Arts Watch Update
*This section of Arts Watch updates readers on specific news items that have appeared in recent editions.
Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Orchestra to File for Bankruptcy
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/17/11
"The board of the 111-year-old Philadelphia Orchestra voted in favor of a Chapter 11 reorganization. The claim was expected to be filed this weekend in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania…The move makes Philadelphia's the first major U.S. orchestra to file for bankruptcy, say industry groups and veteran observers. The majority vote came with several abstentions, and all five musicians on the 75-member board voted 'no,' according to two sources."
Virginia: Richmond Mayor Approves Loan for Arts District Renovation
Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/14/11
"A $3.6 million plan to renovate the former Morton's jewelry store building…into apartments, live/work units, and retail space is advancing with a low-interest loan from the city. Standing in the dank, vacant storefront at 213 E. Broad, Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced the city's first loan for a building-renovation project in his proposed arts and cultural district for downtown. 'We recognize that the arts and cultural entertainment district can be a catalyst for economic development, revitalization, and this is a wonderful addition to this district that we are trying to bring alive,' he said."
Public Broadcasting Funding Survives Federal Budget Showdown
Associated Press, 4/13/11
"Despite efforts to strip government funding for public broadcasting, PBS chief Paula Kerger said the federal budget deal retains most of the money that President Obama had set aside for public television and radio stations. The deal allocates nearly $430 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a 0.2 percent cut from what the president had proposed…Kerger said the response of viewers and listeners was key…'That changed everything,' Kerger said. 'As eloquent as we hope we can be to articulate the case for public broadcasting, at the end of the day it's really the American people that count.'"
Report: Economy Down, Museum Attendance Up
Associated Press, 4/18/11
"A report [released] by the American Association of Museums shows more than 70 percent of the nation's museums were under financial distress last year because most saw government and corporate funding reduced from an already bad year in 2009. At the same time, half of the nearly 400 museums in the survey reported increased attendance and educational programs. The median admission price remained seven dollars for adults. 'I think the survey results show a real commitment to the work of museums, that people would rather freeze hiring and lay off staff than reduce the service they're providing to the American people,' said Philip Katz, the [American Association of Museums] assistant director for research."
Minnesota: State Arts Agency Releases Early Results of Arts Census
West Central Tribune, 4/14/11
"The Minnesota State Arts Board is conducting a statewide census for individuals who engage in creative expression and for businesses, facilities, and organizations that promote and support creative expression. After one month of the census, interim results reveal: Visual art is the leading form of creative expression, with 62 percent of respondents indicating that pursuit. 55 percent cited performing arts and 32 percent literary arts…On average, individuals spend 21 hours per week on all forms of creative expression in which they engage. [And,] the majority of respondents (66 percent) are women."
Indiana: District Cuts All Elementary Art, Music Classes
Associated Press, 4/19/11
"School officials of a southern Indiana town say they will let go dozens of teachers to cut millions from its budget. The New Albany-Floyd County School Board voted [April 18] to lay off 38 teachers as part of a $2.2 million package of budget cuts. The Courier-Journal of Louisville, KY, reports the original plan was to lay off 69 teachers, but retirements and attrition reduced the number of necessary layoffs. The district plans to eliminate art, music, and physical education classes in its elementary schools. It will also reduce reading programs and cut an assistant coaching position from each high school sports team."
Harvard Professor Highlights Importance of Arts in Education
The Dartmouth, 4/15/11
"Incorporating the arts into educational curricula will lead to an increase in creative solutions to political and social problems, according to Harvard University romance languages and literatures professor Doris Sommer. Sommer argued for an increased presence of the arts in American education during the tenth annual Susanne Zantop Memorial Lecture [at Dartmouth]…Sommer spoke about the decline of the arts in education over the past several decades and the need to strengthen their role in school communities. She called for teaches and other 'everyday leaders' to forge the way for an elevated emphasis on arts education."
Arizona: Opera Company Launches Program for Underserved Students
The Arizona Republic, 4/14/11
"As schools are forced to slash their arts and music programs, Arizona Opera's new education programs are reaching out to students from the Phoenix area and beyond. The nonprofit organization began an afterschool program last month and will launch a summer program this year. Opera leaders said the move is a response to increasing state budget cuts to Arizona's public schools. These cuts often affect schools' fine arts programs, said Laura Baldasano, Arizona Opera director of education…Baldasano said exposing students to dress rehearsals, in-school performances, and summer programs enhances the overall educational experience."
District of Columbia: Local Arts Groups Hurt in Federal Budget Deal
The Washington Post ArtsPost blog, 4/19/11
"A number of Washington arts organizations are reeling because Congress cut one of the city’s reliable sources of arts funding, the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs (NCACA) program. NCACA was chopped by $7 million from $9.5 million in the last agreement for FY 2011. The NCACA grants local groups unrestricted funding in place of state appropriations. The program was started in 1985 to fill that gap since the District is not a state. 'What is particularly cruel is that most arts organizations live in states, which give the groups money. We don’t have the infrastructure, we don’t have the rights, we don’t have the recourse,' said Dorothy M. Kosinski, the director of the Phillips Collection."
