I guess one of the privileges that comes along with the subscriber count passing 500 is that people send me press releases now. I’ve gotten a whole bunch of them in the past couple of weeks, and they all seem pretty relevant, so I’ll do my journalistic duty and pass them along. (Note: some of these may receive more comment later, but right now I only have time to play the messenger.)
First, sounds like the NEA’s got a doozy of an announcement tomorrow:
NEA CHAIRMAN ROCCO LANDESMAN TO GIVE POLICY ADDRESS AT U. S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS ON JANUARY 21, 2010
Washington, D.C. – National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman will give a policy address at the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) on Thursday, January 21, 2010. The chairman’s speech will take place at USCM’s breakfast plenary on the 21st from 7:30 – 9:00 AM at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC.
As part of his speech, Chairman Landesman will announce a funding opportunity [emphasis Ian’s] that reflects the tenets of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2010/11, including the role of artists and arts organizations as place-makers and the ways they can actively contribute toward a vibrant, sustainable community.
Chairman Landesman’s announcement follows four Art Works trips—to Peoria, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; Washington, DC; and Memphis, Tennessee—that afforded him a close up view of how art works in different communities. Each Art Works trip included meetings with arts, civic, business, and political leaders as well as tours of neighborhoods and arts and community organizations.
Next, from Margy Waller and the Fine Arts Fund:
We are writing today to share our new report on a communications strategy to build more collective responsibility for the arts. Many of us have spent years searching for the strongest possible message and the best case on which to build support for the arts. Yet the messages we have used, and successfully integrated in the dialogue across the country, have not yielded the broad sense of shared responsibility that we seek.
In late 2008, leaders of the Fine Arts Fund embarked on a year-long research initiative designed to develop an inclusive community dialogue leading to broadly shared public responsibility for arts and culture in the region.
We concluded that our work with the community through arts and culture must be based on a foundation that incorporates a deeper understanding of the best way to communicate with the public in order to achieve that shared sense of responsibility.
Indeed, while we know that many people in our region say they like and value the arts, this has not been enough in recent years to grow charitable giving or public funding for arts and culture.
We determined that we need more analysis and knowledge of public views and assumptions about arts and culture to develop the necessary foundation for a conversation that leads to increased shared responsibility and public support.
While most people feel positively toward the arts, we will have to change the conversation in order to motivate action by the public for the arts.
This report summarizes a year of work and important findings for widespread use by others. While leaders of business and other nonprofit sectors have conducted research using framing science methodology to develop communications strategies for change on other issues, this is a first-in-the-nation analysis on arts and culture.
We are pleased to share the findings of this research, conducted with us by the Topos Partnership. Click here to download your copy of The Arts Ripple Effect research report. It is our hope that many organizations and writers will begin utilizing this information as they write and speak about the value of the arts in our neighborhoods and nation. As more of us use this lens on the arts, we expect the public will to support arts and culture will increase. This echo chamber about the ripple effects will benefit everyone.
Next, from our friends at Americans for the Arts:
Washington, DC — January 20, 2010 — Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts, today announced the National Arts Index at a press conference held at the National Press Club and kicking-off its 50th anniversary year. The National Arts Index is the first study designed to measure the health and vitality of the arts industries in the United States. The National Arts Index is composed of 76 national-level research indicators produced by the federal government and private research organizations.
The National Arts Index fell 4 points in 2008 to a score of 98.4, reflecting losses in charitable giving and declining attendance at larger cultural institutions, even as the number of arts organizations grew. The 2008 downturn in the Index was not wholly unexpected. With 100,000 nonprofit arts organizations and 600,000 more arts-related businesses, 2.24 million artists in the workforce, and billions of dollars in consumer spending, the arts industries largely track the nation’s business cycle. A score of 105.5 would return the Index to its highest point, measured in 1999.
“We will make-up the lost ground, but it is going to take several years. Based on past patterns, Americans for the Arts estimates an arts rebound to begin in 2011,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “For our part, we will dedicate 2010, which is our 50th anniversary, to strengthening the arts field by developing new business models for arts delivery that better suit an evolving industry as well as strengthening audience demand.”
The Index is set to a base score of 100 in 2003. Every point difference represents one percent change. There is no uppermost Index score, though higher is better. For example, a score of 125 would convey that arts and culture are more highly valued as a fundamental component in American society—characterized by strong financial health, ample capacity, innovation, vigorous participation, and a vital competitive position.
The 2009 National Arts Index report, as well as one-pagers for all 76 indicators is available for download at www.AmericansForTheArts.org/go/ArtsIndex.
[snipping puff quotes]
Other key findings from the National Arts Index report include:
- Demand for the arts lags supply. Between 1998 and 2008, there was a steady increase in the number of artists, arts organizations, and arts-related employment. Nonprofit arts organizations alone grew in number from 73,000 to 104,000 during this span of time. That one out of three failed to achieve a balanced budget even during the strongest economic years of this decade suggests that sustaining this capacity is a growing challenge, and these gains are at risk.
