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Cast Your Vote by March 18th!

We are asking the Arts Action Fund members to cast their vote on policies they wish to support. The outcome of this vote will direct the priorities, time, and resources of the Arts Action Fund for the next 12 months on the issues that matter most to you. The following three policies are being recommended to Arts Action Fund members for final adoption.

Cast Your Vote by March 17th!

We are asking the Arts Action Fund members to cast their vote on policies they wish to support. The outcome of this vote will direct the priorities, time, and resources of the Arts Action Fund for the next 12 months on the issues that matter most to you. The following three policies are being recommended to Arts Action Fund members for final adoption.

Music In Our Schools Month is in March!

Music In Our Schools Month in March highlights the importance of a comprehensive music education in schools.

President Obama Apologizes for Glib Remarks about Arts History

President Obama issues a personal, hand-written apology for the off-the-cuff remarks that he made on January 30th.

Tell President Obama that the Arts = Jobs, Too!

Did you see what President Obama said about art history degrees?

Winter 2014 Americans for the Arts Arts Action eNews

Support the Arts Action Fund PAC.
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Message from the President
For two years, I’ve been very pleased to serve on the U.S. Travel & Tourism Advisory Board of the U.S.  Department of Commerce. The board’s main goal is to advise the Commerce Secretary and the Obama administration on how to improve travel and tourism in order to strengthen our economy. The 32 members include executives from Marriott, JetBlue, Universal Studios, Las Vegas, Mall of America, US Airways, and Visa; representatives from travel agencies and small businesses; and tourism officials from across the country. I am the only representative from the arts and culture sector. Our research in cultural tourism has consistently shown that tourists seek authentic experiences, and that including cultural venues among marketing efforts is one of the most effective strategies in reaching these customers. By infusing and recognizing the power of the arts into this national discussion, we are sharing the transformative power of the arts across sectors. The board recently approved a set of recommendations to advance tourism policy, and I’m happy to announce that the arts and culture were widely recognized as the economic engines they are. Thank you for all you do to keep those engines running across the country.


Thousands of Advocates Oppose 49 Percent Funding Cut for NEA
UPDATED since print delivery:  By large margins, Congress passed omnibus legislation in January that restored funding to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to $146 million, bringing a welcomed conclusion to a lengthy appropriations process that included considerable attack on funding for the arts in America. This summer, GOP leaders in the House proposed slashing the National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) budget by 49 percent, which would result in a $71 million cut. In early September, the Arts Action Fund launched an online petition opposing these drastic funding cuts to the NEA. The government shutdown in October stalled negotiations of next year’s budget (FY 2014), enabling the petition to continue to gain momentum and support across the country. Mobilizing citizens from all 50 states and 435 congressional districts, each signatory’s voice was heard on Capitol Hill as petitions were directly presented to individual representatives in both chambers, influencing year-end budget negotiations. Since 1965, the NEA has been integral in broadening Americans’ access to the arts, strengthening communities, and fuelling creativity. In addition to directly funding arts initiatives, on average NEA grants leverage 9 to 1 in additional financial support for the arts. Consequently, these cuts are particularly harmful when paired with the resulting loss of $639 million in possible matching grants. This petition was not only the Arts Action Fund’s most successful campaign to date, but resonated with citizens from coast to coast.


Arts Advocates Take the Win in Mayoral Campaigns
Mayors have enormous influence over a city’s arts and culture environment-both positively and negatively. Since fewer than 10 percent of cities impose term limits on mayors, opportunities to engage future municipal leaders only come so often. When they do, it’s crucial for arts advocates to band together and ensure that arts policy issues are in the minds and hearts of both candidates and voters. When Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced he would not seek a sixth term in office, the city prepared for its first wide-open mayoral election since 1993. Arts advocates quickly aligned to push the candidates for mayor to create a vision for the arts in Boston. The resulting effort became known as Create the Vote Boston 2013. Create the Vote took a unique spin on election advocacy by engaging voters with a pledge, asking them to make arts, culture, and creativity a priority when they voted. In the end, former state Rep. Marty Walsh defeated City Councilor John Connolly to become Boston’s 48th mayor. Because of the work of advocates, both candidates understood the importance of a robust cultural community, were very strong arts supporters, and both had arts policy statements. During the campaign, Walsh pledged to hire a cabinet-level arts commissioner who will be charged with integrating the arts into other areas such as education, public safety, housing, and transportation. In New York City, residents elected a new mayor to replace three-term Michael Bloomberg. More than 40 New York City organizations came together for the New York City Arts in Education Candidate Project. Democrat Bill de Blasio won 73-24 over Republican Joe Lhota. De Blasio’s platform included a very specific mention about arts education: “Bill de Blasio will establish a four-year goal of ensuring that every child in every school receives a well-rounded education, including the learning standards required by the State Education Department, taught by certified arts instructors.” Learn more at www.mass-creative.org/createthevote and www.nycartsed.com.


