CAA

CAA News Today

Campuses across the country have been affected by cuts to the arts and humanities. See the full list here. Graphic: Allison Walters

By any number of metrics, the arts and humanities are experiencing challenging times. Funding is under threat from the Federal government. Student enrollment is dropping in higher education classes focusing on the arts and humanities. The number of tenure-track faculty positions are diminishing in arts and humanities departments. The wide support of STEM-centered education has placed an emphasis on career paths with measurable and immediate financial outcomes. Yet, we know the importance of an arts and humanities education, not just for those looking to have careers in the arts and humanities but those across the entire professional spectrum.

In response to the challenges in the arts and humanities, some universities and colleges in the United States have cut programs, collapsed libraries, or shuttered entire departments. These steps, taken as cost-saving measures, only increase the uphill battle for the arts and humanities. Over the past years, CAA has tracked these changes in higher education through the organization’s own research efforts and through narratives relayed directly from our members. These actions taken by administrations are in no way secret. In article after article, the alarm has been sounded. We believe there is a better way to resolve these issues and protect the arts and humanities at the same time.

To bridge this divide, CAA is pleased to release “Guidelines for Addressing Proposed Substantive Changes to an Art, Art History or Design Unit, or Program at Colleges and Universities.”

SEE THE GUIDELINES

“These guidelines provide a path for open communication between faculty and administration,” says Hunter O’Hanian, executive director of CAA. “With this new tool to be used by both administrations and faculty equally, CAA builds a resource that is vital to strengthening the arts and humanities on campuses. The guidelines create clearly definable steps and parameters for a process that when handled badly leads to fissures between faculty, students, and administrations.”

The “Guidelines for Addressing Proposed Substantive Changes to an Art, Art History or Design Unit or Program at Colleges and Universities” call for a deeper understanding of the factors and issues that have precipitated the action to close a department or program. The guidelines outline two clear paths: they encourage constituencies to communicate about the potential changes, and they pave the way to resolution without having to eliminate or downsize the program or department.

If those conversations fail to reach a satisfactory outcome with the educational institution, the guidelines emphasize that the institutional administration must do everything it can to see that the program continues. And, as is the case with all scholastic endeavors, the administrations must show their work—they must provide documentation that the department has been adequately resourced and funded. It must demonstrate that growth has been encouraged rather than to allowing it to lay fallow.

“CAA remains convinced that students and society derive lasting benefit when institutions offer a diverse range of academic resources to support different learning styles,” says Jim Hopfensperger, president of the CAA Board of Directors. “These new CAA guidelines outline best practices toward sustaining this essential diversity of academic programs and operational assets.”

Hopfensperger adds that “CAA believes that students, staff, faculty, and institutional leadership teams are all well served by inclusive processes, open lines of communication, engagement across constituencies, and empathetic deliberations.”

IMPACT OF ARTS AND HUMANITIES TOOLKIT

COLLEGES FACING CUTS TO ARTS AND HUMANITIES PROGRAMS

Authors and Contributors for the “Guidelines for Addressing Proposed Substantive Changes to an Art, Art History or Design Unit or Program at Colleges and Universities”:

CAA Working Group for Guidelines for Addressing Proposed Substantive Changes to an Art, Art History or Design Unit or Program at Colleges and Universities: Tom Berding, Michigan State University; Brian Bishop, Framingham State University (Chair, CAA Professional Practices Committee); James Hopfensperger, Western Michigan University (CAA Board President); Charles Kanwischer, Bowling Green State University; Karen Leader, Florida Atlantic University; Richard Lubben, College of the Sequoias; Paul Jaskot, Duke University; Hunter O’Hanian, CAA Executive Director.

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (Royal Broil/Flickr)

Over the past few months there have been an alarming number of colleges and universities throughout the nation—from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to University of Texas at Austin—taking actions we perceive as detrimental to the education of future generations in the arts and humanities, particularly in the fields of art history, studio art, and design.

From our perspective, in many instances, it appears that decisions to merge departments, eliminate degrees, or reduce libraries are largely transactional in nature, designed to balance present-day budgets.

