State & Local News
According to NH Citizens for the Arts, the New Hampshire biennial budget for FY2014- FY15 includes an increase for the arts. The increases initially proposed for the Department of Cultural Resources and the NH Council on the Arts in the Governor's budget were lowered somewhat in the House, but the House recommendation was retained by the Senate and included in the final state budget. The state appropriation for FY2015 for the Division of the Arts is listed as $381,824, up from the FY2013 appropriation of $341,377.
Ohio Citizens for the Arts set a goal to increase public funding for arts and culture through the Ohio Arts Council at $22.4 million for the FY2014-2015 biennium. With support from arts advocates across the state, they met and exceeded their goal as an appropriation of $22,698,408 was allocated to the arts. This represents a nearly 32% increase, up from the $17,211,408 allocated in FY2012-2013.
Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District have begun training to fulfill the district’s new arts integration plan. The plan, which district officials will post later this month, calls for some physical education teachers to teach introductory courses in dance and for Language Arts teachers at some schools to take on theater instruction. Teachers will be encouraged to teach integrated lessons – where art is taught alongside a subject like Math or English. Teachers at the training were very supportive of arts integration, but several said it adds to an overwhelming list of requirements. Some arts teachers are worried that arts integration may push things like learning violin to the sidelines. "There's always a fear that when you integrate arts into the general classroom that it might mean that the arts sort of disappear," says Kerry Buchman, a teacher in the district.
As Detroit, Michigan’s emergency manager is enmeshed in negotiations with the creditors that hold the city’s $18-billion debt, officials at the Detroit Institute of the Arts (DIA) have reason to believe that the museum might be forced to raise cash for the city. While the emergency manager has stated that he has no plans to sell the art, his spokesperson has cautioned that the city cannot guarantee the museum’s protection. DIA officials fear a domino effect: They say if the museum were forced to raise cash for Detroit by selling art or embracing various rental ideas, future donations of art and money would disappear. They also think they could lose the millage revenue that was earned through a ballot initiative last year.
The Minnesota Orchestra, in the midst of a lengthy lockout of its musicians over a contract dispute, says it will return $960,000 to the Minnesota State Arts Board that was intended to be used for operating expenses through the end of June. The Orchestra says it had promised the Legislature that it wouldn't use the Arts Board grant until it reached a settlement with the musicians and that settlement has not yet happened. Orchestra President and CEO Michael Henson said in the statement, "We’ve now reached the end of the state’s fiscal year and granting period and consistent with our pledge, we plan to return the funds."
Many Minnesota artists and arts supporters are irate over recent changes to Minnesota State Arts Boards grants. In the final days of the legislative session, lawmakers redefined how grant funds may be used for travel. Previously, artists could use a portion of their grant money to travel anywhere for work related to their project and they could use grant money to bring other artists into Minnesota from elsewhere. During the legislative session, an amendment was offered to a bill that restricted travel to be used by Minnesota artists within the state. Arts advocate State Senator Richard Cohen was surprised to learn of the out-of-state travel and said that the amendment passed unanimously and without dissent.
Teachers from across South Carolina learned how to infuse a little STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) power during the Muse Machine Institute, presented by the Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg. The professional development opportunity focused on creativity and arts integration. The group of 30 represented teachers from across all grade levels and subject areas. The workshop was conducted under the direction of Hightower and Randy Barron, a teaching artist with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.