Leading from the Front: Arts Advocacy Strategies for the Public Sector
What does adaptive leadership and effective advocacy look like for those working in the public sector? Over the course of the past year, I began seriously wondering how public employees might be able to take an active role in raising political support for cultural agencies and state arts councils, within the legal restrictions that apply to their self-advocacy. I interviewed arts leaders in six states to find out how they were steering their agencies to serve many diverse publics within their state in spite of significant political and economic challenges—and in some cases, a lingering threat of elimination.
Advocating for the Every Day Advocate
I often have students or fellow artists ask me how I got into advocacy, and I’m happy to share my experiences and strategies with them. This year, I launched a whole new advocacy campaign: I reached out to my friends, family, peers, and more and shared with them my everyday advocacy efforts that were more traditionally focused on legislators and policy makers. My hope was that by de-mystifying the advocacy process, more people would get involved. I wanted to inspire a whole new group of Every Day Advocates.
Arts Education + Healthcare: A Conversation with Teaching Artist Steven Hazlett
At The Pablove Foundation, we partner with teaching artists who teach children living with cancer the art of photography. As leaders and relationship builders who know their medium, they—along with the students we serve—are truly the heartbeat of our organization. Steven Hazlett, national teaching artist for our Shutterbugs program in New York, talks about his work with Pablove and what it takes to successfully teach the arts to children living with chronic illness.
Removing Public Artworks: Process and Policies are Key
In the art world, deaccession is generally defined as permanently removing a work of art from a collection. Art museums, libraries, and other collecting institutions may use a deaccession process to remove pieces from their collections for a variety of reasons. Because of the nuances of municipalities and other public agencies that commission or own artworks, the processes for removing artworks from their collections aren’t easily transferable from their museum or library counterparts. There is still research to done on best practices for deaccessioning a public artwork, but we do know that a thoughtful process is key to addressing the issues that surround an artwork being considered for removal.
Send your constituents to NAMPC
The case for sending a “NAMP Team” to the National Arts Marketing Project Conference to increase their marketing and advertising skill levels, which in turn will serve to attract and entertain more visitors and residents in your community.
Dear Public Art Colleagues: We Stand With You
This has been a trying week for the public art field across the country. I have heard from many of you, expressing concerns and challenges as your communities turn to you for aide in addressing Confederate memorials and symbols in your public arenas. Please know that you are not alone in your work. The conversations and community meetings that have happened and will happen are necessary for our country to move forward. Your role is essential to your community, and we are here to support you.
“Congratulations, you have won our $1 million art award!”
I can honestly say that these are words I never expected to hear. Yet, in the summer of 2015 my team and I were lucky enough to be awarded a Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge grant. Having this much money felt almost ludicrous in its generosity. Finally, we could think big—very big. Like many longstanding critical urban issues, the ubiquity and apparent permanence of vacant buildings in our region has made it possible for us to ignore them. So, the question for us was, how should we go about drawing attention to these buildings?
What if no one shows up?
I started using birdseed to draw six-foot intricate designs on the ground in a futile attempt to arrest change and explore fragility in social situations. My first public artwork, Seed the Change, was a chance to scale up these explorations of labor, change, and collaboration in a monumental fashion. My hope for Seed the Change was that it highlighted the city’s human potential, creating a welcoming space shaped by its people that embodies the beauty of labors of love, conversation, and individual expression.
Midden Mound Wickiups
Two sets of wickiups—simple domed structures associated with Native Americans of the Southwest—perched at the top of a manmade mound of a repurposed landfill site—now Pearsall Park—invite you to take in an interesting 360-degree view of San Antonio. The wickiup structures suggest an overlay to the history of this site: a large decommissioned city landfill repurposed into a contemporary City Park. The landfill is our cultural midden; the artwork appropriates the site as a social and ecological comment on consumption.
Discovering Philadelphia with “47 Stories”
47 Stories reimagined Philadelphia's north-south-running 47 bus route, telling the stories of the immigrant and refugee communities that are connected from bus stop to bus stop. Through interviews, audio collage, alternative map designs, and a wrapped SEPTA bus, artists Shira Walinsky and Laura Deutch activated the public space of city transit in a new way. The goal was to make immigrant and refugee communities visible, to acknowledge and bring attention to their contributions to Philadelphia.
Tips for Arts Organizations Engaging Tech Communities
In a conversation on “How Tech Companies Think About the Arts” at the 2017 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in San Francisco, artists and arts organization had an opportunity to connect with philanthropic representatives from Silicon Valley companies to learn and exchange ideas on how to better engage one another. The key question: How can arts organizations partner with tech companies on a more personal, individualized level—turning employees into active community arts participants?