Tag Archives: Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts

Lightning strikes

National Poetry Month strikes again in Arizona

Poet Eduardo C. Corral, a native of Casa Grande who holds degrees from Arizona State University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, will read from his recently released collection “Slow Lightning,” Tues, April 10 at the Piper Writers House on the ASU Tempe campus.

Slow Lightning,” Corral’s first collection of poems, was selected as winner of the 2011 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition — making Corral the first Latino to receive this honor. Next week’s reading, sponsored by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, is free and open to the public.

There’s plenty of poetry around these parts nowadays because April is National Poetry Month. Tempe Center for the Arts, for example, is presenting four “Tempe Poetry in April” events this month — featuring Josh Rathkamp (April 4), Jeannine Savard (April 11), Margaret Holley (April 18) and Sherwin Bitsui (April 25). These TCA events are free, so you’ve really no good reason not to give poetry a whirl.

Center Dance Ensemble presents two performances of “American Voices,” featuring new choreography coupled with words by great American poets, Sun, April 15 at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix. And PVCC Dance at Paradise Valley Community College presents “Kinetic Poetry” — a “collection of dances reflecting the inner voice of the artist” that features “the voices and movement of PVCC dance students and guest artists” — April 27 & 28.

Art Intersection in Gilbert presents “Haibun: The Poetry of Walking” with instructor Mark Haunschild April 7 & 14 — noting that haibun is a classical Japanese form of travel writing combining prose and poetry, first popularized by Matsuo Basho during the 17th century.

The Tucson Poetry Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary this year with participating poets that include Eduardo C. Corral, Karyna McGlynn, Ander Monson and Patricia Smith. All are offering free writing workshops, and taking part in a two-hour panel, Sat, April 7 at the University of Arizona Poetry Center in Tucson.

The Poetry Center presents “Poetry Off the Page” April 9-May 31 — which they describe as a gathering of poets “for whom the stage and all of its demands, such as voice, projection, sound effects, lighting, body movement, acting, props and image, all help create a new syntactic breadth for the poetic voice.”

Seems participating poets will be “pressing into new territories in theatre and song and film, performing, in many cases, original never-seen-before work for the Poetry Center.” The center is also offering exhibits featuring poets working in the visual arts. Think Cecilia Vicuna, Danielle Vogel and Jeff Clark. While you’re there, check out “Artistexts,” curated by Johanna Drucker, too.

The Arizona Humanities Council presents “Sharing Words, Changing Worlds” Thurs, April 12 at Tempe Mission Palms. The keynote speaker for the free 6:30pm-8:30pm event is Pulitzer Prize Winner and Poet Laureate Rita Dove — who’ll share poems from her recent book “Sonata Mulattica,” about a young mulatto violinist’s encounters with Beethooven.

Event organizers note that Dove will “reveal how she came to be uniquely suited to the task of rescuing the mixed race violinist George Augustus Polgreen from the shadows of history, and how history comes alive through art.” Dove, who taught creative writing at ASU from 1981 to 1989, and has been honored by both President Clinton (National Humanities Medal) and President Obama (National Medal of Arts). She served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995.

Things are looking good at this point for a bill moving through the Arizona state legislature to create an Arizona Poet Laureate, according to Rusty Foley, executive director for Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts. Nothing’s a sure thing, of course, until the ink dries on a bill. But I like our chances, and there’s already good news to celebrate with the passage of a bill reauthorizing funding for the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

To find additonal poetry-related events in your area, check the calendars for your local libraries, museums and bookstores — plus performing arts venues and college/universities. Also the websites for organizations like the Arizona State Poetry Society and Arizona Authors Association.

Wanna trip out your kids? Just tell ‘em you’re heading out with friends to play with words for a while. Then buy them a journal, watch for kid-friendly poetry programs in your community and inch them along towards the day they’ll be the ones making lightning.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to find family-friendly events any day of the year from Raising Arizona Kids magazine. If your April poetry event in Arizona isn’t listed above, you can comment below to let our readers know.

Coming up: Musings on “Dance Moms Miami,” Movie review: “Bully”

One of a kind

The 2012 Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards, an event hailed as the state’s largest annual gathering of folks who support arts and culture, takes place Tues, March 27 at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix.

