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CAA News Today

Americans for the Arts sent the following email on June 24, 2015.

Call On Your Member of Congress to Support the NEA!

This week, key decisions affecting arts funding are getting made.

Last night, the House Rules Committee met to set parameters for floor debate on legislation that funds the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and other cultural agencies, including the Smithsonian and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Congressional Arts Caucus co-Chair Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) serves on that committee and spoke at length about arts funding, noting its impact on our economy, student achievement, and health. She made sure the committee knew that 4.7 million Americans work in the arts and that it makes up 4.3% of our U.S. GDP—more than $698 billion!

The House is scheduled to consider this legislation next on the House floor, beginning tomorrow.  It’s been a while—the last time there were floor votes on this bill was back in 2011!

We urge every arts advocate to join Rep. Slaughter and help remind your member of Congress about the importance of the arts and arts funding as this key funding bill is debated.

Right now, the bill proposes sustained funding at $146 million. Last week in committee, efforts to increase funding by $2 million to the President’s request failed. Now on the floor, efforts to cut or even eliminate the agency are a possibility.

Arts advocates attending 2015 Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill this spring You know better than anyone the top 10 reasons to support the arts; make sure your representatives do, too. Take two minutes to urge your representative to support at least level funding for the NEA, and reject any effort to reduce it.

Thank you for your support of the arts! 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.

Stephen Kidd, executive director of the National Humanities Alliance, sent the following email on June 20, 2015.

Preparing for Possible Anti-NEH Amendments in the House

Hello All,

I am writing with an update on challenges NEH and NEA may face in the House in the coming week. As many of you know, the Interior appropriations bill has been scheduled to be considered on the floor of the House on Thursday. We are preparing for the possibility that an amendment cutting or eliminating funding for NEH and NEA may be introduced. The Rules Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday at 5 pm, so we should know more after that.

In preparation. we are priming our members for a possible action alert and reaching out to specific organizations with ties to higher education institutions in strategically important Republican-held districts. We are asking them to be prepared to call on these institutions to reach out to the Members in support of NEH. I am attaching the list of 50 districts in case anyone has strong contacts to pursue if needed.

I know that many of you are already looped in through CAG and are already poised to act.

We’ll be in touch early in the week, and please let us know if you have any information.

Hopefully this will be much ado about nothing!

Hope you are all enjoying the weekend.

Report from Arts Advocacy Day 2015

posted by March 31, 2015

Hillary Bliss is CAA development and marketing manager.

Last week CAA sent two representatives to participate in the twenty-eighth annual Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. Anna Cline, CAA development and marketing assistant, and I joined 550 grassroots advocates representing forty-eight states to lobby for strong public policies and increased funding for the arts. CAA also supported the event, which is organized by Americans for the Arts, as a national cosponsor.

Monday, March 23

Cline and I attended a full day of training that included legislative and political updates, in-depth briefings on our three primary “asks” (more on those later), and facts and figures to make a compelling case for the arts. We also heard an inspiring keynote address by Jane Chu, the recently appointed chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). A role-play demonstration for congressional visits was incredibly helpful in illustrating how advocacy teams can manage the varying personalities and political agendas of senators, representatives, and their staffs to communicate clear messages and secure commitments of support in the form of caucus enrollment or letters addressing particular funding levels or policy positions. The most important takeaway was to strategically couple facts and figures—whether they be economic impact reports, matching-fund statistics, or art education’s effect on drop-out rates and SAT scores—with personal stories to create memorable and meaningful visits with legislators.

The three primary issues for Arts Advocacy Day were:

NEA Funding: We sought support for a $155 million budget for the NEA in the fiscal year 2016 Interior Appropriations bill. The broad reach and impact of the NEA can not be overstated: the agency awards approximately 2,300 grants per year to organizations in every US congressional district, reaches more than 38 million people through live art events, and helps to leverage roughly $600 million in matching funds from other state, local, and private sources. Closer to home, CAA has received support from the NEA every year since 2010 for ARTspace, a free and open component of the Annual Conference.

