Arts Watch Update

*This section of Arts Watch updates readers on specific news items that have appeared in recent editions.

Warhol Foundation Threatens to Cut Smithsonian Funding
The Washington Post
, 12/13/10
"The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, one of the principal sponsors of Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, demanded [December 13] that the Smithsonian restore the David Wojnarowicz video or the foundation would not fund future projects. The Wojnarowicz work, A Fire in My Belly, contains 11 seconds of an image of ants crawling on a crucifix and was removed after criticism from Capitol Hill and conservative groups…The Warhol Foundation is the first major funder to publicly voice outrage."

Utah: Governor Requests Funding for Arts Learning Program
The Salt Lake Tribune
, 12/10/10
"Gov. Gary Herbert unveiled budget recommendations that include $50 million to fund enrollment growth, $7.5 million to continue optional extended-day kindergarten, and $4 million to continue an arts education program for schools…Herbert is also recommending lawmakers put $2.5 million toward enhancing assessments and reporting in third-grade reading and sixth-grade math. And he wants to see lawmakers put $4 million toward the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program, which is now in about 50 schools and consists of about 50 arts specialists who instruct alongside classroom teachers and integrate art with other subjects."

Contest Brings Glee Cast, Big Check to Local Community
, 12/9/10
"In conjunction with the American Express Members Project and TakePart, the Glee cast provided a day of instrument-making to a lucky group of elementary school students on the set of their hit show…[Contest] winners and stars Matthew Morrison, Cory Monteith, Mark Salling, Jenna Ushkowitz, Jayma Mays, Chris Colfer, Harry Shum Jr., Dot-Marie Jones, and Romy Rosemont helped the 60 children involved make their own instruments, including everything from guitars to maracas…[Also,] Education Through Music, an organization that provides music education to inner-city schools whose music programs have been cut due to lack of funding, received a check for $100,000 from American Express."


Culture and Communities

New York: Museum Senses Need for Olfactory Art Appreciation, 12/10/10
"The Center of Olfactory Art dedicated to scent as an art form was launched at the Museum of Arts and Design on [December 9]…More a curatorial department within the museum than a separate entity, the museum created the new center because 'scent is a really interesting part of the world of design,' museum director Holly Hotchner told The Associated Press. It fits the institution's DNA as a 'sensuous, sensory-orientated museum' where patrons can touch and feel many of the objects. And of course, smell is as much a part of the senses,' she added. The center will present its first exhibition, The Art of Scent, 1889-2011 next November."


Arts Education and the Creative Workforce

North Carolina: Arts Council Gathers Funding for Field Trips
The Charlotte Observer, 12/14/10
"Corporate donors are rallying to revive field trips and other cultural opportunities Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students have lost because of budget cuts, the Arts & Science Council announced. The council has $600,000 pledged to what officials hope will be a new $1 million education fund, which will supplement the annual campaign that starts January 19. Bank of America and the Wells Fargo Foundation have each pledged $20
0,000, while the Duke Energy Foundation and the C.D. Spangler Foundation have pledged $100,000 each. The new drive strives to plug a hole left by cuts in public money, as well as a fundraising slump and dwindling endowment earnings."

Nevada: Kennedy Center Launches New 'Any Given Child' Site
Las Vegas Review-Journal
, 12/12/10
"Chosen as the fourth participating city—joining Sacramento, CA; Portland, OR; and Springfield, MO—Las Vegas is now part of the Kennedy Center's year-old 'Any Given Child' program. The project is an effort to bulk up arts education in the United States for children in kindergarten through eighth grade by assessing current curriculum and then assisting school districts with long-term plans tailored for individual cities. 'Many cities have applied to us, 45 so far. We've studied them to see who's best prepared, and we were very impressed by the commitment of the senior leadership of Las Vegas,' says Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser."

California: Art-Based Drum Program Improves Student Behavior
, 12/9/10
"To help improve social and emotional behavior in disadvantaged students, Ping Ho, founder and director of the UCLArts and Healing Center, teamed up with some unlikely partners, the National Association of Music Merchants and drum-maker Remo Belli, to create an arts-based behavior therapy. What the group put together was a 12-week program of counselor-led group drumming sessions…Each weekly session took place at school, for 45 minutes following lunch. Kids in the program learned to drum in a call-and-response structure. They were also taught to repeat affirmations like 'I am responsible. I do the right thing,' while drumming to a corresponding rhythm."


Public Investment in the Arts

Ohio: Economy Forces County to Cut Local Arts Grants
Dayton Daily News
, 12/10/10
"For 20 years the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District (MCACD) has awarded nearly $1 million to help fund local arts organizations, a tradition that ended [December 10]. After this year’s distribution, MCACD arts funding will be cut by 50 percent with a moratorium placed on grants for special projects and individual artist fellowships which totaled $200,000 in 2010. 'Unfortunately, due to the economic climate, the County Commissioners had to make very difficult decisions regarding the overall operation of the county,' said Judy Mott, executive director of the MCACD."

Texas: Film Commission Denies Tax Incentives for Negative Portrayal, 12/9/10
"The Texas Film Commission has denied a tax incentive to director Robert Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios for their production of Machete, the Mexploitation film set in that state which was shot in Austin in the summer of 2009. The letter cited part of the code that says incentives can be denied to films 'because of inappropriate content or content that portrays Texans or Texas in a negative fashion'…This is especially awkward because Perry actually signed into effect the legislation that beefed up filmmaking incentives in Texas in April of 2009 at Rodriguez’s studios. At the time, Rodriguez told the press that without the bill he would have had to move the production of projects, including Machete, to another state."

