Arts Watch Update

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

District of Columbia: Smithsonian Secretary Promises Dialogue
The Washington Post
ArtsPost blog, 1/18/11
"The issues raised by his decision to remove a controversial video from the Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture exhibit will be fully explored in a public forum in April, Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough said. 'I know we have to continue a dialogue,' said Clough in an interview in his office at the Smithsonian Castle. Some of those issues will include, he said, the differences between publicly funded and private museums in planning exhibitions and the role of the Smithsonian as a national museum."


Culture and Communities

Utah: Design Competition Brings Art to Empty Lot
The Salt Lake Tribune, 1/17/11
"The winner of an innovative public art competition will fill an empty lot in the heart of Salt Lake City with a temporary field of composite rods, which will sway in the wind like tall grass or aspens. Daniel Lyman says the design was inspired by watching wind blowing through a wheat field. Lyman, a student at the University of Utah College of Architecture, won the competition sponsored by the American Institute of Architects Utah’s Young Architects Forum.
Lyman will insert 1,200 flexible 10-foot nylon composite rods into concrete bases in the lot next to Capitol Theatre on 200 South. Judges say the installation, expected to be completed in May, will meld architecture with public art."

Oklahoma: Value of Public Art Spending Questioned

Tulsa World, 1/16/11
An editorial discusses public art in Oklahoma in light of a proposal to cut the state's Art in Public Places program budget: "When the Parthenon was under construction there were people who accused Pericles of an enormous waste of public money on the structure. Imagine, 1,000 talents just for a temple! And untold more talents to build the surrounding structures. Robert L. Lynch, president of Americans for the Arts, likes to tell that story and point out that those ancient critics of public art are pretty much forgotten these days. Pericles and the Parthenon are immortal."


Arts Education and the Creative Workforce

Rhode Island: Administrator Cuts Music, Sports to Meet Mandates
The Providence Journal, 1/19/11
"Freshman football and a slate of sport teams would be eliminated to come up with nearly $80,000 in budget cuts. Middle school band, chorus, and strings—already cut at the K-6 level—would be gone, too, for a savings of some $134,000…That is School Superintendent Peter L. Nero’s proposed $133 million spending plan for the 2011–2012 school year, up roughly $8 million from the current year. Using a school-performance audit and court order as a guide, Nero’s proposal…seeks to bring the district in line by 2014 with what the state calls the basic education program."

Pennsylvania: Students, Parents Ask Board to Save Music Program
Reading Eagle Press, 1/18/11
"Tim Carroll got his start in music in third grade, and it's been a pastime that's continued throughout his school career…Twin Valley, faced with a second year of an operating deficit, has proposed $1.2 million in budget cuts, including the elimination of seven full-time teaching positions and extracurricular programs. The district has significantly reduced the hours of an elementary music teacher and eliminated an elementary instrumental program…Carroll, who first started playing an instru
ment in third grade, said music made the difference in his education. 'As a senior these cuts won't affect me personally,' Carroll said. 'But I'm afraid that if these cuts go through, it would only get worse.'"

California: Carol Channing's New High-Profile Role—Arts Advocate
AOL News, 1/14/11
"'Of all the things that have happened to me in my life and career, all the wonderful things, this ranks right up there.' Three-time Tony Award winner Carol Channing is not talking about a Broadway role, a performance or an award. Rather, she's discussing the thrill she received December 22 when she and her husband, Harry, were presented with a very special Christmas present: the U.S. Senate's 'yes' vote on Resolution 275, which designates a week in September as Arts in Education Week. The resolution had 101 co-sponsors, and newly re-elected Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) led the efforts. Speier, who authored the resolution, did so after being inspired by the efforts of the Broadway legend and her husband."


Public Investment in the Arts

Kansas: Governor Proposes Privatizing State Arts Agency
Lawrence Journal-World
, 1/19/11
"This fiscal year, artists in Lawrence received $121,957 in grants from the Kansas Arts Commission. As it stands now, the amount artists in Lawrence can expect next year from the commission stands at exactly zero. That’s because on January 13, Gov. Sam Brownback announced that as part of an effort to reduce the state budget, he’d be making cuts to the commission, which funds arts and arts organizations around the state through a series of grants. Moreover, the commission would become a privately funded nonprofit 'in response to the current demands on the state general fund,' Brownback’s budget states. His budget would give the commission $200,000 at the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1, to help with the transition before cutting off state money altogether."

Texas: Potential Budget Cuts Hurt Arts Education  
, 1/18/11
"The first draft of the next Texas budget would cut about $13.7 billion in state spending. The draft, sent to lawmakers and leaders, makes up for a revenue shortfall of at least $15 billion by making cuts to almost every state agency…Some analysts say the true shortfall could be closer to $27 billion to account for enrollment growth in public schools and on Medicaid rolls.
Texas public schools' budgets would be cut by $5 billion under a preliminary state budget proposal. The proposal reduces state spending on schools, including a cut to arts education, teacher incentive pay, and money for schools to administer steroid testing."

Louisiana: Film Tax Credit Builds, Sustains Communities
, 1/19/11
"A New Orleans neighborhood has been transformed this week, complete with a mini-mart where the old St. Roch market once stood…Turns out, it's all for Mark Wahlberg's new movie, Contraband. Set in Panama, the movie's being shot in the Crescent City. 'I'm loving every minute of it. It's revitalizing the neighborhood, the city. The economy's going to get better. As you know, all we do is hospitality, but this is something else that we can do,' said York…According to New Orleans film commissioner Katie Gunnell, more movies are being made now in Louisiana than California. Thirty-five feature films were shot last year in New Orleans alone, bringing in nearly $300 million. Compare that to just three movies in 2002, the year Louisiana's tax incentive program began."


