What's Your Hope for the Arts in Your Community for 2009?

Posted by Elizabeth Sweeney, Jan 05, 2009 27 comments

Happy New Year from Americans for the Arts. As we look forward, we'd like to share some of our hopes with you and encourage you to share your hopes with us and others.

From Bob Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts

My hope is that the private sector—businesses, foundations, and individuals—will understand that investing in the arts in troubled times stimulates the economy; creates jobs; benefits overall community development; and creates a better environment in which our communities, our youth, and our people can thrive.

My hope is that the new Obama administration will truly see the arts as part of the solution to America's problems and invest appropriately in the arts and arts jobs in any stimulus plans that are undertaken.

My hope is that our education leaders, our legislators, and all those decision-makers who determine the budgets of America's schools will finally understand that increasing investment in the arts increases the creativity of America's students and increases their future ability to advance as creative competative 21st century workers and citizens.

Read more hopes from our bloggers and post your own!

From Scarlett Swerdlow

I wish the arts and cultural community prosperity and success in the New Year. I hope we are able to leverage the downturn in the economy as an opportunity to (re)position the arts as central to reviving the economy, creating local jobs, and sharpening our competitive edge and international reputation. I hope we use the uncertainty in America as an opening to strengthen and unite our neighborhoods and schools as well as the arts community itself. I hope we don't just seek short-term endurance through these tough times, but also long-term growth.

From Mark Baratelli

I hope that Orlando maintains its roster of arts production companies and heralds in new ones during this down economy. I hope what we consider "arts and culture"  to expand to include crafting, clothing design, and product design. I hope the arts community and the tech community start working together. I hope Orlando doesn't lose it's arts coverage: the parent company (Tribune) of the local newspaper (Orlando Sentinel) has filed for bankruptcy. I hope the construction of the multimillion dollar Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center continues safely, with no injuries. And I hope sources of funding continue to support new artists.

From Silagh White

..that citizens of my local community—no matter how "community" is defined—can come to know the value of the arts for themselves and everyone else. For all, patience for change, energy to move, and courage to act... and wisdom from our elected officials to do the right thing.

From Diane Ruggiero

My first hope is that people will appreciate what art and culture can offer during difficult times and then take advantage of them—the music of a street performer (OK, maybe in less cold weather), the enthusiasm of a stage performance, the artistry and athleticism of a dance performance, the serenity of a museum or gallery.  Go and see and listen.  The arts are not a luxury to be enjoyed only when times are good.  They will be missed if they are lost.  I hope that artists and arts organizations will grow and thrive and use these time to learn about what they do best and continue doing that.  Collaborate with each other, support each other, and learn from each other.
From Shane Hudson

My hope for the arts community in 2009 is that it survives. 2009 will be a challenging year. A year for creative thinking and aggressive action. We, the arts community, will suffer, but I hope that we survive by becoming leaner, stronger organizations with clear missions, engaged audiences, and unwavering community support.  I hope that the arts prove their worth to their communities by focusing on deepening relationships and building trust. I also hope that our communities respond by providing real support not just during these trying times, but every day.  I hope that the arts community of North Carolina rises to the challenge of pushing forward legislation to make the arts a requirement in our schools and I hope that the new administration in Washington will encourage the arts and view them as essential. Additionally, I hope that arts organizations will lead the way in the use of social media to connect and communicate with our communities. Social media and the arts are wonderful partners and I hope the industry embraces and encourages these new technologies. Most of all, I hope that the arts will inspire, move, educate, celebrate, engage, and enrage. I hope that the arts not just survive, but thrive.

From Adam Thurman

"Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful." -  Warren Buffett

My hope for 2009 is that we in the arts become greedy. Greedy in our need to produce better, more impactful work. Greedy in our desire to use every tool in the arsenal to connect that work to the public. For many of us in the arts, this crazy, chaotic, time is the moment we have been waiting for.  It's a chance to reassert ourselves in the hearts and minds of a public looking for something a bit more meaningful. Of course you'll have many smart people telling you that 2009 is the year you should hunker down and wait for the storm to pass.  They will tell you to cut your already bare bones expenses and not to take too many artistic risks. Their advice will make a lot of sense. You should ignore pretty much all of it. Now is the time for you and your colleagues to make the strongest, smartest choices possible. So my hope is that we declare 2009, "The Year of Artistic Greed" and battle to make our dreams a reality.

From Matt Lehrman

May the art strike a chord,
  and applause ever swell.
May the artists inspire,
  and the shows all go well.

May the tickets sell early,
  and the word of mouth spread.
May the walk-up be strong,
  and may good times be ahead.

27 responses for What's Your Hope for the Arts in Your Community for 2009?


January 05, 2009 at 4:41 pm

I think it would be great if all art groups--all genres, could rally behind a single concerted effort and make 2009 the year we make an American statement with an American based project represent one united US and global voice!
It is time we thought out of the box and did something together without regard to lines separating projects.

