Blog Posts for Community Engagement

Why Does it Matter?

Posted by Ms. Maryo Gard Ewell, Jul 14, 2017 0 comments

Content sponsored by University of Massachusetts Amherst Arts Extension Service.

Identity, cultural democracy, excellence, justice—just a few of the “whys” behind our work. We have many spiritual ancestors who can help us articulate our “why” because, as discussed in Fundamentals of Arts Management 6th edition, this work has been weaved throughout our country’s history. I urge us all to take to time to connect with our own sense of “why.”

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Of Distinction: Community-engaged notions of value

Posted by Ananya Chatterjea, Jul 24, 2017 0 comments

Animating Democracy’s new Aesthetic Perspectives framework spawned multiple parallel scenarios in my head. In one, I was continuing my conversation from a few weeks ago with a foundation grant officer, who told me that their organization was “not so interested in social justice”; you simply had to “have artistic excellence.” I had presented my most cogent argument that artistic excellence is often conceptualized in dangerously narrow ways, to the detriment of appreciating arts and social justice work—only to be brushed aside. What would have happened if the framework, offering many different ways of reading “excellence” in socially engaged art, had been at my fingertips then? 

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At the nexus of artists, mission, context, place, and communities

Posted by Ms. Cath Brunner, Jul 19, 2017 0 comments

Making the case for an expanded definition of public art depends on working closely to a nexus of mission, context, place, and the communities most impacted by the project and/or most in need of the services. We do not have to be constrained by preconceived or limited notions of what public art is or can do—or can fund. We can confront inequities in our world, imagine new possibilities, and we can support artists’ interventions and actions that will lead to profound changes.

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The Arts and Veterans: A Mighty Force

Posted by Robert Lynch, Jun 30, 2017 0 comments

The Fourth of July is a time to honor and reflect on the determination and sacrifices of our service members in making our freedom possible. Over the years, stories have emerged of how veterans across the country come back—and what they give back—after overcoming sometimes decades of struggles with combat and service-related illness and injuries. Many of these veterans say that the arts saved their lives—but in finding their creative voice, they are also enriching our lives too.

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From Jobs to Dinner to Even Milking Cows, the Nonprofit Arts Are a Multi-Faceted Economic Powerhouse

Posted by Robert Lynch, Jun 17, 2017 0 comments

In 2015, Americans for the Arts set out to determine the economic impact of the nonprofit arts industry through Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5 (AEP5), the largest national study of its kind. It has been five years since the last such study, which came shortly after the Great Recession. We focused on 341 regions representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including 14,439 arts and cultural organizations, and an extraordinary 212,691 audience members. Surveys were collected throughout 2016, and results were revealed June 17 at Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention in San Francisco. The numbers are remarkable.

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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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