey hopes government will play a role in making sure that happens."
NPR's All Things Considered 01/27/2009
Dancing Creates Jobs?
ABC World News Tonight reports on how arts funding is supported in the economic stimulus plan. Click the link to view video.
Music Improves Cardiovascular Health
New research from the University of Maryland shows that listening to music can improve one's health. When "study participants listened to music they liked their blood vessels dilated by about 25 percent, improving blood flow. . . . But when participants listened to music they didn't like, their blood vessels constricted by about six percent."
WJLA (Washington, DC) 01/28/2009
A Secretary of the Arts for America?
"In France, the government has had a minister of culture for over 50 years, but here in the U.S., a cabinet-level cultural affairs post has never existed. That could soon change, as members of President Obama's arts review transition team have expressed interest in creating an 'arts czar' position. William Ferris, former head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Reason magazine columnist Ronald Bailey join [WNYC] to discuss the possibility - and necessity - of a Secretary of Culture."
WNYC's Soundcheck 01/21/2009
Groups Worry About State Cuts
"News that Gov. Jennifer Granholm plans to eliminate the state Department of History, Arts and Libraries (HAL) has arts organizations and libraries worried whether state dollars will continue flowing their way. Mike Latvis, director of public policy for ArtServe Michigan, the state's leading arts advocacy group, said closing the department would hurt the stature of arts and culture at the state level. 'For all we know, it could come with a cut in grant funding,' Latvis said. He said there is speculation that council would simply shift its administrative home to the Department of Management and Budget and that funding would continue."
Detroit Free Press (MI) 01/03/2009
Arts, Education and Training Program
The Director of Ohio's Mansfield Art Center is building city support behind the idea of creating an art training center, based on the model of the Manchester Craftsman's Guild in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh program was created in 1968 "to combat the economic and social devastation that affects neighborhood kids" and evolved to also provide "a vocational education program that serves mostly displaced steel workers from the same community."
Mansfield News Journal (OH) 01/30/2009
House Approves $50 Million for N.E.A.
"The House approved $50 million in recovery funds for the National Endowment for the Arts on Wednesday [January 28] as part of the economic stimulus bill. The legislation, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment bill, was not included in the Senate’s version."
New York Times 01/28/2009
I’ll take 100 Shares of American Gothic
"Two Chicago art lovers say they have a potential solution to the financial squeeze being felt by art museums and institutions: Share the wealth locked up in those collections." Labeled "coaccession," the idea is that "[o]wnership rights to a piece would be divided into possession and cultural rights, such as the rights to display and research the piece."
Medill Reports (Chicago, IL) 01/29/2009
Nearly 220,000 Sign Petition
As of Friday, nearly 220,000 people had "signed an online petition asking President Barack Obama to appoint the first ever US secretary of the arts."
Google News - AFP 01/30/2009
What Kind of Cultural Leader Will Obama Be
András Szántó considers what President Obama's arts policy might be. Given the views of Bill Ivey, who headed Obama's arts and culture transition team, Szántó expects a broadening of perspective -- "a new school of arts-policy thinking that places value on hitherto underappreciated, amateur, community-based, digitally-mediated, often commercial arts—the kind of creative pursuits, in short, which most Americans enjoy. This broadening of perspective would constitute the biggest shift in policy since the implementation of large-scale cultural support in the post- war era." Although not predicting an "arts czar" or "Secretary of the Arts," Szántó expects the administration "will likely emphasise coordination across the full breadth of government." Szántó also believes that public arts investment "will be directed to education and national-service initiatives." The article also touches on implications for the arts in public diplomacy, intellectual property, media and the FCC, and tax policy.
The Art Newspaper 01/30/2009
A Group's Unique Bailout For Artists
"While a group of artists recently brainstormed ideas for upcoming shows, they hit on a brilliant way to cope with the current economic environment: a series of exhibits titled 'Art4Barter.'" The group "realized that bartering might provide an answer for bailing artists out of the current financial crisis." According to curator Antonio Puri, "[T]his approach would allow artists to share their needs with the community. Simultaneously, viewers would discover that art is not an out-of-reach luxury item but attainable through exchanged goods and services."
The Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA) 01/30/2009
Loss of Funding to Hurt Aberdeen Agencies
To deal with declining state revenues, South Dakota's governor "has proposed eliminating the $669,000 originally set aside for the state office of the arts. . . . The South Dakota Arts Council uses its money to leverage even more money from the National Endowment for the Arts. Without a state agency or state funds, South Dakota will not get an additional $746,000 in federal funding, according to the state arts council. A clause in the stimulus package federal lawmakers are debating would increase federal arts funding to South Dakota to more than $900,000, according to the state arts council. The amount would be zero, though, if the state arts office closes."
American News 02/02/2009
Stimulus: One Percent for the Imagination
Representatives from the Institute for Policy Studies and the poetry organization Split this Rock promote their organizations' petition urging Congress to allocate 1 percent of the stimulus package to the arts and muse on what a contemporary "New Deal" for the arts could be.
The Nation 02/02/2009
Kennedy Center to Help Struggling Arts
"The arts aren't at the top of many lawmakers' lists for a federal bailout. So Michael Kaiser, the Kennedy Center's president, announced an unprecedented 'Arts in Crisis' initiative on Tuesday to offer free assistance to performing arts managers across the country. He said his team could devote significant time and up to $500,000 in expenses to provide emergency planning for fundraising, budgeting, marketing or other strategies as box office revenues decline and donations and endowments run dry. . . . The nonprofit group Americans for the Arts estimates 10,000 arts organizations could disappear in 2009."
Associated Press 02/03/2009
Stimulus Funding For Arts Hits Nerve
"The massive economic stimulus bill moving through Congress is being watched closely by arts groups across the country, including the Massachusetts Cultural Council. If the House version becomes law, the National Endowment for the Arts would get $50 million - and the council's federal funding would soar by nearly 50 percent. While the NEA money is a minuscule portion of the $819 billion House bill, it has become a lightning rod for some critics. . . . The criticism has reached such a crescendo that some arts advocates are concerned that the push for the $50 million could backfire, reigniting a debate over the value of taxpayers funding everything from 'poetry out loud' events to community theater."
Boston Globe 02/05/2009
Plans to Examine How Arts Benefit Economy
"With the arts and music among the many industries being hit hard in economic downturn, U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, today announced plans to hold a series of hearings this Spring to examine how the arts benefit the nation’s economy and schools – and what can be done to improve support for the arts and music fields."
website of the House Education and Labor Committee 02/05/2009
186,000 Colorado Jobs in Creative Economy
"The Colorado Council on the Arts released 'Colorado: State-of-the-Art, Key Findings from The State of Colorado's Creative Economy', which shows that 186,251 jobs in the state are associated with creative enterprises and creative occupations. . . . Colorado's creative enterprises alone employed over 122,000 individuals in about 8,000 establishments. This accounts for 3.9% of the state's estimated 3.2 million jobs, making it Colorado's 5th largest employment sector, almost as large as biotechnology/biomedical and IT & telecommunications, and larger than defense & security and agribusiness, food processing & technology. . . . 'This research clearly demonstrates that the creative sector is a large and important sector of Colorado's economy,' said Colorado Lt. Governor, Barbara O'Brien. 'Our next step is to more fully understand the challenges in each industry sub-group and identify areas of opportunity.'"
PR Web.com 02/06/2009
Performance Rights Act Bill Introduced
A Performance Rights Act was introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives on February 6. "The Performance Rights Act will close an archaic provision of America's copyright law that allows AM and FM radio stations to earn $16 billion a year in advertising revenue without compensating the artists and musicians who bring music to life and listeners' ears to the radio dial."
Iconic Image of Obama Fair Use Battle
"The iconic red-and-blue Barack Obama 'Hope' image is everywhere: T-shirts and buttons, magnets and posters, even the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Now a legal battle will determine whether the ubiquitous image is an original piece of artwork or one that misappropriated a photograph protected by copyright laws."
Mercury News 02/09/2009
Arts Community Calls for Stimulus Funding
"For a few days, at least, it looked like Congress was going to include about $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in the stimulus package proposed by President Obama. But on Friday, the Senate approved an amendment that prohibited money from being used 'for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center and highway beautification project.' That amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) passed by a vote of 73-24, including some prominent Democrats. . . . Now, Americans for the Arts is urging people to write their senators and congressmen before a final vote on the stimulus package is taken. A conference committee will have to work out differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill, once the Senate votes on the package."
Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL) 02/09/2009
Big Acts Can Be Arts' Ticket to Surviving
Anticipating that the arts will again be on the chopping block as Michigan officials craft a state budget, Ron Dzwonkowski promotes an idea of state Sen. Tom George, R-Kalamazoo: "[T]ake the state income taxes paid by visiting performers and dedicate it to the Council for the Arts to maintain its grants."
Detroit Free Press (MI) 02/08/2009
Banning Books in Miami
"Schools are supposed to introduce children to a variety of ideas and viewpoints, but the Miami-Dade School Board decided a few years ago to put one viewpoint off limits. It banned the children’s book 'A Visit to Cuba' from its school libraries because it said the book offers too positive a portrait of life under the Castro regime. That was bad enough, but then last week, a federal appeals court upheld the ban. The Supreme Court should reverse this disturbing ruling," says a New York Times editorial.
New York Times 02/10/2009
Nonprofits to Tap Nest Eggs
"Universities, museums and other nonprofits battered by investment losses are pushing states to ease legal limits on spending so they can tap their endowments to avoid imminent layoffs and deep cuts to programs. . . . The laws passed decades ago to keep charitable gifts from disappearing too rapidly have suddenly started hamstringing institutions from the Audubon Society to Brandeis University, which are taking a beating from the recession and the collapse in stock prices."
Wall Street Journal 02/11/2009
Bill Will End Art Funding
"A bill that would temporarily end [Washington's] half-percent for art in construction projects is getting a mixed response at the Legislature. Critics say it will kill jobs. But freshman state Rep. Mike Hope,. R-Lake Stevens, says his proposal could save $5 million for other purposes, including a Boys & Girls Club in his home county. And he questions spending money 'to make something look pretty.'"
