College Art Association

CAA News Today

Americans for the Arts sent the following email on February 10, 2011. CAA urges you to join the fight to save funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Americans for the Arts Email

Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives will bring to the House floor, a Continuing Resolution (CR) appropriations package that proposes to cut dozens of federal agencies and programs for the balance of the current 2011 fiscal year (March 5 through September 30). Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee revealed details of what some of the cuts will be in this CR package and they include cutting the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) budget to $155 million this year. That’s a substantial cut from its currently funded level of $167.5 million.

The battle begins next week when the House CR appropriations package comes to the floor. Each and every one of your Representatives will be voting on possible amendments attempting to make even deeper cuts to the NEA’s budget, beyond the $155 million level. It is quite possible members of the Republican Study Committee will offer amendments to fully eliminate the NEA during floor consideration. We need you to send a message to your Members to vote against any amendments to further cut the NEA.

Because of these threats in the House, we are simultaneously working on the Senate strategy; where there may be a better chance to approve a higher funding level for the NEA and counter the cuts in the House version of this bill. By taking two minutes today to send a customizable message via our E-Advocacy Center, we will automatically send letters on your behalf to both your Senators and your House Representative. This will ensure that your voice will be heard by Members of Congress (especially freshmen members), who are now assessing their constituents’ viewpoints on these budget cuts.

Also be on the lookout for our alert on President Obama’s official FY 2012 budget submission to Congress on Monday, February 14. While that budget is for a different fiscal year than the CR that we’ll be dealing with next week, it will signal to the House and Senate the President’s funding intentions for the very same agencies that Congress is considering cutting.

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 simple.

National Humanities Alliance Issues Action Alert

posted by February 07, 2011

Jessica Jones Irons, executive director of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), emailed the following Humanities Action Alert on February 7, 2011. Founded in 1981, NHA is a nonprofit organization that works to advance national humanities policy in the areas of research, education, preservation, and public programs.

Humanities Action Alert

Dear Colleague,

As you know, we face a tough fight this year to defend federal funding for the humanities. President Obama has announced that he will release the FY 2012 budget proposal the week of February 14th, with significant reductions expected for many agencies and programs to meet the Administration’s deficit-reduction goals. In Congress, leaders of the House Republican Study Committee and Senate Steering Committee have introduced legislation calling for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities (among other programs), in order to reduce discretionary spending by more than $2.5 billion over the next ten years. Meanwhile, the House is expected to vote soon on a measure that would roll-back non-security funding in the current year (FY 2011) to 2008 budget levels.

Members of the new Congress need to hear from humanities advocates now. Please take a few minutes to ask your elected representatives to support continued funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities. Click here to send a brief, customizable electronic message from the Alliance’s online action center.

We need to let Congress know that continued federal investment in the humanities has never been more important. As one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the US, NEH provides critical support for research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities through grants to a wide range of educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and scholars nationwide. NEH grants help support the nation’s education and research infrastructure for a broad range of fields, including history, languages, literature, law, government, philosophy, cultural anthropology, the study of religion, and other subjects. The knowledge and competencies represented by these fields are critical to a broad range of US interests, including: fostering a globally competitive workforce, strengthening civic engagement and understanding, preserving our cultural heritage, and developing expertise to meet local, national, and global challenges.

Thank you for making your voice heard. Working together, the humanities community can make a difference.

Sincerely,
Jessica Jones Irons
Executive Director
National Humanities Alliance

The Executive Committee of the CAA Board of Directors adopted the following statement on December 7, 2010. At the bottom of the page is information about a special session at the upcoming CAA Annual Conference, chaired by Jonathan Katz, a scholar and the cocurator of Hide/Seek.

CAA Statement

The College Art Association regrets the removal of David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly (1987) from the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, on display at the National Portrait Gallery. It was taken out on November 30 by G. Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, in response to outside pressure. CAA further expresses profound disappointment that the House speaker–designate, John A. Boehner of Ohio, and the incoming majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, have used their positions to question future funding for the Smithsonian Institution.

CAA applauds the National Portrait Gallery for its groundbreaking exhibition, which presents the long-suppressed subject of same-sex orientation. Furthermore, CAA commends the thorough, pioneering scholarship and the challenging curatorial judgment made by the organizers of Hide/Seek—David C. Ward, a historian at the museum, and Jonathan Katz, director of the Visual Studies Doctoral Program at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. That the work of everyone involved has been heedlessly compromised is deeply troubling. The pressure brought to bear on the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian sounds a familiar note from 1989, when direct federal funding to artists was ended due to political pressure. Then as now, CAA strongly protests such tactics.

Government has a long tradition of supporting universities, museums, and libraries—institutions that have produced research that expresses a variety of positions on all subjects. Freedom of expression is one of the great strengths of American democracy and one that our country holds up as a model for emerging democracies elsewhere. Americans understand that ideas expressed in books and artworks are those of their makers, not of the institutions that house them, and certainly do not represent public policy.

CAA urges all members to let your senators and representatives know of your support for the exhibition, its curators, and the National Portrait Gallery. You may also use advocacy tools provided by the National Humanities Alliance or Americans for the Arts.

Special Conference Session

This week CAA invited Jonathan Katz, cocurator of Hide/Seek, to chair a special Centennial session at the 2011 Annual Conference in New York. He will present “Against Acknowledgement: Sexuality and the Instrumentalization of Knowledge” on Wednesday, February 9, 2011, 9:30 AM–NOON in the Rendezvous Trianon Room at the Hilton New York. Please check the conference website soon for a list of panelists, their institutional affiliations, and topics of discussion.

In the past week, numerous art and museum associations, advocacy groups, nonprofit and commercial galleries, art critics, and newspapers have spoken out against the removal of an artwork by David Wojnarowicz that was on view in an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. CAA is compiling a list of organizations, companies, and people who have published official statements, editorials, and letters to the editor.

Organizations

Critics, Journalists, Scholars, and Curators

Museums and Galleries

Press and Publishing

Social Networking and Web Resources

The above list will be cumulative. If you would like to send CAA a link to an official or organizational statement, please write to Christopher Howard, CAA managing editor.

On November 30, G. Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, ordered the removal of David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly (1987) from display at the National Portrait Gallery. In addition, incoming Republican leaders in Congress urged that the entire exhibition, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, be closed. Thankfully this did not happen.

Our government clearly needs to hear from you. At this critical time of federal budget planning—when sufficient funding for the Smithsonian museums may be in doubt—it is crucial that you let Capitol Hill know about your support for the visual arts, humanities, and art museums. CAA encourages you to register and take part in three upcoming events this winter and spring in Washington, DC: Museums Advocacy Day, Humanities Advocacy Day, and Arts Advocacy Day. At each, participants meet their senators and representatives in person to advocate for increased federal support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Previous lobbying experience isn’t necessary. Training sessions and practice talks take place the day before the main events—that’s why, for example, Arts Advocacy Day is actually two days, not one. Participants are also prepped on the critical issues and the range of funding requested of Congress to support these federal agencies. It is at these training sessions where you meet—and network with—other advocates from your states. The main sponsoring organization for each event makes congressional appointments for you.

You may have mailed a letter or sent a prewritten email to your congressperson or senator before, but legislators have an algorithm of interest for pressing issues, in which a personal visit tops all other forms of communication. As citizen lobbyists, it’s also important to have a few specific examples about how arts funding has affected you: don’t be afraid to name-drop major cultural institutions—such as your city’s best-known museum or nonprofit art center—in your examples of why the visual arts matter in your state.

If you cannot attend the three advocacy days in person, please send an email or fax to your representatives expressing your concern about continued and increased funding for the visual arts. If you don’t know your representative or senators, you can look them up at www.congress.org.

Museums Advocacy Day

The American Association of Museums (AAM) leads Museums Advocacy Day, taking place February 28–March 1, 2011, with support from numerous other nonprofit organizations. AAM is developing the legislative agenda for this year’s event. Likely issues will include federal funding for museums, museums and federal education policy, and charitable giving issues affecting museums. The entire museum field is welcome to participate: staff, volunteers, trustees, students, and even museum enthusiasts. Museums Advocacy Day is the ideal chance for new and seasoned advocates to network with museum professionals from their state and to meet staff in congressional offices. Register online now.

Humanities Advocacy Day

The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sponsors Humanities Advocacy Day, to be held March 7–8, 2011, in conjunction with its annual meeting. Scholars, higher education and association leaders, and policy makers will convene first at George Washington University for the conference and then on Capitol Hill for congressional visits and a reception. The preliminary program includes NHA’s annual business meeting for voting members, commentary on the postelection landscape, discussion of humanities funding and other policy issues, a luncheon and keynote address, and presentations of current work in the humanities. Learn more about registration.

Arts Advocacy Day

To be held April 4–5, 2011, Arts Advocacy Day is the only national event that brings together America’s cultural and civic organizations with hundreds of grassroots advocates, all of whom will underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts. Sponsored by Americans for the Arts, the event starts at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on the first day, before advocates head to Capitol Hill on the second. Registration is open now.

According to a new report published by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Americans who participate in the arts through the internet, television, radio, computers, and handheld devices are almost three times more likely to attend live arts events than nonmedia participants (59 percent versus 21 percent). Users of technology and electronic media also attend, on average, twice as many live arts events—six versus three in a single year—and see a wider variety of genres.

The report, called Audience 2.0: How Technology Influences Arts Participation, looks at who is participating in the arts through electronic media, what factors affect their participation, and the relationships among media-based arts activities, live attendance, and personal arts creation. Audience 2.0 has determined that media-based arts participation appears to encourage—rather than replace—attendance at live arts events. Among the conclusions:

  • Education continues to be the best predictor of arts participation among adults, both for live attendance and through electronic media. Survey respondents with at least some college education were more likely than respondents with a grade-school education to have used electronic media to participate in the arts
  • For many Americans—primarily older Americans, lower-income earners, and racial/ethnic minority groups—electronic media is the only way they participate in arts events
  • The 15.4 percent of US adults who use media only to engage with the arts are equally likely to be urban or rural
  • Twenty-one percent (47 million) of all US adults reported using the internet to view music, theater, or dance performances in the last twelve months. Twenty-four percent (55 million) obtained information about the arts online

Audience 2.0 expands on the research published in the NEA’s 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA). This survey, conducted in partnership with the US Census Bureau and released last year, is the nation’s largest, most representative study of arts participation among American adults. Since 1982, SPPA has measured American adult participation in activities such as visits to art museums or galleries and attendance at jazz and classical music concerts, opera and ballet performances, and musical and nonmusical plays. SPPA categorizes these as “benchmark” activities, providing a standard group of arts activities for more than two decades of consistent trend analysis. Audience 2.0 takes a closer look at how audiences use electronic media to engage in these benchmark activities.

In an agency first, the new report is being released only in an electronic format that includes multimedia features. Chairman Rocco Landesman’s video greeting is accompanied by a video commentary on the report from Sunil Iyengar, NEA director of research and analysis. Additionally, each chapter will open with videos from arts organizations that represent each of the benchmark disciplines tracked by the report. Arts organizations can use findings from Audience 2.0 to better understand their audiences’ uses of technology and electronic media.

As part of its ongoing analysis of SPPA data, the NEA is making raw data and detailed statistical tables available to researchers and the public. The tables highlight demographic factors affecting adult participation in a variety of art forms.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced on April 14, 2010, that Jason Schupbach will join the endowment as director of design at the end of May.

Schupbach brings to the NEA an impressive background of support for the creative economy and the design field, along with experience working with local, state, and federal agencies. He currently serves as the creative economy industry director for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where one of his primary focuses is the growth and support of all types of design businesses. Schupbach has also worked as capital projects manager for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and director of Boston’s ArtistLink, an organization that creates a stable environment for Massachusetts artists as they seek workspace and housing.

