Blog Posts for Arts & Business

Think!Chinatown Uses Public Art to Help Local Restaurants

Posted by Yin Kong, Jul 13, 2021 0 comments

ASSEMBLY for CHINATOWN was launched in collaboration with A+A+A Studio to build outdoor dining spaces at no cost to Chinatown businesses. We design, source materials from Chinatown vendors, and construct Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant dining barriers for restaurants. Artists beautify and personalize the space for the restaurants with the help of volunteers who come (socially distanced) together in a help-a-thon to sand and paint the wood barriers. The mural project came into play with our first artist, Kat Lam, who reached out to ask if we wanted her to paint one of the barriers. Her style matched with the business owners, so we moved forward. She contributed her vision as a muralist and we decided to do that for all the barricades to enliven the space and the neighborhood. People want to be part of this community project. Painting is such a gratifying way to work together. Whenever the volunteers walk by, they feel ownership and want to patronize the business. 

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10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2021

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Mar 17, 2021 0 comments

The effective arts advocate needs to articulate the value of the arts in as many ways as possible—from the passionately inherent to the functionally pragmatic—and to deploy the right case-making tool in the right moment. Consider these “10 Reasons to Support the Arts” as your Swiss army knife for arts advocacy. It can feel intimidating Zooming with, or walking into, a legislator’s office—even to experienced advocates. To always feel prepared, I break the advocacy process down into three questions: Who gets the message? What is the message? and, Who delivers the message? When you are preparing your case for the arts, remember The Golden Rule: No numbers without a story, and no stories without a number. The arts are all about stories—often small, always meaningful. Share yours. It is engaging and draws your listener in—and then pair it with the research-based findings in “10 Reasons to Support the Arts.” Yours will be an advocacy visit that is not soon forgotten!

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10 Trends that Will Impact Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy in 2021

Posted by Mr. Clayton W. Lord, Mar 16, 2021 0 comments

About this time last year, Americans for the Arts staff put our heads together to create a “Trends in 2020” blog post. We didn’t anticipate an economy-grinding pandemic, which has devastatingly shaped everything this past year, but we did hit some of the other trends that occurred—demographic change, rising division and distrust, shifts towards equity, the fight over who would get to vote and political power, and the primacy of data. Across the arts field, most of us would agree that 2020 was a humbling, surprising, traumatic, and frustratingly unpredictable year. While trend forecasting in this moment is a tricky business, understanding what might be coming around the bend is crucial to our success as a field, particularly as we navigate such a volatile time. Who knows, honestly, what 2021 will bring—but the staff at Americans for the Arts got together (virtually, this time) and here’s what we’ve come up with—10 trends that we think will impact arts, culture, and the creative economy in 2021.

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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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The Intersection of Place and Process

Posted by Christy Bolingbroke, Feb 26, 2021 0 comments

As the second choreographic center of its kind in the country, NCCAkron often asks what it means to be a “national” center that is neither in the physical center of the country nor the perceived center of the dance universe. Being based in Akron affords us (and by extension, the artists with whom we work) the emotional, mental, and physical space to create from a place of abundance inherent to our Northeast Ohio stomping grounds. Being national in our scope allows us to stretch—to engage artists from all over, to hold even more capacity for ideas larger than ourselves, and to be the connective thread between communities. We refer to this as operating in both the hyperlocal and the national spaces. I felt a spirit of possibility immediately upon arrival in Akron, and try to underline it in everything we do.

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Introducing Americans for the Arts’ Inclusive Creative Economy Plan

Posted by Jessica Stern, Feb 25, 2021 0 comments

For the last two years, we at Americans for the Arts have spent significant time listening, learning, planning, and in consideration to engage in a multi-pronged, multi-year effort to support inclusive creative economies at the local level, encourage stronger unification between the for-profit and nonprofit arts sectors, and pursue federal-level policies that support creative workers. With encouragement from current and former members of the Private Sector Council, a broad cross-section of local, state, regional and national advisors, and through consistent commitment from the Board of Directors, we sought to identify our unique role and where we can effect change alongside the many organizations, coalitions, and individuals doing this work. COVID-19, and its irrefutable disproportionate effect on communities of color, has only increased the urgency of these efforts. We know that we must, with intention and alongside new alliances and relationships, design strategies for the aspiration of an inclusive creative economy—recognizing that our current economy does not equitably support all people to reach their creative and artistic potential. This is an exciting and critically important journey. I’m pleased to share our plan on behalf of my colleagues, and to invite participation and feedback in it. 

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