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Winter 2014 Americans for the Arts Arts Action eNews

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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 and

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

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 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 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
Questions about your membership?

Randy Cohen on C-SPAN Discussing National Arts Funding

Americans for the Arts’ Vice President of Research, Randy Cohen, joined the National Endowment for the Art’s Sunil Iyengar for C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal”  on Friday, November 29 to talk about federal arts funding. This 30-minute “America by the Numbers” segment focused on National Endowment for the Arts’ recent survey on public partipation of the arts, which is conducted and released every few years. SPPA.

Randy and Sunil spoke about how U.S. government funding of the arts ranked among other domestic programs and internationally, changes in public arts participation, public policy and the arts, and positive outcomes associated with arts education and participation.

If you missed it, watch the video on C-SPAN’s website HERE – and you can still comment on the segment or tweet questions directly to Randy @artsinfoguy on Twitter.

The Giving Library and #GivingTuesday – Share to Give!

Give towards advancing the arts in America this Holiday Season – without spending a dime!

Americans for the Arts is honored to be one of the featured nonprofits on The Giving Library, an online video archive that connects donors to nonprofits. In this season of Thanksgiving and holiday merriment, The Giving Library is kicking off a $100,000.00 “Share to Give” campaign on #GivingTuesday, the national day of giving, which falls this year on December 3rd. The campaign will run from December 3 – December 31, or when the $100,000.00 is exhasuted – whichever comes first.

This is a way for you to support Americans for the Arts and advancing the arts in America without spending any more money yourself this holiday season! All you have to do is view Americans for the Arts video on The Giving Library (linked here) and then share our video with your friends on facebook and twitter. The Giving Library will donate $5.00 to Americans for the Arts for every share!! It’s that simple.

How to Share:

1. Click any of the links above to be taken to Americans for the Arts’ video on The Giving Library

2. Click the “share now” button

3. Create an account if you don’t already have one

4. Click “share on Twitter” or “share on Facebook”

4. Share either the default message or a message of your choice with your friends/followers

5. Americans for the Arts will receive $5.00 per share!

Please mark your calendar and take a minute for the arts on #GivingTuesday, December 3, 2013. All you have to do is log on to the Giving Library and share our video. Thanks for your support!

Arts Destination Marketing Award Recipients Announced

During the opening keynote of this year’s National Arts Marketing Project Conference, Americans for the Arts and Destination Marketing Association International announced the recipients of the 2013 Arts Destination Marketing Award. This year’s winners are Bloomington, IN and Memphis, TN.

The award honors two local arts agencies and convention and visitors bureaus that have collaborated successfully to improve tourism in their community. It is intended to reinforce the importance of a strong relationship between a community’s destination marketing organization and its cultural-heritage and arts agencies.

Congratulations Bloomington and Memphis! Keep up the great work!


Google Hangout: Arts and Health in the Military

Have you been following the National Initiative for Arts and Health in the Military, and want to learn more about how the arts can help heal our veterans and active duty military members? Maybe you’ve read our White Paper: Arts, Health, and Well Being Across the Military Continuum – a product of this initiative – but have questions.

Americans for the Arts is hosting a Google Hangout on Arts, Health, and the Military tomorrow, Tuesday, November 19th, at 4:00 p.m. EST. The following expert panelists will join our CEO and President, Robert Lynch, in discussing how these sectors can collaborate – and have been collaborating- to better our country as a whole. 

  • Ron Capps (Army), Veterans Writing Program
  • Roman Baca (Marines), Exit 12 Dance Company
  • Gayla Elliot, Art Therapist, Camp Lejeune North Carolina, an active-duty, Marine Corps training facility
  • Rachel Brink, Chief of VA—PRRC (Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center), Tampa; partners with the locally-based African American Theatre company, Carpetbag Theatre, on the production of “Speed Killed My Cousin,” the story about an African-American female soldier’s struggle with PTSD and “Moral Injury.”

If you have your own questions for these speakers, please tweet them @Americans4Arts using the hashtag #artsandmilitary, and we will ask them live!