New Jersey: Colleges Offer to Take Over State-Owned Broadcaster, 12/9/10
"Struggling broadcasting network New Jersey Network (NJN) may yet be receiving a lifeline. Richard Stockton College has presented Gov. Chris Christie with a plan to stop NJN from leaving the air in January while also taking station-running costs off the public payroll. Stockton College President Hermann Saatkamp has proposed to make NJN part of a college nonprofit, to be managed as a broadcast and radio operation in conjunction with a group of state colleges. The station would be administered through Stockton's 501c3 organization, Stockton Affiliated Services Inc. (SASI)…The proposal would mean NJN, which includes television and radio programming, would stay on the air into next year, when budget cuts were expected to end programming."


The Creative Economy and The Private Sector

California: San Francisco Arts Community Boosts Local Economy
San Francisco Examiner, 12/12/10
"Amid one of the nation’s worst recessions, an unsuspecting group has helped prop up local businesses as they struggle to recover from the weak economy—artists. While San Francisco’s jobless rate has hovered at 10 percent and storefront vacancies have turned into an epidemic, the arts community has managed to thrive, giving the city a much-needed economic boost. Museums alone have drawn consumers into San Francisco in record numbers…Struggling businesses have leaned on these museums, along with local artists’ exhibits, to create a critical mass of shoppers, bar hoppers, and diners who might otherwise just stay home."

Wisconsin: Promoting Milwaukee's Creative Class, 12/10/10
"Historically, Wisconsin’s economic lifeblood was based on manufacturing, agriculture, and financial services…While manufacturing remains a key cog in the region’s 21st century economy, a collaboration of local groups is embarking on a mission to develop other economic drivers of the region, including the water technology industry and most recently the creative industry. The Cultural Alliance of Greater Milwaukee, in partnership with the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Quality of Life Committee, launched the Creativity Works project in January 2010…The Creativity Works committee plans to use that information to develop and build upon a strategic campaign to nurture the creative community as a key economic driver for the region and for the state."


Philanthropy & Fundraising in the Arts

Corporate Giving Drops in Tough Economy
Philanthropy Journal, 12/13/10

"The economic slide has led to fewer U.S. companies making philanthropic contributions to the arts, although companies that continued their support are giving a slightly bigger share of their charitable dollars to the arts, a new survey says. Overall, support for the arts from small and mid-size businesses grew, while arts giving fell from large businesses, says the Triennial Survey of Business Support for the Arts report from The Business Committee for the Arts, a division of Americans for the Arts. The number of businesses providing charitable support for the arts fell to 28 percent in 2009 from 43 percent in 2006, while the share of 600 businesses surveyed that gave to any charitable cause fell to 52 percent from 70 percent."

IRS Finds Charitable Bequests Dropped 43 Percent in 2009
Philanthropy News Digest, 12/11/10

"According to data from the Internal Revenue Service, charitable bequests totaled $16 billion in 2009, down nearly 43 percent from 2008, the NonProfit Times reports. The IRS data revealed that in 2008, more than $28.3 million in charitable bequest deductions were claimed compared with $16 million in 2009, when the estate exemption level was higher. Frank Minton, a Seattle-based planned giving consultant, ascribed the drop in bequest deductions to the economy, changes in the estate tax rate, and chance…Over the years, the number of estate tax returns has declined as the exemption level for estates subject to taxation has increased."

Georgia: Foundation Gives $444,500 to Atlanta Metro Arts Groups
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
, 12/9/10

"The Charles Loridans Foundation has given early Christmas presents to metro Atlanta arts organizations, awarding $444,500 in grants to 15 groups…The largest recipients in the announcement made [December 9] by the Atlanta-based foundation are the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia ($107,500), Georgia State University's Rialto Center for the Arts ($100,000), and the Museum of Design Atlanta ($50,000
). The new funding to small and mid-size arts institutions is on top of grants totaling $147,130 that Loridans bestowed earlier this year, bringing the foundation's 2010 giving total to nearly $600,000. That's a large amount given that the foundation's net worth has declined from $11 million to $7 million in recent years due to market reductions."


Arts Canvas: The View from the Field
Laura Kakolewski, Conference Program Coordinator
Americans for the Arts


I’ll admit it. I was nervous the night before the start of the National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP) Conference. I was (and still very much am) the new kid on the block, having just joined the NAMP team earlier this fall. My personal expectations for my performance made San Jose seem like a make-or-break moment. I knew from experience that nervousness tends to make me shy, and I was afraid that shyness might be mistaken for lack of interest.

But the truth was, I had a real democratic curiosity for those attending the NAMP conference, whoever they might be and whatever they might do. And exactly one month (to the day) later, I have the NAMP Conference attendees to thank for the ease I felt during my time in San Jose. I found each and every arts marketer in San Jose to be fresh and fascinating with a ready-for-anything posture that proved to be contagious.

Looking back, I knew going into the NAMP Conference that we were providing a creative forum for attendees to experiment and think more strategically when marketing the arts. And I believe that we achieved that. But even though we are responsible for setting the creative energy in motion, it was the attendees who helped catapult this energy to new heights.

Here are some of the things I noticed among attendees that deserve a round of applause…

To read the rest of Laura's blog post, comment, and to browse other entries, visit Americans for the Arts' ARTSblog.



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