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Advocacy

Today is Arts Advocacy Day!

posted by Linda Downs


Americans for the Arts sent the following email on March 24, 2015

Today is Arts Advocacy Day!

Today, Americans for the Arts and its affiliate the Arts Action Fund celebrate National Arts Advocacy Day, part of the National Arts Action Summit, with thousands of arts advocates across the country and hundreds of partnering state, local, and national arts and arts education organizations.

If you can’t join us in Washington, DC, today, then join us by letting your member of Congress know that you support the arts!

Today, more than 550 dedicated arts supporters from 48 states will come together in Washington, DC, for the 28th annual Arts Advocacy Day, the only national event that brings together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations.

  • Participating in events are actor and Turnaround Artist Doc Shaw; actress, writer, dancer, and Americans for the Arts Artists Committee Member Victoria Rowell, American actress and playwright Holland Taylor, musicians Marc Roberge and Richard On from the American rock band O.A.R, and singer and performer Grace Weber
  • Last night, multi–Grammy Award winning artist COMMON introduced the 28th Annual Americans for the Arts’ Nancy Hanks Lecturer on Arts and Public Policy and groundbreaking television producer, author, and social activist, Norman Lear, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

These hundreds of arts advocates represent a united effort to tell Capitol Hill how important the arts are to our communities, how much arts education means to our future, and how the arts improve our daily lives. With 87 national cosponsoring organizations, Arts Advocacy Day helps shape this united arts message to Congress.

Ways You Can Take Part

Ask your members of Congress to support the arts. Visit our E-Advocacy Center and you’ll be able to send a message in less than two minutes directly to your representative and senators telling them why the arts are important to you and your community. Take two minutes and send your message to Congress today!
Join the discussion on the Arts Advocacy Day Facebook page.

On Twitter? Tweet your proarts support, follow @Americans4Arts, and track all the action in Washington, DC, at #AAD15 and #ArtsVote!

Help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. If you are not already a member, play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today—it’s free and easy to join.

Thank you for your support of the arts.




Elizabeth Schlatter is deputy director and curator of exhibitions for the University of Richmond Museums and outgoing chair of CAA’s Museum Committee.

On Tuesday, February 24, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) held the seventh annual Museums Advocacy Day, in which representatives from all types of museums and arts organizations from across the country meet with congressional representatives to promote museums’ contributions to society and to discuss specific initiatives affecting their impact. This year, CAA sponsored a Museum Committee member to attend the event, so I was able to join fellow museum professionals in this important and surprisingly fun activity.

Monday, February 23, was dedicated to all-day training, which included presentations on the three main initiatives that we were to focus on during our discussions on Capitol Hill, as well as a panel Q&A with representatives from several federal funding agencies, including the usual “alphabet soup” of the NEA, NEH, IMLS, NSF, and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs from the US State Department. The main takeaway from that discussion was to always contact these federal agencies when applying for a grant or program, as their staffs are there to help you through the process. Another activity was a fantastic presentation on the “Art of the Ask” by Dan Yaeger, executive director of the New England Museum Association. As a lobbying newbie, I attended a talk by Stephanie Vance (a.k.a. the Advocacy Guru) on the nuts and bolts of lobbying on the Hill. Helpful tips included:

  • Be respectful to everyone you meet, even if it’s a twenty-one-year-old staff member and not your congressperson. These staff members truly affect how the representatives work and vote
  • Prepare an elevator speech and connect it to the representative’s personal interests or platform
  • If you have an appointment with a congressperson whose views you oppose personally, remember that when they meet with you, you are at the very least taking up their valuable time (an amusing and helpful tip!)

The afternoon consisted of reviewing the main issues that AAM was emphasizing this year:

  • Supporting fully authorized funding of $38.6 million in fiscal year 2016 for the IMLS’s Office of Museum Services
  • Opposing any proposals that would limit the scope or value of the tax deduction for charitable donations
  • Supporting the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, which would allow artists to claim a tax deduction of the fair market value of their work when donated to a charity
  • Supporting partnerships between museums and schools
  • Allowing museums be to eligible to compete for funding as part of a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act

AAM’s staff and presenters assured us that we need not be experts on these subjects but rather should use our congressional meetings to offer personal stories that demonstrate how museums are vital to the fabric of society and explain how the issues stated above will help museums continue this good work.

