Blog Posts for Social Change

Reflections on the 2017 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention: Framing is Everything—Social Impact Opportunities in the Arts

Posted by Ms. Mariama Holman, Jun 29, 2017 0 comments

Framing is the narrative one creates about ideas, pictures, symbols—the impressions formed about oneself, others, and the environment they inhabit. Non-profit and for-profit are simply tax delineators, but an entire world of framing has developed within those terms, where some organizations see themselves as charities rather than economic and social value producers. In truth, arts organizations do not come to society requesting a “hand out,” but offer a “hand full”—building more socially equitable, sustainable, and economically prosperous communities. With this “hand full” mentality, arts organizations are value producers, like businesses.

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Storm the Barricades! But, which ones?

Posted by Dan Hunter, Stan Rosenberg, Jun 23, 2017 0 comments

Content sponsored by University of Massachusetts Amherst Arts Extension Service.

Advocacy is fundamental to building a vibrant and lasting cultural community. In our chapter on advocacy in “Fundamentals of Arts Management,” published by the UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service, you will learn the ins and outs of arts advocacy from creating strategy, to building alliances, to the details and protocol of conducting a meeting with an elected official. 

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Arts & Economic Prosperity 5: How the Nonprofit Arts & Culture Industry Impacts the Economy in Your Community

Posted by Randy I. Cohen, Jun 17, 2017 0 comments

When recently asked how best to advocate for the arts in the current environment, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (NM)—co-chair of the Senate Cultural Caucus and chief sponsor of the CREATE Act—was unequivocal: “Start by telling every one of your Senators about the economic benefits of the arts.” This familiar refrain is one we have heard for decades from city council chambers to governor mansions to the halls of Congress—and it works. Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 does just that. It changes the conversation about the arts from that of a “charity” to one about an “industry” that provides both cultural and economic benefits to the community.

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Audience Demographics: The Complexities of Intersectionality

Posted by Kevin Seaman, Jun 13, 2017 0 comments

As an organization that has always been led by a majority of queer people of color, I knew that the National Queer Arts Festival (NQAF) survey needed to be able to capture the unique intersections of the organization’s artists and audiences. I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to neatly categorize the complexity of queer identity … but I could try. The underlying principle of the survey and its synthesis needed to be rooted in multiplicity and intersectionality; to allow complex gender and sexual identity to be celebrated rather than stripped down to fit into a single box.

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Why art?! We’ll tell you why. And, we can prove it.

Posted by Merryl Goldberg, Jun 07, 2017 0 comments

Last fall, the Stuart Foundation invested in San Diego, and I’ve had the privilege of heading up our project which is a collective impact model we hope will be the arts education equivalent to “Got Milk?” It is called ART=OPPORTUNITY. And we want you to take advantage of it. Our campaign has many facets, including mentoring from the business community for VAPA coordinators, summits and anchor events, a teen/youth council, bilingual parent education, and arts integration boot camps. Our goal in the ART=OPPORTUNTIY campaign is to change public opinion from arts as fluff to arts as essential. And, the reason to change public opinion is to directly effect educational policy and budgeting decisions.

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From Blues to the “Peanutcracker,” Government Support for the Arts Helps Create Access for All

Posted by Robert Lynch, May 25, 2017 0 comments

It’s easy to rattle off numbers, but what does this increase in funding really mean? Great projects across the country will now get to continue. Last year, the NEA recommended more than 2,400 grants in nearly 16,000 communities in every congressional district in the country. A review of NEA grants shows that the majority go to small and medium-sized organizations, and the diversity among these grant recipients is unmatched by any other U.S. funder. One grant program, “Challenge America,” is dedicated to reaching underserved communities—those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.

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