Thank you to the many people who have been blog contributors to, and readers of ArtsBlog over the years. ArtsBlog has long been a space where we uplifted stories from the field that demonstrated how the arts strengthen our communities socially, educationally, and economically; where trends and issues and controversies were called out; and advocacy tools were provided to help you make the case for more arts funding and favorable arts policies.

As part of Americans for the Arts’ recent Strategic Realignment Process, we were asked to evaluate our storytelling communications platforms and evolve the way we share content. As a result, we launched the Designing Our Destiny portal to explore new ways of telling stories and sharing information, one that is consistent with our longtime practice of, “No numbers without a story, and no stories without a number.”

As we put our energy into developing this platform and reevaluate our communications strategies, we have put ArtsBlog on hold. That is, you can read past blog posts, but we are not posting new ones. You can look to the Designing Our Destiny portal and our news items feed on the Americans for the Arts website for stories you would have seen in ArtsBlog in the past.

ArtsBlog will remain online through this year as we determine the best way to archive this valuable resource and the knowledge you’ve shared here.

As ever, we are grateful for your participation in ArtsBlog and thank you for your work in advancing the arts. It is important, and you are important for doing it.

2022 Trends: Money, Money, Money

Posted by Mr. Clayton W. Lord, Apr 22, 2022 0 comments

As the price of goods rises, costs will likely flow as far downstream as possible—which means cultural organizations and artists will continue to get hit with rising costs while arts patrons are likely to have more expenses that eat away at disposable income. At the same time, the slowly closing spigot of relief and recovery funding, mistimed to the needs of our field where things are still solidly behind where they were prior to the pandemic, poses serious risks to independent workers, creative entrepreneurs, and arts organizations. Will public policy solutions like Universal Basic Income (and related large-scale public policies around unemployment and healthcare access) scale enough to make the difference? It’s hard to imagine—but even two years ago it would have been hard to imagine multiple major cities running UBI pilots specifically designed to support and maintain a creative class.

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2022 Trends: Digital Goes Mainstream

Posted by Mr. Clayton W. Lord, Apr 21, 2022 0 comments

It was going to happen eventually, but the pandemic drove digital engagement of one type or another into almost every aspect of life. As we progress forward, how will that engagement make things better—and how might it make things worse? There is so much promise and peril for the arts sector and artists when it comes to the digital space, cryptocurrency, and the metaverse. The rules of much of this space are still being written, so one argument goes that it may end up being a more egalitarian and open space in which entrepreneurial creatives of all stripes can control more of their own destiny. On the other hand, accessibility issues and repeating patterns of colonization of the space by the same monied, privileged few who have been able to colonize elsewhere have people concerned. Whatever the outcome, these formerly sci-fi concepts have solidly moved into the realm of reality and will take up increasing brain space (and revenue) for both artists and arts organizations in the coming years.

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2022 Trends: Global (and Local) Unrest and Dysfunction

Posted by Mr. Clayton W. Lord, Apr 20, 2022 0 comments

The planet is heaving, as are the human populations living on it. Whether we’re talking major weather events and icebergs the size of cities, the threat of global war, oppressive legislation at home, or a looming election amid governmental stagnation, much feels topsy-turvy these days. Climate change is already affecting the living habits of millions of people in ways large and small, and in the coming decades it will affect where we can have homes (and studios and performance venues), how much it costs to maintain internal climates that are comfortable, the availability of materials, and more. Similarly, burgeoning violence, invasion, and occupation are affecting systems and costs globally and locally, and likely will soon spark migrations that may impact cultural organizations and foster engagement by and with artists. On these scales, the potential impact of elections and state and national policy are closer and clearer, and accessibility to culture for millions of people may be affected.

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2022 Trends: Shifts in Labor, Work, and Training

Posted by Mr. Clayton W. Lord, Apr 19, 2022 0 comments

In ways large and small, the way we work continues to change as we carry into the rest of 2022 and emerge from two years of seismic change. A true tussle between those who want it to go back to how it was, and those who want something new in the relationship between workers and work, is about to come to a head. For our sector, the implications of this shift in work are, and will be, profound. The hardship of the pandemic created exoduses of artists leaving the arts field, either temporarily or permanently, and have opened new job training employment opportunities for creative workers and organizations. For those staying in the arts, collective organizing offers the promise of better wages and quality of life. 

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2022 Trends That Will Impact the Arts

Posted by Mr. Clayton W. Lord, Apr 19, 2022 0 comments

Now that we’re more than a quarter of the way through 2022, it seems like the perfect time for a post about trends that will impact the arts this year, right? But seriously—the world is moving so fast and seems so chaotic that maybe partway in is the perfect time to think about the trends happening around us and how they’ll carry through for the remainder of the year. Why do we publish an annual trends post? Because what happens to the world happens to us all. It can be difficult to set aside time and brain space, particularly at this moment, to think about what’s out there and what’s coming our way. But if we don’t carve out that time, we risk being caught by surprise. We gather these trends in an effort to make it easier for you (and us) to be prepared, anticipate what’s coming, and actively engage in crafting the future instead of just reacting to it. As an organization and a field, we need to cast our eyes forward to that messy horizon and try and glean what’s coming. That’s always hard, and perhaps never harder than when everything seems in flux. But why not try, all the same?

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Sharing the Impact of Arts Education with President Biden

Posted by Coco Allred, Mar 31, 2022 0 comments

On March 9, I learned that in 48 hours President Biden would be visiting Luis Muñoz Marín Elementary School in North Philadelphia. Our school was selected for the presidential visit because it received critical funding from the American Rescue Plan—funding that kept essential before- and after-school programming going, like the arts clubs that I co-lead. It is not uncommon at Marín for students to participate in two to three clubs each week. During this special visit, I would have the opportunity to share how the art and design clubs I run are making a difference in students’ return to school amidst the pandemic. Over the past two years, everyone across school communities has been asked to press on and adapt in uncertainty. It feels like we have a lot to make up for after so much time spent online, yet we’ve also grown a lot from this experience. This visit prompted us to take stock of how much we have done and how empathetic, engaged, and wise our students are, placing our experiences within a broader interconnected web. That day, I felt reinvigorated by my commitment to listen to my students, provide them opportunities to lead, and create clear connections between the work they are doing and the impact they can have on our school community, their families, neighborhood, city, and world at large. 

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