The Olympian (Olympia, WA) 02/10/2009
US Orchestras to Help Feed Needy
"'The Soloist,' the upcoming movie about a cellist who became homeless, has struck a chord with American orchestras. They are mobilizing to help feed the hungry. At least 163 orchestras in 45 states are expected to participate in food drives in late March, a month before the movie's release on April 24, the League of American Orchestras said Tuesday. . . . 'The story of "The Soloist" reminds us that classical music has the power to sustain spirits and change lives, even under the most difficult circumstances,' said Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the league, a national service organization for orchestras."
Yahoo! News - AP 02/10/2009
Art Therapy Helps Breast Cancer Patients
"Women having radiation treatment for breast cancer experienced lasting improvements in mental and physical health and quality of life after participating in five sessions of art therapy, Swedish researchers report. The findings 'strongly support art therapy as a powerful tool in rehabilitation of patients with breast cancer and, presumably, also in the care of patients with other types of cancer,' Dr. Jack Lindh of Umea University, Umea, Sweden, and colleagues conclude in the European Journal of Cancer Care. Women face major stresses after a diagnosis of breast cancer and art therapy could offer a way for women to express and 'process' their emotions, the researchers say, thus improving their quality of life."
Study Urges More Arts Classes
"Availability of arts instruction varies widely in Boston public schools, with opportunities tending to dwindle as students move to higher grades, according to a new report being released today by the Boston Foundation. . . . Only a quarter of high schools offer arts education to more than 25 percent of their students, while just 48 percent of middle schools deliver weekly arts instruction to all students. Conversely, more than three-quarters of elementary and K-8 schools provide instruction at least once a week, which is the school district's standard."
Boston Globe 02/12/2009
Music Can Take the Pain Away, Study Finds
"Music may be the analgesic of the art world. A recent study done at Glasgow Caledonian University found that people who were listening to their favourite music felt less pain and could stand pain for a longer period. Pain researcher Laura Mitchell has measured how people respond to pain with various forms of distractions, including relaxing music, listening to humorous audio tapes, doing math puzzles and looking at art. As she told CBC's Q cultural affairs show, music is the stimulus that most seems to keep people's minds off the pain. . . . But not just any music - it's not the relaxing jazz playing in the dentist's office or the classical piped into the clinic waiting room that does people good, but their own personal favourite."
CBC News 02/13/2009
Art Turns Ugly in Squabble Over 'Hope'
"Artist Shepard Fairey says that he has distributed more than 300,000 copies of his iconic poster of President Obama with the word 'Hope' written underneath and that it has inspired countless other versions. Now, the 38-year-old Los Angeles street artist, who says he used an Associated Press photograph as a 'visual reference' for his piece, is in the middle of a copyright battle that goes to the heart of how media is made, remixed and mashed up." Many would like to see a legal ruling on the case, to "give everybody a little more guidance" on the Fair Use Doctrine of copyright.
San Francisco Chronicle (CA) 02/13/2009
Fundraising Losses Could Top $300M
"The loss of $6.1 million in state funding for arts and culture will impact arts groups' ability to leverage federal funding and match grants in a big way. In fact, it could cause Michigan groups to lose opportunities to raise more than fifty times that amount - or a combined $310 million - through local match grants, said new ArtServe President Jennifer Goulet. Gov. Jennifer Granholm?s budget for the upcoming fiscal year, announced Thursday, eliminates all operational support for arts and culture but includes $1 million for capital improvement grants to those groups. It also calls for transfer of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and its staff to the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and the closure of the state Department of History, Arts and Libraries.
Crain's Detroit (MI) 02/13/2009
House Committee to Hold Hearings
"U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, announced last week that the committee would hold a series of hearings this spring to examine how the arts benefit the nation's economy and schools, and what can be done to help support them during the economic downturn."
Beauty and Treatment
"Images of artworks projected on the wall. Exhibition catalogs on the table. Students gathered in discussion. What makes this scene different from innumerable art history seminars in colleges across the country is that the students here are future doctors in their first year at Emory University School of Medicine. The art seminar grows out of Emory's Creativity & Arts Initiative, a multipronged, universitywide effort to make the arts a part of daily life in the classroom and the community. 'Society needs new ways of thinking,' said Rosemary Magee, who chairs the initiative. 'Emory wants to promote creativity as a cross-disciplinary endeavor.' The concept, gathering steam in academia, is backed by research. Studies conducted at Harvard and Yale, whose medical schools have visual art programs, document that exposure to visual art enhanced students' visual acumen and diagnostic skills."
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) 02/15/2009
Advocates Oppose Pawlenty's Proposal
"Pawlenty is proposing to cut the [Minnesota] Arts Board and regional councils by 50 percent over the next two years - which [theater director Sean] Dowse called 'a disproportionate burden' - and then eliminate the Arts Board after 2011." Although Minnesota passed the Legacy Amendment in 2008, "the amendment states that 'the dedicated money ... must supplement traditional sources of funding for these purposes and may not be used as a substitute.'"
Rosemount Town Pages 02/17/2009
The Arts Need Better Arguments
Classical music critic Greg Sandow offers a sober assessment of the fight for fifty million NEA dollars in the economic stimulus bill. The arts, he says, are not unique in generating economic impact. Further, as charities for the homeless and poor face cuts, some argue that "the arts have a lot of money, and that they largely serve an upscale audience." Although such statements may not be true, "let's not underestimate how persistent those perceptions are, especially when reality at least partly seems to back them up. . . . The arts are going to need a better strategy. And in the end it's going to have to come from art itself, from the benefits art brings, in a world where popular culture -- which has gotten smart and serious -- also helps bring depth and meaning to our lives. That's the kicker: the popular culture part. Once we figure that out, we can leave our shaky arguments behind and really try to prove we matter."
Wall Street Journal 02/18/2009
Downturn Spurs Some Foundations to Give
"Associated Grant Makers expects half its members to reduce their giving and most of the rest to maintain their grantmaking, which, given their diminished endowments, means spending more than the legally required 5 percent of assets that many follow. The Philanthropic Initiative, a Boston-based agency that advises donors, reports that . . . even in an economic crisis, 5 percent are increasing their grants. . . . Buzz Schmidt, founder and chief executive of Guidestar, which reports on nonprofits and foundations, called for increased grantmaking in an article posted on the quarterly's website late last year, urging foundations to rethink their commitment to preserving their endowments in perpetuity."
Boston Globe 02/16/2009
Ailing Economy is Taking a Toll On Arts
"As the economy goes, so go the arts. That was the word yesterday from Randall Rosenbaum, executive director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, who reported that a declining number of arts events is affecting the state's restaurant and hospitality industry."
Providence Journal (RI) 02/18/2009
Rounds Wants Arts Money Restored
"The South Dakota Arts Council might live to see another year. Gov. Mike Rounds said Tuesday he will try to keep funding for the South Dakota Arts Council alive in the state's budget because the newly approved federal stimulus package could help free up state money."
Sioux Falls Argus Leader (SD) 02/19/2009
The Art of Museum Diplomacy
"When western diplomats seek concessions from Iran, they typically dish out tough rhetoric and threaten sanctions. Neil MacGregor, the cherub-faced director of the British Museum, uses a more refined arsenal: cultural relics and priceless artifacts. In January, MacGregor traveled to Tehran to finalize the loan of treasures from eight of Iran's best museums. In exchange, he promised to loan the National Museum of Iran the Cyrus Cylinder, a 2,500-year-old clay cylinder inscribed with decrees from the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great. . . . At a time when more conventional channels of communication between Britain and Iran have stalled, MacGregor's cultural diplomacy is opening up another avenue for dialogue. The British Museum, especially since MacGregor took the helm in 2002, has used traveling exhibitions and curatorial exchanges to successfully engage museums from China to North Korea to Sudan. "The more difficult the political relations are, the more important it is to try to understand the history of the country with whom we're having difficult conversations," he says.
When the Going Stays Tough
"Despite the pullback in consumer spending, two major art centers in metro Detroit -- the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center and the Anton Art Center -- are seeing an increase in people flocking to their classes and workshops. And reservations have been pouring in for Artcenter Traverse City's weekly summer workshops, which start at $350 each. Interest in art classes is expected to rise -- along with church attendance and sales of comfort food and hard alcohol -- as people seek ways to cope with the losses and uncertainties rippling throughout the depressed economy. Cutbacks in travel have also caused some to look closer to home for things to do."
Detroit Free Press (MI) 02/22/2009
Cultural and Historical Sites Threatened
"Gov. Rendell's proposed 2010 budget reductions run deep across all state agencies, but they would cut already-wounded historical organizations and museums particularly harshly. Except for a handful of large institutions - among them the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the University of Pennsylvania Museum, and the African American Museum in Philadelphia - operating and program funding from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has been eliminated."
Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) 02/22/2009
Tourism Tax Increase Fails in South Dakota
"The South Dakota House failed to pass a measure that would have boosted a special tourism tax to help balance the state budget. . . . The bill would have raised that tax to 1.5 percent. The extra $2.6 million could have provided an estimated $800,000 to help fund arts programs and another $1.8 million to help balance the state budget, supporters said."
MSN Money - AP 02/25/2009
Bill Would Aid Arts and Humanities
"An omnibus bill for the current fiscal year introduced on Monday by the House Appropriations Committee includes $10 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, which would bring each of their annual budgets to $155 million."
New York Times 02/24/2009
First Family of Arts Lovers
The Obama family's attendance at an Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance at the Kennedy Center "fed increasing hopes among arts advocates that the Obamas would generate a greater buzz for the arts simply by smiling in theater seats or strolling through museum galleries."
Los Angeles Times 02/24/2009
Humanities Must Justify Their Worth
Although not intended to prepare students for a specific vocation, the humanities have long been considered by elite universities as "prerequisites for personal growth and participation in a free democracy, regardless of career choice. But in this new era of lengthening unemployment lines and shrinking university endowments, questions about the importance of the humanities in a complex and technologically demanding world have taken on new urgency. Previous economic downturns have often led to decreased enrollment in the disciplines loosely grouped under the term 'humanities' ? which generally include languages, literature, the arts, history, cultural studies, philosophy and religion. Many in the field worry that in this current crisis those areas will be hit hardest."
