For Arts Professionals in the Know
On Friday, April 30, 2010 it started raining. Most Nashvillians rented a movie, grabbed a pizza and stayed in for the night. By lunch the next day, I remarked to my husband that the rain was “getting a little Biblical”. Within 2 hours I received a call that changed my life. The Deputy Mayor summoned me into the Emergency Command Center to help manage the city’s coordination and flood response. I did not leave that post for nearly six months.
I had been on the job at Metro Arts for just 4 months. Luckily, my previous career had included disaster training and coordination—just enough to be helpful in a city overwhelmed by water. By May 2, the region had absorbed more than 17 inches of water, one of the largest rain events ever recorded in America. More than 11 individuals lost their lives and more than 10,000 properties were damaged. 
We sustained millions in damage to the Nashville Symphony; the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum; and dozens of smaller artist studios, galleries, and community arts organizations. Hundreds of musicians and touring acts lost their equipment and costumes when SoundCheck Nashville was completely flooded.
Within a matter of moments, I went from Arts Administrator to co-managing the Office of Disaster Recovery. More than 3 years later, I still get twitchy when it rains for more than a few hours.
What I learned on the ground during the response and working with the community after the flood just might help someone else. Artists and grassroots arts agencies are particularly vulnerable and must think about disasters before the happen.Read More
The Americans for the Arts Action Fund, in partnership with NAMM: National Association of Music Merchants, The Recording Academy (GRAMMYs), and The United States Conference of Mayors partnered together to sponsor programs at both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention with the help of the respective local arts agencies in Tampa and Charlotte (Arts Council of Hillsborough County and the Arts & Science Council).
It all began with two events in Tampa for the Republican National Convention.
The first was ArtsSPEAK, a policy forum on the future of the arts and arts education. The second was ArtsJAM, an intimate concert performance featuring national recording artists celebrating the arts.
To kick things off, Arts Action Fund President Bob Lynch welcomed RNC delegates to ArtsSPEAK in Tampa:
Later, he was joined by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who moderated the panel of elected officials, advocates and arts leaders. Featured speakers included: Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert; Mesa (AZ) Mayor Scott Smith; Hillsborough County School Board Member Doretha Edgecomb; Tampa Bay Times Marketing Director Kerry O'Reilly; and Jazz Musician/Former New York Yankee Bernie Williams.
You can listen to the full event via SoundCloud:Read More
This past summer I sat in a room at the Americans for Arts Annual Convention on a beautiful afternoon and listened to folks from Memphis talk about how art and business have created a partnership that works (you can find a longer blog post about it here).
The conversation wasn’t what I expected to hear.
I expected to hear the tired old platitudes about the ROI arts can provide; pie graphs, bar graphs, numbers galore. Bottom line revenue creation. Profit points. Cost projections. Economic development. Blah, blah, blah...
But as I stiffened my spine to sit through another pile of accounting buzzwords, the corporate guy got up and said, “When we’re trying to hire quality people, the town’s cultural footprint is important in attracting the right kind of people.” In short, “I don’t really care about the arts themselves or the money the arts can make; I only use them as a tool to make sure we get quality employees.”
There was a palpable, audible, unified grumble that cascaded across the room. However, I leaned forward in my chair, newly in love with this guy who cut through the bull and told it like it is.Read More
On Friday, as the sun made it's daily appearance over the Bay, Ray Pohlman from AutoZone asked us to pretend it was February in Minnesota and resist the urge to head out to the pool. For those of us who took his advice, it was worth it.
We got to hear why companies you might not expect including an auto parts company and an airplane manufacturer care about the arts.
According to Ray Pohlman, supporting the arts at AutoZone is for business reasons. They wouldn't do it if wasn't meaningful to the bottom line.Read More