posted by CAA — June 20, 2013
At the end of a day-long presentation on June 21st, a group of 200 academic corporate and government leaders gathered in the Capitol Atrium to hear “The Heart of the Matter,” a new report created by members of the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences and supported by members of Congress about their personal and professional views on the value of the humanities. The three major goals of the report are to increase the literacy and knowledge of history for all Americans to help build better citizens; to invest in research and teaching; and to expand international cultural knowledge and awareness through the study of languages and international study.
The report addresses the hardest hit disciplines of language and literature as well as the drastically underfunded Fulbright Fellowship programs. Actor John Lithgow cited Senator Fulbright, a champion of the international education program that has benefitted thousands of students and enriched the country in incalculable ways, for a relatively small government investment. The report also calls for greater interactivity and communication between academics and the public and for open access to research. John W. Rowe, cochair of the Commission and retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Exelon Corporation, urged everyone in the humanities to get out in their communities, cities, and states to advocate the value of the humanities. David Brooks, New York Times reporter and PBS commentator, addressed the communication gap between academia and the public. He stated his belief that in the past the humanities’ importance and relevance in society suffered amid the turn toward political, gender, and race issues that severed dialogue between academia and the public, and turned attention away from the core value of the humanities.
The Commissioners, who are leaders in the corporate, academic, legal, governmental, and philanthropic communities, focused on the value, need for support, and societal applications of the humanities and social sciences. The two recurring themes in the presentations extolled the wisdom of America’s founders who, as Senator Lamar Alexander quoted from the writer David McCullough, were “marinated in the humanities.” And almost every presenter recalled the transformative experience of their own college humanities courses. Pauline Yu, President of the American Council of Learned Societies stated that the country flourishes when it follows the example of its founders. Senator Karl Eikenberry, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General, cited the need for more informed historians to warn the government against overreaching internationally. He characterized the humanities and social sciences as a wellspring of soft power.
Richard Broadhead, President of Duke University and cochair of the Commission, believes that the major issue facing the country today is how to bring the greatest number of people to reach their fullest abilities. He sees the current discussions about education as narrowing the issues to pragmatic concerns; parents, for example, might say that they do not want their children to study the humanities instead of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM disciplines). Broadhead pointed out that the humanities and STEM disciplines are not at opposition but are interrelated and integrated. This concept was, in fact, graphically presented in a promotional film made by Ken Burns and George Lucas which used the image of a stem (read STEM) of a flower (read the humanities).
The report calls for support for the humanities from all sectors of the country, and the program provided many strong arguments to use, value, and nurture them. The hope is that this dialogue will continue on Capitol Hill to restore funding, and that it will provide greater exchange between the academy and the public for greater understanding of the importance of the humanities. Lithgow said he sensed a fresh breeze of bipartisanship that wafted through the Capitol yesterday with the focus on the humanities.
The report does not specifically address the visual arts, but it does address a greater focus on research and teaching in higher education. In the last four years there has been greater national emphasis on K-12 education and this report may assist in bringing the national dialogue around to higher education federal funding. The concept of a Culture Corps similar to AmeriCorps could serve to bring greater public access to the humanities and greater public-academic interchange. And, it could also provide the bridge between graduate school and the career path for students in the humanities. The report is a good catalyst for discussion and change. Let’s hope that the “fresh breeze” continues.
posted by Christopher Howard — June 19, 2013
Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Washington, DC, turned a spotlight on the urgent need to refocus the country on maintaining national excellence in the humanities and social sciences—and how failure to do so will have consequences at home and abroad for the future of American education, security, and competitiveness.
Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Mark Warner (D-VA) and Representatives Tom Petri (R-WI) and David Price (D-NC) came together on Capitol Hill this morning to accept a report, prepared at their request, by the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Today’s release of the report, titled The Heart of the Matter, launches a national conversation about the importance of the humanities and social sciences to America’s future. Presented by the commission’s cochairs—Richard H. Brodhead, president of Duke University, and John Rowe, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Exelon Corporation—the report looks at the vital role of the humanities and social sciences in preparing and sustaining Americans for the responsibility of productive citizenship in the United States and the world.