New York Times 02/24/2009
Music Therapy Hit by Budget Cuts
As the Arizona Department of Economic Security works to cut its costs by $150 million, it will slash "in half its hourly reimbursement from $40.10 to about $18.48" for music therapy. "Most insurers do not cover music therapy. The few companies that do so generally offer only short-term coverage. DES officials note that music therapy also isn't covered by Medicaid or the state insurance program, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. Not even the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services consider music therapy a covered service. . . . Music therapy is more than 50 years old. Scientific studies show its benefits are extensive."
Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ) 02/26/2009
U.S. Mayors Blast Gov. Jindal's Remarks
"The nation's mayors today sent the following letter to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in reaction to his remarks made at the White House questioning the economic impact of the arts on the national economy: America's Mayors are extremely disappointed by your recent statements questioning the economic impact of the arts to our national, state and local economies. We are also highly concerned by your repeated attacks of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the "Act') by highlighting the $50 million dedicated to the National Endowment for the Arts. While we certainly respect your right to oppose the Act, this funding, which represents .00635% of the total funding provided in the Act, has, we believe, become a convenient political scapegoat. . . . The nation's 100,000 nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences generate $166.2 billion annually in U.S. economic activity. They support 5.7 million jobs and provide nearly $30 billion in government revenue. This economic stimulus will minimize the concern that ten percent of arts groups could close this year and helps save thousands of arts workers from losing their jobs. "
PR Newswire 02/26/2009
Stimulate the Economy for the Future
Richard Florida argues that the bulk of the economic stimulus funds in both the U.S. and Canada are misdirected toward traditional infrastructure and the "old economy." "For a stimulus to work today it has to stimulate the emerging creative economy, the engines of regional economic growth and higher incomes across Canada and the U.S. . . . The creative economy already includes roughly 30 per cent of Canada's work force and about a third in the U.S. It accounts for more than half of all wages and salaries paid in each country. So, if the stimulus were allocated proportionately, between $250-billion and $375-billion should have gone to the U.S. creative economy; in Canada, the figure would be $12-billion to $20-billion."
Globe and Mail 02/28/2009
IRAN: Hollywood Delegation on Mission
"A delegation of Hollywood actors and producers arrived in Tehran this weekend to meet with their counterparts as part of a cultural exchange. . . . As with most exchanges between Iran and the U.S. these days, the visit by the delegation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Oscar awards, has not been without controversy. In a Persian-language report published today, Javad Shamaghdari, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cultural advisor, demanded the delegation apologize for Hollywood's alleged 'insults and libels' against the Islamic Republic before it would get any meetings with ranking officials."
Los Angeles Times 03/01/2009
Lower Manhattan Arts Groups Join Forces
"These days, arts groups are thinking creatively, not just about the work they produce, but about survival. Nowhere is that more true than in Lower Manhattan. Seeking clout in numbers, Battery Dance Company and 11 other Downtown-based small- and medium-size arts organizations recently banded together. Calling themselves the Lower Manhattan Arts Leadership Group, they are sharing their financial and audience numbers for the first time, hoping to convince policy makers that, together, those figures carry weight—in jobs, taxes, neighborhood business support and local quality of life."
Tribeca Tribune (NY) 03/02/2009
State Budget Slices Community Art Programs
"The Colorado Council on the Arts will receive a 25 percent budget cut from the state. . . . The state Senate passed a bill last week giving $26.6 million from the Limited Gaming Fund to the arts council and three other state programs. The bill passed the state House last Tuesday. The arts council will get about $300,000 less than last year."
Greeley Tribune (CO) 03/02/2009
Fine Arts are in Survival Mode
"America is a practical nation that comes from very practical roots," says Robert Lynch of the advocacy group Americans for the Arts. "That practicality … is part of what we've had to overcome."
It was on display in the recent debate in Congress over the economic stimulus package.
The House of Representatives version included $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts to help non-profit arts organizations avoid closing or laying off workers, but the Senate version left it out. The final bill restored the money for the NEA.
"Putting people to work is more important than putting more art on the wall of some New York City gallery frequented by the elite art community," said Republican Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia during the debate.
Lynch calls that attitude "uninformed and perhaps disingenuous." His group estimates that non-profit arts organizations generate $166.2 billion each year in cultural and related spending such as restaurants and parking, and they produce $30 billion in tax revenue and 5.7 million jobs.
"Those jobs are every bit as important as an auto industry worker," Lynch says. He says 10,000 arts groups employing 260,000 artists and support workers could close this year.
USA Today 03/02/2009
Taxes Don't Affect Wealthy's Giving
"A majority of affluent Americans say their charitable giving would be unaffected by the elimination of federal tax provisions designed, in part, to encourage philanthropy, according to a new study by Bank of America and Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Nearly 52 percent of wealthy donors said their giving would remain the same if they no longer received any income-tax deduction for their donations, while 54 percent said their level of philanthropy would remain unchanged if the estate tax were repealed. That said, a significant minority (47 percent) of people in the survey reported that they would give less if they could no longer claim a deduction for their charitable gifts."
Chronicle of Philanthropy 03/03/2009
Arts Get Whacked by Rich Facing Losses
"Corporations and wealthy individuals are donating less to nonprofits, with arts groups taking the biggest hit, according to two new studies. . . . Arts and culture will see the biggest drop, with 41 percent reporting a decrease in resources."
Bloomberg News 03/04/2009
NEA Grant Deadline Extended to March 19
The NEA has extended its Access to Artistic Excellence Grant deadline to March 19, 2009 to encourage and support artistic excellence, preserve our cultural heritage, and provide access to the arts for all Americans. This category supports projects that provide short-term arts exposure or arts appreciation for children and youth as well as intergenerational education projects.
National Endowment for the Arts 03/10/2009
Artists are Losing Jobs Fast and Furiously
"The country's dire economic situation is hitting artists hard -- harder than other professionals. According to new research announced today by the National Endowment for the Arts, working artists are unemployed at a higher rate than other workers, and at a rate that is rising more rapidly than other professions. . . . Artists are unemployed at twice the rate of professional workers, a category in which artists are grouped because of their high levels of education."
Los Angeles Times 03/04/2009
Taking Artistic Liquidities
"There will be no starving artists at Harvard. Just over a week after University officials announced that the endowment, the largest in higher education, fell a precipitous 22 percent in a four- month period, the University-wide Task Force on the Arts called for ambitious plans to bolster the place of arts on campus. The committee proposed the construction of major new arts facilities and sweeping changes to the undergraduate curriculum and graduate programs. "
Harvard Crimson (Cambridge, MA) 03/05/2009
White House Rethinks Tax Hikes
"President Barack Obama is meeting strong Democratic Party resistance to his proposal to reduce tax deductions enjoyed by upper-income Americans and could be forced to drop or modify the idea. Mr. Obama in his budget blueprint last week proposed a cap on itemized deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations to help pay for his health-care overhaul. The plan would cost wealthier taxpayers about $318 billion in new taxes over 10 years, according to government estimates. But after objections from Democratic lawmakers, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner appeared to suggest at one point Wednesday that the administration was willing to consider dropping or modifying the proposal."
Wall Street Journal 03/05/2009
Drama of an Orchestra From Your Computer
"The classical music industry, as with other arts, now leans more and more on its internet presence. Most orchestras, opera houses and concert venues nurture profiles on social networking sites, upload teaser videos on to YouTube and share behind-the-scenes information via blogs, podcasts, Twitter messages and photo shares. . . . The latest, and perhaps most ambitious, innovation in the world of classical music is that of the digital concert hall."
Financial Times 03/07/2009
Arts Center Stalled? Call it a Stadium
"State Rep. Scott Randolph has a novel idea to try to save Orlando's delayed performing-arts center: Treat it like a sports stadium. The Orlando Democrat has filed a bill (HB 1183) to give performing-arts centers in Florida that draw 150,000 or more paying customers the same $2 million-a-year sales-tax rebate that many professional sports stadiums and spring-training sites get from the state."
Orlando Sentinel (FL) 03/06/2009
Berlusconi Slashes Arts Funding Again
"All told, Berlusconi's cash-strapped government has nearly halved its 2009 subsidies for film, theater, opera and concerts, down to a total of some $470 million -- about $90 million of which is for film. The usual chorus of complaints is being drowned out, however, by a national debate over how to better fund the arts. Echoing a growing camp, bestselling author and tyro helmer Alessandro Baricco ('Lesson 21') has proposed scrapping subsidies for opera, music and theater and instead beaming more culture on TV or investing more toward arts education in schools."
Hard Times No License to Rob the Arts
"With a tumbling economy, declining attendance and tapped-out donors, things are hard enough for the arts, historical museums and other cultural institutions. That's why it's all the more disturbing to see Oregon lawmakers rummaging for money in the only statewide source of arts funding, the cultural trust. . . . Lawmakers must find a way to restore the $1.8 million taken from the cultural trust as part of the budget-balancing agreement approved by the Oregon Senate last week," says The Oregonian Editorial Board.
The Oregonian 03/07/2009
Rebuilding Iraq, One Poem at a Time
The army's John Dunlop has a mission "to help Iraq rebuild itself, block by block, and yesterday, as it happened, verse by verse. Poetry is in the lifeblood of this proudly literate country, and so it was that Dunlop and an Iraqi arts professor convened a poetry competition in war-ravaged Rashid. It was one more way to revive a sense of possibility."
Boston Globe 03/08/2009
Philly Mayor Supports Arts Amid Cuts
"Arts and cultural organizations are often dismissed as a frivolity, the first to go when the budget ax swings even as supporters tout them as powerful economic engines that employ workers and support businesses far beyond the cliche wine-and-cheese set. . . . But Philadelphia's mayor, in a departure from his predecessor, believes the arts are key to generating revenue and strengthening the community."
Google News - AP 03/08/2009
Middle School Thrives as Arts Center
"Several times a week, more than 150 students, mostly high schoolers from the Recovery School District, spend time at the Studio at Colton -- a fledgling arts center where an idle campus has been transformed into work space for dozens of artists. . . . The artists have agreed to teach their craft to children and adults in return for rent-free space at Colton, which hasn't reopened as a school since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. There is a small shop on the school's first floor where artists can sell their works. The center is founded on the idea of using community resources -- a vacant building and a pool of local artists -- to establish a new creative hub and replenish the city's cultural economy."
Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA) 03/09/2009
Stimulus Money Eases S.D. Budget Squeeze
"What a difference a $790 billion federal economic stimulus bill makes. The $500 million to $600 million South Dakota expects to receive with the passage of the stimulus bill will allow the restoration of almost half of the $58 million Gov. Mike Rounds proposed cutting from the general fund budget. . . . The Division of Arts will be retained, but the funding amount is unclear."
Argus Leader (SD) 03/09/2009
Corzine's Budget to Cut $5.2M in Arts
"Gov. Jon Corzine today proposed cutting arts funding to $17.1 million, a drop of $5.2 million that would reduce arts support to 2004 levels. . . .The arts council's $16 million budget is the minimum called for in the hotel-motel occupancy tax, the dedicated revenue stream that funds the state's theaters, music groups, dance troupes and art museums. . . The 2003 law that created the tax, which also supports the state's historical commission, cultural trust and tourism, includes a 'poison pill' provision that eliminates the tax if the arts council portion drops below $16 million."
AP Countersues Over Use of Obama Image
"Last month, artist Shepard Fairey filed a preemptive suit against the Associated Press with the help of Stanford's Fair Use Project, asking a federal court for protection from claims of copyright infringement over his use of an AP photo for the basis of what has become an iconic graphic image of President Obama. Today, the AP returned the favor, filing an answer and a countersuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York."
Washington Post - paidContent.org 03/11/2009
Proposed Tax on Theater Tickets Lifted
"Among the tax ideas that New York Gov. David Paterson eliminated on Wednesday from his 2009-2010 state budget proposal was an 8 percent levy on theater tickets that Broadway industry leaders had fought fiercely." Industry representatives argued "that the new levy would drive down ticket sales and ultimately lead producers to close some shows. They made the case that such a tax would have negative side effects on tourist business for restaurants and hotels and work for scenery carpenters, dry cleaners and others who contribute to theater productions."
New York Times 03/11/2009
Cultural Post at White House
"President Barack Obama has established a staff position in the White House to oversee arts and culture in the Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs under Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser, a White House official confirmed." The position will be held by Kareem Dale, a lawyer who is partly blind, and has previously worked with Obama on disability policy and arts policy. Former NEA head Bill Ivey, "who served as the administration?s transition-team leader for the arts and humanities," says he expects "that the job would mainly involve coordinating the activities of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services 'in relation to White House objectives.'"
New York Times 03/13/2009
House Gives Final OK to Higher Tourism Tax
"The [South Dakota] House of Representatives gave final legislative approval to increasing the tax rate to 1.5% from the current 1% on sales of visitor-related goods and services ranging from restaurant meals and meals to car rentals and tourist attractions. . . . The increase will raise an estimated $2.6 million to $2.8 million annually, according to Rep. Chuck Turbiville, R- Deadwood. . . . Much of the money will be used to cover the costs of operating the state archeology office and for the state arts office."
Black Hills Pioneer (SD) 03/13/2009
Budget Plan Ignores Laws on Arts Funding
"Several years ago, the Legislature decided the arts, history and good beaches were so essential to New Jersey that it passed laws setting a guaranteed level of funding for those entities and others. As it looks for ways to save money in a recession budget, the Corzine administration has formulated a new approach to those laws: ignore them." The budget proposal includes a 25% reduction for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Historical Commission and the New Jersey Cultural Trust.
Star-Ledger (NJ) 03/15/2009
Initiative Focuses on Art-Based Education
"A coalition of local organizations has been tapped to take charge of a ten-year program to provide arts learning to all children and youth in Philadelphia. A partnership of the Philadelphia Education Fund, Public Citizens of Children and Youth and the Fleischer Art Memorial will lead Arts for Youth, an initiative designed to make access to arts learning equitable and available for all children throughout the region."
KYW 1060 03/15/2009
Vermont Artists to Envision State's Future
"Ten artists are taking part in envisioning the future of Vermont during 'The Art of Action,' a 'stimulus package that pairs underserved community needs with underused creative resources.' It's a collaboration of the Vermont Arts Council with Vermont entrepreneur and philanthropist Lyman Orton to commission visual artists to create suites of artwork that address issues that were identified by Vermonters during the recent Council on the Future of Vermont."
Community Arts Network's API News 03/16/2009
Music Education Improves Literacy
"As arts and music programs get squeezed out of America's cash-strapped schools, evidence continues to accumulate of the wide-reaching positive effects of such training. According to a just- published study in the journal Psychology of Music, the reading skills of young children who received structured training in music were clearly superior to those of their peers who did not have the benefit of such instruction. The finding is particularly striking because both groups of kids took part in comprehensive literary training, in which lengthy periods of their school day were dedicated to reading and writing."
Miller-McCune News Blog 03/17/2009
Arts Groups Lose Out in Fight for Funds
With falling sales of tickets and merchandise, fewer donations from individuals and corporations, and cutbacks in government funding -- often as donors shift emphasis to social services like soup kitchens and shelters -- many arts nonprofits are in dire straits. Philanthropist Eli Broad recommends that arts groups "intensify outreach efforts, so audiences reflect an area's diverse population. . . 'You've got to democratize the arts if you expect to get the kind of financial support [desired] from individuals, foundations and government.'"
Wall Street Journal 03/18/2009
Bill Seeks to Regulate Museums' Art Sales
"Selling parts of a collection to cover museum operating costs would be illegal under a bill introduced in the New York State Legislature late Tuesday afternoon. The bill, drafted by Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky in collaboration with the New York State Board of Regents and the Museum Association of New York, would prohibit museums from using proceeds from the sale of artworks 'for traditional and customary operating expenses.'. . . The Association of Art Museum Directors, a national group, strictly prohibits the sale of artworks to cover anything but the acquisition of art."
New York Times 03/18/2009
Arts Advocates See Progress Under Obama
Washington continues to be consumed by economic turmoil, but cultural professionals say they are cautiously optimistic about the future of the arts under President Obama. There is still a considerable distance to go, arts advocates say. More than two months into his presidency, Mr. Obama has yet to name a new chairman of the Endowment. This leaves the country’s most important arts agency without a permanent chief, as arts groups around the country scramble to submit their applications for stimulus funds by the April 2 deadline. Robert L. Lynch, the president of Americans for the Arts, a lobbying group, called the requirement limiting. “There are 100,000 arts organizations out there,” he said. “They’re all in need.” Shin Inouye, a White House spokesman, said, “President Obama recognizes that support for creative expression is an essential part of who we are as a nation and he is committed to ensuring that the arts community has an open line to the White House.”
The New York Times 03/24/2009
Hollywood Stars Encourage Film Incentives
Acting couple Jane Kaczmarek ("Malcolm in the Middle) and husband Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing") recently authored a letter to Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, asking him to drop his plan to eliminate state tax credits to support the film industry in their native state.
Chicago Tribune 03/23/2009
Creative Industries Economic Guide
The National Governors Association's (NGA) Center for Best Practices recently released a report detailing the steps states are taking to maximize the impact of creative industries on local economies. "Arts and culture-related industries, also known as “creative industries,” provide direct economic benefits to states and communities. Governors increasingly recognize the importance of the creative sector to their states’ economy and ability to compete in the global marketplace."
Follow the link below to view Using Arts and Culture to Stimulate State Economic Development or visit NGA's website:
NGA Center for Best Practices Website 04/14/2009
Former Govenor Rips Cuts to Art
In New Jersey, Governor Jon Corzine's proposal to slash arts funding has drawn criticism from popular former Republican governor Tom Kean. Kean said he is outraged at the proposal and is calling for advocates to sue if the budget is passed without arts funding restored to levels as outlined in legislation for the state hotel/motel tax. Kean even went as far as to say that he was considering filing a lawsuit himself. "We put all that work into it. The Legislature guaranteed it. And somebody says, 'I'm not going to do it anyway,'" Kean said. The next day, Corzine responded by making the argument that he would rather not cut some things in the budget, and he wants to make sure education, health care, senior programs and the middle-class tax relief programs are all funded.
New Jersey News 04/01/2009
A Struggle to Slice Stimulus Fund Pie
"More than 2,000 applications have poured in to the National Endowment for the Arts from cultural organizations all over the country seeking a piece of the stimulus pie allotted to the arts by President Obama.
Now the Endowment faces the tough task of sorting through these applications to determine which groups are the most deserving. The criteria are clear: each arts group seeking funds must demonstrate how it would use the money to preserve jobs or pay contractual workers.
Of the $50 million that the Endowment received as part of the stimulus bill, 40 percent of the money, or about $20 million, is being awarded to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations, which will then distribute the funds to cultural groups in their areas. The remaining 59 percent of the funds (1 percent will cover administrative costs), or about $29.5 million, is up for grabs by nonprofit organizations. But there are more struggling organizations out there than there is money to help them."
The New York Times 04/10/2009
L.A. Philanthropist Donates to Juilliard
Eli Broad donates to Juilliard and promises similar funding in Los Angeles-- if the district better runs its arts programs, especially the new arts high school. Broad "will help pay for a New York-based arts program that benefits poor and minority students -- and he said Friday that he and other donors would provide similar funding here if the Los Angeles school district can better manage its own arts programs, especially the new downtown arts high school. The Broad Foundation has pledged to contribute $425,000 so the Juilliard School can allow dozens of public school students to receive up to four years of free musical training. Broad said he decided to make the gift after reading a newspaper article about the program canceling auditions in a tight budget year.
"It's clear that if you have a quality arts high school, especially one that is educating kids from minority communities, there will be philanthropic funds forthcoming, as evidenced from our willingness to give money to Juilliard," Broad said. In L.A., the billionaire donor has contributed tens of millions of dollars to arts endeavors. But except for backing local charter schools, which are not directly managed by the Los Angeles Unified School District, Broad has directed his education philanthropy outside the district because he lacks confidence in it, he said. Such benefactors will step forward for the L.A. arts school, too, Ruano said, but "they want to know who's going to lead the school and the vision and exactly how their funds are going to be invested."
