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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

NEWS: Arts Watch - February 6, 2013

Culture & Communities 

Are City Orchestras a Dying Breed?Mother Jones, 2/4/13
"Symphonies in Detroit, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Chicago have all experienced strikes and/or lockouts over the past two years, and those in many smaller cities, including Miami, Honolulu, and Albuquerque, have folded altogether. In the spring of 2011, the Philadelphia Orchestra became the nation's first major orchestra to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy—it emerged from restructuring last July with 10 fewer musicians, and a 15 percent pay cut for the remaining players. A weak economy, compounding the longstanding challenge of a dwindling audience, have brought about a massive identity crisis in the classical music world. Orchestras have high overhead costs, and they simply aren't as popular as they once were."

Maryland: Town Understands Value of Art & Entertainment DistrictsThe Washington Post1/23/13
"[Leonardtown] will prepare a more thorough application next month, conduct a public hearing at the Town Council meeting March 11, and submit the final application by April 1...A Maryland arts and entertainment designation could draw more visitors and bolster business. It could bring tax credits to qualified property owners who make renovations and offer income-tax credits for artists living and working in the community. The designation also allows for exemption from Maryland’s admissions and amusement tax, charged in part on the sale of merchandise and refreshments where entertainment is offered...Leonardtown unsuccessfully applied for the designation in 2001. Some agree the town is better prepared now to make a viable bid. Since 2001, the Leonardtown Arts Center and galleries have arrived just steps off the town square. Restaurants and live music are part of the town’s new energy, said Barbara Bershon, who lives in Leonardtown and chairs the Maryland State Arts Council."

Arts in Education 

Indiana: Schools Seek Outside Help for Arts EducationABC57.com, 2/4/13
"In Indiana and across the nation, funding for the arts has long been an issue. 'It takes a back seat to other things that we think are more important,' said Tom Dits, drama teacher at Trinity at Greenlawn. Schools are still reeling from the $300 million cut to education by Gov. Daniels in 2009. Even though Gov. Mike Pence has proposed an one percent increase of $63 million, it looks like funding for the arts will continue to be tepid at best. Even private schools like Trinity at Greenlawn need outside help to secure special opportunities for their students. 'Notre Dame has been very generous with us in offering a lot of workshops, probably for the past 10 years,' said Dits. Students are buying into the process. 'They really want us to delve into the world and meet people that are doing these professions that we ourselves are thinking about going into,' said senior Alex Bokhart."

Florida: Lawmakers Seek to Add Arts Classes to Grade CalculationTampa Bay Times, 1/25/13
"If you test it, they will teach it. That's part of the reasoning behind legislation filed by Rep. Charles McBurney and Sen. Nancy Detert, two Republicans who are proposing that the state count participation in arts education count as a piece of public schools' state grades. As Florida school districts have slashed their budgets in recent years, art and music courses often have been considered as potential targets for elimination as extras or luxuries. Arts advocates have fought to keep the programs intact. They point to research indicating that arts education sparks imagination and hones thinking skills...It's not unusual to hear the criticism that schools will look to the arts because the state doesn't have high stakes arts tests. A few years back, Florida music teachers actually pushed for a music FCAT to generate more funding and attention to their subject."

Public Investment in the Arts 

Utah: Arts Advocates Head to the CapitolKSL.com, 2/5/13
"Utah's arts organizations and students converged at the Capitol to thank legislators for their support of the arts and to remind them of the importance of arts funding, including programs for Utah’s schools...During the past six years, annual funding for arts in education has been between $2.5 million and just more than $3 million, dropping during the recession and reaching the $3 million threshold again last year...Susan Sandack, with the Repertory Dance Theatre, and Clive Romney, representing Utah Arts Council Folk Arts, went to the hill with success stories like the Native American program in the Nebo School District to the attention of lawmakers. 'Folk arts, storytelling, the dance of their culture, etc. has increased graduation rates from 50 percent to 95 percent,' Romney said. 'That's what the arts can do.'"

Texas: Fort Worth Arts Task Force Focuses on Gas Revenues, Hotel TaxStar-Telegram PoliTex blog1/31/13
"Fort Worth’s arts funding task force zeroed in on gas well revenues and the hotel tax as potential sources for arts grants, pared in the city’s tight budgets, during their second meeting [January 31]...Staff members also suggested the committee could consider proposing a challenge grant connected to receiving gas well revenues. But several task force members were cool to the idea. 'I think we need to challenge the city first,' Lori Thomson, a task force member and co-owner of the Firehouse Pottery and Gallery in Fort Worth, said, characterizing this year’s $799,691 city allocation for grants funding to the Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County as 'such a small amount' compared to the $583 million general fund budget...City funding to the Arts Council, which uses the city money to make grants to local arts organizations, has fallen from a $1.3 million peak in 2010 and was cut by $266,564 in the 2013 budget...The city is in the process of moving $6.7 million of unencumbered gas revenues into a trust fund designed to throw off interest that could be spent in the future."

Oklahoma: Bill Cutting State Arts Funding Will Not AdvanceThe Oklahoman1/30/13
"A measure that proposed to eventually eliminate all funding to the Oklahoma Arts Council won't advance this year, the bill's author said. Rep. Josh Cockroft (R-Tecumseh) said House Bill 1895 has been assigned to the House of Representatives Rules Committee, where it is unlikely to get a hearing this year. 'They didn't have support for it,' said Cockroft, referring to GOP leaders in the House where Republicans have a 72-29 majority. 'It's dead on arrival, basically.' 'I'm OK with that,' said Cockroft. 'I wasn't presenting it just to get a bill passed. It's to merely point to a bigger conversation which I think we need to be having—which is, can we make sure that every dollar's going where it absolutely needs to go?'...[The bill] called for reducing state funding to the Arts Council each fiscal year by 25 percent. The appropriation from lawmakers was to end in 2017. The Arts Council is seeking a $500,000 increase for the 2014 fiscal year."