- How the public participates in and consumes the arts is expanding. Tens of millions of people attend concerts, plays, opera, and museum exhibitions, yet the percentage of the U.S. population attending these arts events is shrinking, and the decline is noticeable. On the increase, however, is the percentage of the American public personally creating art (e.g., music making and drawing). Technology is changing how Americans experience the arts and consumption via technology and social media is also up.
- The competitiveness of the arts is slipping. While the nature of arts participation is changing, not all arts organizations are equally adept at meeting changes in demand. The arts, in many ways, are not “stacking up” well against other uses of audience members’ time, donor and funder commitment, or spending when compared to non-arts sectors.
[snipping puff quotes]
The Kresge Foundation has awarded Americans for the Arts a $1.2 million grant to use the findings from the National Arts Index to create a companion Local Arts Index, as well as the supporting workshops and materials necessary to assist communities in the effective application of the local data.
The Index researchers have incorporated the study’s 76 indicators into nine measurement categories that provide a decade-long view on trends in philanthropy, participation, and creativity as well as the relationship of the arts to other areas of American life, such as employment and education. These measures include: Capacity & Infrastructure, Participation, Contributed Support, Employment, Nonprofit, Creativity, Arts Education Demand, Arts Business, and Competitiveness.
The report also presents the 76 indicators as components of a comprehensive and interdependent system called the “Arts and Culture Balanced Scorecard.” This model groups the 76 indicators into four components: financial flows, capacity, participation, and competitiveness.
From Nancy Duxbury (who gave a bang-up presentation at last year’s Americans for the Arts Convention on cultural activity in “edge,” or suburban/exurban cities):
Culture and Local Governance / Culture et Gouvernance Locale
Call For Papers for Special Issue on Culture and Sustainable Communities
Deadline for submission of papers: May 1, 2010
Guest Editors: Nancy Duxbury (Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra, Portugal) and M. Sharon Jeannotte (Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa, Canada)
In the face of growing environmental and economic urgencies, issues of sustainability and resiliency are moving to the forefront of planning, policy, and programs in cities and communities of all sizes. City planning paradigms are mutating from a focus on building ‘creative cities’ to that of achieving ‘sustainable cities.’ Internationally, this shift is evident among local governments adopting sustainability goals for towns, cities, and regions; creating sustainable community plans; and implementing community projects related to ‘sustainable development.’ Yet cultural considerations, while recognized in urban and community planning contexts, are not integrated into sustainability planning in a widespread way.
Where are cultural considerations in this new paradigm/framework? How might culture be incorporated and situated within sustainability planning and related initiatives? How should cultural planning adapt to this increasingly dominant paradigm and context?
Potential contributors are invited to submit an article (maximum 5,000 words) by May 1, 2010 to Nancy Duxbury at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And from the Illinois Arts Council:
The Association of American Cultures (TAAC) is accepting proposal submissions for its next symposium
Open Dialogue XII: Building the 21st Century Agenda for Cultural Democracy.
TAAC Open Dialogue XII
Thursday, August 12 thru Saturday, August 14, 2010
What is Open Dialogue XII? A symposium of local and national leaders discussing policies and programs which individuals, organizations, foundations, and policy makers are encouraged to strategize and organize around in order to further advance cultural democracy and cultural equity platforms AND programs in today’s new era of change. Recognizing some quantitative progress in equity and diversity issues over the last three to four decades, it is most urgent at this historic time of change to evaluate and set forth action-agendas around TAAC’s foundational pillars for real, substantive, long-term change:
- Equal participation in policymaking,
- Equitable funding for all cultural institutions, and
- Equity in multicultural leadership.
200-300 people are expected to attend Open Dialogue. Arts administrators, individual and teaching artists, arts educators, board members and cultural policy advocates and more are welcome. Participants come from communities across the country and abroad, from varied arts backgrounds and levels of experience.
Open Dialogue XII will begin on Thursday, August 12, 2010 with a networking event Thursday evening; Friday, August 13, 2010 will continue with presentations, sessions; and Saturday, August 14, 2010 will conclude with a keynote speaker and lunch.
Submitting a proposal
We are open to broad interpretations of the symposium theme and want to include facilitated interactive discussions, expert-led presentations and direct learning opportunities. We are seeking proposals with sharing, inclusiveness and opportunity at their core. We also appreciate innovation and the willingness to consider the refinement or abandonment of traditional models. Above all, we seek proposals that illuminate the environments in which we all work and that set forth practical organizational and institutional strategies and plans to achieve in the short-term TAAC’s foundational pillars.
What we’re not looking for is talking head panels, mind-numbing lectures and sessions wherein presenters attempt to sell products or programs, or simply rehearse equity philosophies and general directions to achieve the foundational pillars.
TAAC is pleased to accept proposals from individuals, collectives, or organizations. The symposium registration fee will be waived for all speakers. Small honoraria may be available for those traveling from out of the greater Chicago area.
5-page application form, session proposal document and resumes or curriculum vitae must be mailed to TAAC Open Dialogue XII CALL FOR SESSIONS, c/o Illinois Arts Council, 100 West Randolph Street, Suite 10-500, Chicago, IL 60601 or EMAIL proposals to TAACultures@gmail.com.
Deadline for submission: Friday, February 5, 2010 (postmark and email deadline). Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted.