| Vol. I 2016||Quarterly Member Newsletter|
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|Message from President & CEO Robert Lynch|
Thank you to the thousands of Arts Action Fund members across the country who helped get new education reform over the finishing line. The advance of the “STEM to STEAM” movement these past few weeks has been truly exciting. In November, I joined The Ovation Foundation and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in honoring eight schools for their model STEAM programs. Each school received a $10,000 grant from The Ovation Foundation. Parents, teachers, students and principals traveled to Washington, DC for a day of briefings both at the White House and in Congress. The day ended with a reception with the Congressional STEAM Caucus co-Chairs. A few weeks later as Congress worked in earnest on reauthorization the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), STEAM Caucus co-Chair Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) offered an amendment to encourage the integration of the arts in STEM programs, which was accepted by a unanimous vote. That provision is now law, providing even more opportunities to advance STEAM in the field in the coming years.
|ArtsVote2016 Candidate Interactions|
|Presidential candidate crisscross the country during Primary Election season when voters will choose who they want to be the Republican or Democratic nominee in 2016. Each state has its own rules about who can vote and how, but in all cases Presidential candidates are looking to connect with primary and caucus voters over issues they care about. That is why our grassroots arts advocates are so important.|
From boisterous campaign rallies to intimate coffee klatches, Arts Action Fund members are showing up prepared to ask smart questions about the arts to Presidential candidates. In Iowa, Kate Huffman stood up at a large gathering for Hillary Clinton and asked about her position on the arts. As a result, we now have the Democratic frontrunner on record as saying she’s an arts supporter.
At a small gathering of activists in New Hampshire, Toni Pappas discussed public policy with Chris Christie, who said he believes public investment in the arts benefits communities. Sarah Stuart spoke with Carly Fiorina and Jeb Bush, and Dominique Boutaud engaged Martin O’Malley and George Pataki. What do these citizen advocates have in common? They all used the tools provided by the ArtsVote2016 web page to ask smart, specific questions tailored to that candidate’s unique history. The most exciting thing about arts advocacy is seeing for yourself the advancement of the arts at the federal, state, and local levels.
There is no better way to experience this than to do it yourself. Check out our calendar of state primaries and caucus in this issue (below), and don’t forget to visit the www.ArtsActionFund.org/ArtsVote2016 to read up on the statements, actions, and policies that all Presidential candidates have taken on the arts.
|Arts Funding Wins in a Landslide Vote in Cleveland|
|Almost a decade ago, voters in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, which includes Cleveland, passed one of the strongest local arts funding mechanisms in the country, the Arts and Culture Levy. It utilized a penny-and-a-half per cigarette tax to fund local non-profit arts and culture organizations, to the tune of $15 million a year. But the Arts and Culture Levy was set to expire next year unless it was renewed by voters in a ballot initiative called Issue 8. On Tuesday, November 3, 2015 voters overwhelmingly passed Ballot Issue 8 to renew arts funding by an impressive 3-to-1 margin, which now success fully guarantees the $15 million per year funding stream for another ten years.|
As a local extension of our ArtsVote2016 campaign, the Arts Action Fund worked closely to help our local arts advocacy partner, the Arts & Culture Action Committee, to mobilize our 1,000+ resident members in Cuyahoga County to Get-Out-The-Vote. During an off-year election that is historically marked by very low voter turnout and where referenda like marijuana legalization were roundly rejected, Issue 8 stands as a prime example of how the arts are truly a bipartisan issue with voters. Americans understand that public investment in the arts is a critical step to fostering healthy, vibrant, and equitable communities.
|2016 Primaries and Caucuses|
Big Year-End Victories in 2015
Wow, it was a December to remember! Congress typically wraps a lot into the final month of the year, but this December brought many gifts. First, Congress reauthorized ESEA, bringing new federal K-12 law that has been long overdue, now called Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).Check out our blog at www.bit.ly/Bonamici
for details on arts education provisions, including new eligibility for STEAM, thanks to a unanimous amendment that Congressional STEAM Caucus co-Chair Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) secured. On tax provisions, the IRA Charitable Rollover, an important funding source for arts organizations and a key tax incentive for charitable giving, is now permanent! And, annual funding for the cultural agencies finally passed as part of consolidated appropriations signed into law on Dec. 18th. For the first time in four years, the NEA will see just shy of a $2 million increase in funding, bringing the FY16 budget level to approximately $148 million. All of this work was done under a new Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-WI), following former Speaker John A. Boehner’s resignation at the end of October.
