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CAA Participates in Humanities Advocacy Day 2014

posted by Michael Fahlund


Humanities Advocacy Day 2014, sponsored by the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), took place in Washington, DC, on Monday and Tuesday, March 10 and 11, 2014. As a member of NHA, CAA supports that organization’s advocacy efforts and sends representatives to its annual meeting each year. CAA’s participation in these activities allows the association to promote the visual arts and to persuade others—in this case the members of both houses of Congress—to embrace the value of the humanities in education and in daily life.

The annual meeting on Monday included an opening welcome by George Washington University’s president, Steven Knapp, followed by a presentation by Stephen Kidd, NHA executive director, outlining the alliance’s advocacy agenda for the year. Knapp introduced additional speakers whose interests and projects intersect with the NHA’s four-pronged argument for stressing the value of the humanities: promoting opportunity for all Americans, fostering innovation and economic competitiveness, ensuring productive global engagement, and strengthening civic knowledge and practice. Knapp also identified two initiatives outside Congress to promote the humanities in the public sphere: Humanities Working Groups for Community Impact (see item 5) and Call for Videos. Aimed directly at the public rather than elected officials, these initiatives will help to establish to those outside the academy that the humanities are an area worth funding.

David Scobey, executive dean of the New School for Public Engagement, presented a talk called “E Pluribus Anthology: Why American Communities Need the Humanities,” which advocated a return to civic engagement as a way of reigniting the humanities. Carol Muller, professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Pennsylvania, discussed a community project that she directs, West Philadelphia Music, which amplified Scobey’s argument. Other speakers during the day included Elva LeBlanc, president of the Northwest Campus of Tarrant County College, who spoke on the relevancy of higher education and the importance of preparing students for change and complexity; and Francisco G. Cigarroa, chancellor of the University of Texas System. In the afternoon, Humanities Advocacy Day participants received issue briefs and background material concerning proposed funding levels for federal humanities programs and position papers that were helpful in preparing for congressional visits.

On Tuesday, six NHA delegates from the state of New York (listed in the next paragraph) visited the offices of Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer and Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Eliot Engel, Carolyn Maloney, Tom Reed, and José E. Serrano. In each instance, the group urged senators and representatives to support specific fiscal-year budgets for the National Endowment for the Humanities ($154.4 million), the Institute for Museum and Library Services ($226.5 million), and the Library of Congress ($593 million), and to properly fund the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and Title VI/Fulbright-Hays international programs. NHA delegates also asked their legislators to sign “Dear Colleague” letters in support of these budgets based on the alliance’s funding recommendations, which are higher than those proposed by the Obama administration.

The New York delegates from NHA were: Kathleen Fitzpatrick, director of scholarly communication for the Modern Language Association; Peter Berkery Jr., executive director of the Association of American University Presses; Jennifer Steenshorne, junior associate editor for Columbia University Libraries; Jonathan Gilad, program assistant at the American Political Science Association; Michael Fahlund, CAA deputy director; and Betty Leigh Hutcheson, CAA director of publications.




The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) sent the following email on March 19, 2014

Senate Museum Funding Push is Now Bipartisan; Tell Your Senators to Join the Effort

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) are now circulating a bipartisan letter urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide robust funding in FY 2015 for the Office of Museum Services (OMS) at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This is the fifth year that Senator Gillibrand has led this effort, but the first time Senator Blunt will co-lead the letter.

The deadline for Senators to sign on to this letter is March 25, 2014.

The Office of Museum Services is receiving $30.1 million this year, well below its authorized level of $38.6 million. The Gillibrand/Blunt letter is your Senators’ chance to go on record in support of museum funding, so ask them to sign on today!

“Following visits from his constituents during Museums Advocacy Day, Senator Blunt decided to co-lead this letter with Senator Gillibrand, making it a bipartisan effort and demonstrating the value of our field-wide efforts in Washington, D.C.,” said Alliance President Ford W. Bell. “I applaud Senators Gillibrand and Blunt for their leadership in supporting museums nationwide. We are especially thrilled that Senator Blunt has joined the cause this year; museums in Missouri should be proud to have such a responsive museum champion in Congress.”

