Blog Posts for advancing arts locally

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.


Mr. John W. Haworth

Sustaining and Advancing Indigenous Cultures at the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums

Posted by Mr. John W. Haworth, Nov 19, 2021 0 comments


Mr. John W. Haworth

Over the last couple of years especially, the major national arts service and membership organizations have given greater attention to engaging diverse communities more effectively. Building meaningful dynamic and collaborative relationships with community-based partners informs programming and audience building work. Working effectively with organizations serving diverse communities has become an ever-higher priority for state, regional, and local arts agencies throughout the country. Addressing cultural equity in tangible and effective ways is critically important for all of us, including how arts organizations recruit staff and identify board candidates. With a heightened awareness in our society about these issues during this time of major social and political change, the work of organizations like the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) takes on even greater significance. Becoming more familiar with the work of ATALM (and likewise with similar organizations serving diverse organizations) gives professionals working in local arts agencies both a better understanding of key issues, as well as connections to colleagues in the Native cultural field, to help them address these crucial matters. 

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Linda Lombardi

Member Spotlight: Darlene McClinton

Posted by Linda Lombardi, Jul 26, 2021 0 comments


Linda Lombardi

Darlene McClinton is the grants manager for ArtsGreensboro, a community-supported nonprofit organization and the largest public and private alliance dedicated to sustaining the Greensboro, North Carolina, arts economy. McClinton also is an artist, educator, entrepreneur, collaborator, ally, and advocate. Since joining ArtsGreensboro in December 2019, she has made a significant difference in their outreach efforts, diversifying their grant pool, and expanding their artist support grant applications over 400% from the previous year. This post is the latest in our series featuring the many Americans for the Arts members doing transformative work for arts education, public art, advocacy, arts marketing, and more.

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Lauren Cohen

Shooting for the Moon with the STAR Act: How an Arts and Transit Provision was Protected

Posted by Lauren Cohen, Jul 19, 2021 0 comments


Lauren Cohen

On the morning of June 30, 2021, a new and unexpected threat to a pro-arts piece of federal legislation became apparent. The full U.S. House of Representatives was beginning final consideration of the INVEST in America Act of 2021 (H.R. 3684), which included an arts and transit provision that had not attracted any opposition—until an amendment from Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) aimed to strike the pro-arts provision from the bill. Rep. Gibbs argued that that federal dollars shouldn’t be used for “feel-good frescoes and metro station murals.” What Rep. Gibbs and other opponents fail to realize is that the provision does not require art projects, but rather allows local transit authorities the option to hire artists and install public art in transit projects if they wish. And it doesn’t cost the federal government money, but rather allows local transit authorities the option to spend their budget hiring an artist if they want to. Arts-related votes on the floor of either chamber of Congress are a rarity, so a dynamic advocacy strategy becomes extremely important when one occurs—and in this case, Americans for the Arts marshalled every arts advocacy tool in our war chest in response.

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Mr. John W. Haworth

Native Arts and Cultures Foundation: A national leader supporting Indigenous artists and engaging Native communities

Posted by Mr. John W. Haworth, Jun 25, 2021 0 comments


Mr. John W. Haworth

Founded in 2008, with start-up funding of $10 million from the Ford Foundation, NACF supports Indigenous artists, culture bearers, and Native-led arts organizations through fellowships and project funding. Betsy Theobald Richards (Cherokee), who served as Ford’s Program Officer in Media, Arts, and Culture from 2003 to 2010, provided key leadership in establishing NACF. Other Native leaders and artists were involved from the get-go: the civil rights lawyer Walter Echo-Hawk (Pawnee), poet and musician Joy Harjo (Muscokee-Creek), museum director and artist Elizabeth Woody (Yakama Nation Wasco descent and Citizen of Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs), and singer, artist, and educator Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree First Nation of Canada), among others. It’s powerful to have such dynamic and creative national and community-based leaders setting the stage for NACF’s work. The organization is currently in the early stages of developing a major cultural facility and new headquarters: the Center for Native Arts and Cultures in southeast Portland, Oregon, with a vision to create a “vibrant gathering place” for Indigenous artists as a convening ground for cultural ceremonies and celebrations; as an incubator for Native artists to create; and as a venue for presenting contemporary exhibitions and performances, workshops, and seminars.

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Linda Lombardi

Member Spotlight: Felicia Baca

Posted by Linda Lombardi, May 24, 2021 0 comments


Linda Lombardi

Since the late 1970s, the Salt Lake City Arts Council has promoted, presented, and supported artists, arts organizations, and arts activities to further the development of the arts community and to benefit the public by expanding awareness, access, and participation. As director of the Arts Council, Felicia Baca acts as the chief arts and culture advocate for the city and oversees the development, promotion, implementation, support, and strengthening of creative programs and policy. “I’m an advocate, ambassador, and relationship-builder to elevate artists and art organizations in the city, while facilitating opportunities for residents to engage in the arts. My hope is to further the development of an arts ecosystem citywide that considers artists and arts engagement as essential for livability, equity, and economic development. Our Arts Council has a variety of functions, including granting, public art, and public programs. It all ties back to serving as an advocate for artists, and engaging residents in the many benefits of the arts.”

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Linda Lombardi

Member Spotlight: Jeremy Johnson

Posted by Linda Lombardi, May 10, 2021 0 comments


Linda Lombardi

Since 2016, Jeremy Johnson has been executive director of Newark Arts, one of the city’s leading nonprofits. The organization makes grants to neighborhood arts programs, produces the award-winning Newark Arts Festival, and advocates for policies to uplift Newark as a city of the arts. During his tenure, Newark Arts has strengthened the city's cultural profile, including the 2020 ranking of Newark among America's Top 10 Arts-Vibrant Communities by the National Center for Arts Research. Johnson led the creation of Newark’s first community cultural plan, Newark Creates, which resulted in the city-sponsored Creative Catalyst Fund to support area artists impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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