Blog Posts for Community Engagement

Member Spotlight: Maria Van Laanen

Posted by Linda Lombardi, Feb 08, 2021 0 comments

Located in Appleton, Wisconsin, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center presents the best touring Broadway and performing arts productions from around the world. As president, Maria Van Laanen leads a dynamic team dedicated to delivering the Center’s mission of serving as a gathering place for the community to engage in educational opportunities and enhance understanding and enjoyment of life through the creation and presentation of the arts. “I am a passionate believer in the power of the arts to inspire and uplift an individual to see and reach for a life beyond their current circumstances and to gain a sense of community and belonging. When you scale that up to a community level, the arts have the power to bring people together in a unique way where they are willing to experience different viewpoints or ideologies in a way that might lead to understanding and acceptance.” 

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America’s Creative Economy: The Impact of COVID-19

Posted by Sean Baker, Feb 04, 2021 0 comments

I grew up in a musical family—my dad is a children’s performer and songwriter—and the arts have been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I had the opportunity to make a documentary for a C-SPAN education competition, it was natural for me to choose the arts as a topic. I hadn’t realized the impact COVID-19 had on our creative economy until I started listening to the stories of many local artists and creative workers. I interviewed a storyteller, a classical violist, a musical arranger, a vinyl record store owner, and several arts administrators, including Americans for the Arts’ very own Randy Cohen. What I saw right away was a common understanding that the lives of artists have been devastated by the pandemic. Gigs were cancelled, museums closed, incomes lost, and the future remained uncertain for our creative industry. At the end of the day, musicians and creative people need to have the necessary economic, social, and personal well-being incentives to rebound from the pandemic and to live. The arts bring value to society and we must focus on our artisans during these trying times.

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The 10 most read ARTSblog posts of 2020

Posted by Ms. Ann Marie Watson, Jan 13, 2021 0 comments

“How do you measure … measure a year?” I won’t even try to measure the sum total of the dumpster fire that was 2020. But looking back on one of the most difficult years of our lifetime through the readers of ARTSblog paints an illuminating—if not entirely unexpected—picture. In a year when social media was often loud and angry (though also entertaining—if only our blog could skateboard to Fleetwood Mac while drinking cranberry juice!), ARTSblog remained a steadfast space for our members and the arts & culture sector to learn from each other, share our struggles and successes, and most of all stay connected in an unbelievably isolating time. The year’s most read blogs reflect how 2020 shaped the field’s fears and furies, but also our hopes and optimism for the present and future of the arts.

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Member Spotlight: Lawren Desai

Posted by Abigail Alpern Fisch, Dec 14, 2020 0 comments

Lawren Desai is the executive director and curator of a/perture cinema in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In January 2020, a/perture cinema celebrated its 10th anniversary of serving the Winston-Salem community the art of film and providing a communal cinematic experience. As an art house cinema, a/perture’s mission is to entertain and engage the community through the art of film by showcasing informative, educational, thought-provoking, and inspiring films—the films that enrich our lives, engage our minds, promote diversity, and build community. Desai spoke with us about the inception of a/perture cinema, the organization’s adaption to COVID-19, as well as the organization’s plans going forward. 

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Pop-up Art Inspires Hope in Downtown Salina, Kansas

Posted by Anna V. Pauscher Morawitz, Dec 08, 2020 0 comments

While we long for the time when we can gather to experience the arts together, at Salina Arts & Humanities we found a solution for the month of October while celebrating National Arts & Humanities Month: pop-up art installations. As we returned to work from stay-at-home orders and furlough, we discussed new ways of changing lives and building community. We asked: How can we follow public health guidelines, encourage engagement in the arts, hire local visual artists and writers, and inspire creativity in our newly reconstructed downtown? The staff at Salina Arts & Humanities (who wrapped trees and poles in cotton fabric to kick off the downtown project) in collaboration with three poets, three yarn artists, and three chalk artists pulled off an active recognition of National Arts & Humanities month in Salina, Kansas, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Member Spotlight: Andressa Furletti

Posted by Abigail Alpern Fisch, Dec 07, 2020 0 comments

Originally from Brazil, Andressa Furletti is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York. She is the co-founder and artistic director of Group Dot BR, New York’s only Brazilian theater company. Group Dot BR's mission is to present Brazilian culture through the performing arts. It serves enthusiasts of multicultural arts, contemporary, physical, and avant-garde theater. Group Dot BR's productions always incorporate the Portuguese language (with English subtitles when present), offering audiences the opportunity to connect with the sound and musicality of the Brazilian language. In the wake of COVID-19, Group Dot BR initiated the NY Brazilian Artists Fund to support immigrant artists from the Brazilian community in New York facing financial hardship because of the pandemic. 

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