Arts in Education: We urged Congress to support $30 million for the Arts In Education (AIE) programs in the fiscal year 2016 Labor-Heath and Human Services-Education appropriations bill and retain it as a distinct grant competition for programs that strengthen the arts as a core academic subject of learning. Consolidation into an appropriations bill would risk compromising the program. We also sought support for retaining the arts in the definition of core academic subjects and for strengthening equitable access to the arts in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Tax Reform: Since many arts organizations operate as nonprofit entities, tax reform regarding charitable giving is a critical issue. We asked Congress to preserve incentives for donations by protecting full value tax deductions for all forms of charitable gifts; we also advised against the adoption of “caps” or “floors” for deductions. We also urged Congress to make the IRA charitable rollover permanent so that donors can achieve the greatest impact with their planned giving. We also asked representatives to support the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, which would allow artists to take an income tax deduction for the fair market value of their work when they donate it to charitable collecting institutions.

There was no shortage of issues this year: advocates addressed arts in health, net neutrality, protection of wireless technology for the arts and media, and visa processes for foreign guest artists in short training sessions throughout the day. You can download American’s for the Arts’ 2015 Congressional Arts Handbook for facts and figures on all of these issues.

Closing the prelude to Arts Advocacy Day was the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy, this year given by the television writer and producer Norman Lear at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. You can view Lear’s moving lecture, introduced by the hip-hop recording artist Common, on YouTube.

Tuesday, March 24

The packed Congressional Arts Kick-Off on Tuesday marked the official start of Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill and featured speakers such as Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ), cochairs of the Congressional Arts Caucus. Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico received the Congressional Arts Leadership Award in recognition of his distinguished service on behalf of the arts.

Cline and I were on separate advocacy teams representing the New York City area that included undergraduate and graduate students and representatives from arts organizations such as Actors’ Equity Association, Fractured Atlas, POV, and others. We met with the offices of Representatives Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Grace Meng (NY-6), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Lee Zeldin (NY-1), Peter T. King (NY-2), Steve Israel (NY-3), Kathleen Rice (NY-4), Gregory W. Meeks (NY-5), and Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8). Overall the meetings went extremely well. Our groups were able to address the key public policy and funding issues mentioned above, as well as to communicate the work of CAA and its members.

In a visit with Nadler’s office, Cline thanked the congressman for his vigorous efforts to pass the American Royalties Too (ART) Act, which would ensure that visual artists are compensated when their original artwork is resold; she also offered CAA’s continued support for this legislation. Though a meeting was originally scheduled with a member of his staff, Rep. Israel met with my team to discuss the NEA budget. As a member of the House Committee on Appropriations—and more specifically, the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, which covers the NEA budget—Israel spoke about the budget process and stated that its current proposal includes $155 million for the NEA. Time will tell what the final approved NEA budget will be.

Visiting the congressional office buildings reinforces the fact that senators and representatives work for you. I noticed a marked difference in visits to representatives for whom we had a constituent on our team. Multiple staffers told us that they needed more vocal support for the arts to pass the legislation and public-funding increases we were requesting, so I encourage you to contact your legislators and express your support. Americans for the Arts has a useful site that includes not only information on issues and supporting materials like facts and figures, but also links to tools for finding and contacting your legislator.

Images

The US Capitol Building in Washington, DC (photograph by Hillary Bliss)

Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico accepting his Congressional Arts Leadership Award at the Congressional Arts Kick-Off event (photograph by Hillary Bliss)

My advocacy team after meeting with Representative Steve Israel. From left to right: Lawrence Lorchack, Actors’ Equity Association; Lynn Koos, New York University; Representative Steve Israel; Alison Ribellino, Towson University; Mary An, POV; and Linni Deihl, Andrew Anzel, and Haven G. Mitchell-Rose, New York University (photograph by Hillary Bliss)

Today is Arts Advocacy Day!

posted by March 24, 2015

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.