Schupbach will manage the NEA’s grantmaking for design and its design initiatives, such as the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, as well as the proposed Our Town, which is part of the NEA fiscal year 2011 budget request and would provide funding in recognition of the role that the arts can play in economic revitalization and in creating livable, sustainable communities.

After receiving his BS in public health from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Schupbach earned his master’s degree in city planning with an urban-design certificate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Read more about him on the NEA website. Judith H. Dobrzynski of the ArtsJournal blog Real Clear Arts worries that his appointment is leading toward a more commercialized NEA.

Any serious reckoning of how Americans participate in arts and cultural activities must account for demographic and geographic diversity. Prior National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) publications, including the 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, already have examined the age, race and ethnicity, gender, and education and income status of arts-goers.

Another way to understand arts participation is by asking where it takes place. Come as You Are: Informal Arts Participation in Urban and Rural Communities is the NEA’s first research publication in several years to examine the “informal arts”—such as playing a musical instrument, attending an art event at a place of worship, or visiting a craft fair. This finding is part of new research from the NEA, announced earlier this during a visit by NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman to Chelsea, Michigan, as part of the NEA’s Art Works Tour. The publication provides an analysis of arts participation in rural and urban areas.

Come as You Are: Informal Arts Participation in Urban and Rural Communities is available in print and pdf on the NEA website.

Filed under: Advocacy, Publications, Research — Tags:

As reported last week, the cochairs of the Congressional Humanities Caucus—David Price (D-NC) and Tom Petri (R-WI)—are circulating a sign-on letter asking their colleagues in the House of Representatives to join them in urging appropriators to increase funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). As of this morning, nearly sixty members of Congress have agreed to sign.Last year, one hundred members signed a similar letter.While this is a difficult fiscal year, CAA supports at least level funding for the NEH.

An updated list of signers is below. Please take a moment to review these names. If your representative is not listed, you can still call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121, or email the office a request via NHA’s online advocacy tools. If a representative has already indicated their willingness to sign, but is NOT yet listed, please contact Jessica Irons, NHA executive director, at jirons@nhalliance.org or 202-296-4994.

The House “Dear Colleague Letter” requests total funding of $232.5 million for the NEH in fiscal year 2011, including $144 million for NEH National Programs and $60 million for the NEH Federal/State Partnership (a $65 million increase over the FY 2010 enacted level). It also opposes $7.2 million (5.6 percent) in cuts to NEH programs, proposed in the President Barack Obama’s budget request for NEH. The text of the sign-on letter is available.

For more information or to sign onto the letter, congressional offices should contact Kate Roetzer with Rep. David Price (5-1784) or Lindsay Punzenberger with Rep. Thomas Petri (5-5406). The deadline for representatives to sign the letter is Tuesday, March 16, 2010.

Sign-On List (as of March 15)

(AR-2) Vic Snyder
(AR-4) Mike Ross
(CA-5) Doris O. Matsui
(CA-6) Lynn Woolsey
(CA-14) Anna G. Eshoo
(CA-17) Sam Farr
(CA-28) Howard L. Berman
(CA-30) Henry A. Waxman
(CA-32) Judy Chu
(CT-2) Joe Courtney
(CT-3) Rosa L. DeLauro
*(DE-AL) Michael Castle PENDING
(FL-23) Alcee Hastings
*(GA-5) John Lewis PENDING
*(GA-8) Jim Marshall PENDING
*(GA-13) David Scott PENDING
(HA-2) Mazie K. Hirono
(IA-2) David Loebsack
(IL-1) Bobby L. Rush
(IL-9) Jan Schakowsky
(KY-3) John A. Yarmuth
(MA-3) James P. McGovern
(MA-5) Niki Tsongas
(MA-8) Michael E. Capuano
(MA-9) Stephen Lynch
(MA-10) Bill Delahunt
(MD-8) Chris Van Hollen
(ME-1) Chellie Pingree
(MI-3) Vernon J. Ehlers
(MI-12) Sander Levin
(MI-14) John Conyers, Jr.
(MI-15) John Dingell
(MN-8) Jim Oberstar
(MO-5) Emmanuel Cleaver II
(MP-AL) Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan
(NC-4) David Price (cosponsor)
(NC-13) Brad Miller
(NH-1) Carol Shea-Porter
(NJ-2) Frank LoBiondo
(NJ-7) Leonard Lance
(NJ-8) Bill Pascrell, Jr.
(NJ-12) Rush Holt
(NV-1) Shelley Berkley
(NV-3) Dina Titus
(NY-8) Jerrold Nadler
(NY-12) Nydia Velazquez
(NY-14) Carolyn B. Maloney
(NY-23) Bill Owens
(OR-1) David Wu
(OR-3) Earl Blumenauer
(OR-4) Peter DeFazio
(PA-1) Robert Brady
(PA-6) Jim Gerlach
(RI-2) James R. Langevin
(TX-25) Lloyd Doggett
(VA-3) Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
(VA-11) Gerry Connolly
(WI-2) Tammy Baldwin
(WI-6) Thomas Petri (cosponsor)
(WV-3) Nick J. Rahall, II

The cochairs of the Congressional Humanities Caucus—David Price (D-NC) and Tom Petri (R-WI)—are circulating a “Dear Colleague Letter” in support of increased funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The letter requests total funding of $232.5 million for the NEH in fiscal year 2011, including $144 million for NEH National Programs and $60 million for the NEH Federal/State Partnership (a $65 million increase over the FY 2010 enacted level).

Unfortunately, President Barack Obama’s FY 2011 budget request of $161.3 million represents $7.2 million (5.6 percent) in cuts to NEH programs. Your help is needed to oppose these cuts and to support increased funding for the NEH. Please write your representative today, using the National Humanities Alliance’s new online advocacy tools, and ask them to sign the NEH sign-on letter sponsored by the caucus cochairs.

The humanities represent critical modes of thought and fields of knowledge that foster a broadly educated workforce, undergird our civic institutions, inform complex policy challenges, and enrich individual lives. They support capacities especially relevant to the twenty-first century: knowledge of world cultures, religions, and languages; understanding of US history and democratic traditions; and humanistic perspectives to evaluate the implications of scientific and technological advances. Now is the time to increase—not diminish—federal investment in the humanities through the NEH.

For more information or to sign onto the letter, congressional offices should contact Kate Roetzer with Rep. David Price (5-1784) or Lindsay Punzenberger with Rep. Thomas Petri (5-5406). The deadline for representatives to sign the letter is Tuesday, March 16, 2010.

The sign-on letter, addressed to Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Moran (D/VA) and Ranking Member Mike Simpson (R/ID), is available. A list of members who have already agreed to sign is provided below.

Sign-On List (as of March 11)

(AR-2) Vic Snyder
(AR-4) Mike Ross
(CA-5) Doris O. Matsui
(CA-28) Howard L. Berman
(CA-32) Judy Chu
(CT-3) Rosa L. DeLauro
(FL-23) Alcee Hastings
(HA-2) Mazie K. Hirono
(IA-2) David Loebsack
(KY-3) John A. Yarmuth
(MA-3) James P. McGovern
(MA-8) Michael E. Capuano
(MA-9) Stephen Lynch
(MA-10) Bill Delahunt
(MD-8) Chris Van Hollen
(ME-1) Chellie Pingree
(MI-3) Vernon J. Ehlers
(MI-12) Sander Levin
(MI-14) John Conyers, Jr.
(MI-15) John Dingell
(MN-8) Jim Oberstar
(MO-5) Emmanuel Cleaver II
(MP-AL) Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan
(NC-4) David Price (cosponsor)
(NH-1) Carol Shea-Porter
(NJ-7) Leonard Lance
(NJ-8) Bill Pascrell, Jr.
(NJ-12) Rush Holt
(NV-1) Shelley Berkley
(NY-8) Jerrold Nadler
(NY-12) Nydia Velazquez
(NY-14) Carolyn B. Maloney
(OR-1) David Wu
(RI-2) James R. Langevin
(TX-25) Lloyd Doggett
(VA-3) Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
(WI-6) Thomas Petri (cosponsor)
(WV-3) Nick J. Rahall, II