Blog Posts for Community Engagement

Alan Michelson’s Public Art: History and Place Matter a Lot

Posted by Mr. John W. Haworth, Mar 19, 2021 0 comments

According to the artist Alan Michelson—a Mohawk member of the Six Nations of the Grand River who is currently based in New York—history is unfinished business demanding our attention. He believes that American history needs to address some hard truths if we are ever to progress beyond this tragic juncture. Alan also believes that the arts generally, and public art in particular, play significant roles both in addressing complex issues and making important social change. From his Indigenous world view, the violent and fraudulent dispossession of Native people is a significant issue that must be front and center in the national discourse. He has contributed considerably to this discourse, especially in the last couple of years. The Whitney Museum presented his solo exhibition Wolf Nation (Oct. 25, 2019 through Jan. 12, 2020) and College Art Association named him one of their two Distinguished Artists for their 2021 conference. He has made substantive contributions to the national cultural conversation for years. As Alan conveys, “My work is very much grounded in the local, in place, and place can be fraught when you’re Indigenous.” From his perspective, understanding the historical and cultural dynamics of place is at the heart of his work. 

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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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Shifts for Arts Marketers in 2021

Posted by Mr. Tom O’Connor, Feb 23, 2021 0 comments

Over the past year, arts marketing as a discipline has weathered as many changes as the industry we support. From the work that we do, to the roles that we occupy within organizations, and the ways that we relate to one another—everything is in the process of evolution right now.

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