Blog Posts for Mississippi

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

Posted by Randy I. Cohen, Jun 17, 2017 0 comments

When recently asked how best to advocate for the arts in the current environment, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (NM)—co-chair of the Senate Cultural Caucus and chief sponsor of the CREATE Act—was unequivocal: “Start by telling every one of your Senators about the economic benefits of the arts.” This familiar refrain is one we have heard for decades from city council chambers to governor mansions to the halls of Congress—and it works. Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 does just that. It changes the conversation about the arts from that of a “charity” to one about an “industry” that provides both cultural and economic benefits to the community.

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Advocacy & Arts: Have You Seen the Ads?

Posted by Kate McClanahan, May 05, 2017 0 comments

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

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Robert Lynch Responds to Hill Commentary Calling to End Funding for the NEA

Posted by Robert Lynch, Apr 24, 2017 0 comments

In his op-ed (“The case for cutting National Endowment of the Arts funding,” April 2), David D’Amato states that “Government-funded art is publicly-funded art only once government is lazily conflated with the public. It is not the public (whatever indeed that may mean) that decides which art projects are to be supported with taxpayer dollars.” That statement is simply inaccurate. Mr. D’Amato must be unaware that the public is embedded in the entire grantmaking process at the NEA. This in part is why the NEA has received wide support from both Republicans and Democrats for half a century. 

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Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2017

Posted by Randy I. Cohen, Feb 14, 2017 0 comments

As a young theater artist, I could always be counted on to step up and make a passionate plea when arts funding was on the line. I shared stories about myself and my colleagues with my legislators about how the arts are fundamental to our humanity. I wrote about how the arts ennoble and inspire us, fostering goodness and beauty. While I have never abandoned these arts-for-arts-sake messages in my advocacy, I have learned that they are rarely stand-alone winners. Today, I augment these fundamental benefits of the arts with pragmatic ones—stories and research that connect the arts to what keeps our community leaders awake at night: jobs, economy, education, healthcare, and community development. The change in my approach has made me a more effective advocate.

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Examples of success in the community based setting

Posted by Shelley Ritter, Apr 06, 2016 0 comments

Being asked to blog about operationalizing access and equity in arts education is daunting. As a museum director, we strive to make everything accessible following ADA guidelines and being open to the public on a regular basis. Here at the Delta Blues Museum we are trying to tell the stories of artists who have not always been given equity–in their lives, their professions, or even in their deaths.

In pondering what knowledge I could share about this topic, I realized that in part, our programming is not planed for a particular age, demographic or targeted audience. We plan programs about the blues for fans of the blues and persons interested in learning more about the blues. This audience is global. So, when you look at the world as your audience, you are freer to be more creative in your offerings instead of trying to create something for the audience you aren’t reaching. Nurture and feed the one you have.

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Scaling Up Participation: The Expansion of FIGMENT

Posted by Katherine Gressel, Dec 04, 2012 2 comments

Katherine Gressel

“It’s not about putting on a show for a limited number of people to look at, and moving it from place to place. We’re building communities in which an infinite number of people can participate.” ~ David Koren, founder and Executive Director, FIGMENT Project Inc.

FIGMENT began as a 60-project and 2,600-participant interactive arts event on New York City’s Governors Island in 2007. Today it attracts an average of 25,000 visitors to the island each year over a single June weekend, and approximately 200,000 people to its summer-long artist-designed miniature golf course, interactive sculpture garden, and architectural pavilion.

Since 2010, the nonprofit FIGMENT Project Inc. has been approached by an increasing number of cities around the world seeking to organize their own events. In 2013, events are tentatively planned for Boston (year 4), Jackson, MS (year 3), Pittsburgh (year 2), Washington, DC (year 2), Chicago (year 1), Seattle (year 1), The Bronx, NY (year 1), and Geelong, Australia (year 1).

According to its website, FIGMENT "is not a ‘regional’ or 'franchise' structure. Each new event in a new location is unique and special, but it’s also, essentially, a FIGMENT event."

What has enabled FIGMENT to spread so quickly, to environments ranging from big northeastern cities to the rural South, and still maintain a core identity? What kind of infrastructure is needed to support continued growth? And what are the unique benefits and challenges of “scaling-up” this type of ephemeral arts event?

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