Last year, you contacted legislators in record numbers and you made a real difference: a record-breaking number of Senators signed the letter supporting funding for the IMLS Office of Museum Services. Keep that momentum going by contacting your Senators now.

Thank you for acting on this important issue!




Americans for the Arts sent the following email on March 4, 2014.

President Reduces Support for NEA in 2015 Budget

Today, the Obama Administration released its FY 2015 budget request to Congress, which includes funding for the nation’s cultural agencies and programs, such as the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Office of Museum Services, and the Department of Education’s Arts In Education program.

As Americans for the Arts President & CEO Robert Lynch noted in a statement:

The Administration’s FY 2015 request of level funding at $146 million for the National Endowment for the Arts is unfortunately insufficient, considering $154 million has been proposed by the Administration each of the two previous years. Senate appropriators were ready to match this funding each of these years. Investment in the arts is an investment in our nation’s culture, education, and economy. Although it is very welcoming to see the Administration continue support for Our Town and the NEA/Walter Reed Healing Arts Partnership programs, now is the time to boost investment, not reduce it. To reduce support provides both an inconsistent and confusing message for the creative economy in America. This is even more important as the President has recently nominated a new chair to lead the NEA. Arts advocates from across the country will join together on Capitol Hill for Arts Advocacy Day on March 25th to lobby Congress to increase NEA funding to $155 million.

This chart illustrates the inconsistent nature of the Obama Administration’s funding requests for the NEA:

 

 

The following is a comparison of the Administration’s FY 2015 budget request and FY 2014 enacted levels:

 

Key Federally Funded Arts Program

FY 2014 Enacted Appropriations (in millions)

FY 2015 President’s

Budget Request

(in millions)

National Endowment for the Arts

$146

$146

National Endowment for the Humanities

$146

$146

U.S. Dept. of Education’s Arts In Education Program

$25

$0*

Office of Museum Services

$30

$31

Corporation for Public Broadcasting (advanced)

$445

$445

U.S. Dept. of State’s Educational & Cultural Exchange

$560

$578

 

*Similar to previous years, the Administration proposes to consolidate the Department of Education’s Arts In Education program.

WHAT COMES NEXT

The President’s request is traditionally just the first step in the legislative budgeting process. Next, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate offer their proposals that will reflect their own particular priorities. Appropriations subcommittee work is already underway with several upcoming hearings scheduled.

We ask that advocates remain vigilant in the months ahead as Congress works to pass spending bills. Last year, the House Appropriations Interior subcommittee proposed cutting NEA funding nearly in half! Thanks to your messages to Congress, the nation’s signature cultural agency was spared such drastic cuts after an outpouring of support that helped enable Senate appropriators to drive the final result. We hope to count on your advocacy again this year.

Our kickoff advocacy effort will launch at our National Arts Advocacy Day conference on March 24–25. Join us in Washington, DC for the only national event that brings together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations, along with hundreds of grassroots advocates from across the country. We encourage you to register for this national arts action summit and join us on Capitol Hill as the arts community brings a united message to Congress to increase funding for the NEA to $155 million! The deadline for advance registration is approaching quickly on Monday, March 10, 2014.

Help us continue this important work by also 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.




The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sent the following email on February 27, 2014.

Last chance to register for NHA Annual Meeting and Humanities Advocacy Day

Registration deadline: Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 10–11, 2014
George Washington University’s Marvin Center and Capitol Hill
Washington, DC

Advocating Locally for National Impact

The 2014 NHA annual meeting will look beyond broad arguments for the value of the humanities to make the case that fostering and demonstrating impact in local communities is critical to increasing support for the humanities among elected officials and the general public. The meeting will feature a series of speakers who will explore: ways to engage local communities in humanities research, teaching, preservation, and programming; the benefits of publicly engaged work to institutions, students, and communities; the role that the humanities can play in the lives of students as they pursue a variety of career paths and goals; and ways to involve elected officials in this work.