Los Angeles Times 04/11/2009
The Creativity Stimulus
On inauguration day, Tom Brokaw was moved to compare Barack Obama's election to Czechoslovakia's 1989 Velvet Revolution. At the eye of each storm, of course, was an icon who merged the political and the aesthetic--Václav Havel, the rock-star poet and prophet, and Barack Obama, the post-soul master of his own story. Both struck down eras of monocultural repression with their pens.
Artists played a largely unheralded role in Obama's victory. But they had been tugging the national unconscious forward for decades, from the multiculturalist avant-gardes of the 1970s and '80s to the hip-hop rebels of the '90s and 2000s, plying a fearless, sometimes even unruly kind of polyculturalism. By the final months of the election season, these artists had secured Obama as the waking image of change.
Every moment of major social change requires a collective leap of imagination. Political transformation must be accompanied not just by spontaneous and organized expressions of unrest and risk but by an explosion of mass creativity. Little wonder that two of the most maligned jobs during the forty years after Richard Nixon's 1968 election sealed the backlash of the "silent majority" were community organizer and artist.
Obama was both. So why haven't community organizers and artists been offered a greater role in the national recovery?
The Nation 04/15/2009
Artists vs. Blight
An article recently published in the Wall Street Journal tells the story of two artists who have moved into Cleveland's Collinwood neighborhood. With 220 homes out of every 5,000 currently vacant and/or boarded up, the two artists chose a two-story, three-bedroom house as their new live/work space. Lured by cheaper rent and the creative possibilities of a city in transition, the couple and their 18-month-old son left New York and purchased the house from a local community development group. The group has already purchased nine foreclosed properties in the neighborhood, and hope to create 10-block artist village.
With home foreclosure proceedings increasing 81 percent in 2008, houses in some cities are selling for as little as one dollar, providing hope and opportunity to the new resident artists and the surrounding community.
The Wall Street Journal 04/17/2009
New Coalition to Monitor Education Funding
"The Aspen Institute has announced that its Commission on No Child Left Behind and more than thirty education, business, civil rights and philanthropic organizations have joined forces to launch the Coalition for Student Achievement." This group "will work to ensure that the government's $100 billion investment in education, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, yields needed reforms and results in significant, lasting gains in student achievement."
Philanthropy News Digest 04/21/2009
Arts Organizations Weathering the Storm
"The Pittsburgh Symphony's chamber orchestra series -- gone. The International Poetry Forum -- kaput. The Pittsburgh Folk Festival -- missing in action for 2009.
The culprit in all three cases -- money, or rather, lack thereof.
The economic downturn is hitting home for the region's arts and cultural nonprofits. Groups across the spectrum have been cutting back, laying off or, in a few cases, closing up shop.
Pittsburgh is not alone in this trend, reflecting the nationwide effects of the collapsing financial industry. The upside, if one could call it that, is more interest in shared services, new marketing techniques and a tighter focus on core mission. The down side is, well, everything else."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 04/26/2009
2009 Poetry Out Loud Winners Announced
The National Endowment for the Arts announced the national winners of the Poetry Out Loud contest last week. This year's national champion is 18-year-old William Farley of Arlington, VA, who received a $20,000 award and a $500 stipend for his high school. Farley will also have the opportunity to recite a poem at the re-dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in May 2009. The second-place winner was Barbara Gooding of Frankfort, KY, with Kareem Sayegh of Champaign, IL, named third-place winner. The remaining 12 finalists were from Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Vermont.
National Endowment for the Arts (website) 04/29/2009
New Homes for a Varied Cast
A new residential building has opened in Brooklyn, NY, providing about half of its space for small studio apartments for artists and half for people who have been homeless or need support. The 11-story building, called Schermerhorn House, also features an on-site social worker from the Actors Fund, job training from the Center for Urban Community Service, and performance space on the ground floor. In addition, the Brooklyn Ballet has agreed to rent the storefront for its offices and school. The initial response has been overwhelming as the Actors Fund received 2,000 applications for the building's first 100 spaces.
The New York Times 04/24/2009
Most Significant Inclusion of the Arts YTD
President Obama signs The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (H.R. 1388), which reauthorizes the federal volunteer programs as administered through the Corporation for National Service. In addition to greatly expanding the number of service members, the legislation creates an “Education Corps…that identifies and meets unmet educational goals.” Among the eligible activities outlined in the legislation is a program that calls for artists and/or musicians to promote community unity in low-income communities with citizens of all ages. This would be the most significant inclusion of the arts into national service to date.
Committee on Education and Labor (website) 04/21/2009
Study: Creative Sector and the Economy
"A new study shows that Texas’ creative sector is growing faster and paying higher wages than jobs in other arenas. But the study warns that more funding is needed to continue that momentum. During tough economic times it may seem intuitive to cut these initiatives, but these are the very projects that can help the economy recover," the report states.
"Equally important is arts education. The report argues that skills such as communication and critical thinking are essential in the classroom--helping prepare students for the 21st Century workforce.
The study proposes two primary recommendations: increase arts funding to $1 per capita and elevate arts education to the core curriculum in the state's schools."
To see the full report, go to http://www.createtexas.org
Dallas Business Journal 05/01/2009
Art Education: On the Chopping Block
"Reading, writing, math, science, social studies and foreign language classes are safe because they're funded with state dollars. Physical education is required by law and not funded. But art, says Lee County School District Superintendent James Browder, isn't considered a core subject by state lawmakers—in spite of years of scholarly and statistical testimony that art teaches crucial skills which, like reading, benefit from an early start. 'I'm indignant that I have to do this to children. I'm absolutely not in favor of cutting it. It's the wrong thing to do,' said Browder."
Florida Weekly 04/22/2009
Producer Is Chosen to Lead Arts Endowment
"Rocco Landesman, the colorful theatrical producer and race-track aficionado who brought hits like “Big River,” “Angels in America” and “The Producers” to Broadway, has been nominated as the next chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, the White House said on Tuesday.
The appointment, which is expected to be announced on Wednesday, surprised many in the arts world. It ends months of speculation about who would be selected to lead the nation’s largest and most important arts organization.
“It’s potentially the best news the arts community in the United States has had since the birth of Walt Whitman,” said the playwright Tony Kushner. “He’s an absolutely brilliant and brave and perfect choice for the job.”
Choosing Mr. Landesman, 61, signals that Mr. Obama plans to shake things up at the endowment. While a major source of money for arts groups around the country, it has historically been something of a sleepy bureaucracy, still best known to some for the culture wars of the 1990s."
The New York Times 05/13/2009
Activists Ask for Role in Recovery
"A group of grass-roots activists representing arts, environmental and social justice organizations met yesterday with White House officials to discuss how they could collaborate with the administration on its economic recovery and general policy plans."
The Washington Post 05/21/2009
Mrs. Obama Praises Arts as Vital to U.S.
"The first lady, Michelle Obama, visited New York City on Monday to promote the arts, celebrating opening night at the American Ballet Theater and the reopening of part of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Mrs. Obama described the nation’s creative spirit as critical to its ideals and its identity, and said the arts needed to be nurtured even during difficult economic times. “The arts are not just a nice thing to have,” she said, adding that the arts “define who we are as a people."'
The New York Times 05/18/2009
Getting Scientific About Arts Education
"Much of the research into the arts has centered on music and the brain. One researcher studying students who go to an arts high school found a correlation between those who were trained in music and their ability to do geometry. A four-year study, conducted by Ellen Winner of Boston College and Gottfried Schlaug of Harvard, is looking at the effects of playing the piano or the violin on students in elementary school. Winner said she was skeptical of claims that schools offering fine arts had seen an increase in test scores and a generally better school climate. She said she had examined those assertions and found that they couldn't be backed up by research. The study Winner is working on has shown that children who receive a small amount of musical training—as little as half an hour of lessons a week and 10 minutes of practice a day—do have structural changes in their brains that can be measured. And those students, Winner said, were better at tests that required them to use their fingers with dexterity."
The Los Angeles Times 05/24/2009
Feeling the Recession in the Art World
"On May 18, the First Lady traveled to New York City to inaugurate the newly refurbished American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Later she moved on to the city's other Met--the Metropolitan Opera House--to celebrate the opening night of the American Ballet Theatre and speak to the glamorously packed house about the importance of the arts to "our future as an innovative country."
The Great Recession has struck museums and performing-arts groups with a vengeance. No one expects the Federal Government to bail them out. But the people who run these organizations--and the people who care about them--were eager to see in the First Lady's appearances a sign that the White House knows just how bad things have gotten for them.
All around the country, orchestras, opera houses, theater troupes and dance companies are cutting salaries, jobs and programs. "Most organizations have been hurt," says Robert Lynch, president of the advocacy group Americans for the Arts. "But arts organizations aren't driven by profit. They're driven by mission. And they'll do anything to survive."'
New Laws Hurting Touring Artists
"The visa controls are part of the new points-based system for immigration. The rules for touring artists, which came into force in November, include a requirement for each artist to show £800 of savings and financial support, and constant monitoring by a sponsor to make sure that they do not abscond during their visit. Artists must apply for the visa in person, supplying biometric data and a digital picture. That has proved difficult in Africa in particular, with artists being told to travel to countries where biometric equipment is available to obtain their visas. In the past artists have been able to obtain, within a few days, a simple short-term visa to tour in Britain."
The Times 06/03/2009
CEO Credits Art in Building a Team
Darden Restaurants CEO Clarence Otis Jr. credits his experiences in theater for teaching him about the art of building a team in the corporate world. "The thing that prepared me the most—where the team was front and center—was theater, which I did a lot of growing up, in high school, during college, law school, and even for a couple of years after law school. I would say that probably is the starkest lesson in how reliant you are on others, because you’re there in front of an audience. It’s all live, and everybody’s got to know their lines and know their cues and know their movement, and so you’re totally dependent on people doing that. You could have your piece down, but if one person on the team doesn’t, you’re in trouble, and it’s embarrassing because people aren’t used to seeing errors in theater. Theater is seamless every night."
The New York Times 06/07/2009
Music Boosts Students' Success
"Robin Perry, Chorus America director of communications, noted in a news release that the survey found children who sing in choirs exhibit enhanced social skills such as volunteering and charitable giving. The survey showed choral singing is the most popular form of performing arts for both adults and children. Today there are an estimated 42.6 million Americans singing in choruses—including 10.1 million children—up from 23.5 million in 2003. Survey statistics showed 71 percent of parents responding said their children have become more self-confident and self-disciplined, while 69 percent report their child's memory skills have improved."