The Arts Action Fund monitors arts policy at the federal level and helps bring citizens’ voices to the table when important arts issues are debated. For detailed legislative updates, please visit www.AmericansForTheArts.org/news-room/legislative-news.
|State and Local Update|
|Local and State Elections Update|
Election Update: 2015 was a relatively light year for mayoral elections, but the Arts Action Fund (AAF) is saying goodbye to several outstanding “Arts Mayors.” Mayor Joseph Riley, Jr. of Charleston, SC-after 40 years as the city’s chief executive-chose not to run for re-election. Mayor Riley has been a strong and consistent voice for the arts at the local and national levels. The AAF welcomes his replacement, Mayor-elect John Tecklenburg, an accomplished pianist. In Philadelphia, PA, Michael A. Nutter, another strong arts mayor, retired due to term limits. Mayor Nutter has made the arts and culture a priority by becoming one of the first mayors to appoint a cabinet level advisor on the arts and culture. He is succeeded by Mayor-elect Jim Kenney. In Indianapolis, incumbent Mayor Greg Ballard chose not to run for a third term in office, and the AAF welcomes Mayor-elect Joe Hogsett. Finally, last year’s Public Leadership in the Arts Awardee Mayor Annise Parker of Houston, TX could not seek reelection due to term limits. The AAF welcomes Houston’s new mayor, Sylvester Turner.Turning to governors, there were three races in 2015: Louisiana, Mississippi and Kentucky. In Louisiana, the Arts Action Fund welcomes Governor-elect John Bel Edwards who defeated current United States Senator David Vitter and succeeds current Governor Bobby Jindal-both of whom have not been supportive of the arts and culture. In Kentucky, new Governor Matt Belvin was sworn in on December 8, 2015 and incumbent Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi earned a second term.
A new programming trend is rising at the local level-city government departments are turning to artists to help resolve civic issues. In Minneapolis, the city government is participating in a new program called “Creative CityMaking”- which places 9 local artists within 5 city departments to work on city planning. In its pilot program, artist team E.G. Bailey and Sha Cage surveyed more than 1,900 residents in the Cedar- Riverside area to identify the community’s assets; they transformed a conventional survey into a hand-drawn magazine that included an interactive map of the world. In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the city’s new “Creative Catalyst Artist in Residence Program,” facilitated by the Department of Cultural Affairs. The Department of Transportation (DOT) will be the first city department to receive an artist residency. DOT’s Creative Catalyst artist will design an accessible, targeted campaign to engage L.A. communities with Vision Zero, which is a citywide strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities within
|Year-End Giving Update|
|The Arts Action Fund completed its annual year-end campaign for 2015. Utilizing both direct mail and e-mail for the appeals, the funds raised during the campaign directly support the Arts Action Fund and the Arts Action Fund Political Action Committee. We’re pleased to announce that we’ve raised more than $35,000 from loyal Arts Action Fund members like you. We also urged our members to send in a wish, for our national Wishing Tree, in response to the following question: If you could tell the next President of the United States your one wish for the arts in America, what would it be? We were inspired by all of the responses we received both online and in the mail.|
Shown above are few of the wishes. Even though the campaign has officially concluded, we continue to receive contributions well into the New Year from our members. You can view all of the Wishing Tree wishes at www.ArtsActionFund.org/WishingTree. We extend our most sincere thanks to everyone who supported the 2015 year-end campaign.
“Arts community, did you ever think you’d see a conservative Republican ever say this?”, says the Ohio Governor and GOP Presidential candidate.
Read how Hillary Clinton responded to an Arts Action Fund member’s question on the arts.
Download our 10 Questions to Ask to ensure you’re asking candidates the right questions on the arts.
AAF gives presentation on #ArtsVote2016 to attendees of largest literary conference in North America
DC arts student wins Google contest themed “What makes me…me”
On the eve of Arts Advocacy day, Ledisi and John Maeda inspired arts advocates
Blaire Townshend, a Masters student from Columbia, said on Monday that she was “learning how to graduate from being an arts supporter to an arts advocator.”
“Arts education in prisons has a history of proven results in improved behavior among inmates, fewer disciplinary actions, cost savings, and reduced recidivism” says Rep. Ted Lieu
Obama’s 2017 budget proposal calls for $2 million dollar increase to NEA