Blog Posts for Pennsylvania

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.

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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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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Buy Fine Craft to Invigorate your Local Creative Economy

Posted by Erika Juran, Mar 09, 2021 0 comments

For me, handmade objects have “sparked joy” long before Marie Kondo became a household name. A fine craft collector invests in the artist and the story of the artist. The artist’s journey to learn their craft is a part of that object. As many of us re-learned in 2020, our conscious choices to purchase local and handmade have reverberations through our community and country. I serve the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen (PGC) as its Executive Director. Founded in 1944, and headquartered currently in Lancaster, PA, the PGC is one of the oldest and largest professional craft guilds in the country. The PGC was born out of an effort to promote wider awareness of the contributions that craft can bring to a community through the stimulation of achievement and enrichment of cultural, aesthetic, and educational interests. Its very existence was inspired by the recommendation of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to find ways of transferring wartime skills to peacetime work. Our state’s fine crafts are not just beautiful, useful objects; they also demonstrate Pennsylvanian practicality and authenticity, speaking to our state’s historical Quaker roots.

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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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How Public Art Programs Can Join the Movement Against Police Brutality, White Supremacy, and Anti-Black Racism

Posted by Ms. Amina Cooper, Jun 10, 2020 1 comment

On May 25, 2020, Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin brutally murdered George Floyd, an unarmed Black father accused of issuing a counterfeit $20 bill, while other police officers stood by. This tragedy, following many other recent police-involved shootings of unarmed Black men and women that have been broadcasted and protested nationwide, has sparked renewed and global visibility for the Black Lives Matter movement. This most recent wave of protests has prompted a discussion within the public art field: How can public art respond to the Black Lives Matters movement? Should it? What will we do about the public artwork that is being tagged and damaged during these protests? Public art, at its best, is an authentic reflection of our times and values. Public art should reflect the community around it, and represent the hopes, lives, and aspirations of the people in that community. What we can do as public art policy makers and administrators is uplift those voices in our communities that are calling for justice and equal protection for people of color under the law. It is time to talk about the lack of diversity within our public art commissions, artist selection panels, and our public art workforce. We need to address the elitism with which we dictate to communities which artworks are acceptable, and which persons and cultures are worth affirming with monuments and beautiful objects.

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Community Engagement in the Time of COVID-19

Posted by Ms. Patricia Walsh, Mar 25, 2020 0 comments

With social distancing practices supported by many medical professionals and government agencies to help slow the COVID-19 pandemic, limitations on public gatherings are good for public health but can provide a challenge for public art administrators to keep projects on schedule. Generally, public art community engagement practices aim to build connections and strengthen communication with stakeholder groups related to a project’s location or themes, or as part of oversight for public art programs. Communities engaged through public art include residential groups, local stakeholders, arts commissions, and others; and canceling or postponing events may hinder the development of public art projects. This blog post aims to provide insight, resources, and recommendations to maintain community engagement for public art projects and programs as we all work to promote health and safety in our communities. 

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