Hawai'i: City Council Budget Threatens Office of Culture & Arts
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 4/13/11
"The Honolulu Office of Economic Development and Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts remain on the chopping block after a recommendation by the City Council’s Budget Committee. Proposals call for eliminating all but bare-bones funding for each of the two agencies. The Carlisle administration opposes the cuts, saying vital work would be left undone…Budget Vice Chairwoman Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo is proposing a $303,536 cut from Culture and the Arts’ $345,188 budget…The Council will reassess the situation after a public hearing scheduled for [April 20]."
Ticketmaster Unveils 'Dynamic' Pricing Structure
Associated Press, 4/18/11
"Event tickets seller Ticketmaster said that it is introducing new technology to let artists and sports teams raise or lower ticket prices to reflect demand during the initial sales period—a move it said will crimp the profits of scalpers and boost revenue for performers and teams. The technology could push up initial prices for front-row seats while reducing prices on less desirable ones that might have gone unsold otherwise. Ticketmaster, a division of Live Nation Entertainment Inc., says the change should make it harder for anyone to send prices soaring by buying up all the best tickets and reselling them at substantial profit."
Electronic Book Sales Top Paperbacks for First Time
The Guardian, 4/15/11
"Ebooks have become the single bestselling category in American publishing for the first time, according to new data…The latest report from the Association of American Publishers, compiling sales data from U.S. publishing houses, shows that total ebook sales in February were $90.3 million. This makes digital books the largest single format in the country for the first time ever…overtaking paperbacks at $81.2 million. In January, ebooks were the second-largest category, behind paperbacks. America's ebooks enjoyed a 202.3 percent growth in sales in February compared with the same month the previous year."
Texas: State's Largest Arts Festival Generates Millions for Fort Worth
"The Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival is in full swing. With potentially tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of visitors over the four days, the festival can cause traffic and parking headaches downtown. But the state's biggest arts festival also has a big impact on Fort Worth…The four-day event is considered one of the premier arts festivals of its kind, ranking sixth in fine arts and craft arts by the 2010 Art Fair SourceBook. An economic impact study commissioned by Downtown Fort Worth Inc. in 2009 found that year's festival pumped $33 million into the local economy."
National Initiative Grants $1.5 Million to Arts Advocacy Organizations
Philanthropy News Digest, 4/14/11
"Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), a 10-year national initiative to improve the conditions for artists working in all disciplines, has announced grants totaling $1.25 million to eight arts advocacy organizations. Awarded through the Kresge Foundation-sponsored Creative Community Challenge Grants program, the awards will enable recipients to build on programs that are helping artists flourish in their communities. The recipients include the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City's KCArtsLink project, which supports diverse, multidisciplinary, emerging, and mid-career artists by providing professional development opportunities and a network of resources for regional business development."
I was recently asked by a major biz leader for “10 reasons to support the arts.”
He needed the points to help him pull an 8-figure inve$tment for a new arts center…Make it compelling to government and business leaders, he
Oh, yeah, he’s a busy guy—didn’t want a lot to read: “Keep it to one page, please.”
So, apart from the 10-1 flip (and with apologies to David Letterman), this is what I delivered:
10. True prosperity…The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. They help us express our values, build bridges between cultures, and bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, or age. When times are tough, the arts are salve for the ache.
9. Stronger communities…University of Pennsylvania researchers have demonstrated that a high concentration of the arts in a city leads to higher civic engagement, more social cohesion, higher child welfare, and lower poverty rates. A vibrant arts community ensures that young people are not left to be raised solely in a pop culture and tabloid marketplace…
To read the rest of Randy's blog post, comment, and to browse other entries, visit Americans for the Arts' ARTSblog.
Note: Members of Americans for the Arts receive useful tips and information from Randy in our monthly newsletter, the Monthly Wire. For more information about our membership options visit our website.
Webinar: Transitioning into the Arts Sector in This Economy
On April 27, 2011, at 2:00 PM EDT, join Americans for the Arts members for a webinar designed to help jobseekers learn about finding a position in arts administration. Discover what executives are looking for when hiring for open positions and what to highlight in your resume and cover letters if you're transitioning from another industry. Our webinars are for our members only, but if you are interested in joining Americans for the Arts to take advantage of this, and many other professional development opportunities, visit our website.
Cultural Heritage Tourism Exchange – May 3, 2011
Practitioners involved in cultural heritage tourism are invited to participate in the first Cultural Heritage Tourism Exchange on May 3, 2011, at the U.S. Department of Commerce to discuss the growth and sustainability of the industry segment. Registration is limited to 200. The Exchange is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel & Tourism, and hosted by Partners in Tourism, the coalition of 22 federal agencies and national organizations engaged in cultural heritage tourism in America. The Exchange is an open forum rather than a conference, designed to frame a national agenda to advance cultural heritage tourism in America. Visit chtexchange.com for the detailed agenda, on-line registration, and opinion survey.
Supporting Arts Education in Washington State
May is Arts Education Month in Washington state—a time to celebrate and strengthen arts education for all students. Arts Education Month recognizes the creative endeavors taking place in Washington’s schools and it’s a time to show the community how the arts are making a difference in education. ArtsEd Washington’s tool kit helps educators, parents, and community members engage district education leaders and community elected officials by inviting them to special student arts events, encouraging them to see arts learning in action and observe first-hand how the arts are impacting schools and students. Visit ArtsEdWashington.org to access the tool kit and to learn more about the issues and how you can get involved in Washington or gather information to advocate in your own state.