Minnesota: Legacy Amendment Funds Eyed for Budget Gap
Minnesota Public Radio, 3/10/11
"For months, Republican legislative leaders have said that they intend to balance the state's budget without raising taxes. But when GOP leaders craft a detailed plan to erase the state's projected $5 billion deficit, they likely will take aim at money voters dedicated to support the arts and outdoors projects. Over the past decade, lawmakers and the governor drained dedicated state funds like the tobacco endowment and the budget reserve to cushion the pain of spending cuts. There aren't many pots of money like that left, but there is one. In 2008, voters approved a constitutional Legacy amendment for a sales tax increase and dedicated the money to outdoors projects and the arts."
New York: Artspace Opens Long Island Artist Housing Site
The New York Times, 3/11/11
"[Jay Varney and Megan Whelan] were among the first to move into Artspace, an $18 million project that has resulted in 45 affordably priced studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom industrial loft-like units…The building is the 24th to be completed by Artspace, the national nonprofit real estate developer for the arts, and the first affordable work/live development on Long Island built for artists…The building was designed with a huge lobby; each floor has a large communal area and eight-foot-wide hallways, for 'tenants to use as exhibition space,' [Artspace Project Manager Shawn] McLearen said."
Pennsylvania: Neighborhoods United by Arts Initiative
The Morning Call, 3/10/11
"Sasha, an outgoing 11-year-old, was one of nearly 20 students who celebrated the conclusion of a six-week afterschool Urban/Suburban Connection program designed to foster relationships between students of suburban and city districts. Students including Sasha, who attends Trexler Middle School in Allentown, were paired with students from Southern Lehigh Middle School, and the kids became pen pals in between learning new forms of art. This was the sixth year the Lehigh Valley Arts Council has run the program at the schools, and the themes vary each year."
Commentator: Don't Put Sports, Art, and Music on Chopping Block
"Now that so many American school districts…are facing reductions in school funding, more and more, it is athletics that are being cut back…Of course, it's not just sports that are prime prospects for elimination, but also art and music. After all, sports, art and music––what I call the SAM activities––are known as extracurriculars, emphasis on the 'extra'…it's also true that when children who are artistic or musical are denied that opportunity in school, their young personal loss eventually not only robs them of developing their talent but diminishes us as a culture."
New Hampshire: Arts Education Census Finds Mixed Results
The Telegraph, 3/10/11
"'Measuring Up: New Hampshire Arts Education Data Project Report' was the state’s first arts education survey of schools. It was a mixed bag of results, as presenters walked the audience through the data. For example, virtually all public schools offer at least one art course, but some, particularly high schools, go well beyond that. Among the high schools surveyed, 60 percent reported offering three or more art disciplines…One of [the] areas [of concern], said presenter Bob Morrison, was that only half of high schools include arts courses in their weighted grade point averages."
Jane Remer: If We're Not on the Table, We're On the Menu
ArtsJournal.com's Dewey21C blog, 3/10/11
"Working with and within the Common Core State Standards is, at the moment, a strong and compelling idea. But as I remember what American history tells us, especially since [the] 1983 Nation At Risk bombshell, standards come and go and standardized high stakes testing in English and Math remain the gold coin of the realm. There is no guarantee that the money, energy, or infrastru
cture (professional development, assessment and evaluation smarts, and the constraints of time and enthusiasm) required for success will emerge or last in our current fragile economy and divided nation."
South Carolina: House Passes Budget, Arts Commission Survives
The State, 3/16/11
"Advocates for public schools and the arts…are breathing a sigh of relief after House lawmakers passed an almost $5.4 billion spending plan [March 15]. Dealing with the aftereffects of the worst recession in recent history, lawmakers hammered out a plan for the state’s budget year that starts July 1 that would…fund the Arts Commission, but moves it under the state Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. House members twice rejected proposals to cut the number of positions at the commission. The budget, which still must pass the Senate before going to Gov. Haley for her signature or veto, passed 77–42."
Vermont: Sales Tax on Performing Arts Tickets Angers Advocates
Brattleboro Reformer, 3/15/11
"A new sales tax on the performing arts will cut into the already slim margins of nonprofit art organizations, according to supporters of the groups across the state. Last year, in the final days of the legislative session, lawmakers introduced a provision in the massive Miscellaneous Tax Bill that created a new six percent sales tax on all performances for nonprofit groups that take in more than $50,000 in ticket sales annually. The provision was introduced with little opposition and very few art directors were even aware of the new tax."