It’s presented by Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts, the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Office of the Governor – and celebrates “the extraordinary contributions of artists, arts organizations, businesses, educators and individuals to the quality of life in our state.” Each award recipient will receive a one-of-a-kind work created by an Arizona artist (you can enjoy a sneak peek below).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We pause too infrequently to appreciate the value of arts and culture in our everyday lives. I chatted with Rusty Foley, executive director for Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts, during the opening of an exhibition of works by Arizona artists at the Arizona House of Representatives – and she shared a stunning insight.

Imagine a world, she suggested, devoid of arts and culture. Imagine that every work of art encountered in the course of a day was no longer there. Sculptures gone. Paintings gone. Crayon masterpieces hung on refrigerators gone. School plays gone. Outdoor concerts gone. Dance performances gone. It’s not a pretty picture.

So I’m especially grateful for those nominated in six categories for this year’s awards — who remind us to use it lest we lose it. In a world of competing interests, those of us who recognize the value of arts and culture in building strong economies, sustaining creative communities, developing well-rounded students and such can’t sit idly by and expect others to champion the cause. We must advocate for the art we wish to see in the world.

One very special individual will receive the 7th annual Shelley Award for “advancing the arts through strategic and innovative leadership to create and support public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona.” The award is named for Shelley Cohn, who spent more than 25 years as executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Tuesday’s shindig begins with a 5pm reception featuring a silent auction — a great opportunity to support local arts and culture while shopping for teacher gifts, Mother’s Day gifts and such. Honorees will be recognized at an Academy Award style ceremony at 7pm, followed by an 8pm dessert reception — so wear the swanky outfit that’ll leave a bit of room for sampling sweets.

Click here to read the list of this year’s nominees — which includes many names familiar to those of you whose children are involved in dance, music, theater or visual arts. Attending the Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards is a great way to laud their efforts while getting to know more of the folks who make Arizona arts and culture sing.

– Lynn

Note: You can purchase tickets by clicking here.

Coming up: Raising children who care

Between Oscars and Tonys

Get your fancy on for this year's Governor's Arts Awards, taking place March 27 at the lovely Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix

Those of you needing a bit of an awards show fix between the Oscars and the Tony Awards have a friend is Governor Jan Brewer, who’ll be hosting an annual awards event celebrating some of the best in Arizona arts and culture.

More than 80 nominations were submitted from 18 Arizona communities in six categories for the 31st annual Governor’s Arts Awards — being presented Tues, March 27 at the Herberger Theater Center.

The celebration begins at 5pm with a reception — complete with silent auction.  Honorees will be recognized at the “Oscar-style ceremony” at 7pm. An 8pm dessert reception follows. Yum.

The Governor’s Arts Awards are presented by Arizona Citizens for the Arts in partnership with the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Office of the Governor.

Since 1981, 144 artists, individuals, arts and cultural organizations, educators and businesses have received Governor’s Arts Awards.

Nominees by category are noted below, along with nominee hometowns.

Arts in Education ~ Organization

Arizona School for Arts, Phoenix; Arizona Theatre Company, Phoenix; EPIK Dance Company, Phoenix; Grand Canyon Guitar Society, Flagstaff; Lovena Ohl Foundation, Scottsdale; Marshall Magnet Elementary School, Flagstaff; Morristown Elementary School, Morristown; Phoenix Conservatory of Music, Phoenix; Prescott College Visual Arts Program, Prescott; Scottsdale Artists School, Scottsdale; Sedona Arts Center, Sedona; Sonoran Glass Art Academy, Tucson; Southwest Shakespeare Company, Mesa; Superstition Review, Mesa; The Rise Project, Phoenix; UApresents, Tucson; Walnut Canyon Press, Scottsdale; West Valley Arts Council, Surprise.

Business

Adelante Healthcare, Phoenix; DMB Associates, Inc., Buckeye; General Growth Properties, Tucson; J.P. Morgan Chase, Phoenix; Southwest Ambulance, Mesa.

Community

Anthology, Mesa; Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, Prescott; Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Wickenburg; Flagstaff City- Coconino County, Flagstaff; KXCI Community Radio, Tucson; New Carpa Theater Company, Phoenix; Public Art Program, Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, Phoenix; United Cerebral Palsy of Arizona; University of Arizona Poetry Center, Tucson; Young Arts Arizona LTD, Phoenix.

