College Art Association

CAA News Today

CAA is the principal national and international voice of the academic and professional community in the visual arts; the organization was founded on the principle of advocating the visual arts and actively continues that engagement today (see The Eye, The Hand, The Mind: 100 Years of the College Art Association, edited by Susan Ball). The principal goal of CAA advocacy is to address issues of critical importance in the visual arts that benefit artists, art historians, and museum workers and to inform the public.

CAA specifically advocates change and improvements in these areas:

  • Government funding for the arts and humanities
  • Freedom of expression and against censorship
  • Intellectual-property rights
  • Preservation of the artistic integrity of public spaces
  • Higher education and technologies to facilitate distance learning
  • Philanthropy for the arts and humanities
  • Tax policy as it applies to CAA members
  • Conditions in universities, museums, and other workplace environments of CAA members

CAA cosponsors and regularly sends representatives to the annual Arts, Humanities, and Museum Advocacy Days in Washington, DC. Email petitions are requested of CAA members throughout the year when legislation is being considered in Congress related to specific issues. This year’s advocacy message to Capitol Hill focused on maintaining the funding levels of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Recent issues related to freedom of expression and censorship on which CAA has taken a public position include:

  • Incarceration of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei
  • Removal of David Wojnarowicz’s video from the Hide/Seek exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery
  • Proposed removal of the John T. Biggers mural at Texas Southern University
  • Removal of the Department of Labor mural in Augusta, Maine
  • Adrian Piper’s placement on the Transportation Security Administration Watch List
  • Supreme Court amicus brief in support of petition for review regarding artists whose vehicular artwork was removed by the City of San Marcos, Texas
  • Supreme Court amicus brief asserting the unconstitutionality of a federal law criminalizing the depiction of animal cruelty in United States v. Stevens

In addition, CAA has been involved in intellectual-property rights, as described below.

Orphan Works

CAA participated actively in US Copyright Office proceedings to study orphan works and, thereafter, actively supported legislation—yet to be passed by Congress—that would require users to conduct work-by-work, due-diligence searches to identify and find the copyright holder. If that search failed to identify or find the copyright holder, the work could be used without the threat of injunctive relief or statutory damages. If the copyright holder emerges after the work has been researched and used, he or she could still sue the user for copyright infringement, but a losing defendant would only be required to pay the normal license fee; the proposed legislation includes a safe harbor for museums that removed works expeditiously. It is unclear if any orphan-works legislation will be reintroduced in this or subsequent Congresses. After the March 2011 decision of Judge Denny Chin of the US Court of Appeals Second Circuit rejecting the settlement of the Google Books litigation, CAA’s counsel was approached by Public Knowledge (“a D.C. public interest group working to defend citizen’s rights in the emerging digital culture”) asking if CAA remained interested in orphan-works legislation and, if so, to sign a letter to Congress requesting that orphan-works legislation be reintroduced.

Cost for Reproducing Images of Artwork in Museum Collections

In recent member surveys, one of the most critical issues articulated was the high cost of reproduction rights of works in museum collections that are not under copyright. CAA has requested formal attention to this issue from the Association of Art Museum Directors.

Fair Use

CAA’s Committee on Intellectual Property, chaired by Doralyn Pines and Christine Sundt, is reviewing and proposing revisions to the Intellectual Property in the Arts section of the CAA website. The committee will also review a draft set of fair-use guidelines being prepared by the Art Law Committee of the New York Bar Association and the Visual Resources Association; after such review, the CAA Board of Directors may be asked to endorse the updated guidelines.

Extension of Copyright Term

CAA signed a Supreme Court amicus brief regarding the retroactive application of the extension of copyright term in Eldred v. Ashcroft. The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 was challenged with the original complaint filed on January 11, 1999. CAA was an amicus when the case was brought to the Supreme Court, which held on January 15, 2003, that the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 was constitutional (see the March 2003 CAA News).

Artist-Museum Partnership Act

CAA actively supports the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, which establishes fair-market-value tax deductions for works given by artists instead of the current limitation to cost of materials. Information on the progress of the Artist-Museum Partnership Act is published in the weekly CAA News email, posted in the Advocacy section of the website, and communicated to the Services to Artists Committee. If and when a bill is subject to a vote in Congress, CAA will urge all members, affiliated societies, and committees to contact their representatives.

Coalition on the Academic Workforce

CAA is a member of the Coalition on the Academic Workforce, which recently prepared a survey of contingent faculty. Over 30,000 individuals completed the questionnaire—many were CAA members—and the results will be tabulated this spring. Information on all aspect of working conditions is included in this survey and will assist in informing future standards and practices. CAA’s Professional Practices Committee and Education Committee are kept informed of the survey and its tabulation and will analyze the results and determine action to take that will benefit CAA members. Contingent faculty is currently responsible for 76 percent of teachers in American colleges and universities. CAA supports equitable hiring, representation, and benefits for this growing segment of the faculty.