Steps to join/view/participate in tomorrow’s Google Hangout:

  • View the Arts & Health in the Military Hangout live by going to our YouTube channel at 4pm on Tuesday, November 19th:
  • If you want to chat on the Google hangout (participate live, as opposed to just watching on YouTube) go to the Hangout page and login to your gmail account (which you need to participate)
  • To join the event, click the “yes I’m going” button after following the link to the hangout: (also linked numerous places above)

We look forward to discussing these important advancements in arts and healing with our military members tomorrow!

CEO Robert Lynch in Chile; Op-Ed in Pulso

Our CEO and President, Robert Lynch, is in Chile this week to speak about arts and the economy to the Chilean-American Chamber of Commerce, the Minister of Culture, and other various entrepreneurs at a luncheon on Wednesday. Prior to his visit, he penned this opinion editorial for the Chilean business publication Pulso, which was published this morning. Posted here in English, but link to article in Spanish below: 

Businesses are constantly seeking new ways to build their competitive advantage and expand their reach. Those in-the-know are increasingly turning to the arts to help them achieve these goals. Buy why? What do they know that other businesses do not? Here are my top reasons for businesses to support the arts:

Recruit talent. A vibrant arts scene is essential to the health of any community seeking to draw employees who want to live and work in a creative and vibrant community. When businesses partner with the arts, they help make their communities more attractive to current and future employees.

Put businesses in the spotlight. The arts help businesses build market share, enhance their brand, and reach new customers. In fact, 79 percent of American businesses believe that the arts increase name recognition, and 74 percent believe they offer opportunities to develop new business.

Advance corporate objectives and strategies. The arts help businesses get their message across in engaging ways. The arts can educate the public and company employees about core business issues such as informing them about products or teaching them to make better choices.

Promote creativity. Reports by the Conference Board show that 72 percent of business leaders say creativity is the number one ability they seek in a job candidate. And additional Conference Board research shows that business leaders believe that the arts help foster critical thinking, problem solving and team building.

Engage employees. The arts challenge employees to be their best. Studies show that millennials who frequently participate in workplace volunteer activities are more likely to be proud, loyal and satisfied employees.

Embrace diversity and team building. In the 21st century, a diverse network of lifestyles, beliefs, values, practices and ethnicities are already thriving in our communities. The arts are the best tool we have in our arsenal for connecting, bridging and creating understanding between, and even within, all these communities.

Say thanks. The arts allow businesses to show appreciation for their employees. Providing access to arts experiences is the perfect way to inspire employees and say “thanks.”

The arts are an economic engine. Investment in the arts supports jobs, generates tax revenues, promotes tourism, and advances a creativity-based economy.  In the United States, nonprofit arts organizations generate $135 billion in economic activity annually, supporting 4.1 million jobs and generating $22.3 billion in government revenue.

For more information, please visit

Read Robert Lynch’s OpEd in Pulso.

Recap: 2013 National Arts Policy Roundtable and Executive Leadership Forum

“The country is so wounded, bleeding, and hurt right now. The country needs to be healed – it’s not going to be healed from the top, politically. How are we going to heal? Art is the healing force.” – Robert Redford,  2012 National Arts Policy Roundtable

From September 18-21, over 50 select top level decision makers and thought leaders from the fields of business, government, the social sector, education, and the arts gathered together at two events held at the Sundance Institute: Americans for the Arts’ 2013 National Arts Policy Roundtable (NAPR) and our Executive Leadership Forum (ELF).  

The National Arts Policy Roundtable (NAPR) was launched in October 2006 by Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, and Robert Redford, founder of the Sundance Institute to reflect and discuss issues that affect the arts, and thus, society at-large. This year’s topic, Arts and Healing:  Body, Mind and Community,  explored the role that the arts play in building healthier people and stronger communities. There is a growing awareness among the medical, public health, government, civic, and military communities about the arts’ capacity to heal mental and physical traumas. Research has shown that incorporating the arts has numerous benefits not only for the patients, but also for their families, their caregivers, the hospitals, the communities, and our economy. Check out the complete