Individual

Robert Breunig, Ph.D., Flagstaff; Nancy DeStefani, Mesa; Jody Drake, Prescott; Rebecca Dyer, Mesa; Linda Essig, Phoenix; Carmen de Novais Guerrero, Mesa; Kathy Hotchner, Scottsdale; Steve Jennings, Scottsdale; Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, Tempe; Dr. Larry Lang, Tucson; Amanda Kate Marques, Tucson; Fletcher McCusker, Tucson; Bill & Merry Nebeker, Prescott; Judy Phillips, Yuma; Julie Sasse, Tucson; Charles Spillar, Tucson; Aimee Stewart, Chandler; Nancy Wolter, Gilbert.

Artist

Charles Bruffy, Phoenix; Warren Cohen, Cave Creek; Bob Cooper, Phoenix; James L. Covarrubias, Tempe; Persephone Dimson, Scottsdale; Lawrence Enyart, FAIA, Phoenix; Eugene Grisby, Phoenix; Kristine Kollasch, Phoenix; William LeGoullon, Scottsdale; Gertrude Lopez, Phoenix; Patsy Lowery,
Phoenix; John Massaro, Phoenix; Ed Mell, Phoenix; Antonio Pasos, Phoenix; Brad Richter, Tucson; Jared Sakren, Scottsdale; Synde Heather Schinkel, Scottsdale; Louise Stidham Photography, Gilbert; Matthew Wiener, Phoenix.

Arts in Education ~ Individual

Linda Ahearn, Toscana Gallery, Tucson; Annica Benning, Walnut Canyon Press, Scottsdale; Mariana Carreras, Pima Community College, Tucson;.William Eaton, Roberto-Venn School of Luthery, Phoenix; Evelyn Holbrook, Desert Foothills Community Theatre, Cave Creek; Janet Klein, Kyrene District Art Educator, Tempe; Beth Lesard, Ph.D., Tempe; Barbara Nueske-Perez, Tesseract School, Phoenix; Claude Pensis, Grand Canyon University, Phoenix; Lesa Schuur, L. Thomas Heck Middle School, Avondale; Debra K. Stevens, Childsplay, Tempe.

The seventh annual Shelley Award also will be presented to an Arizona individual who has advanced the arts through strategic and innovative work in creating or supporting public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona. The award is named for Shelley Cohn, who spent more than 25 years as executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Ticket prices are $135 for members of Arizona Citizens for the Arts and $150 for non-members. Sponsorships are available. Recipients, by the way, are selected by an independent panel. But, duh. They’re all winners — as are those of us who reap the rewards of their hard work and dedication.

For information or reservations, visit www.governorsartsawards.org.

– Lynn

Coming up: Awards for young artists

I’m just a bill…

Arts advocates gathered at the Arizona Capitol yesterday for the 2012 Arts Congress.

First, a heartfelt thanks to all of you who made it to yesterday’s Arizona Arts Congress — and to the legislators who took time to meet with all the lovely folks who care about arts and culture, and the role it plays in our economy, community, schools and everyday lives.

Thankfully, those of us who couldn’t make it can still weigh in with our legislators about just how much we value arts and culture. Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts has details about three issues noted on its website — and makes it easy for folks to send e-mails to the folks who vote on such things.

Arizona Representative Steve Farley meeting with arts advocates during the 2011 Arts Congress at the Arizona State Capitol

Seems there’s already a bit of good news on that front. Today the Arizona House of Representatives committee considering HB 2265 decided to move it forward for consideration by the larger legislative body. HB 2265 authorizes the continuation, for another ten years, of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

This makes me a happy camper, because they’re an invaluable resource for artists, educators and citizens. If you’re not getting their newsletters, you’re missing the latest and greatest news about arts-related events, arts education, funding opportunities, calls for student artwork and much more.

Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego meeting with David Hemphill of the Black Theatre Troupe during the 2011 Arts Congress attended by more than 200 advocates

But HB 2265 is just one of three arts-related issues working its way through this legislative session. Another, SB 1348, would establish an Arizona poet laureate. We need a state poet; don’t I know it. Finally, there’s a section of the governor’s proposed budget that would further cut funding for arts — and advocates can still weigh in on that prospect.

Those of you who remember the musical “Schoolhouse Rock” can probably still sing David Frishberg’s lyrics for “I’m Just a Bill.” But nothing is ever “just a bill.” Every piece of legislation working its way through both the Arizona House of Representatives and the Arizona Senate has the potential to impact our daily lives. Click here to join fellow citizens championing the arts in Arizona.