Please see www.artmiles.org, where over 1/2 million people have painted murals for the past ten years and where www.milesofmusic and Art Miles Shoes of Hope have survived with little or no outside funding, 100% volunteers and the philosophy and demonstrated practices that art is the inclusive language that transcends all religions, countries, languages, and combined with technology can make the changes and differences needed in this world.

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rick@fittoncenter.org says
January 05, 2009 at 4:45 pm

My hope is that vision is not blurred by row and column thinking, that artists and organizations continue to produce quality, community-building work, and that the people are again encouraged to pursue their hopes, dreams and aspirations creatively in an atmosphere of buoyant hope rather than suffocating fear.

My hope is that elected officials lead with vision and integrity and come to see the transformative power of the arts for all people.

My hope is that authentic change truly is on the horizon and opinion leaders will finally come to see how the arts have changed the lives of so many, whether educationally, socially or culturally.

And finally my hope is that, as they always have, the arts will be there when the ruins of economic devastation are finally cleared, stronger and more relevant than ever.

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Shawn Renee Lent says
January 05, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Engulf a new sense of confidence, conviction, optimism and opportunity.

Nourish local connections, Generate global networks

Dance more, Worry less

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anthea scouffas says
January 05, 2009 at 4:59 pm

My hope for 2009 is that we all continue to move forward without fear. We may have to work with less, but that does not mean that we will be less for it. Perhaps this is our year to work on those projects, ideas, goals that don't usually get the time they need. Perhaps this year we can move forward with a bit less and do more with it.

The art will continue because we will continue.

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January 05, 2009 at 5:10 pm

I intend to write to Arne Duncan this idea for improving education. Make arts education matter. Change the ways in which the arts are viewed and validated. Do this in a manner with will create significant change by changing the college admissions expectations for the arts. Currently high school art courses have little significance in the college admissions process. Three credits are required in nearly every subject (Math, Science, English, History) but in most schools there is no credit requirement in the arts. The arts are treated as recreation and as second class citizens. Too often grades in the arts are further devalued by be removed from the grade point calculating system. College Admissions is impacting secondary education in a negative manner. This small change could have a big impact in every school, across the country. Students need to be literate in the arts not only to understand themselves and their culture but to also have an appreciation of the rich contribution the arts have made to society and to our world. This would also validate the arts and create jobs!
I’ve heard that Arne Duncan and President Obama are interested in spurring innovation. Setting national standards in art education and making three–years of art education required for college admissions would have a profound impact on our schools, but more importantly on students. I think making this change would keep more students in high school. Many students connect to learning through the arts. The arts provide thinking and production skills that are paramount to creating the innovative society we need. The arts inspire, build self-esteem, teach skills, develop respect for different ways to interpreting and challenge all of us to our imagination. Research shows that education in the arts also improves test scores. With Arne Duncan and President Obama’s support the arts in public schools could be valued and seen as equal partners in the education of students. You know this is what is happening at the best private schools. Please provide this in our public schools. We need a new vision for a 21st century education system. What do you think? How can we implement this change?

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Christine Harris says
January 05, 2009 at 5:20 pm

My hope is that we take the opportunity, and have the courage, to change the conversation from arts education to creativity education. For the past several decades, despite massive amounts of supporting research and data, we have failed to convince most corporate and civic leaders that arts education matters. Now, if take a leap of faith and look at how we best develop a 'creative/innovative' high school graduate, we will certainly end up promoting arts education as well as supporting the process of creative inquiry itself. And, the conversation will finally bring corporate and civic leadership to the table with a language they understand. What would happen if we asked ourselves, as a community, 'what are the characteristics of a creative individual; how do we develop those characteristics; how do we measure them; and how do we put them to work to better our community' ?

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January 05, 2009 at 5:21 pm

I hope we work together, are as kind as we can be to one another and are aggressively clear-eyed and pragmatic. These may be lean times economically but there is an abundance of the creative spirit. We must keep the faith that art matters--that "we must have bread and roses, too".

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January 05, 2009 at 5:22 pm

2009 brings creativity and imagination to the table of
every citizen of the world. We must honor the crafts and traditions of many unknown masters and yet embrace the challenges of the established artists who struggle to maintain what they have accomplished..
We must provide education, entertainment and enlightenment.
The collective genius must be aroused, nurtured and made available to inspire the daily life and crafts of artists throughout the world.
As a youth In Cleveland, Ohio,
I learned the wonderment of the arts in the Settlement Houses, established for the immigrant population. Let us support our individual, local community centers and watch America thrive.

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January 05, 2009 at 5:27 pm

My wish is that we be healed through the arts - individually, communally and globally.

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January 05, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Our nation is experiencing very difficult times. What lies ahead will require sacrifice by all, as well as careful prioritization of resources. Remember, we can find hope and inspiration in the healing power of art.

