Seven Reasons to Become a Public Art Leader

Posted by Barbara S. Goldstein, May 31, 2016 0 comments

Barbara Goldstein is an Americans for the Arts member and recipient of the 2016 Public Art Network Award. Find out more about the Americans for the Arts Annual Leadership Arts Awards.

Usually when people ask me what I do and I say “public art planner” a lot of confusing questions follow. Many lay people identify murals and public sculpture as public art; others consider public art to be concerts in the park, painted utility boxes and Cows on Parade ™

I’m here to tell you that, yes, public art is all those things. But most of all, public art is a practice that creates a partnership between artists and stakeholders to create art in the public realm where people can discover it without having to pay admission.

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The State and Statements of Changing Inequities

Posted by Eric Booth, May 31, 2016 0 comments

In the decades of my arts learning career, I have encountered inequities everywhere I go. In just the week I write this, I have been addressing inequities in the number of musicians of color in U.S. orchestras, in the provision of arts performances in rural areas, in the funding for different kinds of arts groups, and in the persistent preponderance of white teaching artists serving communities of other races.  

There have been long chunks of my career when I "saw" the persistently gross inequities and biases in and around arts organizations, but without really seeing them because I was so intent on other priorities like the quality of the work of teaching artists, fulfilling the purpose of arts education programs, the effectiveness of partnering.  I am not proud that during those years of prioritizing other issues, I was complicit in that unfairness.

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Art vs. Racism, Privilege, and Displacement

Posted by Ms. Margy Waller, May 27, 2016 0 comments

Creating greater equity is urgent. This is the discussion we’ve been having at the New Community Visions Initiative convenings across the country. In these gatherings, we’ve focused (or tried to) on community goals as the outcome, and arts sector needs as a means to that end. Importantly, we’re talking about equity through art, not for art.

How do the arts contribute to creating more equitable places?

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Diversity in Local Arts Agencies: Findings from the 2015 LAA Census

Posted by Graciela Kahn, May 27, 2016 0 comments

In 2015, Americans for the Arts partnered with the National Endowment for the Arts to conduct the Local Arts Agency Census, the most comprehensive survey of the local arts agency (LAA) field to date. More than 1,000 LAAs responded to the survey on topics ranging from budgets and financial outlook to specifics about their programs and services.

In order to more clearly see the work ahead of our field in terms of diversity we included questions about board and staff demographics, diversity initiatives in LAA programs, and about formal diversity policies. The answers we received paint a complex picture, but in general, the demographic composition of LAAs show that as a field, we can do better in representing all our constituents.

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Reflections on Readiness and Resiliency

Posted by Ruby Lopez Harper, May 27, 2016 0 comments

On April 19, the National Endowment for the Arts hosted a convening of national thought leaders and practitioners to consider the increasing importance of work related to natural disasters, man-made disasters and civil unrest. “Readiness and Resiliency”: Advancing a Collaborative and National Strategy for the Arts in Times of Emergencies.

I was excited to be attending as an observer on behalf of the National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response. I had attended a preconference through Grantmakers in the Arts in 2014 in Houston. The preconference focused on the examination of the readiness, response, and emergency support systems for artists. It featured three artists and really centered around how the arts community responds to the effect of natural disasters on the lives of individual artists. It was, to say the least, so completely inspiring that I found the ideas and content integrating itself into the conversations I had with the local community in Columbus upon my return and for the time following.

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Boards First

Posted by Mitch Menchaca, May 26, 2016 0 comments

Cultural equity is a significant charge for every arts organization to strive for in their work. The choral community that I work in is committed to expanding its diversity, including language, ethnicity, race, and religion, as well as crosscutting characteristics such as gender, sexual orientation, and range of ability and age. Choruses are building community from the inside out, focusing on the rehearsal room as a first step to building a healthy and vibrant arts organization that can create a feeling of community for its audiences and beyond.

But where does cultural equity begin in a field that attempts to be intentionally inclusive, rather than deliberately exclusive?

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