California: Leaders Update Community on Arts Initiative
, 3/2/11
"Leaders in Mayor Kevin Johnson’s For Arts’ Sake initiative are laying the groundwork for the arts to flourish, they told the arts community…The meeting was the first quarterly meeting of the initiative since it transitioned from the planning phase to the action phase last November…For Arts’ Sake has three overarching goals. The first is to strengthen the region’s cultural infrastructure, the second is to increase access to arts and arts education, and the third is to invest in talent and the 'creative economy.'"


Culture and Communities

Italy: Rail Project Could Be David's New Goliath
The Telegraph, 3/9/11
"The statue is riddled with tiny cracks, particularly in the ankles of the boy warrior, and could collapse as a result of vibrations from the €1.4 billion project, which is due to start in the summer. The threat of serious damage being done to one of the world’s most famous statues has prompted calls for it to be moved to a purpose-built museum away from the construction work. 'The tunnel will pass about 600 meters from the statue of David, the ankles of which, it is well known, are riddled with micro-fissures…' said Fernando De Simone, an expert in underground engineering."

Illinois: Eager New Mayor Touts Chicago's Arts and Culture
Chicago Tribune Theater Loop blog, 3/4/11
"In a wide-ranging interview about cultural matters with the Chicago Tribune last week, Rahm Emanuel, Chicago's mayor-elect, signaled his intent to 'raise up' the arts in Chicago…and previewed a major generational and cultural shift at a City Hall about to be run by a confident leader who listens to the alternative rock band Wilco, likes the darker plays at Steppenwolf Theatre and American Theater Company, and is not about to stop hanging out at rock venues."


Arts Education and the Creative Workforce

Texas: Students, Advocates Flock to Austin to Defend Arts Education
KXAN-TV, 3/8/11
"This week, fine arts students from across the state swarmed the Texas State Capitol to tell lawmakers their curriculum is not extracurricular. As the House Appropriations Committee looks to shore up the budget’s portion of public education funding [this week], and possibly pass it out of committee as early as next week, those students' fears rest with potential cuts to their programs. 'If fine arts courses are singled out for budget cuts, we will be cutting the heart out of the education system in Texas,' said Robert Floyd, director of the Texas Coalition for Quality Arts Education."

New York: Arts Teachers Dwindling in City Schools
New York Daily News, 3/7/11
"Last year, public schools employed 2,462 arts teachers, down from 2,597 the year before. This drop erased the slow gains arts education had made over several years. Now, an additional 356 arts teachers risk pink slips as part of the proposed layoff of 4,600 teachers citywide, a cut that would bring the number of certified arts teachers down by close to 20 percent over three years…Overall, school arts budgets declined by more than four percent last year, and arts supplies budgets crashed by 34 percent."


Public Investment in the Arts

< font face="Arial" size="2">Wisconsin: Poet Laureate Loses Title for $2,000 Budget Savings
, 3/8/11
"A career in the arts 'don’t plant no corn,' Bruce Dethlefsen’s father told him when he was a boy…Soon, his job as Wisconsin’s poet laureate may not even pay gas money. The $2,000 annual budget for the post, which [he] assumed January 1, is a casualty of Gov. Scott Walker’s drive for austerity. For Wisconsin’s poets and artists, 'it’s just a smack in the face,' Dethlefsen said…'In good times arts are magical, and in tough times they are essential,' he said. 'That’s when you need them the most. Art makes you human. If it’s just about the money, then it’s petty and vindictive.' Tommy Thompson, a Republican governor, created the office in 2000."

Washington: Bill to Allow Locals Arts and Education Districts Fails
, 3/8/11
"Once again, efforts to get legislation for local counties to enact arts and education districts have failed. The measure, despite support from Speaker Frank Chopp, did not get a floor vote…Advocates thought they had enough votes in the House to have a floor vote with a good chance of passing, but may have miscounted, or members may have not been telling the truth or (most likely) shifted. Many felt they had already taken a 'hard' vote for the arts in supporting the King County 4Culture bill for extending the lodging taxes [to fund the arts]."

Two-Week Federal Budget Patch Eliminates Arts Education Funding
Los Angeles Times Culture Monster
blog, 3/3/11
"Federal funding totaling $40 million for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ educational programs, arts education grants for [VSA], and grants to train arts teachers are just some of the arts-related programs on the chopping block as Congress and the Obama administration wrangle over how much to cut the 2010–2011 federal budget. The cut was included as President Obama signed a temporary budget resolution designed to keep the government operating through March 18 while the White House and congressional Democrats and Republicans continue talks to reach a final budget agreement."