Founded at the height of the Great Depression, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is the result of an avid art collector with the vision to propose a public/private partnership. When the state matched his $100,000 he contributed his art collection - and the largest state art museum in the nation was born. 75 years later, we continue to provide the joy of sharing works of transcendent beauty with families, solace in times of stress, and creative inspiration to thousands of students.

My hope is that we remember how important our cultural heritage is to this great nation, and how much we can learn about other cultures and ourselves in museums.

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Kathy says
January 05, 2009 at 5:49 pm

I am pleased to see that ARTS is moving forward as a tool to help keep our youth focused in many areas of learning I truly hope and trust that the ARTS as our forefront of learning will prove to be the prescription we need to give back to the next generation to become leaders for tomorrow, for tomorrow is what we have to think about...so with that said I hope we turn over every rock to find how we can give back through the ARTS never stopping never backing down...but making it apart of mainstream

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January 05, 2009 at 6:03 pm

I yearn to see artists be more visible and their insights be more prized...I yearn to see artists continue to make waves - and make ever bigger ones over things that matter and need a complex and nuanced analysis...I yearn to see theaters filled with lines down the sidewalk...I yearn to see the arts take a full place at the community tables where soltuions are built...

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January 05, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Happy New Year to all

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January 05, 2009 at 7:05 pm

I hope that African Artists that are US based will play a more active role in the Arts community

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January 05, 2009 at 7:39 pm

My hope? Public schools will embrace creativity.

I am in rural America after having lived in cities with a healthy cultural environment, it is no place for an artist to live. While I try to change things, I've sadly come to realize it is our public school system that must be changed. The adults in our community were raised with little or no respect for the arts, it is sad. I hope to see some kind of change in our states approach to education.

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January 05, 2009 at 9:06 pm


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Gary Grunder says
January 05, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Let us not forget the myriad of small non-profit arts organizations whose struggles have become bigger in this bad economy by buying tickets to their presentations and by digging a little deeper when fund raisers come to call. Let us especially remember the arts organizations working on programs for kids, for that is when and where a love and appreciation for the arts begin!
Better times are coming, we have to remember that.

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Gary Grunder says
August 29, 2012 at 2:49 pm

and I believe this still holds true today

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Stephanie says
January 05, 2009 at 10:00 pm

I hope that all designers, artists, arts organizations and museums will prosper and grow now and in the future.

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January 06, 2009 at 8:37 am

My hope my community will communicate, connect, and be creative. That's what we need to do to thrive and survive.

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January 06, 2009 at 10:25 am

My hope for 2009 is that we will all come to realize that, at the end of the day, it is the inspired creation of things of beauty and not our bank accounts or creature comforts that define us and make us fully human. Economic crises come and go. Art endures.

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January 06, 2009 at 3:24 pm

I believe 2009 presents a great challenge and potential. As schools are increasingly having to deal with budget cuts, I believe that Arts organizations can really make a difference in their communities by reaching out to schools in their area and getting plugged in. This does not necessarily require a lot of resources, just some time on our part. Therefore, my hopes for 2009 is that we will be able to get more students excited about the arts and about unleashing their creativity.

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ljones@tpac.org says
January 19, 2009 at 3:54 pm

First and foremost, I hope that all artists, arts organizations, educators, and teaching artists are able to draw from their creative powers and passion to survive cutbacks in this tough economic time.
Second, Christine Harris' and Betty Lark Ross's comments really resonated with me. As one who believes that full, innovative inclusion of the arts in education is the best route to meaningful, lasting school reform, I like Chirstine's suggestion to use the fresh language of "creativity education" to affirm that students must have opportunities to tap into their creative/innovative potential. This subtle shift in language might well better make our point with the economic and educational powers that be. I also fully support Betty's clarion call for college admission to require arts credits, and for arts credits to be included in high school GPA tabulation. .
Finally, I hope we broaden our definition of "creativity education" to go beyond formal arts instruction, exposure to live arts experiences, and arts integration in schools. Let's put a spotlight on teaching artists who guide children to discover, value, exercise and develop their own creative powers, respect those of others, and acquire a vocabulary for talking about the arts from a place of personal experience.


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January 23, 2009 at 3:35 pm

I hope leaders and managers are able to maintain a long-term vision while addressing short term challenges. Making budget cuts and eliminating programs is never easy, but if done without strategic forethought, it could seriously diminish the impact arts and arts-in-education can have on a community.

I hope our sense of community continues after this period of shared struggle. As we know, misery loves company, but that's no reason company can't be joyous and productive in brighter days, as well.

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Lindsey Hesse says
June 09, 2009 at 2:34 pm

As a college student, I hope that my peers look past the distractions of youth and allow the magic of art to enter their lives. I hope they explore art before time slips away and the future becomes the present. I pray they are brave enough to think, explore, and create art for themselves. I hope art rewards those who take that leap of faith, and opens their eyes to a whole new world. I dream they will seize the day by cherishing art for its ability to bring people together and peace to the soul.

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