Blog Posts for Annual Convention

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.

Why You Need to Be in Washington, D.C. this June!

Posted by Mr. Clayton W. Lord, Ms. Patricia Walsh, Mar 02, 2020 0 comments

In 2020, the convergence of Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention with the refreshed and expanded Public Art & Civic Design Conference will spark a new level of conversation and thinking. The new shifts in format and structure that we’re setting up this year will make for an even more interactive and energizing conference, with over 50 sessions, more than 1,000 professionals from across a variety of sectors, and more opportunities to learn and network with colleagues from all 50 states and around the world. These two annual events—happening June 26-28 in Washington, D.C.—are the best place to come together with the full spectrum of people who are working to center the arts in equitable community development and creative placemaking. We are excited about holding these meetings in Washington, D.C. because the city and surrounding communities are about much more than national politics. It is a great place to engage in really deep and meaningful conversations about how we all work to make our communities the best they can be.

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Public Art, Gentrification, and Annual Convention: A Photo Essay

Posted by McKenzie L Shelton, Sep 17, 2019 0 comments

When I was awarded a Practicing Artist Scholarship to attend this year’s Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in the Twin Cities, I was eager to find myself surrounded by other fervent promoters of the arts in individual localities from around our nation. I did find impassioned people, but I also found that an inner conflict of mine has deepened: As an artist, I’m not sure that I should be involved in this effort to fund and execute public art. This notion has danced in and out of my mind for the last few years, particularly regarding the role of artists and public art on the negative effects of gentrification and the affordable housing crisis. During the conference, I felt the tension between my excitement about increased federal spending on the arts and my skepticism that those monies will be used on careful, conscientious policymaking that allows for neighborhood improvement without giving in to the seemingly ubiquitous phenomenon of displacement. Rather than answers, I have come away with more questions. How is public art involved, whether inadvertently or directly, in the pushing out of low-income residents, minoritized groups, and even artists themselves? And how are artists implicated in this process?

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Following Young Leaders’ Lead

Posted by Chris Appleton, Apr 27, 2016 0 comments

Like many urban areas across the country, much is booming in Atlanta: real estate, food culture, and a hunger for public transit and public spaces. Along with the renewed investment in Atlanta’s urban core, there is a building momentum around the role arts & culture play in civic life. Of course there’s a downside to the “upswing” as Atlanta faces some of the country’s most pronounced income and wealth inequality gaps. The disparity is real in Atlanta – and the arts are not immune, falling right in line with housing and education disparities, lack of access to healthy foods, and economic immobility.

While some our most conventional cultural institutions are searching for ways to discuss and address the issue of cultural equity, I am inspired by emerging leaders in Atlanta whose core purpose is rooted in cultural equity values.

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A Shared Vision

Posted by Mr. Brad Erickson, Jul 01, 2016 0 comments

Why don't more private foundations fund arts advocacy? Worse, why are we seeing funders across the country moving away from the supporting the arts at all? These were key questions that the leadership of the State Arts Action Network brought with us to Boston for the 2016 Americans for the Arts Convention.

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Establishing a Career Path in the Arts

Posted by Ms. Princess Belton, Apr 27, 2016 0 comments

In 2011, while pursuing my graduate degree in Arts Administration at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), I came across Managers of the Arts, an NEA research study conducted in 1987 by Paul DiMaggio. In this report he examined the backgrounds, education, and career experiences of senior arts administrators of resident theaters, art museums, symphony orchestras, and community arts agencies. While this report is almost 30 years old, DiMaggio highlighted some key points that are important for attracting and retaining arts managers, which included:

  • Raising salaries in fields in which administrators are least well paid.
  • Establish somewhat more predictable career paths that offer the promise of further opportunities to administrators who reach the top of large or medium-sized organizations relatively early in life.
  • Offer more equal opportunities to women managers who pursue careers in these fields.
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Reflections on Over 20 Years of Americans for the Arts Conventions

Posted by Mr. Gary P. Steuer, Jun 11, 2018 0 comments

In 1993 I became the Director of New York Programs of the Arts & Business Council Inc., and as head of a national partner arts service organization of Americans for the Arts, I began what has become a very long association with the organization and its Annual Convention, literally attending the first Convention under the Americans for the Arts name—and nearly every one since. I have watched the organization, and its signature convening, grow and evolve over time—responding to the field’s changes and the external environment we all operate in. Now in my role as president of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation in Denver, Colorado, I have become one of the hosts and funders of the 2018 Annual Convention in Denver. We are so excited to be hosting this conference, and know that the content will be informative and inspirational, and that the City and its cultural assets will enchant. 

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