– Lynn

Note: If you have photos from this year’s Arizona Arts Congress to share, I’d love to see them — and you may find them featured in a future post. Click here to learn more about this weekend’s “Arizona Best Fest” Phoenix taking place at, and around, the Arizona Capitol Mall (and watch for a future post highlighting monuments your family can explore during your visit).

Coming up: Reflections from Catherine “Rusty” Foley, executive director for Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts

Photos: 2011 Arts Congress photos courtesy of Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts

Top ten signs you’re an arts advocate

Liz Trimble pauses to enjoy artwork during a college admissions tour

10. You attend arts advocacy events like the Arizona Arts Congress 2012 (taking place Feb. 7 — and yes, there’s still time to get involved).

9. You talk with education leaders (school board members, principals and others) about the importance of funding and supporting art in schools and classrooms.

8. You troll publications like Arizona Capitol Times looking for arts-related news and legislation (like a recent issue noting bills about renewing the Arizona Commission on the Arts and creating an Arizona Poet Laureate).

7. You attend diverse art-related exhibitions and events in your community — and choose art-related events for time with family and friends.

6. You support local arts venues and museums by doing your gift shopping in their gift shops (there’s still time to gather art-related Valentine’s Day fare).

5. You write letters to the editor sharing evidence for the role of arts in building strong communities, economies, schools and families.

4. You curl up at night with reports like “Capitalizing on Arizona’s Arts & Culture” (prepared in conjunction with the 98th Arizona Town Hall).

3. You enroll your children in arts-related programs that foster their love and familiarity with visual art, dance, film, music, poetry, theater and other art forms.

2. You donate money or time to at least one local arts organization (even small gifts of time, talent and financial resources are appreciated and make a difference).

1. You take time to thank legislators, businesses and others who support arts on a national, state and local level.

– Lynn

Note: To learn more about arts and culture in Arizona, visit www.azarts.gov and www.azcitizensforthearts.org.

Coming up: Moving beyond tragedy through a community art project

Arts in Education Week

During a recent episode of “Jeopardy,” the final question required knowledge of both children’s literature and opera. Think Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” meets Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado.” Only one contestant seemed to know much about either — and he walked away with the cash. I’m guessing there’s an art teacher he ought to be thanking back home.

It’s been heartening to see arts and culture play such a pivotal role in 9/11 anniversary ceremonies. Sunday’s event at the newly opened 9/11 Memorial in NYC featured Yo-Yo Ma, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Emi Ferguson, Paul Simon and James Taylor. Opening remarks by Michael Bloomberg quoted Shakespeare, and poetry was prevalent throughout.

The Pushcart Players perform one of five school shows offered by Mesa Arts Center this season

Too often our nation forgets all that has been forged by arts and culture, and fails to appreciate the role they can play in moving us forward. So I’m delighted that Congress passed a bill last year designating the second week of September “National Arts in Education Week.”

For those who love the arts, no explanation of their impact or importance is needed. Art is an instinct, in impulse. An adventure of imagination as necessary as air. For others, they seem a mere nicety at best — perhaps because the joys of art never touched their lives as children.

But those unmoved by art’s aesthetic power should recognize its more tangible benefits. Art creates jobs. Creates cities where people want to live. Creates schools full of innovators and imaginators. Maybe even the “creative class” touted by a presidential candidate in his stump speeches.

Ninety percent of Arizonans believe that arts education is either important or very important, according to results of a public opinion poll conducted by ASU in May 2009 — a poll cited in the background report for this year’s Arizona Town Hall, the first of 98 Arizona Town Halls to focus on Arizona arts and culture. www.aztownhall.org.

The Arizona Arts Education section of the report was authored by Mandy Buscas (then director of arts learning for the Arizona Commission on the Arts, now the arts education outreach coordinator for Mesa Arts Center) and Lynn Tuttle (director of arts education for the Arizona Department of Education).

MAC presents Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters for grades K-6

Their work considers results of the 2009 Arts Education Census. It also looks at federal, state and local educational policies — noting that state support for arts in education has suffered significant losses of late due to “efforts to close significant stage budget shortfalls.”

Their reporting on the arts census notes that “20% of schools offered no courses in any arts discipline” and that “79% of schools spend less than $1 per year per student for arts instruction.” This despite the fact that U.S. employers rank creativity/innovation among the top five skills growing in importance.