In addition to rigorous discussion, The 2013 National Arts Policy Roundtable included presentations of best practices, listening to those engaged in the work, participating in arts and healing demonstrations, and brainstorming how to best further the role of the arts as a tool for rejuvenating our nation and our world.  In addition to a powerful group of leaders including Acting Surgeon General of the United States, Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak; General George W. Casey, Jr., 36th Chief of Staff, US Army, Retired; Commander Moira McGuire; Program Manager, Warrior Clinic and Director, Creative Arts Program, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center; Dr. Tommy Sowers; Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs; US Department of Veterans Affairs; artists Ben Folds, Vijay Gupta and Darden Smith,  we annually award a National Arts Policy Roundtable Fellowship to recent high school graduates who are  alumni from the Youngarts program of the National YoungArts Foundation. These stellar young people add an important voice to the conversation and are committed to carrying the issue for years to come.  This year’s National Arts Policy Roundtable fellows were:

  • ·Liisi LaFontaine; 2013 YoungArts Winner in Voice, graduate of Los Angeles High School of the Arts, CA
  • ·Peter Eom; 2013 YoungArts Winner in Music and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, graduate of Highland High School, Gilbert, AZ

Our CEO, Robert Lynch, with Ben Folds at the NAPR
The Executive Leadership Forum (ELF), held simultaneously with Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Policy Roundtable, gathered eighteen executive directors of Local Arts Agencies from Alaska to Florida to strengthen their leadership skills and contribute to a dialogue on policy and trends facing the field. They covered a wide range of topics, including diversity, cultural districts, the art of healing, and navigating change through discussions, presentations, and screenings. Read Ken Busby’s post on ARTSBlog about his favorite session of the 2013 ELF: “Thinking Past Urgent:  Organizational Assessment, Decision Making, and Change.”

Robert L. Lynch Named to Independent Sector Board of Directors

Americans for the Arts is proud to announce that President and CEO Robert L. Lynch has been elected to Independent Sector’s Board of Directors.

For many years, Americans for the Arts and Independent Sector have had a strong partnership, and Bob’s election to the board serves to deepen the work the two organizations will do in the future. Indeed, Bob’s election to the Independent Sector board represents an important recognition of the critical and significant part that the arts sector can and does play in offering solutions to the core social and economic issues with which we are grappling as a nation.  

We are excited about and very much look forward to continuing our work with Independent Sector team as well as the other nonprofit leaders, philanthropists, and visionary thinkers that comprise its board to advance cultural policy and support the work of the nation’s non-profit organizations.

White Paper on National Arts and Health in the Military Released

In partnership with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), Americans for the Arts launched The National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military in January 2012. This Initiative advances the arts in health, healing, and healthcare for military service members, veterans, their families, and their caregivers. The arts have proven to be a successful way of managing pain and stress, promotion self expression, and reconnecting military personnel and veterans to the community – which leads to healthier patients, lower healthcare costs, and a long list of individual, social, and economic benefits.  

Since its founding in 2012, the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military has held two national convenings: the Arts and Health in the Military National Roundtable (November 2012) and the National Summit: Arts, Health, and Wellness Across the Military Continuum (April 2013). From these meetings came a series of recommendations in the areas of research, practice, and policy, detailed in the seminal report we are proud to release today: Arts, Health, and Well-Being Across the Military Continuum – White Paper and Framing a National Plan for Action. Check out our webpage for a summary on the key themes of this study and goals of this initiative, and keep an eye out for a post on ARTSBlog tomorrow by our Director of Arts Policy, Marete Wester.

Celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month this October!

October is National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM) in America. NAHM is a coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of culture and the arts in America. It is designed to encourage all Americans to explore new facets of the arts and humanities in their lives, and to begin a lifelong habit of active participation in the arts and humanities. On September 30, 2013, President Obama made an official Presidential Proclamation for National Arts & Humanities month and you can read it here.

From hosting a Creative Conversation or arts center open house to securing a mayoral (or Presidential) proclamation or better newspaper coverage of the arts, people in every community across the United States can celebrate NAHM by helping to recognize the contributions of cultural organizations in their region.

This national celebration of the arts could not come at a more prescient time. The current government shutdown has the potential to drastically impact the arts sector in myriad of ways, and the ripple effects resulting from just a few days of closure could be significant.

For more information visit the NAHM webpage, featuring events you can attend in your community as well as a toolkit to create your own. Also, become a fan of our NAHM Facebook page and follow @Americans4Arts on Twitter (hashtag #NAHM) for timely updates and stories on how local organizations are celebrating this month.