The Heart of the Matter focuses on five areas of concern: K–12 education; two- and four-year colleges; research; cultural institutions and lifelong learning; and international security and competitiveness. It also makes recommendations to achieve three goals:
1. Educate Americans in the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to thrive in a twenty-first-century democracy:
- Invest in the preparation of citizens with a thorough grounding in history, civics, and social studies
- Increase access to online resources, including teaching materials
2. Foster an innovative, competitive, and strong society:
- To ensure the vibrancy of humanities and social-science programs at all levels, philanthropists, states, and the federal government should significantly increase funding designated for these purposes
- Create a Humanities Master Teacher Corps to complement the STEM Master Teacher Corps recently proposed by the White House
3. Equip the nation for leadership in an interconnected world:
- Develop a “Culture Corps” that would match interested adults (retirees, veterans, artists, library and museum personnel) with schools, community centers, and other organizations to transmit humanistic and social-scientific expertise from one generation to the next
- Expand education in international affairs and transnational studies
“The American character is defined not by ethnicity—Americans come from many countries, races, religions, and cultures—but by a common set of ideals and principles that unite us as a country,” said Senator Alexander. “Those ideals and principles have always been shared and learned through the study of history, philosophy, and literature, but today their study is at risk. This report is a first step to highlighting the importance of, and ensuring a future for, our nation’s humanities education—and our unique American character as well.”
Senator Warner added, “I commend all the members of the commission for their hard work on The Heart of the Matter. Having a strong knowledge of civics, comprehensive reading and writing skills, and an appreciation of history are important for a well-rounded member of the twenty-first-century world. We must use this report as a foundation to continue to engage with the public on how best to keep our humanities and social sciences robust.”
Congressman Petri noted, “Knowledge and promotion of the humanities and social sciences are absolutely important so that citizens have a firm understanding of our nation’s unique history, culture, and heritage. I hope the recommendations in this report will be seriously considered to improve the teaching and understanding of the humanities and social sciences.”
“The humanities and social sciences help us understand where we’ve come from and who we are as a people, and that understanding points us toward the endeavors we must undertake to help every person reach their full potential,” said Representative Price. “Studies in these areas are critically important to a well-rounded education and the future of our country. This report comes at a crucial moment, and I hope it will help raise the profile of the humanities, provide a better understanding of their value, and spur a national conversation about how the humanities and social sciences keep our nation strong and competitive.”
“Today’s leaders in business, government, the military, and diplomacy must be able to analyze, interpret, communicate, and understand other cultures,” said Brodhead, cochair of the commission. “This report will remind Americans that a broad-based and balanced education, integrating the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences, is the best way to equip our citizens to approach the complex problems of our rapidly changing world.”
“The humanities and social sciences comprise many of the things that give life meaning,” said commission cochair Rowe, “both at the highest level and in our day-to-day activities. They need more public and private support and compared to other things a little money goes a long way.”
A short companion film, The Heart of the Matter, from the Emmy Award–winning Ewers Brothers Productions was also released today. Appearing in the film are the producer, screenwriter, and director George Lucas, the actor John Lithgow, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and the documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a steadfast supporter of the humanities and arts in this country, provided primary funding for the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences. The Carnegie Corporation of New York also provided important funding.
The views expressed in the report are those of the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences and not necessarily those of the officers and fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
What do we know about the 2.1 million artists in the United States’ labor force? To help answer that question, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has released Equal Opportunity Data Mining: National Statistics about Working Artists. This new online research tool offers seventy searchable tables with figures on working artists by state and metropolitan area, by demographic information (including race and ethnicity, age, gender, and disability status), and by residence and workplace. The public is welcome to investigate the tables, a map of state-level rankings, and links to original sources.
“Artists represent just 1.4 percent of the labor force, but they have an outsized role as entrepreneurs and innovators who contribute to the vitality of the communities where they live and work,” said the NEA’s acting chairman, Joan Shigekawa. “These data add further detail and nuance to our understanding of the profile of American artists.”