Ohio: Governor Proposes 19.5 Percent Cut for State Arts Council
Cincinnati.com Theater Buzz blog, 3/15/11
"Gov. John Kasich released his budget proposal for fiscal years 2012–2013 and it includes a 19.5 percent reduction to the Ohio Arts Council’s (OAC) general fund appropriation, bringing its budget to $10,611,408. According to an OAC press release, 'After sustaining a 47 percent decrease in fiscal years 2010 and 2011, the additional reduction will further limit support to artists, arts organizations, schools, and other entities engaged in cultural programming throughout the state'…The OAC’s current budget is less than 1/27th of one percent of the entire state budget."
Nintendo Program Provides Art Academy Software to Teachers
"Nintendo of America is teaming with visual arts educators across the United States to give students a fresh, fun way to study drawing and painting techniques. As part of a unique relationship between Nintendo and the National Art Education Association, art teachers in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms have been provided with hand-held Nintendo DSi XL™ systems and copies of Art Academy™, a software title that offers interactive tutorials for budding artists of any background or skill level…Art Academy lets students enjoy lessons on subjects such as color, shading and perspective."
Michigan: Arts Council, City Use Creative Economy as Redevelopment Tool
The (Michigan) State News, 3/15/11
"A partnership between East Lansing officials and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing aim to spread the love of art and business throughout the downtown area…The Downtown East Lansing Cultural Entrepreneurship Program will establish the founding of an arts-based business by allowing entrepreneurs to apply for loans and grants, said Leslie Donaldson, the executive director for the Arts Council of Greater Lansing…'What we're trying to do is look at a ten-year plan where we create Greater Lansing…as part of the destination for creative innovators and entrepreneurs,' [Community Development Specialist Amy Schlusler-Owens] said."
North Dakota: Art Museum Launches 'I Am Not an Art Snob' Campaign
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, 3/12/11
"The Plains Art Museum kicked off a new campaign to raise money for arts education. The 'I am not an art snob' campaign features kids on billboards and in TV and radio spots speaking up about the joys of making art. The goal is to get at least 10,000 people to make a single donation of $12 for at least $120,000. The spots, created by campaign partner H2M, will run on KVLY/KXJB TV stations and Radio Fargo-Moorhead stations through April. Children in grades K–12 are invited to make their own commercial by uploading videos to YouTube and e-mailing the link to [the museum]."
In just under four weeks, advocates from all across the nation will come together in Washington, DC, to engage in a discussion with their colleagues and elected officials about the course of arts funding at the federal, state, and local levels on Arts Advocacy Day.
While the event takes place at roughly the same time each year, advocates will have the unique opportunity of speaking with their members of Congress while two budget debates are occurring. The government is still deadlocked on a solution that can permanently resolve the budget for Fiscal Year 2011, while simultaneously trying to approve a budget for Fiscal Year 2012.
Broad anti-spending sentiments can be found anywhere one looks in the United States, and there already have been several attempts to cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, public broadcasting, and crucial arts education programs…
To read the rest of Justin's blog post, comment, and to browse other entries, visit Americans for the Arts' ARTSblog.
Arts Watch News
Arts Watch will be taking a brief hiatus for the next two weeks, but it will reappear in your inbox on April 6, 2011.
Arts Education Blog Salon – This Week on ARTSblog
All this week, arts education experts from across the country have been discussing, analyzing, and presenting the latest information on the subject through our biannual Arts Education Blog Salon on ARTSblog. Take part by reading through all of the posts and commenting or posing a question. New posts will be added through Friday, March 18!
Webinar: Partnering with Local Chambers of Commerce
The Business Committee for the Arts 2010 National Survey of Business Support to the Arts found that small and mid-sized companies contribute a larger share of philanthropic dollars to the arts than large companies. This is in part due to the benefits a thriving arts community brings to local businesses. Sign on to this webinar on March 23 to learn how to reach new business audiences and enhance current relationships by partnering with your local chamber of commerce, and hear how arts organizations are successfully partnering with their local chambers to become leading voices for community planning, economic development, and cultural diversity. All webinars are free for Americans for the Arts members. If you would like to join in order to view this, or many other webinars, visit our Membership page.
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.