Over the last five years, the humanities have faced particular challenges on the state level, as governors and state legislatures have sought to direct funding and students to other courses of study. This year’s annual meeting will feature two speakers from Texas who can speak to the importance of expanding the role of the humanities in their communities amid the challenging state context.

Participants will also learn about efforts to foster increased collaboration between academic institutions and public humanities organizations with the goal of increasing connections with the broader public.

Click here for a preliminary program.

Registration

Click here to register today.
Registration: $100
Deadline: March 1, 2014

Featured Speakers

Francisco Cigarroa, Chancellor, University of Texas System, and a Member of the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences

One of ten children, Francisco Cigarroa is a third generation physician. He graduated from Yale University in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and earned his medical degree in 1983 from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Cigarroa joined the faculty of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1995, where he served as director of pediatric surgery before serving as president of the institution from 2000 to 2009. In 2003, President George W. Bush appointed him to serve on the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science. In 2009, Cigarroa became the first Hispanic to be named chancellor of the University of Texas System. As chancellor, he oversees one of the largest public systems of higher education in the nation, which consists of nine universities and six health institutions. President Barack Obama has appointed Cigarroa to serve as a commissioner on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he also serves on the academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.  Cigarroa is a nationally renowned transplant surgeon and continues to perform liver and kidney transplant surgeries.

Elva Concha LeBlanc, President, Northwest Campus, Tarrant County College District

Elva Concha LeBlanc is president of the Northwest Campus of Tarrant County College District (TCCD). Northwest Campus is one of five campuses of TCCD, a multicampus, single college district of over 50,000 enrollments. Previously, as president of Galveston College, she led the transformation of that institute into a “learning college” with a focus on student learning, assessment, and outcomes. Prior to serving Galveston, LeBlanc was executive vice president for instructional affairs at Austin Community College. A former Tarrant County College student and alumna of the University of North Texas, LeBlanc served TCCD as professor, faculty chair, director of institutional effectiveness, and dean of instruction.

Carol Muller, Professor of Music, University of Pennsylvania

The South African–born Carol Muller is professor of music and current director of the Africa Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She has published widely on South African music, at home and in exile. Her intellectual interests are in issues of gender, religion, music, diaspora, and postcolonial studies, and her most recent is a book coauthored with South African jazz singer, Sathima Bea Benjamin, called Musical Echoes: South African Women Thinking in Jazz (Duke University Press, 2011); another book, Shembe Hymns (University of KwaZulu Natal Press, 2011), was edited by Muller and translated by Bongani Mthethwa. Muller was topic director for the Penn Humanities Forum (2003–4) on subject of Belief. She has done pioneering work in ethnomusicology on issues of civic engagement, community partner and student research in West Philadelphia, and has experimented with online learning over the last decade—her Coursera–Penn course Listening to World Music attracted 37,000 students in its first iteration—it was one of the first humanities courses offered as a MOOC. Muller is also a gumboot dancer.

David Scobey, Executive Dean, New School for Public Engagement

David Scobey is a national leader in developing innovative methods to engage institutions of higher education with communities outside the academy. He was previously director of the Harvard Center at Bates College in Maine, established to bring together community-based learning and research, cocurricular work, and environmental stewardship. He is the founder and former director of the University of Michigan’s Arts of Citizenship program, an initiative to integrate civic engagement and the liberal arts. He serves on the boards of Project Pericles, an organization that encourages universities to include civic engagement as an element of undergraduate education, and Bringing Theory to Practice, a project that links education as a public good with civic engagement and concern for the well-being of individual students.



Arts Victory in Congress!

posted by Linda Downs


Nina Ozlu Tunceli, executive director of Americans for the Arts, sent the following email on January 14, 2014.

Arts Victory in Congress!

Victory – your voice was heard on Capitol Hill.