We worry that when focusing narrowly on fiscal realities of the day, institutions risk undervaluing the impact humanities programs have on preparing students for careers over their lifetimes. We believe that serving students of diverse racial, social, and economic backgrounds involves offering academic programs that allow them to fully explore themselves and their cultures, precisely the benefits from strong programs in the humanities, art history, studio art, and design.

We recognize that institutions must embrace structural changes, make adjustments in evolving physical and technological environments, and face pressures to demonstrate direct connections between academic studies and successful professions. Yet, we remain convinced, and research confirms, that students as individuals, and society as a whole, benefit from strong programs in the arts and humanities and a diverse range of academic resources to support different learning styles.

A CAA working group, co-chaired by Brian Bishop, Chair of the Professional Practices Committee and executive director Hunter O’Hanian, recently formed to propose Best Practices for Addressing Proposed Changes to an Art/Design Academic Unit, Library, or Degree at Colleges and Universities. It is hoped that these Best Practices will be approved by the CAA Board of Directors for dissemination by October 31, 2018.

We invite you to share with us specific situations that can help inform these guidelines. Please contact either Brian Bishop (bbishop@framingham.edu) or Hunter O’Hanian (Hohanian@collegeart.org) directly.

A museum visit during the CAA 2018 Annual Conference. Photo: Rafael Cardenas

RAAMP (Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals) aims to strengthen the educational mission of academic art museums by providing a publicly accessible repository of resources, online forums, and relevant news and information.

With new resources added daily, we welcome contributions to our online archive. Resources can include but are not limited to: museum strategic plans; campaigns for outreach to campus communities; news and announcements about new programs, exhibitions, or staff appointments; and strategies for diversity and inclusion in the academic art museum. You may also provide tips on funding opportunities, exhibition design guidelines, advocacy, and more.

Visit RAAMP to discover our newest resources, and click here to contribute.

RAAMP is a project of CAA with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

CAA staff in Washington, DC (left to right): Joelle Te Paske, media and content manager, Alison Chang, sponsorship and partnership manager, Aakash Suchak, grants and special programs manager, Hunter O’Hanian, executive director, and Nick Obourn, director of communications, marketing, and membership.

Earlier this week CAA staff traveled to Washington, DC for Americans for the Arts’s Arts Advocacy Day and National Alliance for the Humanities’s Humanities Advocacy Day.

After a day of breakout sessions and briefings on Monday, staff visited congressional offices on Tuesday to advocate for continued funding for NEA, NEH, IMLS, CPB, and support for the arts, humanities, and higher education. See our on-the-ground updates.

We visited 18 congressional offices representing three different states, with positive responses from both Democrats and Republicans. We meet with staff or dropped off materials with:

New York

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY 6th District)

Dropped off materials with Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 7th District)

Dropped off materials with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY 8th District)

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY 9th District)

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY 10th District)

Dropped off materials with Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY 16th District)

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY 17th District)

Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY 18th District)

Wisconsin

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI 2nd District)

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI 7th District)

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI 8th District)

Connecticut 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Rep. John Larson (D-CT 1st District)

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT 2nd District)

Rep. Jim Himes  (D-CT 4th District)

Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT 5th District)

Learn more about Advocacy Days below.

ARTS ADVOCACY DAY

March 12 – March 13, 2018
Hosted by Americans for the Arts

Arts advocates from across the country convene in Washington, DC for Americans for the Arts’s annual Arts Advocacy Day each year. Arts Advocacy Day brings together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations, along with more than 700 grassroots advocates from across the country, to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts. Learn more.

HUMANITIES ADVOCACY DAY

March 11 – March 13, 2018
Hosted by National Alliance for the Humanities

Humanities Advocacy Day provides the opportunity to connect with a growing number of humanities advocates from around the country. Together, advocates will explore approaches to year-round advocacy on college campuses and in local communities while also preparing for Capitol Hill visits. On March 13, they will visit House and Senate offices to make a persuasive case for federal funding for the humanities. Learn more.

WHY DID CAA ATTEND?

For two years in a row, we’ve offered our complete and total opposition to efforts to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and other domestic programs that fund education, arts, and humanities initiatives, as outlined in the 2018 and 2019 White House budget proposals.

