Blog Posts for Arts & Business

The Transforming Powers of Community Service

Posted by Alix Refshauge, Mar 05, 2010 0 comments

The Residency Green Paper states that: The first artists' residencies were developed in the late 1800's...(and were) not about retreat from the industry and fierceness of the city, but rather about advancing a different way of life.  Residencies have nurtured the creative development of artists like Marcel Duchamp, Alice Walker, and Leonard Bernstein... Surely no one would argue against the benefit of that time to those artists (and many more) and that their work has added tremendous value to our society as a whole.  It is a great community service that they provide.

Fast forward to 2010 when there are over 400 residencies in the US alone.  Like the towns, cities, and woods that they exist in and the people who run their programs and sit on their boards - they are all different. Many residencies do not offer retreat but instead require some type of a more public community outreach or work exchange. Looking out - community outreach can have a great impact on the locals who are involved and can also attract funding. Looking in - meaningful community service can have a tremendous impact on the direction of one's work, on the direction one takes in their art career, and in the actions one takes in the communities that they settle in. The goal then is to make sure that community service and work requirements enhance the residency experience and that the AiRs take ownership of the good work that they do outside of their studio space. In other words - the goal is to provide experiences that are specific and meaningful to that individual.  

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How Do We Get Decision-Makers Directly Involved?

Posted by Michael R. Gagliardo, Mar 01, 2010 3 comments

I am now a little over four days removed from attendance at an event that reinforced my belief in my profession.  Not that I really needed any reinforcement – I have always believed in the work that we do – but every once in a while it’s nice to experience a moment that solidifies all of the thoughts and reasons we have for our work.

I spent last week in Santa Clara, California, with 120 high school students from 32 states.  The event was the National High School Honors Orchestra, and I had the honor of serving as the chair for the event.  With the help of a hand-picked staff of eleven of the best music educators (and dear friends) from all over the country, the guidance of the phenomenal Maestro Raymond Harvey, and lots of administrative assistance from the talented ASTA staff, we brought these 120 individuals together on Tuesday afternoon for a week that one student would later refer to as “one of the best experiences of my life.”

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The Creative Economy (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Mitch Menchaca, Feb 24, 2010 3 comments

Over the past few months, questions about the creative economy have lit up the phone lines at Americans for the Arts. Members are interested in learning of examples of communities where efforts are thriving; others want to build successful initiatives to engage their local community in the support and promotion of the creative economy; and some members are just wondering what the "creative economy" is all about.

The discussion on the the topic has taken on a high profile around the country (and around the globe) over the past decade. In 2002, Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class highlighted the need for creativity as an asset in the economy. Communities across the country face challenges in attracting and retaining highly skilled workers, developing creative industries, as well as expanding for creative products and services.

A creative economy is dependent on a creative workforce and the presence of creative industries—for-profit and nonprofit businesses involved in the creation or distribution of the arts. They are businesses that we participate in for enjoyment (seeing a movie, attending a concert, or reading a novel); engage in for business (architecture, design, musical instrument manufacturing); and invest in to enrich community livability (museums, public art, performing arts centers). Creative industries contribute to economic growth by attracting a dynamic workforce, serving as a destination for cultural tourism, and creating exportable cultural products.

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Arts Education: Make Congress Sing and Act!

Posted by Merryl Goldberg, Feb 23, 2010 2 comments

This month is proving to be one heck of a roller coaster ride for arts education advocates. On the up side, a U.S. Department of Education “stakeholders” meeting on the reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was ground breaking in that it was the first time that the national arts education community had been invited to specifically address the reauthorization policy efforts. On the other hand, on the heels of that meeting, the White House unveiled an education budget that eliminated the 40 million that was allocated specifically to arts education.

While it will be argued that arts education is not eliminated from the budget, just reassigned under other programs, we cannot let this pass by without pause. Reassigning arts education to broader categories and taking the words “arts education” off the budget pages, effectively is a signal of importance–or rather lack of importance in the minds of the officials who have oversight of the budget. This is a terrible move, and one which cannot no go unaddressed. Arts education is core to NCLB, and thus must remain core to the budget and how the budget is outlined in print. But beyond rhetoric, arts education is truly core to how we are as a people in society and how our children will learn to be engaged citizens. 

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