So what can be done to move Arizona forward? A report issued after the Arizona Town Hall on arts and culture says that “Arizona residents need to speak up, stand for what we support, and make that support known at the ballot box at all levels, from the legislature, to the superintendent of public instruction, and to local school boards.”

It sounds rather daunting if you’re not accustomed to advocating for issues with local and stage officials, but there are plenty of resources to help you get started — including Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts. www.azcitizensforthearts.org.

The report also urges the arts and culture community to partner with the business community to “lobby for improved arts education” — and calls on nonprofit organizations and arts professionals in our communities to “continue augmenting arts education in the schools.” Think artist residencies, school field trips and such.

There’s plenty we can do as parents. Volunteer to help with art projects in the classroom. Coordinate field trips to places like libraries, performing arts venues, museums and exhibit spaces. Donate art-related supplies to local schools. Urge schools to integrate arts learning into other subjects. Vote art at every opportunity.

MAC presents Native American Song & Dance for grades K-12

Folks who separate art from the other disciplines, orchestrating false dichotomies that pit science and math against music and theater should learn more about artists like Emi Ferguson, a distinguished student of both music and epidemiology. Or scientists like Oliver Sacks.

To learn more about arts and education in Arizona, sign up for the free arts learning newsletter from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. www.azarts.gov.

The latest issue features details on the Poetry Out Loud program, a student art competition, an opportunity to participate in the Kennedy Center Partners in Education program, Target field trip grants, teacher workshops and more.

As for the “Jeopardy” answer that won the big bucks, it was “Pooh-bah.”

– Lynn

Note: Additional arts in education resources include the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities (www.pcah.gov), Americans for the Arts (www.artsusa.org) and the Arts Education Partnership (www.aep-arts.org). Learn more about Mesa Arts Center arts education programs at www.mesaartscenter.com.

Coming up: Country music meets arts and culture, Art meets airport, Who let the cats out?, Shakespeare meets Sweeney Todd

2011 Governor’s Arts Awards

My children grew up experiencing the work of many of the artists nominated for this year’s Governor’s Arts Awards — Debra K. Stevens of Childsplay (Arts in Education/Individual), Arizona School for the Arts (Arts in Education/Organization), Bobb Cooper of Valley Youth Theatre (Individual) and more.

Award created by Christina Cardenas, Tucson, bisque painted ceramic

A total of 76 nominations, representing 22 Arizona cities and towns, were received for the 2011 awards — which are presented in six categories: Artist, Arts in Education (Individual), Arts in Education (Organization), Business, Community and Individual.

Winners are selected by an independent panel, and will be announced Tuesday evening during a special Oscar-style ceremony.

Each will receive an original work of art created by an Arizona artist (three are pictured here).

Award created by Jeff Reich, Mesa, stoneware vessel

The 30th annual Governor’s Arts Awards — presented by Arizona Citizens for the Arts, the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Office of the Governor — takes place at the Herberger Theater Center April 12.

Festivities begin at 5:30pm with a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres and refreshments in the Herberger Theater Center lobby. The ceremony takes place at 7pm and will be followed by a dessert reception at 8pm.

Additional honorees include former State Senator Carolyn Allen and Bill Sheppard, attorney with Gammage and Burnham – who’ll receive the “The Shelley Award” for their impact on public policy benefiting the arts in Arizona. 

Award created by Kevin Matthew Stevens, Laveen, caliche

The award is named for Shelley Cohn, who served as executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts for more than 25 years.

Those interested in attending can visit www.governorsartsawards.org for event and ticket details.

If you miss the ceremony, you can visit www.azarts.gov or www.azcitizensforthearts.org after Tuesday for the names of 2011 award recipients (which will also be added as an update to this post).

Before you know it, planning for the 2012 Governor’s Arts Awards will be underway — so start thinking now about artists and arts supporters you might like to nominate, including youth who are making a difference in our communities through the arts.

– Lynn

Note: Eight, Arizona PBS will broadcast the 2011 Arizona Poetry Out Loud competition (held March 16) Tues, April 12 at 7:30pm and 11:30pm as well as Sun, April 24 at 5pm.

Coming up: New seasons from East Valley to West Valley

Update: Congratulations to all the 2011 Governor’s Arts Awards honorees — Martin Moreno (Artist), Tonto Community Concert Association (Arts Education-Organization), Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona (Community), Carol Duval Whiteman (Individual), Ann Ludwig (Arts Education-Individual) and Cox Communications of Southern Arizona (Business).