Over the last year, we’ve also solicited feedback from our members on a variety of issues that impact the arts, humanities, and higher education, including:

For more on our advocacy efforts, click here.

We encourage you to be vocal about your support for the arts and humanities. Click here to access the CAA Arts and Humanities Advocacy Toolkit.

CAA Goes to Washington

posted by March 07, 2018

See live updates on Twitter and Instagram

Early next week, staff members from CAA will be attending Arts Advocacy Day and Humanities Advocacy Day in Washington, DC.

ARTS ADVOCACY DAY

March 12 – March 13, 2018
Hosted by Americans for the Arts

Arts advocates from across the country convene in Washington, DC for Americans for the Arts’s annual Arts Advocacy Day each year. Arts Advocacy Day brings together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations, along with more than 700 grassroots advocates from across the country, to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts. Learn more.

HUMANITIES ADVOCACY DAY

March 11 – March 13, 2018
Hosted by National Alliance for the Humanities

Humanities Advocacy Day provides the opportunity to connect with a growing number of humanities advocates from around the country. Together, advocates will explore approaches to year-round advocacy on college campuses and in local communities while also preparing for Capitol Hill visits. On March 13, they will visit House and Senate offices to make a persuasive case for federal funding for the humanities. Learn more.

WHY IS CAA ATTENDING?

For two years in a row, we’ve offered our complete and total opposition to efforts to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and other domestic programs that fund education, arts, and humanities initiatives, as outlined in the 2018 and 2019 White House budget proposals.

Over the last year, we’ve also solicited feedback from our members on a variety of issues that impact the arts, humanities, and higher education, including:

For more on our advocacy efforts, click here.

We encourage you to be vocal about your support for the arts and humanities next week (and beyond!). Click here to access the CAA Arts and Humanities Advocacy Toolkit.

The Humanities Indicators project, an Andrew E. Mellon Foundation-funded initiative, just released the most recent numbers on salaries for those entering the the humanities professions. CAA has been an active participant in the initiative for the past few years.

Their survey shows that as of 2015, for arts graduates in the workforce, the median earnings for art history majors in the workforce with just a bachelor’s degree were $45,000, while those who had gone on to earn an advanced degree (which could be in any discipline) had median earning of $65,000. Graduates who majored in the arts had median earnings of $48,000 (with just a bachelor’s degree) and $60,000 (with an advanced degree). In all cases, these were slightly below the average for all fields.

These updates about earnings are tied to a new report on humanities majors in the workforce, which tries to look beyond earnings, and finds that when it comes to job satisfaction and perceived well-being, humanities majors are pretty much the same as graduates from every other field (including art majors).

Among the key findings in the new report:

  • Almost 87% of workers with a bachelor’s degree in the humanities reported they were satisfied with their jobs in 2015, comparable to graduates from almost every other field.
  • Over three-quarters of humanities graduates saw themselves at or approaching “the best possible life,” which was similar to the shares among engineering and natural science graduates. Education majors had the highest level on this measure.
  • The academic fields were quite similar with respect to their graduates’ level of satisfaction with their personal financial situations in 2014. Among graduates from engineering, barely 50% reported “I have enough money,” while among humanities and education graduates, the share was 42%. (Arts majors had the lowest share on this question.)
  • More than a million graduates with bachelor’s degrees in the humanities were employed as managers in 2015, and almost 60% of humanities graduates report managing or supervising employees as part of their job (which was equal to the share of all graduates).
  • While much of the report points to similarities, there was one notable difference: only 30% of graduates with a bachelors in humanities perceived a close relationship between their job and their degree in 2014, while more than a third saw no relationship. Fine and performing arts majors were similar on this score. This differed substantially from graduates with science and professional degrees.

Earlier this afternoon, the White House released its 2019 Budget Proposal. The $4.4 trillion budget outlines deep cuts in domestic programs that fund education, arts, and humanities initiatives, while increasing military spending.

“By zeroing out the budgets for the NEH, NEA and similar agencies that support the arts, humanities and education, the President has shown again that he cares more about tax cuts for the wealthy than supporting an American cultural heritage, funded though these agencies,” said Hunter O’Hanian, CAA’s executive director. “Thankfully, a bipartisan group of Congressional members, those with the real financial authority, have Americans interests at heart and they will reject the President’s draconian proposals.”