On Tuesday, we were fed a great breakfast, then all broke up to attend appointments that AAM set up for us across the Hill. I attended these meetings representing both CAA and my own institution in Virginia, so I met with Senator Tim Kaine (VA), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Representative Louise Slaughter (NY), Representative Bobby Scott (VA), and Representative David Brat (VA).

I was with a group of about ten to fifteen fellow museum and arts folks for the first two appointments, and for the last three I was one of only two or three people. In addition to the issues mentioned above, I was able to talk about my museum, about university museums in general, and, of course, about CAA, including the recently issued fair-use guidelines. In general, the congressional staffers I met were gracious and knowledgeable—and I even got a photo op with a representative for my Facebook page. I was surprised and terribly grateful by how well AAM organized the event, how well they prepared us for the meetings, and how kind all the staff on the Hill were.

One of the things AAM pushed during training was that advocacy should continue beyond just that day, so I sent thank-you notes later that week. I’ve also been in touch with the two House Representative offices in Virginia to invite the congressmen and their staffs to visit our museums. Finally, my fellow advocates and I offered ourselves as resources on issues related to museums and the arts. All in all, Museums Advocacy Day was a fantastic experience to see and engage Congress in person, to meet colleagues with shared interests, and to spread the good word about museums and CAA.




CAA abhors the senseless destruction of ancient Assyrian sculpture that was publicized today.  The Assyrians created sophisticated monumental sculpture that reflected their unique form of government, fostered urban development projects of palaces, temples and markets, built a prosperous economy and promoted reading and writing in cuneiform. The monumental works from this extraordinary ancient civilization had been preserved for over 2,500 years in one of the most important collections of Middle Eastern art, the Mosul Museum. CAA calls upon the Iraq and United States government as well as the ICOMOS, the World Monuments Fund and other international organizations to adhere to Hague Convention (1954), in concert with the public and the scholarly community, to develop and implement programs to protect ancient sites, monuments, antiquities, and cultural institutions in the case of war.

DeWitt Godfrey, CAA President
Linda Downs, Executive Director




On the occasion of the National Adjunct Walkout Day planned for February 25th CAA asks visual arts tenured faculty and faculty administrators to review, discuss with your colleagues, and implement the CAA Guidelines for Part-Time Professional Employment. These guidelines provide the consensus on best practices in the visual arts in hiring, contracting, providing resources, working space, information, professional development, equitable salaries, and opportunities to participate in institutional government. We particularly encourage full-time tenured faculty and administrators to revisit these guidelines and discuss them toward full implementation at your institution.

The CAA Strategic Plan, 2015–2020 has placed part-time faculty issues as a priority. At the February 15th Board of Directors meeting, a task force on advocacy has been formed to address part-time faculty issues along with diversity in the field, and the public face of art and art history. As part of this effort, we will be surveying visual-arts departments to determine where we stand on these issues and how best to move forward.

DeWitt Godfrey, CAA President
Professor of Art and Art History
Colgate University

Linda Downs
Executive Director and CEO




CAA has signed on to this Petition to the US Copyright Office for Proposed Exemption Under 17 U.S.C. 1201 to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for the use of audiovisual media by college and university students or faculty in an educational setting. The DMCA prevents users from unlocking digital media or software. Congress has allowed review of the DMCA every three years to determine whether the law is affecting legitimate use of audiovisual material. In compliance to this three-year review the US Copyright Office has requested that examples be gathered of evidence where students or faculty were stopped from including a video clip in their teaching materials because of no access to decryption codes.

Student lawyers at American University are working on gathering examples and would appreciate hearing from those CAA members who have attempted to use audiovisual material from DVDs or off the web and were prevented from doing so. Please refer to the Google Form created to gather evidence and provide an easy forum for individuals to share their stories. This information will then be sent to the US Copyright Office to demonstrate the need for an exemption for students and faculty use of locked audiovisual materials. Deadline: December 30, 2014.

We would also like to share a piece for Forbes, written by Peter Decherney, which is an interesting read about some of the technology policy issues raised by the DMCA rulemaking.

Thank you for participating in this important petition.




Humanities Indicators, a project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has released the findings from its 2012–13 Humanities Departmental Survey. The report says:

Despite considerable discussion in the media about the impact of the recent recession on academia in general and the humanities in particular, the results from the Humanities Departmental Survey (HDS-2) suggest considerable continuity between the 2007–08 and 2012–13 academic years—bearing in mind that we are only seeing snapshots from two moments in time. Among the degree-granting departments surveyed for both HDS-1 and HDS-2 (in art history, English, languages and literatures other than English, history, history of science, linguistics, combined languages and literatures programs, and religion at four-year institutions) the number of existing departments and faculty appeared relatively unchanged, though the number of students majoring in the humanities slipped.