The Yuma Sun 06/08/2009
White House to Host Marsalis Music Academy
First Lady Michelle Obama will host the White House Jazz Studio, the first in a series of planned music education workshops at the White House this year. For the kickoff event, five members of the Marsalis family (Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, Jason, and Ellis) will serve as instructors for 150 youngsters who have been invited to participate in three workshops and a performance.
Los Angeles Times 06/12/2009
Obama Plays it Safe with the Arts
"Last week President Barack Obama announced Jim Leach as his choice to lead the National Endowment for the Humanities. Mr. Leach, an Iowa Republican who served 30 years in the House before losing his bid for re-election in 2006, notably went against his party last year by endorsing Mr. Obama, not John McCain, in the presidential race. Now that President Obama has picked Mr. Leach for NEH and Rocco Landesman, a successful Broadway producer, to head the National Endowment for the Arts, the Obama cultural team is complete."
The Wall Street Journal 06/11/2009
NEA Reports Decline in Arts Audience
"Audiences for the arts in the U.S. continue to decline and age at significant rates, according to a report released [June 15] by the National Endowment for the Arts. But the Internet holds out hope, as more people are going online to experience culture. Nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults attended an art museum or an arts performance in 2008. That's down from about 40 percent in 1982, 1992, and 2002. In particular, audiences for classical and jazz concerts have declined by double digits since 1982, the most of all the art forms. Surprisingly, the largest drop in arts consumption comes from people ages 45 to 54, which has traditionally been the most dependable group of arts participants."
Los Angeles Times 06/15/2009
Picture is Unclear on Arts Instruction
"New data out [June 15] from the U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) may make America's arts instructors kind of blue. In the past decade or so, middle schoolers have made little progress in how much they know about music and visual arts. But the data also suggests that educators' fears about the arts being squeezed out of public schools may be unfounded—at least for older students. Middle school administrators polled as part of the tests say students are just as likely to have received regular instruction in music and arts in 2008 as in 1997. That suggests that No Child Left Behind, the federal effort begun in 2002 to increase the basic math and reading skills of children, may not have adversely affected middle schoolers' instruction time in the arts, as many critics worried."
USA Today 06/15/2009
Music Causes Cardiovascular Response
"Researchers analyzing how listening to classical music affected the study's participants found that songs that alternate between fast and slow sections—like opera—induced dynamic and somewhat predictable change in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems of the volunteers. The team enlisted two dozen young, healthy volunteers (12 choristers and 12 with no music training) and monitored the subjects as they listened to different musical selections—or a period of silence—in a random order. The music included an aria from Puccini's Turandot, sections of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Verdi's Va Libiam nei lieti calici and a Bach cantata. The research team, led by Dr. Luciano Bernardi of Italy's Pavia University, found that hearing swelling crescendos increased the participants' blood pressure and their heart and respiration rates. It also narrowed the blood vessels under the skin. The opposite occurred during the slower passages and silent pauses."
CBC News 06/23/2009
WTC Arts Center Back On Track
A world-class cultural center planned for Ground Zero in New York City is back on track after being left on hold for three years. New plans call for the center to be built at the location of the current Deutsche Bank tower at 130 Liberty Street, housing a modern dance company and a 1,000-seat theater. Although architect Frank Gehry was paid $4.5 million for preliminary conceptual design work, it is unclear if he would design the new facility.
Daily News | NY Local 07/17/2009
Art Inspired Venues to Host G20 Summit
"The White House has chosen the main venues in which it plans to host world leader as part of the G-20 meeting it is now calling the Pittsburgh Summit, scheduled for Sept. 24 and 25.
Advance teams have been visiting Pittsburgh during the past few weeks to scope out the summit’s main venue, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
But the White House announced Monday morning that Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Creative and Performing Arts High School and Rosemont, the working farm of philanthropist Teresa Heinz Kerry, will also be featured venues during the Pittsburgh Summit.
First Lady Michelle Obama will host a luncheon at the Andy Warhol Museum on the North Side, because of the worldwide popularity of Warhol’s art and due to the museum’s reputation as a hub for community dialogue, the White House said.
Mrs. Obama will also bring a tour of world leaders to the Creative and Performing Arts School Downtown out of her commitment to arts education.
The Pittsburgh Summit is expected to assess the progress made in overcoming the world economic crisis since previous summits in Washington and London, according to the White House announcement."
Pittsburgh Business Times 08/03/2009
Public Art Funds Put to Work
"After years of planning and hard work toward the Mane Event public fundraising project, Wichita Falls residents are now able to see those funds being put to work." The Mane Event is patterned after similar successful projects in other cities where large fiberglass animals are designed and decorated by local artists and placed throughout the sponsoring cities. In an effort to celebrate the arts and boost community pride, these horses rasied funds to support improvements and needed equipment for Patsy’s House and Faith Mission project.
Mane Event committee members are pleased with the way their funds are being put to work. "It was fun to see a project through that took a long time. It took people sticking together and the community through each phase," Brock said." The celebration was supported by Leadership Wichita Falls, Class of 2007.
KAUZ Witchita Falls 08/03/2009
Don't Wipe Away the Arts
"A portable bathroom stands at the intersection of arts and politics. But for four-year-old Taylor Hall, who stood inside it at midday [on August 3], the wall to the right of the toilet, represented neither protest nor political message but merely a hard surface on which she happily splashed purple and black streaks. Taylor's dad, though, supported the message Musikfest and ArtsQuest, its parent, are hoping to send—Don't Wipe Away the Arts. For any size donation, people can paint the walls, roof, toilet and door of the Port-O-Let, which was a donation from a supporter. After the festival, organizers plan to ship the graffitied item to Harrisburg in protest of the proposed 2009–10 budget that cuts more than one million dollars from arts funding."
The Morning Call 08/04/2009
Restoration Work on Gifts of Art
"Donating art to museums could soon become attractive again for wealthy collectors. Reacting to museums' complaints of sharp declines in art donations, a bill announced [August 7] by Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, could revive the practice of so-called fractional gifts by making the process easier and more tax-advantageous. Before the 2006 Pension Protection Act, collectors were allowed a tax break when they donated a work of art incrementally, giving away a certain percentage of rights to the work each year. Pieces like the Hope Diamond, given to Washington's Smithsonian Institution, and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art's Annenberg Collection can be attributed to fractional giving. Restrictions in the act prevented donors from realizing tax benefits on the appreciation of the art's value and limited the time allotted to complete the donation to 10 years."
The Wall Street Journal 08/08/2009
World Trade Center Mural Designs Sought
"Artists looking for somewhere to display their work now have a chance to be seen at one of the city's most high-profile places—the World Trade Center site. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the city Department of Transportation are asking artists to submit designs for a new mural. The mural will cover a portion of the construction fence on Church Street between Liberty and Vesey streets. The winning design will be printed on vinyl mesh banners. Contest guidelines ask that the designs reflect 'the vibrancy of the thriving downtown commercial and residential neighborhood.'"
The Buffalo News 08/11/2009
Les Paul, Guitar Innovator, Dies at 94
"Les Paul, the virtuoso guitarist and inventor whose solid-body electric guitar and recording studio innovations changed the course of 20th-century popular music, died Thursday in White Plains, N.Y. He was 94. The cause was complications of pneumonia, the Gibson Guitar Corporation and his family announced."
The New York Times 08/13/2009
Strangers Gather on Web to Make Art
"One of the Web's basic tenets is that small contributions from lots of people can amount to something powerful in the aggregate. Now, a growing group of writers, musicians, visual artists and videographers is turning this Wikipedia-era philosophy into online collaborative art.
This crowd-sourced creativity online is putting a new twist on traditional ideas of artistic ownership, online communication and art production. Ze Frank, an online personality who orchestrated several early online art projects, said people have been making collaborative online art "since the beginning of the Web." But much of it wasn't worth looking at. But for some reason -- either because people are getting savvier with cameras or because the projects are getting more visibility -- things are starting to click, Frank said.
"The little elements that aren't synchronized" in the group art projects remind people that our differences are what make us interesting, said Matt Maloney. "If that phenomenon didn't exist, if we were all the same and we were all uniform, this type of collaboration" would not be powerful.
Darren Solomon, who once played bass with Ray Charles and now writes music for TV ads, said the "In B Flat" project shows that "the world can come together and we all speak that [musical] language...Something about it is very hopeful," he said."
Collaborative Online Art:
Rocco Landesman Goes All In for the Arts
The article takes a look at Rocco Landesman, the 10th chairman of the NEA, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. While Landesman aims to increase funding at the NEA, he says, "I think the worst thing in the world would be going around with the message, 'I’m going to shake things up.’ That would be a huge mistake."
"As he moves into his third week on the job, Landesman's talking points are firm: The arts are central to the American identity; they define the pulse of many cities, towns and individuals. In short, the arts are indispensable. As for schools, they should encourage young people to soar, not just study for a test. He sneers at the goals of No Child Left Behind, which seem to have little use for arts education. "All the tests don't take into account personal creativity. There is something very American about individualism," he said. "
The Washington Post 08/26/2009
Sen. Kennedy a True Champion of the Arts
"Sen. Ted Kennedy was a true champion of the arts as well as equality and justice for all.
The senator, who died Tuesday at the age of 77, was one of the strongest Congressional advocates for the arts, especially arts education, and federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The most recent example was the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, with arts a key part of its Education Corps provision. The act was named in his honor as one of its authors who shepherded its passage. President Obama, after signing it into law last April 21, handed the first pen to the proudly smiling Kennedy.
He authored and helped pass dozens of bills protecting creative freedom, freedom of expression, rights of artists, and much more. He was a bit of a performing artist himself. He conducted the Boston Pops (pictured above) in 2005. He also narrated "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" in a recording of Julian Wachner's composition with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra."