This new research resource gives statistical profiles of Americans who reported an artist occupation as their primary job, whether full-time, part-time, or self-employed. The data set looks at artists in eleven distinct occupations: actors; announcers; architects; art directors, fine artists, and animators; dancers and choreographers; designers; entertainers and performers; musicians; photographers; producers and directors; and writers and authors. Some tables offer data on employed artists in particular, while other tables measure all artists in the workforce, both employed and looking for work.
The NEA created these data sets based on the US Census Bureau’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Tables. Every ten years, the Census Bureau produces EEO tables using data from its annual American Community Survey (ACS). This set of EEO tables is drawn from the ACS survey results for 2006–10, which were combined to obtain a large enough sample. The EEO tables are the federal standard for comparing the race, ethnicity, and gender composition of the labor market in specific geographic areas and job categories.
Equal Opportunity Data Mining is the first installment of a series of Arts Data Profile webpages that the NEA will release over the next several months. Future NEA Arts Data Profiles will introduce public data about arts participation and arts organizations, and additional data on artists in the workforce.
Some findings that emerge from the EEO tables include:
- One-fourth of all American architects are women. Yet in Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, and Washington, the share is roughly one-third. By contrast, in Arkansas, West Virginia, and Wyoming, nearly all architects are men
- Nationally, 4 percent of all artists are disabled, compared with 6 percent of the labor force. At 7 percent, the share of dancers and musicians with a disability is somewhat higher. The percentage of working musicians with a disability is comparatively high in Alaska (25 percent), Alabama (14 percent), Kentucky (16 percent), and Wisconsin (13 percent)
- In Oregon, 40 percent of working actors are African American, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, or other, while these ethnic and racial groups make up only 20 percent of the total Oregon labor force
- Roughly one-quarter of musicians working in Nashville commute to the city from outside areas. For example, an estimated one hundred musicians commute thirteen miles from Hendersonville (Sumner County); twenty musicians commute from Franklin, and an additional sixty-five musicians commute to Nashville from other parts of Williamson County
The research tool also includes a video tutorial, links to additional resources (such as the US Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder page), and surveys and databases from the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For more than thirty years, the NEA has been the only federal agency to use US Census data to analyze artists in the workforce. The NEA seeks to extend the conversation on arts research through commissioned research, direct research grants, and research convenings to encourage more rigorous research on the impact of the arts in other domains of American life, such as education, health and well-being, community livability, and economic prosperity. Recent endeavors include a landmark partnership between the NEA and the US Bureau of Economic Analysis to develop an Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account that will identify and calculate the arts and culture sector’s contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The NEA has convened seventeen federal agencies in the NEA Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development, to foster more research on the arts’ role in improving health and educational outcomes throughout the lifespan. Just published, Creative Communities from Brookings Institution Press is based on a first-ever convening between the NEA and the Brookings Institution on the arts and economic development.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.
The program for this year’s Arts Advocacy Day, which took place April 8–9 in Washington, DC, consisted of advocacy training and a lecture and performances by the renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma on the first day, followed by a morning kickoff event with legislators, a briefing on current legislation, and visits to Capitol Hill on the second day. CAA sent two advocates to represent the organization: Hannah O’Reilly Malyn, CAA development associate, and Anne Collins Goodyear, president of the CAA Board of Directors.
Monday’s advocacy training from the event’s sponsor, Americans for the Arts, followed the same format as it has in previous years, with meetings on current legislative issues facing the arts. Leaders offered compelling statistics to help make the case for arts funding as well as useful tips on how to advocate more effectively. Participants even engaged in role-playing sessions to quickly gain experience for the potential directions their conversations might take.
In the evening, Yo-Yo Ma delivered the twenty-sixth annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, discussing the importance of “Art for Life’s Sake.” His moving speech, which centered on how the arts form an integral part of the human experience, was part of a program that included the cellist’s performances with the dancer Lil Buck, the bagpiper and pianist Cristina Pato, and members of MusiCorps, a group that rehabilitates injured soldiers through learning to play instruments and record their music. Watch the lecture and performances on Americans for the Arts’ YouTube channel; more documentation from the night is also available online.