The entire budget proposal adds $984 billion to the federal deficit in the next year and in total adds $7 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

Partial list of programs slated for elimination:

  • NEA
  • NEH
  • IMLS
  • CPB
  • Corporation for Travel Promotion (Brand USA)
  • Delta Regional Authority
  • Denali Commission
  • Northern Border Regional Commission
  • Woodrow Wilson Center
  • S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
  • S. Trade and Development Agency
  • Chemical Safety and Hazard Inspection Board
  • Under SNAP: “Proposals are also included to eliminate funding for State performance bonuses and for SNAP nutrition education grants…”
  • Economic Development Administration
  • Contingency Fund

We call on our members and those who believe in the importance of the arts, humanities, and education to act now. The most effective way to make your voice heard is through your local representatives. Call. Email. Write letters.

Congress has this budget in their hands and now is the time to let them know you support the programs it seeks to eliminate.

Click here to access the CAA Arts and Humanities Advocacy Toolkit.

We look forward to discussing budget advocacy at our Annual Conference in Los Angeles, February 21-24.

Read about Advocacy News from CAA.

Today the US President released his proposal for 2018 federal budget – it envisions transferring additional billions of dollars to the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security from many important domestic programs such as the Environmental Protection Agency, education, and legal services. As expected, the budget also calls for the complete elimination of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and 16 other federal agencies. CAA was one of the first national organizations to speak against these cuts.

Read the statement against these cuts that CAA released on January 23, 2017.

As educators, art historians, artists, curators, museum directors, designers, scholars, and other members of the visual arts community we must act to defend the role of arts and humanities in our society. The budget process is long and ultimately controlled by the US House and Senate.  Earlier this week, CAA traveled to Washington for Humanities Advocacy Day to meet with many congressional offices to discuss the importance of continued NEA and NEH funding. We will return again next week to do the same for Arts Advocacy Day.

In addition, CAA assembled an Arts and Humanities Advocacy Toolkit with information on how to contact your representatives in Congress to voice your support for the NEA and NEH and the many quality programs they fund. Call their offices. Email them. Attend Town Halls. You can learn how these agencies support activities in your area here: funded by the NEA and funded by the NEH.  Be sure to let your representatives know of the impact of the arts and humanities in your districts. Spread the word to your colleagues and friends.

Despite the White House’s opposition to continued funding for the NEA and NEH, there is sufficient reason to believe that many members of the US House and Senate will support a budget that includes continued funding for these agencies.  I ask our members to join in the effort to make sure all members of Congress knows the importance of the work done by these agencies.


Hunter O’Hanian
Executive Director
Chief Executive Officer

For more than a century, the College Art Association (CAA) has represented art historians, artists, museum professionals, designers, and others who think and care about the visual arts and its impact on our culture. We do this in part through direct advocacy for artistic and academic freedom.

Like many other Americans, we have closely watched the proposed changes to the federal government. Recent news reports reveal that the US President intends to propose the elimination of funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This proposal is reportedly based in part on a recommendation by the Heritage Foundation that states, “As the U.S. Congress struggles to balance the federal budget and end the decades-long spiral of deficit spending, few programs seem more worthy of outright elimination than the National Endowment for the Arts.”

We offer our complete and total opposition to these efforts.

Since the 1960s, the NEA and NEH have supported artists, writers, museum professionals, and a wide array of scholars of various disciplines in creating new work and scholarship. The NEA supports thousands of cultural and educational organizations, and, in a few cases, individual artists. The NEH, which strengthens teaching and learning in schools and colleges—as well as the work of independent scholars—creates access to educational scholarship and research nationwide. In addition, the NEH is a strong supporter of museum exhibitions throughout the country. Combined, the budgets for the two agencies are less than $300 million. The organizational grantees generate hundreds of millions of dollars in matching support and countless new works of art and scholarship. These works and related projects are studied and enjoyed by millions of Americans in museums and other venues. The cultural sector of the US economy generates more the $135 billion in revenue and employs over three million people in small towns and large cities countrywide.

