Blog Posts for California

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.

Member Spotlight: Carol Gibson

Posted by Ms. Carol Gibson, Linda Lombardi, Jul 12, 2022 0 comments

Compassionate Artists, a nonprofit in Long Beach, California, brings music, dance, and art to financially disadvantaged seniors living in residential care facilities in Southeast Los Angeles County. Founder and Executive Director Carol Gibson launched Compassionate Artists in 2016. For six years, the team has offered live performances and activities, bringing joy and creativity to seniors. “I have personal experience in both the performance and production sides of special events like concerts, theatrical productions, dance companies, and creating art. My stage management experience has given me the organizational skills that I need to structure Compassionate Artists in the most productive way. I am very experienced working with all type of performers, so I am familiar with their needs and have the ability to connect with a variety of personalities. I have been a passionate volunteer my whole life and love making peoples’ lives better.” 

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Painting By Numbers: How Cities Can Use Data to Support the Arts

Posted by David Andersson, Feb 25, 2022 0 comments

Although cities increasingly rely on data to help shape policy and identify service gaps, there is often skepticism from both the creative sector and government about whether metrics can meaningfully capture the impact of the arts. In a field where variety of creative expression is fundamental, how do you count what really counts? For cities that recognize their artists and cultural institutions as a critical part of the economy and essential to quality of life for residents, arts data can be a powerful tool to advocate for culture alongside other city services. Data can also help city leaders understand who is and isn’t being served by government arts dollars and expand access to arts experiences in every community. Through best practices and case studies, Arts Data in the Public Sector: Strategies for Local Arts Agencies aims to help arts agencies and city leaders show measurable impact, identify priority policy areas, and establish more equitable and inclusive practices to promote access to the arts across communities.

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How to Secure a Local Proclamation for National Arts & Humanities Month

Posted by Mr. Jay H. Dick, Sep 08, 2020 0 comments

Proclamations are a wonderful way that your mayor, city council, or your city (or county) in general can easily show its support for the arts and culture. Each year, Americans for the Arts encourages advocates to work with their local and state elected officials to issue a proclamation declaring October National Arts & Humanities Month in their city, county, or state. They allow elected officials to easily demonstrate their support for the arts, offer a written document for advocates to use year-round to demonstrate the value of the arts and culture, and serve as a tool to engage other arts advocates in their local communities. For those who have never done this before, I thought that I would offer a how-to guide help you understand the process of obtaining a proclamation.

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Artists as Essential Workers with and within Local Government: Models & 3 New Resources for a Creative Way Forward

Posted by Ms. Pam Korza, May 29, 2020 0 comments

In early April, as the City of Boston became an escalating COVID-19 “hot spot,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s office responded with forceful measures on many fronts. In the midst of extreme circumstances, on April 3, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC) also announced the fourth cohort of artists-in-residence in its Boston AIR program. The program pairs local artists and staff from City of Boston departments to co-design projects that test new approaches to City policies and processes and that often address the social and political context of that year. In the years ahead, municipal and county government officials face unfathomable challenges in recovery and reconstruction stemming from COVID-19. Programs such as Boston AIR and Los Angeles County's Creative Strategist Artist-in-Residence have demonstrated that artists working in partnership with government are essential workers who bring creative practices and solutions to issues that municipalities face. Local arts councils and commissions often play a big role in conceiving and coordinating these programs in tandem with local government.

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How to Combat Gentrification (and Save an Arts Community)

Posted by Ms. Tracy A. Stone, May 27, 2020 0 comments

We all know that the arts can be seen as superfluous, or non-essential, especially in times of crisis or economic hardship. This was certainly the case for the small, working-class community of Elysian Valley (aka Frogtown), a mixed-use neighborhood along the Los Angeles River in the center of the city. In the middle of the last decade, residents of the area (with a mixture of Latino and Asian ancestries) co-existed uneasily with a small group of artists and craftspeople who (sometimes illegally) occupied the former manufacturing buildings lining the river. The relationship between the two groups was non-existent at best, and full of suspicion at worst. In 2006, a small group of artists, architects, and craftspeople came together to create the first Frogtown Artwalk. The event was intended to bring together and to support the creative group of individuals operating “in the shadows” of the area. The initial Artwalk, held in November, was small, underlit, and sparsely attended—nevertheless, an arts community was born.

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Local Arts Agency Roundtable: A Conversation with Kristin Sakoda

Posted by Kristin Sakoda, Apr 17, 2020 0 comments

In 2018, Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors voted to transition LA County’s long-standing Arts Commission into the County’s first-ever Department for Arts and Culture in response to the growing and expanding arts ecology. In a recent conversation, LA County Department of Arts and Culture’s Director, Kristin Sakoda, told us about the process. “There is culture in all people and all places—rich, cultural diversity; heritage; artistic practices; and traditions—but often unequal access, resources, recognition, and histories of support,” said Sakoda. “In a county as ethnically and culturally diverse and geographically sprawling as Los Angeles, the Department seeks to ensure that all the benefits of, and opportunities provided by, the arts are available and accessible to all residents, no matter who they are or where they live.”

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