On Tuesday morning, advocates gathered on Capitol Hill for a kickoff event that featured talks from Louise Slaughter and Leonard Lance, cochairs of the Congressional Arts Caucus. Yo-Yo Ma and Matt Sorum, the drummer for Velvet Revolver who was once a member of Guns ‘n’ Roses, also spoke. In partnership with the United States Conference of Mayors, Americans for the Arts honored Senator Tom Harkin with the 2013 National Award for Congressional Arts Leadership for his distinguished contributions to the field. After the event, teams of advocates gathered by home state and paid visits to the offices of their representatives, asking them to support increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), to protect tax deductions for charitable donations, and to introduce fair-market-value tax deductions for artists donating their own works to nonprofit institutions. In addition, advocates proposed the idea of adding the arts to the STEM acronym—converting it into STEAM—and discussed other issues pertaining to the arts in America. CAA’s Hannah O’Reilly Malyn visited the offices of three Democratic representatives from New York: Joseph Crowley, Nydia Velázquez, and Jerrold Nadler.
As a federal employee, Anne Collins Goodyear is ineligible to participate in lobbying activities. (She is currently associate curator of prints and drawings at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.) However, on Tuesday, April 9, she attended a White House briefing that featured remarks from Joan Shigekawa, acting NEA chairman, and Abel López, board chairman of Americans for the Arts. The briefing summarized the goals of the NEA and other White House initiatives in the arts. In an attempt to stave off further budget cuts and to guarantee its ability to award grants in every congressional district, the NEA has requested approximately $155 million from the 2014 federal budget. The agency is clearly dedicated to demonstrating the practical benefits of the arts, stressing that “the arts mean business,” according to Victoria McCullough of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement. McCullough emphasized President Barack Obama’s recognition of the importance of the arts nationally and for education in particular. To this end, Bess Evans of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy spoke about the value of the arts in positioning students as creators, not just consumers.
Jamie Bennett, NEA chief of staff and moderator for the briefing, updated attendees on interagency partnerships. Among these are: (1) a Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD), sponsored by the NEA with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), about which Judy Canales, deputy undersecretary for the department, spoke; and (2) the development of an Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account at the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), discussed by Dave Wasshausen, chief of the bureau’s Industry Sector Division. To further its ability to offer positive benefits, the NEA has partnered with the USDA to fund design workshops in rural communities to help encourage creative solutions to design challenges. In an attempt to assess the quantitative benefit of the arts, the NEA has also joined forces with the BEA to conduct an arts and cultural analysis that will enable the bureau to measure the benefit of the arts for the gross domestic product. A joint report is anticipated in 2014.
Anne Collins Goodyear, president of the CAA Board of Directors and associate curator of prints and drawings at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, will represent CAA at the United States Copyright Office public roundtable on resale royalties for artists, to be held on April 23, 2013, in Washington, DC. Please download and review the agenda for the roundtable.
CAA encourages you to register and take part in three upcoming events this winter and spring in Washington, DC: Arts Advocacy Day, Humanities Advocacy Day, and Museums Advocacy Day. At each, participants meet their senators and representatives in person to advocate 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
Join fellow advocates in Washington, DC, for Museums Advocacy Day, taking place February 25–26, 2013, and help make the case that museums are essential—as education providers and economic drivers—in every community. If museums are not at the table, they could be on the table. Registration is open through January 25.
Humanities Advocacy Day
Registration for the annual meeting of the National Humanities Alliance (March 18) and Humanities Advocacy Day (March 19) will help you to connect with a growing network of humanities leaders, to communicate the value of the humanities to members of Congress, and to become a year-round advocate for the humanities. The advance deadline for registration is January 31, 2013.
Arts Advocacy Day
The 2012 election made a dramatic impact on Congress, with more than eighty new members taking office this month. The House and Senate will renew the focus on reducing the federal deficit and creating jobs, and it is imperative that arts advocates work together to craft a policy agenda that supports the nonprofit arts sector and arts education. CAA encourages you to register for Arts Advocacy Day, which takes place April 8–9, 2013, in Washington, DC, to help the cause. Register by the advance deadline to participate: March 25, 2013.
posted by Linda Downs — October 01, 2012
The CAA Board of Directors has endorsed a policy paper, released on September 19, 2012, which calls for increased funding for the arts and humanities, among other subjects.