The Examiner 08/26/2009
Church Becomes Arts Organization Treasure
"St. John the Baptist, which was closed by the Albany Catholic Diocese earlier this year, is about to become a new performing arts center in Schenectady. 'We fought for this,' says Mary Pidgeon, 94, who started attending mass at St. John's in the 1940s. 'We didn't want it destroyed.' Parishioners learned earlier this year that the church was one of 33 the Diocese was planning to close because of fewer priests and fewer church-goers. St. John's dates back to 1830, making it the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Schenectady. Originally, the Diocese wanted to close the church in February, but the parish asked for an extension to celebrate the Feast of St. John the Baptist...Starting next year, St. John's will be the new home for the Schenectady Light Opera Company. The group plans to transform the former church complex into a community theater campus that will attract thousands of people to downtown Schenectady ever year."
Why Sponsor the Arts Over a Sports Team?
South African columnist Tony Lankester makes the case that companies should sponsor the arts over sports teams or athletes because it provides the best value. "Delve a little deeper into the traditions and customs of South Africans and you'll quickly see that while spectator sport is a diversion and a hobby about which people feel strongly, the arts is more fundamental to the fabric of who we are. Storytelling, dance, poetry, and music is the way we have shared our experiences over the years, and the way millions of youngsters shape their identity and learn their heritage. It's isn't surprising that one of the fastest growing pastimes in South Africa isn't soccer, rugby, or running. It is performance poetry. Edgy, creative, bold, and full of attitude, today's poets are the leading voices of a generation who are taking control of their own destinies. Creativity equals authenticity. The experience of being part of creative expression—as performer or audience or that joyous middle where the lines blur—provides an entry to the heart of South Africans that too few of our brands recognize. A staggering 43 percent of adult South Africans maintain that they feel more positively toward a company that sponsors the arts, according to [research firm] BMI-TechKnowledge. That's a significant amount of untapped goodwill in the marketplace."
Arts Education Begins at Home
"How do you instill an appreciation for the arts in your kids, thereby enlarging their creative and critical-thinking skills while deepening their enjoyment of life? The question has added urgency at the moment. The statewide education budget crunch has prompted many cash-strapped schools to cut back on programs in music, theater, dance, photography, and the visual arts. In February, a report by the Boston Foundation found that as students in Boston’s 143 public schools move into the higher grades, their access to arts programs of all kinds sharply diminishes. For parents who want to pick up the slack and shoulder the role of arts advocate and educator, one place to start is...in the home. The first art to develop is the art of looking. Barbara Martin, curator of education at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston says parents should foster 'a visual awareness of your surroundings’ within their children. 'Think of looking games as something to do when you’re walking. "How many colors can you find in this landscape? What story can we tell each other about this picture?"' she says. 'Think about opportunities to engage your kids with the visual world.'''
The Boston Globe 09/01/2009
Arts Organizations Receive Funds
"There is a little relief for some of Utah's arts organizations 14 of them are receiving some federal stimulus money. You can almost hear a collective sigh of relief from groups that had to lay off employees or cut salaries and budgets in this difficult economy. They all saw a decrease in either donations, outside funding, or tickets sales. This, they say, will help. Repertory Dance Theatre will soon be celebrating more than a season opener. After across-the-board cuts, the company is receiving $15,000 of federal stimulus money to help supplement salaries for nine dancers. Founder and artistic director Linda Smith said, 'We just cheered because that meant that, as I say, the heart and soul of the company, we just guarantee, we want to keep those dancers dancing.' The Salt Lake Art Center has expanded its educational programs and now has the money to pay a director. Communications director Marlow Hoffman said, 'The programs that we provide serve over 5,000 people each year, and we're doing more and more programs that are free and are accessible to the community but without that full-time position.'"
Museums Take Fundraising to the Altar
"Amid the many pressures couples face in planning an unforgettable wedding, here’s one that simply can’t fall by the wayside: Making sure the flowers complement that original Diego Rivera fresco. Such is the kind of dilemma confronting the affianced who plan to promise forever in the courtyard of the Detroit Institute of Arts, which held its first wedding ceremony this summer. With the nation’s economy still struggling to recover and donations generally down at cultural institutions, many art museums are cashing in on the inherent beauty of what lies within their walls. Couples looking for a memorable venue in which to hold their nuptials can present a lucrative alternative to conventional fundraising."
Frank Sinatra School of the Arts Opens
"[Tony Bennett's] advocacy gets its most visible reward yet as the new, $78 million Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) opens in a dazzling permanent home in Astoria, Queens, just blocks from Bennett's boyhood home. Classes started there September 9, but a ribbon-cutting and celebrity gala will serve as the school's coming-out of sorts. Among New York City's newest public schools and one of its few audition-only arts high schools, FSSA has actually been operating since 2001, mostly in borrowed space in other schools. But its founders, Bennett and his wife, Susan Benedetto, and students and staff wanted a bigger, brighter, more comfortable space. For years they lobbied city officials, who finally relented, handing Bennett's foundation, Exploring the Arts, most of the $78 million—or as he calls it, 'a big wad of money'—needed to build the school. Donors kicked in an additional $4.25 million.'"
USA Today 09/16/2009
Arts Education Narrows Achievement Gaps
"For many of the 1.3 million young people who leave high school each year without a diploma, the path that eventually leads to this educational dead end begins in middle school. The National Assessment of Educational Progress [NEAP] provides a snapshot of student achievement in various subject areas at crucial transition points, including eighth grade. In June 2009, the results of the 2008 NAEP arts assessment in music and visual arts were released; it was the first NAEP arts assessment conducted since 1997. Those 2008 results tell a disappointing, but incomplete, story of eighth grade student achievement in the arts...Does it really matter if the performance of eighth grade students on the NAEP arts assessments is mediocre at best, or that significant achievement gaps based on socioeconomics and other characteristics continue to persist? It matters only if we as a nation are truly serious about reaching the president’s goal of preparing all K-12 students by 2020 to succeed in school, work, and life. Arts learning experiences play a vital role in developing students’ capacities for critical thinking, creativity, imagination, and innovation. These capacities are increasingly recognized as core skills and competencies all students need as part of a high-quality and complete 21st-century education. And, as a matter of social justice, we must be concerned when students are denied access to a high-quality education—one that includes learning in and through the arts—simply because of where they live or go to school."
Education Week 09/23/2009
First Lady Highlights Arts Education
"First Lady Michelle Obama, a supporter of arts education, says the arts are a form of diplomacy that challenges assumptions and helps people learn from and inspire each other. Underscoring her point, she spoke at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School [CAPA]...'It is through our music, our literature, our art, drama, and dance that we tell the story of our past and we express our hopes for the future,' Mrs. Obama said [on September 25], the final day of an international summit at which she introduced her foreign counterparts to some of her interests, including the arts and arts education. 'Our artists challenge our assumptions in ways that many cannot and do not,' she said. 'They expand our understandings, and push us to view our world in new and very unexpected ways.' Mrs. Obama said CAPA was the perfect place to introduce her guests to what she described as some of the most creative and accomplished young people her country has to offer. The arts, she said, aren't just for people with spare time and money. She said arts education literally helps youngsters find their voices and develop their talents. She also noted the tradition whereby the spouses of world leaders forge bonds by sharing the arts—music, dance, and culture—during international visits. 'It's through this constant exchange...that we learn from each other and we inspire each other,' the first lady said. 'It is a form of diplomacy in which we can all take part.'"
Associated Press 09/25/2009
Urban Art Project: Collection of Memories
"When Gabriel 'Specter' Reese says public art is 'all about the community,' he means it literally. The artist interviewed more than 800 senior citizens in Flatbush, Brooklyn, while he was making his latest large-scale work, A Collection of Local Memories. His interview subjects’ reminiscences—about neighborhood characters, houses, and storefronts, many of them long gone—are brightly painted onto the freestanding, three-sided mural in a plaza at Ocean and Parkside avenues...The mural, which went up early this month, is the second in a new series of five installations from the New York City Department of Transportation’s Urban Art Program. The program partners with local nonprofit organizations to commission public artworks as part of the DOT’s World Class Streets initiative."
Incorporating Arts into Other Subjects
"Math students at the Christopher Columbus Family Academy learn about angles by measuring whimsical figures of hot-air balloons, paper airplanes, and pinwheels built right into the walls of their school...The Columbus school incorporates sculpture and other art into nearly every corner of its year-old building with the hope that it will inspire students in this working-class Hispanic neighborhood to learn. It is one of a growing number of newly built or renovated public schools across the country that look more like cultural centers than the austere, utilitarian houses of learning of the past, displaying museum-worthy pieces commissioned from artists alongside more traditional finger paintings and statues of school mascots. Columbus even drew up a curriculum guide this fall for using this untraditional architecture in class lessons. 'Looking at art is not just an aesthetic; it’s a learning resource,' said Abie Benitez, principal of the Columbus academy. 'We’ve created a framework for everybody to find a connection to the art in the building—and to the building itself.' New Haven has emerged at the forefront of a movement to build schools that are aesthetically pleasing as well as functional, and to turn plain brick-and-mortar walls into show-and-tell lessons. Fourteen of the 31 public schools built or renovated here in the past decade have merged art and architecture with education in some fashion."
The New York Times 10/01/2009
Mixing Fine Art and Fine Wine
"Art is popping up all across the vineyard-rich [Napa] valley, from agricultural barns that used to house hay and livestock feed to private, museum-worthy collections secreted in the rolling hills studded with faux Tuscan villas, orderly rows of grapevines and, in the winter, yellow stripes of mustard flowers. 'Hundreds of artists live here, there are galleries in every town and there’s an extraordinary range of art available, if you know where to look,' said Michelle Williams, executive director of the Arts Council Napa Valley, a nonprofit that promotes the arts. 'You could go to an art opening or event every weekend, if you wanted.' The valley’s artistic roots go back to 1970, when Margrit Mondavi, the matriarch of the Robert Mondavi Winery, opened a 5,000-square-foot gallery at the Spanish Mission-style estate, with adobe walls, exposed beam ceilings, and huge windows that frame the surrounding vineyards and purple oaks. It was the region’s first such wine-and-art combo."
The New York Times 10/04/2009
The White House Celebrates Latin Music
"Coalition-building came with dance steps, sequins and plenty of rhythm at Fiesta Latina, a concert held Tuesday night in a tent on the South Lawn of the White House as part of the White House Music Series.
