State & Local News
Nonprofit arts groups in North Carolina are concerned about a new state tax on ticket sales, cover charges and season passes. Under a tax reform plan approved by the state’s General Assembly, beginning in 2014 the state will charge a 4.75 percent privilege tax on admission charges to any live performance or event, any movie screening, any museum, cultural site, garden, exhibit, art show or guided tour. A limited number of institutions receiving state support, such as the N.C. Museum of Art, are exempt. North Carolina has long charged a 3 percent tax on gross receipts, including ticket sales; however, most nonprofits had been exempted from the gross receipts tax. The new law eliminates these exemptions.
According to Maine law, nonprofit organizations must fall into one of two categories: “charitable and benevolent” or “scientific and literary.” Both are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, but the state standard for property tax exemption is different. Last year, The Dance Hall, a nonprofit that provides cultural programming, classes and workshops at a low cost in Kittery, ME, applied for tax-exempt status and were denied. Their annual budget is $40,000 and its tax bill is for roughly the same amount. The Dance Hall and the Kittery Art Association are now seeking relief in county superior court, arguing that they fall under the definition of a charitable organization.
The Guam Humanities Council has survived over 22 years as an independent nonprofit and without any local appropriations; however, the House of Representatives Interior Subcommittee’s proposed cut of 49 percent to the National Endowment for the Arts could spell the end of the organization. Ninety-nine percent of their programming is free and open to the public. Part of their funding goes to small community groups as grants for their own humanities projects and empowering others. “We're going to feel it really hard here on Guam,” says the Council’s Public Relations and Programs Coordinator Cathy Flores. “Every year, the Guam Humanities Council has been getting cut. And every year, we do more with less and less. And basically, what a cut this drastic could mean is that we would have to close.”
Arts Council Silicon Valley and 1stACT Silicon Valley have merged into a new regional nonprofit called Silicon Valley Creates. The merger itself isn't surprising to those familiar with the organizations. 1stACT Silicon Valley was entering its planned "sunset" phase, and its founding managing director, Connie Martinez, took over as CEO of the Arts Council a few months back. SV Creates is taking the Arts Council's 30-year history of supporting artists and arts programs and upping the ante on the mission to engage audiences in the region.
Oregon’s Portland Public Schools will move forward with funding the equivalent of 15 more full-time teachers after Mayor Charlie Hales' office announced the city would provide districts with the full amount initially promised to them from the city's controversial arts tax. Though voters passed a $35-per-person tax to fund arts education and organizations in November, city officials warned superintendents about budgeting the $6.3 million going to schools because the tax faced three legal challenges. After the tax survived the lawsuits, city officials told the six district superintendents last week that they would receive the full amount of the revenue.
New York City mayoral candidates fielded questions last week about how to support the arts during a tough fiscal climate. Arts spending rose to roughly $300 million under Mayor Michael Bloomberg but the city loosened the old baseline, allowing principals more discretion over how to spend their budgets. All of the major candidates said that number should climb, but were hesitant to give a price tag until the city's economy improves. One of the panel sponsors, One Percent for Culture, has proposed that the city spend one percent of it’s roughly $70 billion annual budget on nonprofit arts and cultural groups to boost the current level of $150 million to almost $700 million. All of the candidates said they supported the goal, but the only major candidate to fully embrace the idea was Republican businessman John Catsimatidis, who said he supports it "110 percent."
Trying to shore up financially-battered arts organizations, the Delaware Division of the Arts will send more than $3 million to 109 arts programs across Delaware this year, more than double the amount contributed last year. With the funding infusion, which includes $2.8 million in direct state funding and about $300,000 in federal aid, Delaware now ranks third in the nation – behind Minnesota and Hawaii – for state arts funding based on population. The increased funding will help offset reductions in corporate donations and flat individual giving. In an announcement last week, state officials touted the arts sector as one of Delaware’s top 10 employers, creating $142 million in annual economic impact.