The Creative Economy and The Private Sector

Florida: Arts Organizations Still Pulling Out of Economic Quagmire
Orlando Sentinel, 3/8/11
"Finally there are signs that some of Central Florida's major arts organizations are headed toward good reviews on their balance sheets. For the first time in three years, the sector is projecting slightly higher revenues for next year, according to figures compiled by United Arts of Central Florida based on grant applications it received last month. Earned income increased about three percent this year thanks to discounted ticket prices and new marketing strategies among the 13 major groups with budgets of at least $600,000 [which are] considered bellwethers for the local industry."

Ohio: The Avengers Movie Assembles in Cleveland, Not Detroit
Detroit Free Press, 3/3/11
"The Avengers, which dropped plans to film in Michigan in the wake of Gov. Rick Snyder's plan to eliminate the state's film tax credits, has found a new home with a neighbor—and a rival—of the state. Ohio Gov. John Kasich said that the Marvel Studios superhero extravaganza is coming to Cleveland…The news came as no surprise to screenwriter Jim Burnstein, vice-chair of the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council, who said that Michigan could lose a lot of taxpaying film industry workers to Ohio if that state keeps successfully pursuing films."


Philanthropy & Fundraising in the Arts

Philanthropist Gives Kennedy Center Second $10 Million Gift
Associated Press
, 3/8/11
"Billionaire philanthropist David Rubenstein announced a second $10 million gift in less than six months to the Kennedy Center to help reach younger and more economically diverse audiences. The gift makes Rubenstein the largest single donor in the performing arts center's history, with donations t
otaling $23 million. [He] became the center's chairman last year and is co-founder of The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm…Rubenstein said he hopes other donors will respond to help arts groups broaden their reach. The gift will fund a new program to bring in such popular artists as John Legend and The Roots, as well as a street arts festival across Washington, DC, in 2012 that will include flash mobs, murals, circus performances, and dancing."

Rhode Island: Fellowship Provides $25,000 Grant to Visual Artists
, 3/7/11
"Three Rhode Island-based visual artists have been named recipients of prestigious MacColl Johnson Fellowships from The Rhode Island Foundation. Liz Collins, Ellen Driscoll, and Lynne Harlow will receive $25,000 each—one of the largest no strings awards to artists in the United States. The fellowships are intended 'to fund an artist’s vision or voice,' and have been awarded on a three-year cycle since 2005 to composers, writers, and visual artists."

New York: Foundations Step Up for Small Arts Groups
The Buffalo News, 3/4/11
"Smaller arts groups got a shot in the arm the other day when 11 foundations stepped up with $430,000 to inoculate them against the ravages of County Executive Chris Collins’ budget, which cut them out entirely…[And] more help could be on the way as Artvoice, a local publication, and M&T Bank prepare to launch a Give for Greatness campaign to try to raise additional funds. The money would go to the groups that neither Collins nor a majority of county legislators thought worthy of inclusion in this year’s more than$1 billion county budget. The smaller venues were cut on the theory that they don’t draw tourist dollars."


Arts Canvas: The View from the Field
Emily Peck, Director of Private Sector Initiatives
Americans for the Arts


In 2008, if you were to talk about the auto industry, you’d probably talk about the emergency bailout from the federal government that impacted auto companies around the world.

The auto industry was struggling and as a result drastically pulling back their funding from the Detroit arts organizations that depended on this support.

These companies began looking for new ideas and they seemed to have found solutions through the arts. The new language coming out of the auto industry includes words like “creativity,” “innovation,” “design,” and even “arts”…words that I’m sure most of us can get behind.

Here is just a sampling of ways the auto industry is showcasing the arts and being creative…

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



Celebrate Youth Arts Month!
Americans for the Arts is proud to celebrate Youth Arts Month with an Arts Education Blog Salon and a campaign encouraging advocates to testify on behalf of arts education at local school board meetings. The Blog Salon will run from March 14–18, featuring posts on a variety of arts education subjects from 15 experts across the country. New posts will be added each day, so stop by often! We also encourage you to sign up to support arts education at a school board meeting this month. To find out more about the initiative, pledge to participate, and receive access to a free webinar to help you prepare for the meeting, visit our sign-up 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.