The fine art of civil discourse

In the aftermath of the tragic Tucson shooting that recently took the lives of six people and injured many more, there’s been a lot of debate about the role of rhetoric in fueling violence.

I haven’t any way of calculating the relative role of various factors in the shooting, but I began wondering that day about how we might begin to reclaim the fine art of civil discourse.

I started by exploring something called “Project Civil Discourse” — a “special initiative” of the Arizona Humanities Council.  The program is “a statewide effort to create respectful dialogue and discourse on public issues.”

There’s a dedicated “Project Civil Discourse” website that features information on speakers, readings and resources related to the topic of civil discourse.

I got to thinking about the role of arts and humanities in fostering civil dialogue the other day when I heard someone propose that schools pay math and science teachers more than teachers in other subjects.

The speaker detailed the relative scarcity of qualified teachers in these areas, and noted the importance of these fields in both national and international affairs. 

I can’t disagree with either point, but I have to wonder whether he’s heard the startling statistics about how poorly even college graduates fare these days in the reading and writing department.

I’m inclined to believe that arts and humanities form the foundation of civil society — and that they should never be valued (or funded) less than other fields of study or enterprise.

So I was especially pleased to learn that Arizona State University is readying to launch “Project Humanities” next month.

It’s “a yearlong celebration filled with public events, programs and activities that highlight faculty and student scholarship, research and creative activity” in the humanities.

The university-wide initiative includes all four campuses — and will focus on “Humanities at the Crossroads: Perspective on Place” during its inaugural year.

Fervent arts supporters have likely noticed recent upticks in calls to downsize or eliminate organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts and National Public Radio.

It’s compelling evidence that many value the right to bear arms over the right to free speech.

Appreciating art is no longer enough. Those who create and love it must also advocate for it. Hence the importance of organizations like Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Seek out community resources offering education and training in the fine art of civil discourse — including colleges, libraries, museums, non-profits and cultural organizations.

And check out “iCivics” — an online tool founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to help improve the depth and breadth of civics education for American youth.

If you agree that the arts and humanities are at the very core of our democracy, you have plenty of opportunities to become a more engaged citizen working to assure their role in fostering and sustaining civil discourse is never neglected or forgotten.

– Lynn

Note: If you know of another organization or program specializing in civil discourse, please share it below to let our readers know

Coming up: A pair of posts featuring perspectives on bullying, Performance resume tips for child and teen actors

Photo: Wikipedia

Arts & economic recovery

Manufacturing. Technology. Agriculture. Service industries. All words we commonly hear from politicians and pundits discussing key segments of the economy.

Why is the arts and culture sector so rarely mentioned in talk of economic recovery? According to a report by the National Governors Association, arts and culture-related industries (also known as “creative industries”) provide the following direct economic benefits to states and communities:

  • They create jobs
  • They attract investments
  • They generate tax revenues
  • They stimulate local economies through tourism and consumer purchases

Americans for the Arts, a national arts advocacy organization, shares some pretty impressive statistics on their website:

  • Arts-related economic activity generates $29.6 billion in government revenue, of which $12.6 billion is federal revenue.
  • The total investment of the federal government in arts and culture is $1.5 billion.
  • The federal return on investment for arts and culture is more than 8 to 1.

Their “Jobs & The Arts” issue brief notes that nationally, 100,000 nonprofit arts organizations are members of the business community. These organizations and their audiences:

  • Generate $166.2 billion in economic activity every year
  • Support 5.7 million jobs
  • Return nearly $30 billion in government revenue every year

This issues brief also notes that “Every $1 billion in spending by these organizations–and their audiences–results in almost 70,000 full-time-equivalent jobs.”

If you’re voting today without considering candidate records on the arts, or the possible impact of various propositions on arts and culture, consider making the arts front and center as you approach future issues and elections.

Americans for the Arts also offers information on arts and economic prosperity, including the impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences in various cities throughout the country.

So far I’ve enjoyed reviewing the lovely charts for Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix, Tempe, Eastern Maricopa County and Pima County. It’s a welcome diversion from the endless rings of incoming robocalls.

Whatever the specific outcome of Tuesday’s elections, Americans for the Arts encourages members of Congress to take specific actions to support the creative industries.

