Blog Posts for Pennsylvania

How Can Local Arts Agencies Engage Their Communities?

Posted by Maya Kumazawa, Aug 29, 2011 1 comment

Maya Kumazawa

It seems that “community engagement” and “community arts” are paving the way to a new paradigm in the local arts sector.

By browsing through some local arts agency (LAA) websites, I got the sense that most organizations were somehow relating to their local communities already. But what exactly IS community engagement and how do you do it?

Of course, by sponsoring a public art installation or creating a cultural district, the community benefits. There’s no clear line between community outreach and actually engaging citizens in conversations.

An article in the New York Times describes the shift towards community engagement in MFA programs as, “[capturing] the evolving contemporary art world, one in which awareness of the social, cultural, economic and political context in which art exists has become increasingly important. “

However, even this description doesn’t clearly distinguish how the arts world is changing – the arts have always reflected an awareness of social and cultural contexts. By defining the paradigm more specifically, LAAs will be able to plan more efficiently.

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Freedom from Budget Cuts

Posted by Justin Knabb, Jul 01, 2011 0 comments

Fourth of July celebrations started early for several states this week, as arts advocates scored major victories in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and South Carolina.

Ohio Citizens for the Arts is reporting that the state arts council will enjoy a 30.5% increase in funding for the 2012-13 biennium – 62.1 percent more than Governor John Kasich had proposed. The current allocation for FYs 2010-11 is $13.2 million, with the governor proposing only $10.6 million for the upcoming biennium. However, legislatures decided to increase that number to $17.2 million, and the governor agreed!

In Pennsylvania, the House of Representatives had proposed a 70% reduction to the $9 million budget of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts- a stark contrast to Governor Tom Corbett’s request for essentially flat funding. The Senate did not concur, and reinstated the funding: $8.2 million for arts grants, and $866,000 for arts agency administration. The House acquiesced, and the amended budget was sent to the governor for approval.

Finally, the New Jersey Legislature was pushing for a 27% cut to the $16 million budget of the state arts agency, but Governor Chris Christie removed language in the final budget that would have enacted those cuts. And, as most are already aware, South Carolinians scored a major victory as the legislature voted to override Governor Nikki Haley’s line-item veto of arts funding, thus preserving the $1.9 million allocation to their arts commission.

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