Educators in eight South Carolina school districts will be awarded funding to carry out arts-related projects in the 2013-2014 school year through a mini-grant program. The project was inspired by a recent article in The Washington Post that listed life skills learned through the arts: creativity, confidence, problem solving, perseverance, focus, non-verbal communication, receiving constructive feedback, collaboration, dedication and accountability. Applications were received in June and a varied group of eight community members made up of ministers, retired teachers, businesspeople and artists meet for a single session to evaluate the grant requests. Each request was scored on a scale of one to five in each of the following categories: impact, creativity, activities and goals, relevance to the arts, budget and overall presentation.
In 2011, the London Observer called the Jacksonville International Airport one of the four best airports in the world in which to be stranded and it’s likely that the airports art collection. In mid-’90s, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) appointed a Jacksonville International Airport Art Commission to find place art in the airport. The commission of 12 determines where it would like to see art placed in the airport and sets a price range then solicits proposals and selects a project. The JAA board has final approval. Currently, the airport has 14 pieces of art in its permanent collection. The airport also hosts two galleries, both located in the central courtyard, the Sky Gallery and the Haskell Gallery. Art that is exhibited in the Haskell Gallery is usually for sale.
Artful Impact’s Cabaret for a Cause is a Naperville, Illinois-based nonprofit founded on the theory that art can change lives — both for the performers and the community. Rather than hiring experienced performers for each cabaret, Artful Impact sees each show as an opportunity to introduce the arts into more people's lives. The performers — who may not have previous stage experience — take a class led by professional writers, directors and choreographers. The goal is for the performers to develop confidence, stage craft and friendships while working together to help others. Artful Impact was founded through the vision of the teachers and directors of the School of Performing Arts in Naperville and some community leaders who had experienced the power of the arts to impact communities. Now in its 10th year, Artful Impact’s Spectrum program for young people with special needs now serves some 40 individuals and in the last year has begun providing arts enrichment opportunities in area public schools in cooperation with in-school special education staff.
On August 2, 1973, Wisconsin’s then Governor Patrick Lucey signed legislation that brought the Wisconsin Arts Board into existence. While celebrating their 40th anniversary, the Wisconsin Art Board has put together a new anniversary section on their website highlighting accomplishments and the evolution of the Arts Board. “Arts Support Goes Public in Wisconsin” tells the story of how the Arts Board came to be and The Arts Board’s Logo Through the Years shows how the design has evolved over the past forty years.
Follow the Latest Art-Centric Social Network
Chris Messina is best known for creating hashtags back in 2007 as a way of grouping online conversations. Since then, he’s spent time at Google and now he’s moving on once more. As of this week, Messina is working at NeonMob, an online art/ trading card/ sticker collecting start up. The new social network is still operating in beta mode. According to the website,
“NeonMob is a platform and community for discovering and collecting awesome, original, limited-edition, digital art. For those who grew up collecting comic books, cards, stamps, coins or other collectible paraphernalia, the concept of collecting online doesn't stretch the imagination. The difference is, NeonMob is online, which makes finding fellow collectors and trading partners much easier – and on NeonMob, anybody can create stuff for others to collect!”
Create a Social Media PlanYour organization has been using social media for some time now. But, do your staff know all rules? How to handle and respond appropriately to negative comments and criticism? What they can and cannot write on the organization’s page? How to fix errors in posts without compromising the integrity of the content the public has already shared on that post? Are employees allowed to “friend” your organization using their personal accounts? How do you ensure your brand image is enhanced, not threatened by social media usage throughout the organization?
A comprehensive, widely-circulated social media plan can eradicate these issues and guarantee all employees understand the procedures, policies, rules, and expectations for using social media to promote the organization’s brand.
Webinars hosted by Americans for the Arts:
An Introduction to the Engagement Spectrum
August 27, 2013 at 3:00 PM EDT
Take a closer look at participation conditions and behaviors to consider when developing audience engagement programming. Artist and engagement strategist Rachel Grossman will review categories of participant-types, environmental factors, and communication tools, and share examples of tactics and activities with multiple points of entry for a range of audience members. This webinar will also provide insight into drawing connecting threads from your artistic programming through their marketing and advertising.