These include providing tax credits for nonprofit businesses to spur hiring, helping to preserve and create jobs in the arts, extending unemployment and health care benefits for part-time employees, and more.

To learn how you can support the cause of Arizona arts and culture, visit the websites of Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

These organizations offer Arizona-specific information, tips for taking action (contacting legislators, writing letters to the editor, etc.) and much more.

Voting resources from Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts include information you may still find helpful today before heading to the polls — which you can easily access by clicking here.

– Lynn

Note: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act awarded a $322,900 grant to the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and four Arizona nonprofits received direct grants: Arizona Theatre Company ($50,000), Ballet Arizona ($50,000), Borderlands Theater Teatro Fronterizo, Inc. ($25,000) and Drawing Studio, Inc. ($25,000). Learn more at www.recovery.gov.

Coming up: New movie theater comes to the Valley, Exploring RACE at the Arizona Science Center, Heard Museum North Scottsdale adventures

My favorite arts websites

We take our arts and computers rather seriously around here. My 18-year-old Jennifer, a college freshman, took some paint and a paintbrush to the top of her laptop long before laptop makers started offering choices of colors and designs. I don’t recommend that you try this at home (or the office) but it does provide an amusing illustration of the marriage of technology and art. And it inspired me to share a few of my favorite arts-related websites (along with some of my favorite finds from my most recent visits to these sites)…

Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts · www.azcitizensforthearts.org · Includes “Resources” section featuring links to websites of Arizona arts organizations and “Legislature” section featuring legislative advocacy resources. Fun find: Practical advocacy tools for finding your legislators, tracking legislative bills and more.

Arizona Commission on the Arts · www.azarts.gov · Includes “Advocacy,” “Arts Learning,” and “Arts News” sections featuring practical tips and resources as well as opportunities for local artists. Fun find: Publication titled “Building Public Value for the Arts in Arizona: Advocacy, Promotion, and Audience Engagement”—which features samples of advocacy tools (press releases, newsletter articles, letters to legislators), arts-related statistics (such as the economic impact of the arts) and a list of important arts websites (with dozens of local and national sites across several arts disciplines).

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts · www.kennedy-center.org · Includes “Explore the Arts” section featuring videos, live broadcasts, interactive and artist biographies. Fun find: Interactive on the 1940s (great background for seeing “Glorious” at Phoenix Theatre). Also includes the “ARTSEDGE”(National Arts in Education) section featuring areas on teaching, connecting and exploring. Fun finds: “This Day in the Arts” (Saturday’s blip read: “Jimmy Page is born in Heston, Middlesex, England”) and “Look, Listen, Learn” (Saturday’s tidbits included “Arabesque: Music of the Arab World”).

National Endowment for the Arts · www.nea.gov · Includes “Resources” section featuring resource listings by discipline (including funding resources, service organizations, etc.). Fun finds: Video of “The Arts & Democracy: A Conversation with Dan Gioia” (A former NEA chair who discusses arts and education, arts and democracy, and more) and “Richard Bausch: A Letter to a Young Writer” (A novelist offering his ten commandments for developing good writing).

National Public Radio · www.npr.org · Includes “Arts & Life,” “Music,” and “Listen” sections featuring written, audio and video content on diverse artists and mediums. Fun finds:  “All Things Considered” broadcast on the making of a museum titled “African American Museum Begins to Take Shape” (great background for local museums taking shape, such as the Musical Instrument Museum) and “What We’re Reading” (a weekly list of the NPR “book team’s picks of the most interesting new fiction and nonfiction releases”).

Smithsonian · www.si.edu · Includes “Encyclopedia Smithsonian” section covering “Art & Design” (architecture, photography, etc.), “History & Culture” (film, music, etc.) and more—for exploring various Smithsonian museum collections. Fun finds: “Smithsonian Latino Center” online photography exhibit titled “Young Americanos” and online exhibitions of selected works at the Smithsonian’s 19 museums (including the African Art Museum, the American Art Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, etc.—even the National Postal Museum, featuring “Delivering Hope: FDR & Stamps of the Great Depression”).

VSA arts · www.arts.org · Includes “Arts in Action” and “Resources” sections from this John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts-affiliated non-profit organization working “to create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts.” Fun find: “Playwright Discovery” section featuring call for scripts (by middle school and high school students) that “examine how disability affects their lives and the lives of others.”

Note: If you have a favorite arts-related website to share with our readers, please tell us about it in the comment section below. Thanks.