You can read an overview of the report, as well as breakdowns on individual disciplines—including art history—on the Humanities Indicators website.



Filed under: Higher Education, Research

Yesterday, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, delivered an opening statement at the subcommittee’s hearing of “Moral Rights, Termination Rights, Resale Royalty, and Copyright Term.” Congressman Nadler introduced the American Royalties Too (ART) Act, which will be discussed at the hearing, in order to ensure visual artists are compensated when their original artwork is resold.  His legislation would bring fairness to American artists who, unlike their fellow visual artists in 70 countries, do not receive any compensation when their works are resold at public auction.

“I firmly believe that the time has come for us to establish a resale royalty right here in the United States.  By adopting a resale royalty, the United States would join the rest of the world in recognizing this important right.  The ART act would ensure that American artists also benefit whenever and wherever their works are sold, whether in New York, London, or Paris,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). “I thank Chairman Coble and Chairman Goodlatte for including this issue as part of the Subcommittee’s review of the Copyright Act.”

The following is the full text of Congressman Nadler’s opening statement (as prepared for delivery):

“Today we consider a broad range of existing legal protections for artists and creators, including the moral rights of attribution and integrity, the right to terminate a transfer or license of one’s works, and the copyright term.  Congress has taken some steps to address these issues, and I welcome this opportunity to hear from our witnesses about how our current laws are working and what, if any, changes might be necessary and appropriate.

“I also welcome this chance to examine resale royalties for visual artists.  To date, Congress has failed to adopt a resale royalty right, which would grant visual artists a percentage of the proceeds each time their work is resold.  Unlike other artists – including, for example, songwriters and performing artists who may receive some royalties whenever their works are reproduced or performed – our visual artists currently benefit only from the original sale of their artwork.  This means that the artist receives no part of the long-term financial success of a work.  For example, if a young artist sells a work of art for $500 at the beginning of his or her career, and the same work is later sold for $50,000, the original artist gets nothing.  It is the purchaser, not the artist, who benefits whenever the value of the artist’s work increases.

“The Berne Convention, to which the United States is a signatory, makes adoption of the resale royalty right optional, but does not allow artists in any country that fails to adopt this right to benefit from resale royalties in any other country.  Because we do not provide this right, U.S. artists are prevented from recovering any royalties generated from the resale of their works in countries that have resale rights.

“Seventy other countries now provide this right, including the entire European Union.

“Concerned about this lack of fairness for American artists, I have introduced a bill – H.R. 4103, the American Royalties Too (or ART) Act – to correct this deficiency, and injustice, in the law.  The ART Act provides for a resale royalty of 5 percent to be paid to the artist for every work of visual art sold for more than $5,000 at public auction.  The royalty would be capped at $35,000 for works of art that sell for more than $700,000.  The royalty right is limited to works of fine art that are not created for the purpose of mass reproduction.  Covered artworks include paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, and photographs in the original embodiment or in a limited edition.  Small auction houses with annual sales of less than $1 million are exempt.

“I firmly believe that the time has come for us to establish a resale royalty right here in the United States.  I am not alone in this belief.  The national arts advocacy organization Americans for the Arts supports this legislation.  So does the Visual Artists’ Rights Coalition (VARC), which includes the Artists Rights Society, the Visual Artists and Galleries Association, the American Society of Illustrators Partnership, the National Cartoonists Society, the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, and the Association of Medical Illustrators, among others.

“The United States Copyright Office, which once opposed adopting a resale royalty right, also now supports “Congressional consideration of a resale royalty right, or droit de suite, which would give artists a percentage of the amount paid for a work each time it is resold by another party.”  In its report in December of last year – Resale Royalties:  An Updated Analysis – the Copyright Office observed that visual artists operate at a disadvantage relative to other artists.  It also noted that many more countries had adopted resale royalty laws since its 1992 report recommending against adoption of this right, and that the adverse market effects it feared might result from resale royalty laws have not materialized.

“I welcome and look forward to hearing more from Karyn Claggett, Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs, who is testifying on resale royalty on behalf of the Copyright Office at the hearing today.