How It Works

How does advocacy work at CAA? CAA both monitors advocacy issues and is approached by universities, colleges, organizations, and individuals who raise issues via CAA’s counsel, officers and members of the board, executive director, deputy director, affiliated societies, or other partner organizations such as the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Association of Art Museum Directors, or the associations of the American Council of Learned Societies. If an issue warrants action and is consistent with the advocacy policy, CAA will prepare a response. Depending on the importance and complexity of the issue, CAA will prepare an email, letter of support, or statement; cosign a letter with other organizations; or, in exceptional circumstances when legal action is required, prepare an amicus brief or support proposed legislation. All advocacy issues brought to CAA’s attention are reviewed by the counsel and the executive director. Consistent with the organization’s Advocacy Policy, the Executive Committee and, if necessary, partner organizations also review the issues. Important matters where legal action is involved will be brought to the board.

At the February 2011 board meeting, Andrea Kirsh, then vice president for external affairs, volunteered to work as CAA’s advocacy coordinator. She has since actively assisted in carrying out research and drafting letters and statements. CAA members who would like to be informed of the organization’s advocacy efforts—and spread the word—can send an email to nyoffice@collegeart.org.

The Foundation Center is actively collecting and disseminating information about the philanthropic response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. You can view this information via an RSS feed. If your organization has made—or is planning to make—any relief funding for the disaster, please take a moment to send your grant data (including specified recipients, their location, a description of the grant, and the amount of funding provided) to Japancrisis@foundationcenter.org. The center will post this information to the RSS feed to help show the public the scope and impact of the philanthropic community’s response.

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

On January 21, 2010, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman gave a policy address at the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors. In his speech, he addressed the role of smart design and artists and arts organizations as place-makers and announced the NEA Mayors’ Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative. This funding program builds on the accomplishments of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD) over its twenty-five-year history and reflects the program’s tenets of transforming communities through design.

Landesman said, “Artists are entrepreneurs, small businessmen all, great place-makers and community builders. Bring artists into the center of town and that town changes profoundly. We know now that people do not migrate to businesses. It is businesses that will move to where they can find a skilled, motivated, educated workforce. And what does that workforce look for? In survey after survey, the answer is education and culture.”

“Mayors understand that the arts mean business,” stated Conference of Mayors President Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth B. Kautz. “The nonprofit arts sector alone generates over $166 billion annually in economic activity. An important element to making our cities places to attract and grow businesses, tourism, and jobs is for a community to maintain good urban design. The initiatives announced today by Chairman Landesman will help mayors to implement projects and programs locally to ensure that their communities maintain design standards that will promote business and jobs.”

Application to MICD 25 is open to the six hundred cities (or their designees) that have participated in the MICD since 1986 or are committed to participate in an institute in 2010. All phases of a project—planning, development, design, implementation, and related innovative arts activities—are eligible for support. The NEA encourages partnerships which can further the success of MICD projects, especially when involving public and private sector resources.

The NEA anticipates awarding up to fifteen grants ranging from $25,000 to $250,000. Guidelines and application materials are now available on the NEA website.

Since its inception in 1986, more than eight hundred mayors from six hundred cities—from small town to metropolises—have participated in a MICD session. These mayors learn that through design and the engagement of arts and cultural activities, communities experience a celebration of place that can have a powerful impact on community sustainability and vitality. This place-making is accomplished by providing opportunities for creativity, building social networks, facilitating connections across geographic boundaries, and serving as magnets for attracting a vibrant workforce.

Please see Landesman’s complete speech.

Museums for America Grants

posted by November 16, 2006

In July, the Institute of Museum and Library Services announced Museums for America grant recipients for 2006. A total of 177 museums will share almost $17 million in federal funding, which much be matched by another $30 million. Museums for America grants help museums to support lifelong learning, sustain cultural heritage, and serve as centers for community engagement. For the complete list of recipients, go to www.imls.gov/news/2006/071806_list.shtm.

Cultural Preservation Grants

posted by November 16, 2006

The Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, funded through the US State Department, has announced its 2006 awards. The awards covers eighty-seven projects from around the world, including the restoration of two mosques in Tanzania and the conservation of some two thousand items of ancient jewelry reflecting the history of Kyrgyzstan. Congress established the Ambassador’s Fund in 2001, directing the State Department to set aside $1 million to assist countries in preserving their cultural heritage. The program’s funding level has increased each year and is now at $3 million. Since its inception, the program has awarded 379 preservation grants in 108 countries.