Join Arts Advocates from across the Country in Washington, DC for the 27th Annual Arts Advocacy Day!
Between tax reform, budget battles, and education reauthorization, we need your support! Come to Washington, DC for the 27th annual Arts Advocacy Day on March 24-25, 2014 and make your voice heard!

  • Strategize with experienced advocates during an interactive role play session on how to make the case for the arts and arts education to your members of Congress.
  • Network with your fellow arts advocates from across the country and go on congressional visits led by  State Captains.
  •  Learn the latest research facts and figures on the arts to help make your case.

For more information and to reserve your two free Hanks
Lecture tickets, please visit www.AmericansForTheArts.org/
AAD
.


Federal Update
Arts Education Advancement
Our nation’s education policy is in need of reform, and both the House and Senate are working toward that goal. The House has passed its revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which expired in 2007 but gets renewed annually. The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has presented its revision, which includes feedback from Americans for the Arts and contains numerous provisions helpful to arts education. Since the Senate and House proposals are very different, the road to compromise will be a long and hard one. We are also co-coordinating discussions on incorporating further policy provisions to strengthen equitable access to a complete arts education. Make sure your senator knows where you stand. Visit  https://www.votervoice.net/ARTSUSA/Campaigns/29841/Respond to add your voice to the conversation!Caucus Membership Drive
In the House, Arts Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) will be joining long-time Co-Chair Rep.  Louise Slaughter (D-NY) to showcase the impact of the arts on our economy, communities, and classrooms. Urge your member of Congress to join if they are not yet a member. Having a robust and united force will help ensure efforts to advance the arts. Visit www.bit.ly/JoinTheArtsCaucus to see if your representative is a member.


State Update
When states finalized their budgets for FY 2014, it became clear that state arts agencies would have a better year than FY 2013. A total of 19 states saw significant funding increases of more than 10 percent, and another 15 states are increasing state arts agency funding to a lesser degree. Still, arts advocates can’t  rest yet. Twelve states decreased arts agency funding, with eight of those seeing significant decreases and four flat funded. Check out this chart to see how the arts fared in your state.


The Arts Action Fund’s Fundraising in the Field
Want to do more than write your representative and senator? Sign up today to host a local fundraiser benefiting the Arts Action Fund PAC. These fundraisers in the field will play a crucial role in ensuring we have the means necessary to elect a pro-arts Congress in 2014. Recently, Arts Action Fund Coordinator Samantha Steelman joined President and CEO Robert L. Lynch at the Americans for the Arts National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP) Conference in Portland, OR. There, she was able to raise visibility for the Arts Action Fund by hosting events around the city that would raise funds as well as engage new Arts Action Fund members.If you are interested in hosting a fundraiser in your area, please contact Samantha at ssteelman@artsusa.org.
  
Questions about your membership?
Email us for answers  (artsactionfundatartsusadotorg)   or go to ArtsActionFund.
     

New Jersey is first state in the country to require arts education

These new requirements for the annual reports signify and reaffirm New Jersey’s recognition of the value of the arts.

Bob Lynch Honored with an Award for Outstanding Advocacy

Bob Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts received an award this month for outstanding advocacy work within the arts field.

Arts Victory in Congress!

Victory – the voices of arts advocates were heard on Capitol Hill!

Arts Victory in Congress!

Victory – the voices of arts advocates were heard on Capitol Hill!