“By adopting a resale royalty, the United States would join the rest of the world in recognizing this important right.  And because these other countries have reciprocal agreements, they would then pay U.S. artists for works resold in their countries.  This would ensure that, in addition to resale royalties for works resold in this country, American artists would also benefit whenever and wherever their works are sold, whether in New York, London, or Paris.

“Serious consideration of a resale royalty right is long overdue, and I thank Chairman Coble and Chairman Goodlatte for including this issue as part of the Subcommittee’s review of the Copyright Act.

“With that, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses and yield back the balance of my time.”




The following email from Nina Ozlu Tunceli, executive director of Americans for the Arts, was sent on Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

Arts Action Fund Breaking News 7-15-14

Once again, your advocacy voices made a difference. Last week, thousands of Arts Action Fund members sent letters to their Members of Congress in response to action taken by the House Subcommittee on the Interior. The Subcommittee had proposed an $8 million cut each from the FY 2015 budgets of the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

We’re really pleased to report that when this bill came before the Full Appropriations Committee today, the Interior Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) announced that he had made some “manager’s amendments” to the bill. He restored the cuts to the two federal cultural agencies and now the bill moves to the House floor with a $146 million recommendation for the NEA and NEH each.




The following email from Stephen Kidd, executive director of the National Humanities Alliance, was sent on Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

Appropriations Committee Rescinds Proposed Cut to NEH

Dear Humanities Advocate,

Today, the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment that rescinds the proposed $8 million cut to the National Endowment for the Humanities. Thanks to the many of you who responded to last week’s action alert, the amendment passed with substantial bipartisan support.

This is a very important step in preserving NEH’s capacity. In the coming weeks, we may need to call on you to contact your elected officials again as this funding bill proceeds through Congress and faces additional challenges.

Thanks in advance for your continued support!




The United States Senate today voted to confirm William D. “Bro” Adams as the 10th chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Adams is expected to begin as Chairman in the coming days.

Founded in 1965, the National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making institution of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.

Adams, president of Colby College in Waterville, Maine from 2000 until his retirement on June 30, 2014, is a committed advocate for liberal arts education and brings to the Endowment a long record of leadership in higher education and the humanities.

A native of Birmingham, Michigan, and son of an auto industry executive, Adams earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Colorado College and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Cruz History of Consciousness Program. He studied in France as a Fulbright Scholar before beginning his career in higher education with appointments to teach political philosophy at Santa Clara University in California and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He went on to coordinate the Great Works in Western Culture program at Stanford University and to serve as vice president and Secretary of Wesleyan University. He became president of Bucknell University in 1995 and president of Colby College in 2000.

Adams’s formal education was interrupted by three years of service in the Army, including one year in Vietnam. It was partly that experience, he says, that motivated him to study and teach in the humanities. “It made me serious in a certain way,” he says. “And as a 20-year-old combat infantry advisor, I came face to face, acutely, with questions that writers, artists, philosophers, and musicians examine in their work — starting with, ‘What does it mean to be human?’”

In each of his professional roles, Adams has demonstrated a deep understanding of and commitment to the humanities as essential to education and to civic life. At Colby, for example, he led a $376-million capital campaign – the largest in Maine history – that included expansion of the Colby College Museum of Art and the gift of the $100-million Lunder Collection of American Art, the creation of a center for arts and humanities and a film studies program, and expansion of the College’s curriculum in creative writing and writing across the curriculum. He also spearheaded formal collaboration of the college with the Maine Film Center and chaired the Waterville Regional Arts and Community Center.

As senior president of the prestigious New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), Adams has been at the center of the national conversation on the cost and value of liberal arts education. “I see the power of what is happening on our campuses and among the alumni I meet across the country and around the world,” he says. “People who engage in a profound way with a broad range of disciplines – including, and in some cases especially, with the humanities — are preparing to engage the challenges of life. They are creative and flexible thinkers; they acquire the habits of mind needed to find solutions to important problems; they can even appreciate the value of making mistakes and changing their minds. I am convinced that this kind of study is not merely defensible but critical to our national welfare.”

Adams, nicknamed Bro by his father in honor of a friend who died in World War Two, is married to Lauren Sterling, philanthropy specialist at Educare Central Maine and has a daughter and a stepson. He currently resides in Falmouth, Maine.

Deputy Chairman Carole Watson has served as Acting Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities since the departure of former Chairman James A. Leach.

Please join the conversation and offer your congratulations to Adams with #NEHBroAdams.




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