The Creative Economy and The Private Sector

New York: Arts Council, Seneca Nation Partner in Cultural Tourism
WBFO-FM, 1/17/11
"The Seneca Nation and the Cattaraugus Arts Council are working together to build the southern tier's cultural tourism industry through the Seneca Arts Virtual Incubator. Visitors to the Southern Tier often enjoy searching out regional and Seneca artists to buy their work. To make them easier to find, once a year, the Cattaraugus Arts Council and the Seneca Nation hold Routes to Art, a self-guided tour of area artists' studios. Now, they are teaming up to help the artists better promote themselves, and the region, year round. Melissa Shaw is tourism development planner for the Seneca Nation. She said promoting their artists is good for the region's tourism industry and for preserving the Seneca culture."

Nintendo DS Game Creates Portable Art Studio
USA Today CyberSpeak blog, 1/14/11
"Art Academy offers you two ways to explore art—you can take 10 art lessons with instructor Vince, or you can create art on your own by using the tools and supplies found in the Free Paint section…Each lesson focuses on drawing something specific. The early lessons have you learning to draw things like an apple or a lime. As the lessons progress, you move into more complicated subjects like a wave in the ocean or a beautiful landscape. There are also mini-lessons that further your knowledge of a specific type of art. Instructor Vince not only explains art techniques and terminology, but he also demonstrates in a stroke-by-stroke manner."


Philanthropy & Fundraising in the Arts

MacArthur Foundation Awards 11 Nonprofit Grants
Associated Press, 1/19/11

"A group that promotes sexual health in India [and] a Chicago-based center that fights to end poverty…are among the 11 winners of the 2010 MacArthur Foundation grants for nonprofit organizations. The awards of $350,000–$1 million recognize creative work 'by organizations that deal with the hardest problems humanity faces,' said Bob Gallucci, the foundation's president…The awards go to groups with budgets under $5 million, such as the San Francisco-based Bay Area Video Coalition, which teaches artists and filmmakers to use digital technology to inspire action. 'It's a huge lift,' executive director Ken Ikeda said of the $1 million award the coalition received. 'It's nothing we aspired to, nothing we thought about, so it truly was a gift.'"

Ford Foundation Unveils $50 Million Documentary Funding Plan
The New York Times ArtsBeat blog, 1/18/11

"The Ford Foundation announced a five-year plan to pour $50 million into documentaries-–defined broadly, including online-only efforts-–that are focused on social issues…Although the documentary has flourished in recent years in large part because of festival support, the genre continues to pose severe financing challenges because of a lack of interest at the mainstream box office. The Ford Foundation’s program, called JustFilms, will dole out money in three ways. The first involves partnerships with organizations like the Sundance Institute…JustFilms will contribute $1 million a year over five years to support Sundance’s documentary film workshops, for instance."

Virginia: Taubman Foundation Gives $2.5 Million to Roanoke Groups, 1/13/11

"Arts and cultural organizations in Roanoke, VA, will receive $2.5 million to help pay off debts off and stabilize operations, the Roanoke Times reported. The grant is provided by Nick and Jenny Taubman, who are funneling the largest portion of the grant to the construction of the Taubman Museum of Art. Over the next two years, the Taubman Foundationwill award 20 grants ranging between $25,000–$100,000, for a total of $1.25 million per year. The program benefits qualifying nonprofits within a 20-mile radius of Roanoke."

Artist-Endowed Foundation Giving on the Rise
Philanthropy News Digest
, 1/12/11

"Although they remain small in number and in the value of assets they hold, artist-endowed foundations are growing in visibility, Art Newspaper reports. The nearly three hundred artist-endowed foundations that have been identified in the United States hold assets totaling approximately $2.7 billion—a modest sum but significant within the art world, as many of these foundations focus their grantmaking on museums, arts-related research and publications, arts education, scholarships, and programs for living artists. In part to document the role of these foundations, the Aspen Institute has released…a two-volume study based on information from 239 foundations."


Arts Canvas: The View from the Field
Tim Mikulski, Arts Education Program Manager
Americans for the Arts


In addition to coping with the trials and tribulations of the reputation that MTV’s Jersey Shore has forced upon the state of New Jersey, I was dismayed to see that members of the arts and culture sector of ‘The Garden State’ are under fire for a decision they appear to have been forced to make.

According to Star-Ledger arts reporter, Peggy McGlone, the New Jersey Historical Society is being criticized for selling one of its ‘prized possessions’ for cash at a time of great need for the organization.

The object was a hand-colored map of the United States as of 1784 which generated almost $2.1 million through a Christie’s auction. According to an expert in cartography, it was the first U.S. map published in America and the first to feature an American flag.

Valuable? Absolutely.

Priceless? Apparently not...

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



Free Grant Training Webinars from National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts will be conducting a series of webinars on the new Grants for Arts Projects and Our Town guidelines. Following overview presentations on the two sets of guidelines, staff will be available to answer your questions throughout January and February
. To find dates and times for upcoming sessions, please visit

An Arts Watch Partnership
For an analysis and further discussion regarding the issues raised recent editions of Arts Watch, visit The Clyde Fitch Report's Arts Advocacy Update
. The Clyde Fitch Report (CFR) is a website exploring the nexus of arts and politics—including news and features, interviews, guest columns, bipartisan opinions, and public comments. You can also visit website by clicking on the CFR button on the left side of the page.


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