The Creative Economy & The Private Sector 

Idaho: 'Scenius' is Taking Boise's Creative Placemaking A Step Forward
Idaho Statesman, 2/1/13
"Last year the Treefort Music Festival drew thousands of music fans to several downtown venues to hear mostly unknown indie bands. It grew out of a convergence of energy in the local music scene that sparked and caught fire when producer Lori Shandro met musician Eric Gilbert and co-producer Drew Lorona at the same time Boise Radio hit the airwaves and created a forum to bring fans together. It was a cultural moment that could only have happened in Boise, Shandro says...That’s also an example of 'scenius,' says Bandie Redinger, one of the organizers of the Muse Project, a budding cultural forum...Coined by electronic music pioneer/producer Brian Eno in 2009, it refers to a communal kind of genius that drives culture forward...Scenius happens when fertile and fluid 'scenes' pop up in a community and involve a variety of artists, theorists, collectors, trendsetters, and other community leaders. Together they create an ecology of talent that can give rise to great ideas. It’s those ideas in turn that will come to define a place."

Alabama: Birmingham Plan Builds Cross-Sector Partnerships
AL.com, 1/28/13
"'Creative Birmingham,' a three-year project led by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham (CAGB), is designed to build partnerships between arts organizations and businesses and institutions in sectors such as tourism, science, engineering, and education...Buoyed by economic data collected by Americans for the Arts on what arts and culture meant to the Jefferson County economy in 2010, CAGB raised nearly $500,000 from three sources—the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, and the C. Eugene Ireland Foundation. The announcement was prefaced by figures from Americans for the Arts' study...which concluded that $235 million was spent on arts and arts-related activity, 6,805 people were employed full time, and 4.9 million people attended arts and cultural events in Jefferson County in 2010."

Philanthropy & Fundraising 

Report: Nonprofit Giving Nearly Flat in 2012Business Wire, 2/4/13
"Blackbaud, Inc. released a Charitable Giving Report, featuring the sector’s first look at how nonprofit fundraising performed in 2012. The Report draws from The Blackbaud Index, which tracks $8 billion in U.S.-based charitable giving on a monthly basis to provide the largest analysis of overall and online giving trends in the nonprofit sector. '2012 continued to show signs of a slow recovery for overall fundraising,' said Steve MacLaughlin, co-author of the Charitable Giving Report and director of Blackbaud’s Idea Lab. 'Online fundraising’s return to significant growth rates is an encouraging sign, although online giving still makes up less than 10 percent of overall giving. Looking ahead, overall giving is not likely to increase significantly until there is sustained growth in new donors, nonprofits rebuild their multi-year donor base, and overall donor retention improves.'"

Digital Media Challenge Offers $100K for Fresh Ideas on DemocracyMacArthur Foundation, 2/3/13
"Today marks the launch of a new digital media challenge that seeks to start a national conversation on ideas and solutions to improve American democracy, with cash prizes for the most fresh and creative submissions. Looking@Democracy is a national competition offering a total of $100,000 in prize money for short, provocative media submissions designed to spark a national conversation about why government is important to our lives, or how individuals and communities can come together to strengthen American democracy...The challenge will award $25,000 for first place along with significant prizes for second and third place as well as categories and awards for People’s Choice and Emerging Artists. Examples of welcome submissions would be addressing a critical topic that is absent from the national debate, looking at data and exploring the stories behind them, or highlighting an aspect about democracy taking place on a local level."


The BCA 10: Nominate An Arts Supporting Business Today!
The BCA 10 recognizes businesses of all sizes for their exceptional involvement with the arts that enrich the workplace, education, and the community. These companies demonstrate the power of arts and business partnerships and set examples for other companies to follow so why not recognize them as part of the 2013 BCA 10 Awards? The deadline for nominations (February 15) is rapidly approaching so be sure to nominate soon!

Upcoming Americans for the Arts Webinars
Addressing Changing Customer Expectations Using New & Old Technologies
February 12, 2013 at 3:00 PM EST
Remember the days when all your ticket buyers called you when they wanted tickets? Remember when you had to pick up the phone to call them when you wanted something? Many subscribers and ticket buyers still respond to this traditional model but many of your website visitors and those aware of your organization's presence on social media have different expectations. Some of them buy and some of them don't. Learn from some real-life customer service challenges and nightmares and how you can use some new (and some old) technologies to holistically respond to these differing expectations. 

The Evolution of Local Arts Grantmaking: Technology, Systems, & Data
February 20, 2013 at 3:00 PM EST
There are many new and exciting grantmaking technology innovations to help streamline the grantmaking process as well as data collection. What are the latest and greatest and how to assess these. What's right for your organization? How are you using the data once it is collected?

Business Speak - Can We Talk?
February 21, 2013 at 3:00 PM EST
Partnering with the business community no longer means just asking for money. Learn how to effectively talk to business leaders, marketing departments, human resource personnel and other decision makers within the business environment about how to develop mutually beneficial projects.

Remember that all webinars are free to members or they can be purchased by non-members for $35 per session. Visit our website to register and find out about upcoming sessions. 

Arts Watch Info
In addition to our newsletter, you can also receive news in between issues by following our Twitter account (@artswatch). We post news items via Twitter as they happen every day and then collect the most relevant news for our newsletter in hopes of serving all of our 9,800 subscribers and the field at-large.

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