The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to announce the appointment of Wendy Clark as director of Museums, Visual Arts, and Indemnity. Clark has served as acting director of Museums, Visual Arts, and Indemnity since November 2012 and will continue to manage the NEA’s grantmaking in this area, as well as the program’s special initiatives, such as Blue Star Museums.

NEA Deputy Chairman Patrice Walker Powell noted “Ms. Clark brings to this leadership position a wealth of knowledge and experience with the people and institutions that comprise the visual arts and museum field. She is an asset to our organization, an advocate for the field, and a long-term NEA leader.”

Clark has more than 20 years of experience managing various federal grant programs and special initiatives at the NEA in the fields of museums, visual arts, and design, including the Mayor’s Institute on City Design, Your Town, the American Masterpieces/Visual Arts Touring Program, the Rosa Parks Sculpture Competition for the Architect of the Capitol, and the Renna Scholarship Grants Program. Prior to her role as acting director, she was the museum specialist, working primarily on Art Works grants and special initiatives and advising hundreds of museums annually seeking funding for exhibitions, conservation, commissions, care of collections, educational outreach, and reinstallation projects. She has represented the agency annually at the American Alliance of Museums conference as both a presenter and exhibitor. Clark is a member of ArtTable, an organization dedicated to advancing women’s leadership in the visual arts field.

“I’m thrilled to help the nation’s museums and visual arts organizations—with  their aligned missions and divergent needs—continue  to present the work of excellent artists to the American people.  To be part of this community is an honor,” said Clark. “Museums have a tall and challenging order, increasingly called upon to be civic anchor, community gathering place, and stewards of our most prized cultural heritage. I remain energized and fulfilled by public service.”

Prior to coming to the NEA, Clark held positions at the Illinois Arts Council in public affairs, visual arts, and design. There she worked on a traveling exhibition program initiative, and a cultural facilities planning and design grant program called Building by Design, which was awarded a Federal Design Achievement Award by the NEA’s Presidential Design Awards jury. She was an NEA Fellow in arts administration, and was the chairman of the Design Review Committee for the Civic Association of Hollin Hills, a mid-century modern residential development designed by architect Charles Goodman and landscape architect Dan Kiley.

Clark has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and studied Elizabethan history, art, and literature at New College, Oxford University. She is originally from Dayton, Ohio.

NEH and NEA Nominees Await Confirmation

posted by April 29, 2014

The American Alliance of Museums sent the following email on April 28, 2014.

Urge Congress to Confirm Nominees to Lead NEH and NEA

On April 10, President Obama announced Dr. William “Bro” Adams, president of Colby College, as his choice to serve as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Two months earlier, on February 12, Obama announced Dr. Jane Chu, president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, as his choice to serve as the next Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

These two nominees must now be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Take two minutes to ask the U.S. Senate to confirm Dr. Adams and Dr. Chu today!

“Dr. Adams will bring a vast array of experiences to the National Endowment for the Humanities, including as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and as president of Colby College, home of the AAM-accredited Colby College Museum of Art,” said Alliance President Ford W. Bell.

“Dr. Chu has dedicated her life to the arts, from her early days as a pianist and music educator to her leadership at one of the nation’s finest performing arts centers,” said Bell. “It will be a great asset to have an NEA Chairman who instinctively understands the economic impact of the arts in our communities, recognizes the value of arts education and aspires to bring great art to all Americans.”

Please urge the U.S. Senate to confirm these nominees swiftly so these talented leaders can get right to work supporting our nation’s cultural and educational treasures.

“These two accomplished leaders will be terrific additions to the cultural landscape in Washington, DC and I urge the U.S. Senate to confirm them without delay,” said Bell.

Read Ford Bell’s complete statement on President Obama’s nominees to lead NEA and NEH.

Since the December 2012 departure of Chairman Rocco Landesman, NEA has been led by Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa. Since the May 2013 departure of Chairman Jim Leach, NEH has been led by Acting Chairman Carole Watson. Read the American Alliance of Museums’ issues briefs on NEH and NEA.

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.

Arts Victory in Congress!

posted by January 15, 2014

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.