Late last night, Congress released the details of its massive FY 2014 Omnibus spending bill. I am pleased to share that the online petition that you and 40,000 other arts advocates signed this fall helped lead the way to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) being allocated $146 million for the year. We cannot thank you enough for taking the time to sign and share our petition.

Because of members like you, arts advocates successfully prevented a proposed 49% budget cut from taking place!

In fact, this new funding level is, in effect, an increase over last year’s since Congress is suspending the automatic sequester cuts that began last year. NEA will now have the full spending power of $146 million to invest in community-based arts programs across the country.

Together, we provided a strong voice for the arts. We now need your support to continue this momentum with the 2014 midterm elections right around the corner. With so many Members of Congress retiring, please consider contributing today to help us educate the next generation of elected leaders.




Anne Collins Goodyear, president of CAA’s Board of Directors, and Linda Downs, the organization’s executive director, signed the following letter.

Letter Urging Secretary John Kerry to Restore Funding for Title VIII by December 6

December 4, 2013
The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

The undersigned individuals and organizations share with the Department of State the fundamental goal of creating a peaceful, secure, and prosperous global future. To achieve such an end in an increasingly complex world, the U.S. needs accurate analyses by well-trained specialists both in and outside the government.

For the region of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, the Department of State has for thirty years trained future leaders and scholars through the Research and Training for Eastern Europe and the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union Act (PL 90-164, Title VIII). Title VIII has played a significant part in the education of many prominent American policymakers and specialists in the region, including former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice, and US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. We are writing to you today to urge you to restore funding for the Title VIII program and to include funding for the Title VIII program as part of your fiscal year 2015 budget request.

Title VIII programs in fiscal year 2012 were administrated by the Bureau of Intelligence and Research and supported by the Department of State at a level of $3.5 million. Despite its low cost, Title VIII is a program that continues to have a significant impact on the analytic and diplomatic capacities of the Department of State and on the research base in the academic sector.

At stake are programs that support policy-relevant research, advanced language training, and a specialized information clearing house and reference service related to countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus, Russia and Eastern Europe. A remarkably high percentage of US university faculty who teach about Eastern Europe and Eurasia, State Department specialists on the region, and think tank analysts who advise policymakers have conducted their field work and research and obtained advanced language proficiency thanks to programs funded by Title VIII.

Although the Department of State solicited applications for a fiscal year 2013 Title VIII program, the Department in September announced the cancellation of the program for fiscal year 2013. We believe the discontinuation of this program is short-sighted and not in the national interest. We urge you to use existing authority to continue to fund this program under the administration of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at least at the current funding level of $3.5 million for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. We also ask that you include at least that level of funding within the fiscal year 2015 budget request for the Title VIII program.

Title VIII is a small but impactful program that has directly supported several generations of policymakers, diplomats and scholars and indirectly supported their thousands of students and the people who depend on their analyses to make the right business, humanitarian, and foreign policy decisions about a crucial region of the world.

We respectfully draw your attention to this issue and strongly urge that the Department of State immediately take steps to restore funding for the Title VIII program.

Sincerely,

Diane Koenker
President, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Professor of History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Stephen Hanson
Vice President, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Vice Provost of International Affairs, College of William and Mary

Judith Deutsch Kornblatt
Immediate Past President, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Professor Emerita of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Wisconsin

Lynda Park
Executive Director, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Dan Davidson
President, American Councils of International Education

William Rivers
Executive Director, National Council for Languages and International Studies

Laura Adams
Director of the Program on Central Asia and Caucasus, Harvard University

Anne Collins Goodyear
President, College Art Association
Codirector, Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Linda Downs
Executive Director, College Art Association




The National Humanities Alliance sent the following email on October 30, 2013.

Oppose Devastating Cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities!

Now that the government shutdown is over and Congress is beginning new budget negotiations, the proposed 49 percent cut to the National Endowment for the Humanities is back on the table. Just last week, one of the budget negotiators invoked the cut as he questioned the appropriateness of NEH grants. You can make sure that his are not the last words that our elected officials hear on the value of NEH by sending a message today.

