Why In-District Advocacy Matters: An Insider’s Perspective
Working for a Representative from my home state of Tennessee was immensely rewarding, particularly because my office placed high priority on constituent services. If constituents took the time to schedule a meeting to discuss their concerns, chances were high that the Representative would do what he could to co-sponsor the bill in question, write a letter of inquiry, or make a speech on the House floor. However, Capitol Hill isn’t the only place to connect with your legislator. Meetings right where constituents live and work—at home in the district—can have just as much impact.
For the Love of Community
As creatives, we need to shift our focus from seeing each other as competitors to seeing each other as our greatest source of inspiration.
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Artist as Administrator
Visiting a retrospective exhibition of the art and film of Robin Lloyd and Doreen Kraft reminded me of how many arts administrators are also artists in our community. In the workplace, artists have certain advantages, particularly with the never-ending aspiration to improve. While building upon technique and experience, curiosity leads artists to explore new horizons. And, resiliency and adaptability are central to an artist’s process, and crucial for an organization’s sustainability.
If Not YOU, Then WHO?
When one of my dear mentors asked me to participate in my first Arts Advocacy Day, I demurred, saying that I wasn’t anybody special. I wasn’t an Executive Director! I didn’t work for a Local Arts Agency! I wasn’t an expert on Congressional Law! But my mentor looked me straight in the eye and said, “If not YOU, then WHO?” That hit home. It made me realize that I was EXACTLY who our political leaders needed to hear from.
It’s Time for Sustainability in the Arts to be a Priority
Content sponsored by University of Massachusetts Amherst Arts Extension Service.
Arts organizations are leaders in their communities, and they can lead by example and inspire individuals and other organizations to also do their part in reducing the need for energy, water, and fuel. In the new 6th edition of Fundamentals of Arts Management, Sarah (Brophy) Sutton and I have mapped out a step-by-step process for how to transform your arts institution into a sustainable one, regardless of scale or budget size.
Postcards from the Field—Part 2!
This week, we present the final installment of our Diversity in Arts Leadership intern profile series. For 25 years, the Arts & Business Council of New York has been hosting the DIAL internship program as an investment in a more equitable arts management field. This summer, 12 interns from all over the country have descended upon arts nonprofits in New York City for ten weeks to explore and build skills in arts administration and leadership.
The Role Museums Play in Social Activism
The choice of museums to take a stand is unique to each institution, and it’s complicated, layered, and specific to the geographical location and political climate of the region. In the meantime, artists will continue to create works that question our existence and boundaries; be responsive to the emotional, social, political, and religious world around them; and ask the important questions that move us all forward as aware global citizens. Museums and cultural institutions that support contemporary artists will continue to support them, whether through curatorial or educational programming.
Expanding the Arts Ecosystem in Malawi
Malawi has no shortage of artists. What’s needed is a more robust arts ecosystem in which artists can grow and thrive. There is no question that the arts are critical to fostering human development, establishing identity through shared cultural heritage, bolstering democracy, and protecting human rights. It is high time that international donors and the Malawian government realized that one of the country’s greatest resources—arts and culture—remains largely untapped.
Loving the Question of Beauty
Why is beauty, a word often included in definitions of aesthetics, missing from the list of 11 attributes of excellence in the Aesthetic Perspectives framework? It is a question that prompted many conversations during the making of the framework as we wrestled with exclusive connotations of “taste” and what is “beautiful.” I posit that the sum total of the 11 aesthetic attributes complexifies beauty and provides a framework for reconsidering what is beauty in Arts for Change.
Social Transformation Under the Sheltering Sky of Aesthetics
The integrity and transparency with which we conduct ourselves at the National Public Housing Museum is extremely important to everyone involved. This is work where the process is as vital as the result itself. And we intend to evaluate the so-called “excellence” of our efforts in how much justice we help to create in the world. The Aesthetic Perspectives framework emerges at a key moment for our work, as both a blessing and offering. It opens up a utopian and expansive new terrain for how to reflect on work that is meant to be socially engaged and transformative.
The Case for Complexity
Change requires doing things differently, in new, creative, and risk-taking ways. Public Matters wants to see the arts recognized as a critical element of civic life and of a healthy community. Doing so requires pushing beyond standardized conceptions of who or what an artist is and does. The Aesthetic Framework can play a role in this conversation by expanding the appreciation of what this work entails and what it can achieve. Openly embracing risk-taking is essential, within the arts and in partnerships with historically risk-averse disciplines and agencies seeking better outcomes.