Blog Posts for Pennsylvania

Random Acts of Culture™

Posted by Tim Mikulski, Dec 19, 2011 2 comments

Throughout the country, many performing groups have taken to public forums to display Random Acts of Culture™ (supported generously by the Knight Foundation) covering all art forms including music, dance, and theater.

Just a few weeks ago, the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte captured this dance performance from their local airport:

But there are so many other examples to choose highlight including a string quartet at an outlet mall in Georgia:

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Helping to Define a Sense of Place in Communities

Posted by Tatiana Hernandez, Nov 09, 2011 1 comment

Tatiana Hernandez

People have looked to the arts to help define their communities and create a sense of place for generations. So, why are we so excited about creative placemaking today?

Perhaps it has something to do with context. In this digital world, many are reexamining the fundamental nature of “community” and our relationship to place. We now know, based on findings from the Knight Soul of the Community report, that social offerings, followed by openness and aesthetics explain why we love where we live. What does that tell us about the essential importance of our connection to place?

“Vibrancy” is popping up as a way of describing the intangible nature of a neighborhood’s character. Here are three projects working to help define a sense of place in each of their communities:

Philadelphia has a strong tradition of mural work, and thanks to Mural Arts, artists and residents continue to come together to help define “home.” As part of their Knight Arts Challenge project, Mural Arts brought two Dutch artists, Haas&Hahn, to North Philadelphia to live, work, and engage the community around a large-scale mural that will span several blocks of Germantown Avenue.

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Can't Stop Creative Conversations

Posted by Annelies van Vonno, Oct 17, 2011 0 comments

As we enter the third week of National Arts and Humanities Month, I would just like to thank all the local community leaders who have participated in our Creative Conversations!

Already, Creative Conversations have sparked local dialogue that is helping to unify groups of individuals engaged in arts and culture. These events help spur advocacy efforts and create networking opportunities for those interested in the arts in their communities.

In a memorable moment at a Creative Conversation last week in Silver Spring, MD, State Delegate Heather Mizeur advised, “Stand out with your art to connect to your advocacy. The artist should use their unique abilities in art making itself to stand out and reach legislatures.” From this Conversation, emerging arts advocates were able to take away this and many other valuable insights.

If you were unable to attend an event last week, don’t worry! October is full of remarkable and insightful events--over 30 so far, with more being added every day.

This week’s upcoming events include:

•    Bonus Features: Thinking Outside the Talkback – Today, Oct. 17! (Pittsburgh, PA)
•    Exploring Professional Paths in the Arts – Oct. 18 (Denver, CO)
•    Witness to Preservation – Oct. 20 (Stuart, FL)

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My Cultural Tourism Adventure - Part Two

Posted by Theresa Cameron, Sep 07, 2011 0 comments

Downtown Niagara Falls

After our amazing visit to Cooperstown, my family headed farther upstate to Auburn, NY. (We also stopped in Elmira to see where Mark Twain wrote most of his books.)

When we arrived in Auburn, we headed for the Seward House. The Seward house was the home of William Seward who was Governor of New York, a U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State to Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. In addition to serving as the family home, it was also a stop for the underground railroad.

The house has been perfectly preserved as the family kept everything, including receipts for many of their purchases. The Seward family resided in the house until the late 1950s when it was made into a museum.

The next day, I was lucky enough to meet with representatives from a few of Cayuga County’s arts and history organizations, along with the economic development director, the director of the Cayuga County Office of Tourism, and the head of economic development for the county. We discussed cultural tourism in the county and how they might enhance the visitor experience by developing a cultural district in downtown Auburn.

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How Can Local Arts Agencies Engage Their Communities?

Posted by Maya Kumazawa, Aug 29, 2011 1 comment

Maya Kumazawa

It seems that “community engagement” and “community arts” are paving the way to a new paradigm in the local arts sector.

By browsing through some local arts agency (LAA) websites, I got the sense that most organizations were somehow relating to their local communities already. But what exactly IS community engagement and how do you do it?

Of course, by sponsoring a public art installation or creating a cultural district, the community benefits. There’s no clear line between community outreach and actually engaging citizens in conversations.

An article in the New York Times describes the shift towards community engagement in MFA programs as, “[capturing] the evolving contemporary art world, one in which awareness of the social, cultural, economic and political context in which art exists has become increasingly important. “

However, even this description doesn’t clearly distinguish how the arts world is changing – the arts have always reflected an awareness of social and cultural contexts. By defining the paradigm more specifically, LAAs will be able to plan more efficiently.

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Freedom from Budget Cuts

Posted by Justin Knabb, Jul 01, 2011 0 comments

Fourth of July celebrations started early for several states this week, as arts advocates scored major victories in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and South Carolina.

Ohio Citizens for the Arts is reporting that the state arts council will enjoy a 30.5% increase in funding for the 2012-13 biennium – 62.1 percent more than Governor John Kasich had proposed. The current allocation for FYs 2010-11 is $13.2 million, with the governor proposing only $10.6 million for the upcoming biennium. However, legislatures decided to increase that number to $17.2 million, and the governor agreed!

In Pennsylvania, the House of Representatives had proposed a 70% reduction to the $9 million budget of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts- a stark contrast to Governor Tom Corbett’s request for essentially flat funding. The Senate did not concur, and reinstated the funding: $8.2 million for arts grants, and $866,000 for arts agency administration. The House acquiesced, and the amended budget was sent to the governor for approval.

Finally, the New Jersey Legislature was pushing for a 27% cut to the $16 million budget of the state arts agency, but Governor Chris Christie removed language in the final budget that would have enacted those cuts. And, as most are already aware, South Carolinians scored a major victory as the legislature voted to override Governor Nikki Haley’s line-item veto of arts funding, thus preserving the $1.9 million allocation to their arts commission.

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