Given that the respective budgets of the NEA and NEH represent only a tiny fraction of the entire federal budget, their planned elimination cannot logically be seen as a cost-saving measure. Rather, it appears to be a deliberate, ominous effort to silence artistic and academic voices, representing a potentially chilling next step in an apparent effort to stifle and eradicate oppositional voices and cultural output from civic life. By eliminating the support for these agencies, the government undermines the unifying potential of the arts, culture, and education that encourages and nurtures communication and positive discussion.

CAA leadership is monitoring the possible elimination and/or reduction of funding for the NEA and NEH and how it may affect our members and the work they do. CAA will communicate and collaborate with other cultural and educational organizations and learned societies to determine potential future advocacy options.

We urge our fellow CAA members to contact their representatives in Congress to let them know the importance of maintaining a robust, national, publicly supported framework for artistic and academic freedom.  When you contact your representative, we ask that you let them know you are a member of CAA and together we are advocating for continued public funding for the arts. We also encourage you to contact the National Humanities Alliance and Americans for the Arts to become further involved.

Through our collective strength, we can ensure that public funding of scholarship and art making continues, free from political and commercial interference.


Suzanne Preston Blier
President

Hunter O’Hanian
Executive Director
Chief Executive Officer

Collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation

posted by January 12, 2016

One of CAA’s annual Distinguished Artists’ Interviews at the 2016 Annual Conference in Washington, DC—the artist Rick Lowe in conversation with the photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier—is among the first events of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s year-long series of performances, discussions, and other events to celebrate the thirty-fifth anniversary of its iconic fellowship program. The MacArthur Foundation will collaborate with a diverse set of partners for 2016 programming, including Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival, Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and New York’s 92nd Street Y. Most events will be open to the public for free or at low cost. Video of many events will be published online.

Lowe received a MacArthur fellowship in 2014, and Frazier won the prize in 2015. The Distinguished Artists’ Interviews will take place on Friday, February 5, 2:30–5:00 PM, in the Thurgood Marshall Ballroom East/South, Mezzanine Level, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Preceding their conversation will be another interview: the artist Joyce Scott interviewed by George Ciscle of the Maryland Institute College of Art. Both talks will be live streamed on CAA’s YouTube page.

“Working across every field imaginable, MacArthur fellows capture the public imagination and inspire people to nurture creativity in their own lives and communities,” said Cecilia Conrad, managing director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, during a luncheon at the City Club of Chicago that also featured the labor organizer Ai-Jen Poo and the artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, both MacArthur fellows. “This year-long celebration will showcase fellows’ work, foster new collaborations, and enable these highly creative people to further inspire us all.”

Programming is under development and subject to change; but it is expected to include the following events:

  • Lowe will deliver a lecture on “Art in the Social Context” at Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service in California, as part of the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor program(February 4)
  • In conjunction with an exhibition of her work, the Whitney Museum of American Art will host a discussion with the documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras (New York, February).
  • Sixth & I, a historic synagogue and cultural event space in Washington, DC, will present a panel discussion featuring MacArthur fellows (March)
  • The 92nd Street Y in New York will present a panel discussion featuring MacArthur fellows (March)
  • The Economics Club of Chicago will feature two conversation pairings with the arts entrepreneur Claire Chase and the music educator Aaron Dworkin, as well as the computational biologist John Novembre and the historian Tara Zahra (May 25)
  • MacArthur fellows will be featured in a plenary session at the annual convention of Americans for the Arts in Boston (June)
  • The Chicago Humanities Festival will incorporate MacArthur fellows into its regular annual programming (September)
  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, will host two free public performances by MacArthur fellows through its Millennium Stage series (October)

The anniversary celebration will also include an online component, featuring one MacArthur fellow each month responding to public questions on Reddit as well as interviews with fellows on popular YouTube channels.

The MacArthur fellowship—called “genius grants” by the media—recognizes exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future. Fellows each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, which comes with no stipulations or reporting requirements and allows recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions. Since 1981, 942 people have been named MacArthur fellows. Fellows are selected through a rigorous process that has involved thousands of expert and anonymous nominators, evaluators, and selectors over the years.