“Although Latin music takes many forms, the spirit of diversity also unifies us,” President Obama said in an opening speech.
“Fiesta Latina” is to be telecast Thursday on PBS stations as part of the series “In Performance at the White House.” It is also to be shown Sunday on the Telemundo network and Dec. 25 on the V-me channel.
“Even though it’s constantly evolving, Latin music speaks to us all in a language we can understand about hope and joy, sorrow and pain, friendship and love,” Mr. Obama said. “It moves us, and it attempts to make us move a little bit ourselves.”
New York Times 10/13/2009
Arsht Donates $5 Million to Kennedy Center
"Adrienne Arsht, a major philanthropist whose generosity has been keenly felt in Washington and Miami, has donated $5 million to the Kennedy Center to support of musical theater programming...Arsht said that she had 'experienced first-hand the unbelievable memories the Kennedy Center creates' and looked forward to supporting working 'many more history making seasons and performances.' Arsht is a major underwriter for the Kennedy Center’s Arts in Crisis project, which was launched to help nonprofit performing arts organizations throughout the country in dealing with the pressures of the weakened economy. A $30 million donation in 2008 to a struggling arts center in South Florida proved a substantial boost; the venue is now called the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County."
The Baltimore Sun's Clef Notes Blog 10/15/2009
Arts Education Linked to Graduation Rates
"In a report to be released on [October 19], the nonprofit Center for Arts Education found that New York City high schools with the highest graduation rates also offered students the most access to arts education. The report, which analyzed data collected by the city’s Education Department from more than 200 schools over two years, reported that schools ranked in the top third by graduation rates offered students the most access to arts education and resources, while schools in the bottom third offered the least access and fewest resources. Among other findings, schools in the top third typically hired 40 percent more certified arts teachers and offered 40 percent more classrooms dedicated to coursework in the arts than bottom-ranked schools. They were also more likely to offer students a chance to participate in or attend arts activities and performances."
The New York Times 10/18/2009
Local Students to Push for Fine Arts Funds
"Ten Logan-Rogersville high school students [spoke] before the Missouri School Boards Association at the group's annual conference [October 24]. The students [discussed] their efforts to get legislation passed that would provide more funding for professional development in fine arts for all Missouri public schools. A grass-roots effort began in 2007 with a survey of Missouri districts regarding the need for more fine arts funding in public schools. The group wrote—with the help of state Rep. Bob Dixon—a bill that passed the House in 2008 but ultimately stalled in the Senate. Last year, Logan-Rogersville students formed the Sho Me Arts Committee and joined forces with a new student fine arts committee from Jefferson City High. In conjunction with the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education, the students and Dixon worked to develop fine arts professional development legislation to fund regional fine arts coordinators."
Springfield News-Leader 10/24/2009
Study Quantifies Impact of Tourism
"A new study, the first of its kind, confirms that cultural and heritage tourism is huge—and bigger than many of us thought in terms of economic impact...Especially noteworthy is that this group is affluent and travels more and further as a whole—which means they are less impacted by the slow economy than other types of travelers. The study, conducted by Mandala Research for the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism (USCHT) Marketing Council, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Commerce, shows that 78 percent of all U.S. leisure travelers (118.3 million adults) participate in culture and/or heritage activities while traveling, spending an average of $994 per trip, and contributing to more than $192 billion annually to the U.S. economy."
Fox & Hounds Blog 10/29/2009
Budget Increase for Arts and Humanities
"The House and Senate on Thursday passed a budget increase for the National Endowment for the Arts and for the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Interior Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2010 sets budgets for each agency at $167.5 million, up $12.5 million from last year.
“This important budget increase recognizes the essential role the arts play in our lives, schools, and communities,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and chief of Americans for the Arts, an advocacy group, in a statement."
The New York Times 10/30/2009
The White House Celebrates Classical Music
"Wednesday was classical music day at the White House. The festivities and performances were sponsored by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, created by executive order in 1982. The first lady serves as honorary chairwoman of the committee, and Michelle Obama, fully embracing that function, has created a White House Music Series.
The celebration ended with a concert in the East Room with President and Mrs. Obama as hosts, and featuring performances by four acclaimed American musicians: the violinist Joshua Bell, the cellist Alisa Weilerstein, the guitarist Sharon Isbin and the pianist Awadagin Pratt.
An event of special meaning took place in the afternoon, when Mrs. Obama welcomed a group of some 120 students from community music schools across the country to a workshop. The four guest artists played for the students and also played with several of them, having worked with them in private morning sessions at the White House."
The New York Times 11/04/2009
Museum Program to Aid Alzheimer's Patients
Arts education is not just for school children anymore. The Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI, will soon unveil a new program linking arts education with Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers. The program will be split into two parts, one taking place in the galleries where people will experience and discuss the art, with the other part occurring with hands-on activities. According to the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Wisconsin, researchers have found that Alzheimer's damages the left side of the brain, while the right side remains intact. Activities such as art and dancing allow for stimulation on the healthy right side and assist in meaningful interaction between those who have Alzheimer's and other memory diseases and those who care for them.
A delegation from the museum visited New York City earlier this year to see how programs work there, and will be bringing it back to Wisconsin thanks to a grant from the Helen Bader Foundation in Milwaukee. During the visit to New York City, curator Erin Narloch noticed a family "smiling, laughing, and snapping photos" later discovering that the patient was soon to be moved to hospice care. It was incredibly moving to Narloch, "In the midst of this incredibly difficult time, they found it's worth going to this program at the Met. It's that important, and it held that much value."
Wausau Daily Herald 11/08/2009
A Moveable FEAST
"A new movement is spreading across the nation that combines grassroots arts funding with sustainable agriculture. It's called FEAST [Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics]. And on [November 14] it's making its debut in Minneapolis. Jeff Hnilicka is a founder of FEAST in Brooklyn, which first started hosting dinners to raise funds for artists in February." Hnilicka says, "The basic set up is we have 200–500 people that come out for a big dinner. We locally source it working with a farm. We cook a big vegetarian organic meal. Everyone gets supper and a ballot and we charge a small door fee—we ask $10–20 and then there's about 15 artists' projects around the room, and whoever gets the most votes gets the money that we collect at the door. And then the artist comes back the next month and shows what they've been working on. Hnilicka compares the artist presentations to high school science fairs. They stand next to a table with some images of their work, and a brief description, and answer questions. It's a lot less time consuming than preparing a grant application. In addition, the artist knows whether or not they got funding in about four hour's time."
Minnesota Public Radio NewsQ 11/10/2009
Kennedy Center Honors 5 With Awards
"Political and entertainment luminaries gathered here over the weekend for the 32nd annual Kennedy Center Honors, a two-day celebration that brings together some of the most influential figures in Washington and Hollywood.
The recipients of the award this year were Robert De Niro, Mel Brooks, Bruce Springsteen, the mezzo-soprano and soprano Grace Bumbry and the jazz musician Dave Brubeck. A gala performance on Sunday night at the Kennedy Center capped off a busy weekend for the recipients, who also attended a dinner Saturday hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and a Sunday reception with President Obama at the White House.
In times of war and sacrifice, the arts — and these artists — remind us to sing and to laugh and to live. In times of plenty, they challenge our conscience and implore us to remember the least among us," Mr. Obama said. "In moments of division or doubt, they compel us to see the common values that we share; the ideals to which we aspire, even if we sometimes fall short. In days of hardship, they renew our hope that brighter days are still ahead."
The New York Times 12/06/2009
Sec. Clinton Speaks on Arts, Human Rights
"QUESTION: I am wondering what you see the role of artists doing in helping to promote human rights. I had the privilege earlier this summer to hear the playwright Lynn Nottage speak in one of the Senate buildings after she advocated for women’s rights in the Congo, and I wonder how you see creative practice accompanying and amplifying policy.
SECRETARY CLINTON: That is a wonderful question because I think the arts and artists are one of our most effective tools in reaching beyond and through repressive regimes, in giving hope to people. It was a very effective tool during the Cold War. I’ve had so many Eastern Europeans tell me that it was American music, it was American literature, it was American poetry that kept them going. I remember when Vaclav Havel came to the White House during my husband’s administration, and we were having a state dinner for him. And I said, “Well, who would you like to entertain at the state dinner?” And I didn’t know what he was going to say. And he said, “Lou Reed.” (Laughter.) “It was his music that was just so important for us – in prison, out of prison.”
Well, you could name many other American artists who have traveled. We’re going to try to increase the number of artistic exchanges we do so that we can get people into settings where they will be able to directly communicate. Now, with communication being what it is today, you can download them and all the rest, but there’s something about the American Government sending somebody to make that case which I think is very important to our commitment.
Also, artists can bright to light in a gripping, dramatic way some of the challenges we face. You mentioned the play about women in the Congo. I remember some years ago seeing a play about women in Bosnia during the conflict there. It was so gripping. I still see the faces of those women who were pulled from their homes, separated from their husbands, often raped and left just as garbage on the side of the road. So I think that artists both individually and through their works can illustrate better than any speech I can give or any government policy we can promulgate that the spirit that lives within each of us, the right to think and dream and expand our boundaries, is not confined, no matter how hard they try, by any regime anywhere in the world. There is no way that you can deprive people from feeling those stirrings inside their soul. And artists can give voice to that. They can give shape and movement to it. And it is so important in places where people feel forgotten and marginalized and depressed and hopeless to have that glimmer that there is a better future, that there is a better way that they just have to hold onto.
So I’m going to do what I can to continue to increase and enhance our artistic outreach, but this is also a great area for private foundations, for NGOs, for artists themselves, for universities like Georgetown to be engaged in. It’s interesting, in today’s world we are deluged with so much information. I mean, we are living in information overload time. And so we need ways of cutting through all of that. We’re also living in an on-the-one-hand-this and on-another-hand-that sort of media environment. I always joke that if a television station or a newspaper interviews somebody who is claiming that the earth is round, they have to put on somebody from the Flat Earth Society because that’s balance, fair and balanced coverage. (Laughter and applause.)
And so part of what we have to do is look for those ways of breaking through all of that. And I think that the power of the arts to do that is so enormous, and we can’t ever forget about the role that it must play in giving life to the aspirations of people around the world."
U.S. Department of State Georgetown University 12/14/2009