Blog Posts for Social Change

In This Body - Dreaming Awake

Posted by Mr. John R. Killacky, Nov 09, 2012 0 comments

John R. Killacky in "Dreaming Awake" (Photo by Laurie Toby Edison)

 

Sixteen years ago, I had surgery to remove a tumor from inside my spinal cord. Although the tumor was benign, the surgery paralyzed me from the neck down. I spent six weeks in a hospital and months learning to walk again. I called upon my artist-self during those darkest hours. My fingers were the first part of my body to experience any functional return. While others at the rehab hospital were wheeled off to occupational therapy, I asked to go to the computer lab to tap out sentences with the one finger up to the task. I felt an overwhelming urge to put on paper the thoughts crowding my brain, make some sense of the experience, and reassert authority over my body. Some of this writing was later featured in the Lambda Award-winning anthology I co-edited entitled “Queer Crips: Disabled Gay Men and Their Stories.” As the weeks progressed, standard physical rehab provided little success. I realized when being transferred from bed to wheelchair my body could hold itself up (although briefly and with assistance). While the kinesthetic connections were lost, I thought I might be able to learn to stand up visually. So I asked to work in front of the mirrors. Therapists were skeptical and reminded me everything is backward in a mirror. “Yes,” I countered, “but as a young man I was a dancer and learned to dance with mirrors” It took some days with leg braces and a walker, but eventually I stood in front of that mirror. What I could not do kinesthetically, I accomplished visually. Over the next weeks, I began to walk between two parallel bars in front of the mirror. Tentative steps grew ever more confident. The dancer in me taught my mis-circuited body to walk again. Sixteen years later, I continue dancing through life, albeit slowly and with the assistance of a cane.

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The National Arts Marketing Project Conference Comes to Charlotte

Posted by Ms. Katherine Mooring, Nov 09, 2012 0 comments

Katherine Mooring

“Charlotte in 2012” is becoming quite a theme this year, as we prepare to welcome more than 600 arts marketing and development practitioners from across the country to the National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC), November 9–12.

The National Arts Marketing Project is a program of Americans for the Arts that, in addition to the annual conference, hosts monthly webinars, organizes regional training programs, and provides on-site workshops on a range of arts marketing topics.

The three-and-a-half day NAMP Conference includes two full-day pre-conferences, four keynote addresses, and more than 100 presenters in more than 50 workshops and discussion groups. Attendees will gain new ideas to build audience, learn ways to stretch even the tightest budget, and discover methods to better engage donors. Past host cities include Louisville, KY, San Jose, CA, Providence, RI, Houston, TX, and Miami, FL.

Method Products Co-Founder and Chief Brand Architect Eric Ryan launches the 2012 Conference as the Opening Keynote. Nina Simon, author and executive director of the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz, CA, will invigorate attendees on day two. The Conference closes with author and strategist Rohit Bhargava who will not only share his marketing expertise, but also his new book, Likeonomics, which was just named a must-read of 2012 by Forbes! (Editor's Note: You can watch all of the keynotes live online!)

Individual session titles will tackle diverse topics like, Innovations That Pay: How Arts Organizations Are Adapting and Finding New Income Streams, Consumer Psychology: New Experiments That Use Science to Grow Your Audience, and The Win-Win: Arts Organizations and Businesses Partner to Achieve More.

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BCA10 Awards Showcase pARTnerships (from The pARTnership Movement)

Posted by Laura Bruney, Nov 08, 2012 0 comments

Laura Bruney

When business supports the arts, everyone profits. I had the honor of serving as a judge for The BCA 10 awards this year and found tangible evidence that this is true.

The annual awards recognize 10 U.S. companies for their exceptional commitment to the arts. We evaluated nominees from across America—from small mom and pop companies to mega multi-national firms, the businesses we judged were all making valuable contributions to the arts that were paying dividends for their employees, their clients, and their communities. The value of the arts is proven over and over in neighborhoods, cities, states, and our nation.

Deciding the winners was difficult. I was impressed with all of the nominees. As a member of the Americans for the Arts Private Sector Council, I was gratified to see such a wide variety of enterprises that treasure and support  the arts. After much consideration and comparison 10 amazing winners were selected.

The winners were honored in October at an evening gala at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City and the representatives from the winning companies all had something important to say about why the arts matter.

Alltech believes the arts are essential to creating a strong community. They sponsor cultural programs across Kentucky that impact more than 500,000. In accepting the award Pearse Lyons, president and founder, sent a clear message about his sustained support for the arts. When other companies cut back on the arts, Alltech cuts forward.

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'Art for the Public Good': Theme of the Fine Arts Deans Conference

Posted by John Eger, Nov 08, 2012 1 comment

John Eger

The International Council of Fine Arts Deans' (ICFAD) meeting in Minneapolis (October 24–27) for their annual conference talked about "Art as a Public Good"—meeting the demands for creativity and innovation, and serving the communities they represent, socially and economically.

Nurturing the talented performer, musician, or sculptor is of utmost importance to the fine arts deans and their universities. However, knowing that the arts, broadly defined, are being called on to shape the larger economic discussion—a national discussion, really—to change the way the whole country thinks about education, economic prowess in the global economy, and preparing our students for the new innovation sector, cries out for their leadership.

Lucinda Lavelli, dean of University of Florida and incoming President of ICFAD, kicked off the conference by talking about the concept of "the creative campus," now adopted by several universities, "to establish educational settings that infuse the academy with the arts, foster creativity in all disciplines, promote interdisciplinary projects and encourage new ways of solving problems and expressing ideas."

She asked several deans to talk about their university and how their college was collaborating with other colleges in business, engineering or the sciences, but more, she asked perhaps the biggest question of the conference: "What could—or should—the deans and their universities be doing" with their students, their alumni living in the area and through the town/gown relationships that exist, and how can others be engaged to help everyone in our community to think differently about the arts?

Quite simply, as Harvey White, co-founder and former president of Qualcomm, has been known to say, this is a "national emergency." The clock is ticking, and when the dust settles after years of budgetary and fiscal malaise, the nation will desperately need young graduates with the new thinking skills for an economy that demands the most creative workforce.

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