Blog Posts for social change

AFTACON Opening Plenary: “On How the Arts can Fuel Revolution” by Diane Paulus

Posted by Clayton Lord, Jun 22, 2016 0 comments

Diane Paulus, artistic director of American Repertory Theatre, gave a rousing speech at our 2016 Annual Convention pondering the state of our country and celebrating the role of the artist and the arts in this fragile moment.

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Serving Communities: Stewarding Public Investment in the Arts

Posted by John Schratwieser, Apr 15, 2016 1 comment

In October 2015, Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA) hosted its fourth annual capacity building conference called ArtsLAB. This year’s theme was “Community Engagement; Roles and Responsibilities of Publicly Funded Arts Organizations.” Why did we choose this topic? Simple: The Baltimore Uprising of April 2015.

Our offices are in Baltimore City. On the day after the Uprising, the Baltimore City School System was closed. As a city resident, I considered this an egregious error if not a complete failure of the system to our youth. As I arrived at work and opened up our social media accounts, something so basic and so truly amazing happened. One after another, nonprofit arts organizations across the city started promoting arts activities, free lunches, free concerts and plays for Baltimore City School Students.

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The Arts and Social Justice: Bridging Artistic Excellence and Social Justice Transformation

Posted by Myran Parker-Brass, Apr 06, 2016 0 comments

With the rise in racial tension and violence in our communities, the question of how we engage our communities in meaningful civic discourse is being asked across the country—particularly how do we engage our young people and help them understand how to include their “voice” in the discussion? The arts have a long standing place in building a bridge between artistic expression and social justice. “Music and the arts are often the glue that helps hold a movement together, providing a sounding board and an emotional support structure,” says Anthony Trecek-King, Artistic Director for the Boston Children’s Chorus, BCC, during our recent discussion about BCC’s unique mission.

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Artists & Communities: Marty Pottenger & Jess Solomon in Conversation

Posted by Alicia Gregory, Mar 24, 2016 0 comments

What do you get when you place an artist in municipal government to work closely with employees, elected officials, and local artists on urgent issues like racism, immigration, gentrification, and more? The incredible work of Marty Pottenger who, for over 25 years,  has been utilizing art as tool for connection, exploration, and understanding—breaking barriers and fostering transformative dialogue around the country and specifically in the city of Portland, ME.

This month, continuing our Artists & Communities series, Marty is in conversation with Art in Praxis Director Jess Solomon, who is uses arts & culture, storytelling, and co-creation to help organizations and communities build their capacity in more intentional, strategic, and creative ways.

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#artssowhite - How can arts education help build equity in the arts?

Posted by Matt D'Arrigo, Feb 04, 2016 0 comments

Oscar season is upon us and rather than debating who will win Best Picture or Best Actor/Actress, the debate has been how “white” the Oscars are.  #oscarssowhite went viral and African American actors began to boycott. As a result, the Academy (which is 94% white) responded by making the bold move to change their composition to reflect more diversity.

The Oscar issue is reflective of a much larger issue across all sectors of the arts; lack of diversity. I just returned from the annual meeting of American’s for the Arts and all of their advisory councils. This issue was front-and-center over the three-day meeting, as it has become a top priority for AFTA. As I sat and looked around the room I could see why.

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Introducing the Artists & Communities Conversation Series

Posted by Alicia Gregory, Jan 25, 2016 0 comments

Americans for the Arts is excited to debut a new conversation series, Artists & Communities, highlighting the voices of artists and arts practitioners working across sectors and within communities. Over the next ten months, we will publish ten conversations between pairs of established and emerging community arts leaders as they share their visions for, experiences with, and challenges to making healthy, equitable, vibrant communities through arts and culture. As community-based work receives more recognition, and intersections and collaborations become stronger, these conversations illuminate just how artists and community arts leaders can work to sustain and maintain healthy communities through their practice.

First up: Liz Lerman, choreographer, performer, writer, educator, speaker, and founder of Dance Exchange, and Deana Haggag, Director of the Baltimore-based nomadic museum The Contemporary.

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