Are you Prepared? Emergency PreparednessSeptember 4, 2013 at 3:00 PM EDT
None of us want to believe that "it" could happen to our arts organization - our passion, our labor of love, our career, and our future. Reality happens. Whether "it" is a hurricane, technology failure, scandal, fire or flood, accident or crime, pandemic, tornado, or physical infrastructure failure, crises can and do occur, which is why preparedness is key to sustainability. As we face constant natural and made disasters, do you have a plan? Is your data safe? Join us as we learn about how local arts agencies are preparing for disasters? What you need to know.
Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch was named toThe NonProfit Times’ 2013 Power and Influence Top 50, an annual list highlighting the nonprofit sector’s top executives and thinkers.
In their description of Bob, The NonProfit Times wrote: “You will never misconstrue anything this vocal arts leader has to say. The meeting of art, business and politics is not an intersection, but a jug handle that goes around. He knows how to get partners safely off and onto an access road. He has a firm grip on the organization while developing new arts leadership in communities around the nation.”
Others named to the 2013 Power and Influence Top 50 include:
§ Diana Aviv, Independent Sector
§ Tim Delaney, National Council of Nonprofits
§ Charles Best, DonorsChoose.org
§ John H. Graham IV, ASAE/ The Center for Association Leadership
§ Gregory Lewis, True Colors Fund
§ Lisa Paulsen, Entertainment Industry Foundation
Tell Congress to Support Arts in Education
Arts education funding is under threat in a House GOP budget proposal and in the Administration's FY 2014 budget request. The Arts in Education program has survived threats like these in previous years through support of grassroots advocates and support by Senate champions like Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS). The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee FY 2014 legislation provides $27 million for the federal Arts in Education program which we hope will be enacted into law.Please take a few minutes to write to your members of Congress and ask them to support strengthening arts education in federal policy.
Urge Members of Congress to Support the NEA
The U.S. House of Representatives Interior Appropriations Subcommittee approved a FY 2014 funding bill that calls for a 49% cut to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This would bring funding of the NEA down to $75 million, a level not seen since 1974! The NEA funds grants in every congressional district in the country. A cut of this size would immediately end that ability to support the arts in all communities. The NEA supports funding in dance, design, folk & traditional arts, literature, local arts agencies, media arts, multidisciplinary, museums, music, musical theater, opera, presenting, theater, and visual arts. Please take a few minutes to write to your Members of Congress to urge them to support the NEA in widening citizen access to the cultural, educational, and economic benefits of the arts, and advancing creativity and innovation in communities across the United States.
Now Accepting State Legislator Nominations for Public Leadership in the Arts Award
Public Leadership in the Arts awards are given in recognition of an elected official or artist who plays an important role in the advancement of the arts and arts education within his or her community, and whose vision and leadership provide heightened visibility to the value of the arts. Applications are now being accepted for State Legislators and the award will be presented in partnership with the National Conference of State Legislature’s at their Fall Forum, December 4-6, 2013 in Washington, DC. If you have questions, please e-mail Jay Dick, the Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs at Americans for the Arts.
Registration Now Open! The 2013 National Arts Marketing Project Conference
Community empowers your art. What does it take for your arts organization to deeply connect with the people that matter? At the 2013 National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP) Conference in Portland, OR, you’ll learn the marketing strategies that your organization needs to revolutionize the way communities engage with your organization. Join us in a city infused with a DIY atmosphere and a strong collaborative spirit, where you’ll embrace the interactive tools and forward-thinking strategies needed to create a sense of community around your work.
Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania is getting the word out about the state’s Legislative Arts & Culture Caucus. Citizens Managing Director, Jenny Hershour, is posting Caucus members’ pictures on Facebook and inviting the member's constituents to reach out and thank their legislator for joining the caucus and making a commitment to arts and culture.
This strategy combines two best practices- for Facebook engagement and communicating with elected officials. Facebook posts with pictures receive 39 percent more interaction than links, videos and text-based updates. In fact, photo posts get 53 percent more likes and 104 percent more comments. It’s also a great idea to reach out to elected officials with positive messages, thank yous and recognition for their efforts. This helps build relationships and grease the wheel for when you need to make an ask.