We need you, your friends, and your colleagues to send messages in support of renewed investments in the humanities. Thousands of messages from advocates helped to put the proposed cuts on hold this summer, and by sending this new message, you can oppose the cuts and help restore NEH’s critical support for the humanities.

Lend your name to the effort by sending a message to your elected representatives.

Click here to send a message.Help us reach more advocates by sharing this message with your friends.

Background

In its FY 2014 budget resolution, the House of Representatives Budget Committee called for the complete elimination of funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, writing that the programs funded by NEH “…go beyond the core mission of the federal government, and they are generally enjoyed by people of higher-income levels, making them a wealth transfer from poorer to wealthier citizens.” The House subcommittee that oversees the NEH’s appropriation has followed through on the spirit of this resolution by approving a 49 percent cut to the agency’s budget.

Funding for NEH is already at just 29 percent of its peak and 62 percent of its average.

After years of deep cuts, the Obama Administration has proposed restoring some of NEH’s capacity with a 12 percent increase in funding.

Click here to send a message.

Share with your friends!



New NHA Memo to Members

posted by Linda Downs


The executive director of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sent the following email on October 25, 2013.

New NHA Memo to Members

Dear NHA Member Representatives,

I am writing with the first edition of NHA’s new Memo to Members. Please click here for:

  • a legislative update that includes a discussion of Senator Sessions’ recent letter to Acting NEH Chair Carole Watson;
  • follow-up to the Commission on the Humanities and Social Science’s The Heart of the Matter;
  • resources for advocates;
  • studies, reports, and initiatives pertaining to the humanities;
  • a compendium of humanities news articles and essays;
  • federal grant opportunities; and
  • upcoming humanities policy and advocacy events.

We hope that this monthly memo will provide you with tools to aid your advocacy efforts and help you and your organization stay abreast of policy and advocacy news. If you have information to to suggest for a future edition, please contact Erin Mosley at emosley@nhalliance.org.

Click here to download the briefing in pdf.



BREAKING: Govt Shuts Down the Arts

posted by Linda Downs


Americans for the Arts sent the following email on October 1, 2013.

BREAKING: Govt Shuts Down the Arts

October is National Arts and Humanities Month and how does the federal government celebrate? By closing the doors of federally funded museums, parks, zoos and delaying the distribution of NEA grants that enrich our communities.

Today is only a snapshot of what the 49% cut to the NEA could mean for our communities. As arts advocates, we cannot stand by and let this happen! In response, the Arts Action Fund is extending our petition to deliver even more names to Congress. This means we need YOU to take a stand and tell Congress that these drastic cuts are unacceptable.

Will you add your name to our petition?

You have until October 31st to sign this petition and tell your friends to sign as well. The Arts Action Fund has a goal of adding 10,000 new signers by the end of this month to keep the pressure mounting on Congress to not only oppose the 49% cut, but make sure it gets the funding it deserves for 2014.

Please consider adding your name now. We need you!

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director



In Less Than 24 Hours…

posted by Linda Downs


Americans for the Arts sent the following email on September 10, 2013.

In Less Than 24 Hours…

Over 17,000 advocates signed our online petition for Congress to oppose the 49% cut to the NEA!

Now that Congress has returned from recess to resume debates over these budget cuts, we need to increase our number of petition signers to have an even bigger impact before the proposed cuts hit the House and Senate floors.

Will you lend your voice to the 15,000 who have already signed?

Today also kicks-off National Arts in Education Week. Did you know that over 18 million kids in every single state benefitted from the ripple effect of the NEA’s investment last year alone? These grants create a lasting impact by inspiring kids across the country, regardless of socio-economic status, to think of music and art as relevant to their own lives.

Please sign the petition and ensure all kids have access to arts education!

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

P.S. Have you had a chance to view the #BeTheARTbeat Crowd-Sourced video? See why others are inspired to be a part of the Arts Action Fund.




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