Blog Posts for Social Change

More Clips from Alec Baldwin: "Art is like water. It's essential."

Posted by Tim Mikulski, Apr 23, 2012 0 comments

The two clips below capture more of Alec Baldwin's Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy given as part of Arts Advocacy Day on April 16 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

During this clip, Baldwin makes the case for the the support of arts funding:

And for the coda of his lecture, Baldwin summarizes the main points of his journey through the arts during his life and utters the most memorable quote of the speech (besides the gang dancing line much earlier...):

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Arts Advocacy Day from a Newcomer's Point of View

Posted by Candy Nguyen Smirnow, Apr 20, 2012 1 comment

Candy Nguyen Smirnow

I came to Arts Advocacy Day for the first time this year not knowing exactly what to expect.

I’ve never considered myself a political person. I rarely sign petitions and have never campaigned for any one organization or candidate. I’ve just always been very passive when it came to politics, most certainly because of my Gen X mentality.

So, when my boss asked me to join her I was hesitant, wondering does my voice really matter? But, I’ve learned a lot in the business world, and one of those things is never to pass up an opportunity to learn something new. So, I quickly reconsidered the opportunity to visit Capitol Hill.

As I walked into day one, I was amazed by the congregation of over 500 advocates. I was especially surprised by the number of young people who were participating.

When I was their age, I would’ve never even considered joining something like Arts Advocacy Day. I grew up in the public education system in Southern California, which unfortunately did not have much of an arts-infused curriculum.

In elementary school we had a “music cart,” where once a week Mr. Nelson would roll into the classroom with his keyboard and pass out the maracas and tambourines. It was everyone’s favorite day of class, but unfortunately it didn’t come quite often enough.

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Alec Baldwin: "When I saw 'West Side Story,' I wanted to dance like them...in a gang"

Posted by Tim Mikulski, Apr 19, 2012 0 comments

Here is another portion of the Nancy Hanks Lecture given by Alec Baldwin on April 16 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

This time he addresses the evolution of his appreciation for dance:

Thanks again to our friends at Ovation for providing us with the clip.

You can also listen to Alec's interview with National Public Radio's Morning Edition on April 17 as a podcast on that program's website.

Here's a sample of his wisdom:

HOST STEVE INSKEEP: Why do you think arts funding is periodically a political lightning rod?

ALEC BALDWIN: It was easier before, and I think now you still have these kind of vapors in the air from old battles, which when there were individual grants and you could say those hot button words, like Karen Finley. And you could say Mapplethorpe and you could talk about individual grants that went to people...

INSKEEP: Artists whose work (unintelligible) were considered obscene in many cases.

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Who's Number One? (from The pARTnership Movement)

Posted by Will Maitland Weiss, Apr 19, 2012 0 comments

Will Maitland Weiss

The sweet sixteen. The elite eight. The final four. But what does it really come down to...Who’s number ONE?!?!

In the case of The Economist's Hot Spots: Benchmarking Global City Competitiveness (just released last week), IT’S NEW YORK.

A total of 120 cities were evaluated with 31 indicators for each city (21 qualitative and 10 quantitative) in “eight distinct, thematic categories” like “economic strength,” and “financial maturity,” and “social and cultural character.”

The Economist journalists write in their executive summary:

"Competitiveness is a holistic concept. While economic size and growth are important and necessary, several other factors determine a city’s competitiveness, including its business and regulatory environment, the quality of human capital, and cultural aspects. These factors not only help sustain high economic growth rates, but also create a stable and harmonious business and social environment. Against this backdrop, we define competitiveness as the demonstrated ability to attract capital, business, talent, and visitors."

I love this stuff.

Let’s face it: I love when New York wins.

You love it when your city, your team, your organization wins—as you should; but, this isn’t a fluff press release from the tourism/convention agency and it isn’t, ultimately, about New York.

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The Power of Local Arts Leadership

Posted by Ursula Kuhar, Apr 19, 2012 1 comment

Ursula Kuhar

Local. Public. Value. Arts.

Try creating a cohesive, comprehensive sentence that reflects our field using these four words.

These simple words that occupy so much complexity within our industry, and an entire day of dialogue at the first Americans for the Arts Executive Directors & Board Member Symposium held on April 15.

It was an exhilarating experience to participate in a peer exchange with diverse leaders from organizations around the country including Americans for the Arts President & CEO Bob Lynch, Jonathan Katz of the National Association of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), and Mary McCullogh-Hudson of ArtsWave.

In order to frame our work as arts leaders forging into a “new normal” in the industry, Bob shared the history and context of the local arts movement in America, rooted in the discovery of the Americas to the first established arts council in 1947 by George Irwin in Illinois, to the evolution of today’s local arts enabling organization that provide cultural programming, funding, community cultural planning, and of course, advocacy activities.

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