Blog Posts for lead

Member Spotlight: Markeshia Ricks

Posted by Ms. Markeshia Ricks, Linda Lombardi, May 10, 2022 0 comments

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s Youth Arts Journalism Initiative (YAJI) introduces New Haven and Hamden, Conn. high school students to grassroots journalism through The Arts Paper, the organization’s daily publication. Program Director Markeshia Ricks is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience in newsrooms. Ricks dabbles in voice acting, blogging, podcasting, and photography. Before joining the Arts Council, she wrote for the New Haven Independent, Air Force Times, the Montgomery Advertiser, the Anniston Star, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and the Tuscaloosa News. “Teaching students how to practice journalism through the skills of interviewing and reporting is like offering them a permission slip to explore their world. While YAJI teaches these skills, what I’m really hoping students learn is that it’s OK to be curious about the world around them, to ask questions of everyone they meet but especially of those who want to lead them.”

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Counties poised to pursue solutions through Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge

Posted by Jack King, Apr 29, 2022 0 comments

The National Association of Counties (NACo) and Americans for the Arts are pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. NACo and Americans for the Arts invited small- and medium-sized counties to assemble a team of county leaders, local artists and community stakeholders to imagine how art can be used to solve local challenges. From Potter County, Pa.’s “Highway to the Stars” through Cherry Springs State Park to the storied and breathtaking beaches of Hawai’i County, Hawai’i’s Puna district, the winners represent the geographic and social diversity of the nation as a whole. The teams will seek to address a wide array of challenges confronting their local communities, from drug addiction to climate resilience. Over the next 10 months, Americans for the Arts experts will provide virtual training and mentoring of these teams as they explore the arts as an applied strategy for meeting policy objectives. On July 25, the counties will participate in an in-person convening in Adams County, Colo., in conjunction with NACo’s 2022 Annual Conference.

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BIPOC Critics Lab Trains the Next Generation

Posted by Ms. Donna Walker-Kuhne, Apr 25, 2022 0 comments

When my career propelled me to leap from the world of dance to The Public Theater, the powerful impact and influence of reviews by critics became even more clear to me. Not only do reviews help shape the public’s perception of a theatrical production; they also can determine its future. For the most part, the critics for numerous media organizations are both male and white. My experience has been that they often misunderstand the cultural nuances of works created by artists of color. However, that landscape is changing thanks to the efforts of cultural critic Jose Solís, who has been covering theater, film, and arts for more than 20 years. Recognizing the very low numbers of theater critics of color and inspired by the movements for social and racial justice in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Jose took time during the pandemic-generated shutdown to develop the curriculum for the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Critics Lab. The goal of the 10-week program is to nurture and help develop the unique voices of future critics through a multimedia lens—written essays, traditional reviews, as well as podcasting, audiovisual, and social media platforms. Jose also has recruited theater partners who have agreed to pay program participants for whatever materials they create on behalf of those theaters at the end of their participation in the BIPOC Critics Lab.

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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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