Calls for Strengthening Partnership between Federal Government and Research Universities
The Association of American Universities (AAU) today proposed for the next Administration a detailed agenda for strengthening the partnership between the federal government and the nation’s research universities as a means of fostering innovation, prosperity, and economic growth.
The paper also lists steps that universities need to take to strengthen the partnership and improve the ways they carry out their missions of education, research, and public service.
AAU will provide the policy paper, entitled “Partnering for a Prosperous and Secure Future: The Federal Government and Research Universities,” to both major Presidential campaigns.
For some of its key proposals, the paper relies on the recent National Research Council (NRC) report, “Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation’s Prosperity and Security.” AAU is an association of leading public and private research universities that focuses on national and institutional issues important to research-intensive universities, including funding for research, research and education policy, and graduate and undergraduate education.
The policy paper issued today provides recommendations for government and for universities in the following areas:
Addressing the nation’s fiscal challenge. The report calls for “a balanced approach that seriously and thoughtfully addresses entitlement programs, which are a primary source of long-term spending growth, and incorporates substantial tax reform that is designed both to encourage economic growth and to raise revenues needed to reduce the deficit.”
Cultivating human capital by strengthening access to college. The report calls on the federal government to sustain vital student aid programs, especially Pell Grants, and ensure that student loan programs encourage sound borrowing and manageable repayment plans. It also emphasizes the importance of universities controlling costs while sustaining educational quality, providing appropriate institutional financial aid, and ensuring transparency about costs as well as financial aid.
Attracting and developing talent by strengthening graduate and STEM education and reforming immigration laws. To strengthen graduate education, the report calls on universities to become more efficient by increasing completion rates and reducing time-to-degree and to strengthen pathways for students in a broad range of careers, not only in academia. It calls on government to adopt career development initiatives designed to supplement and expand fellowships and traineeships.
The report notes AAU’s five-year initiative to strengthen undergraduate education in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and urges government to encourage such initiatives.
The paper also calls for comprehensive immigration reform as well as specific reforms designed to “turn immigrant talent into American talent,” including establishing a clear pathway to citizenship for advanced STEM degree graduates from US colleges and universities; enacting a version of the DREAM Act to help make it possible for children whose parents brought them to the US to attend college; and gradually replacing the seven-percent-per-country cap limitation for employment-based green cards with a first-come, first-serve system for qualified, highly skilled immigrants.
Fostering new ideas and discoveries. The report urges the next Administration to follow through on the NRC’s recommendations for sustaining federal support of basic research, including full funding of the America COMPETES Act. It also expresses support for allocating research funds by merit review as well as for sustained funding of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Ensuring a regulatory and legal framework that encourages innovation. The association calls for regulatory reform to simplify and make more efficient the regulatory framework governing federal research and higher education programs. It also urges maintaining the current legal framework for university technology transfer, as set forth by the Bayh-Dole Act; developing proof-of-concept and gap funding programs that would support the translation of ideas generated with federally funded research into viable commercial products; and rejecting proposals that would allow faculty to be “free agents” and directly commercialize federal research results. To further promote innovation, AAU calls for legislation to encourage federal research agencies to build and interconnect public-access repositories of peer-reviewed articles developed from the research they fund. The association also advocates policies that support expanding public access to both domestic and international research repositories.
Encouraging other sources of support for research universities. The policy document calls for federal initiatives to encourage states to live up to their obligation to support public higher education, including federal-state matches that require maintenance of effort by states. The report also calls for extending and improving tax policies that aid students and families in financing higher education, particularly permanent extension of the American Opportunity Tax Credit and its consolidation with the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit and the deduction for undergraduate education. The report also calls for the preservation of strong tax incentives for charitable giving.
The Association of American Universities is an association of sixty-one leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada. AAU focuses on issues important to research-intensive universities, such as funding for research, research policy issues, and graduate and undergraduate education. AAU universities award over one-half of all US doctoral degrees and 55 percent of those in the sciences and engineering. They are on the leading edge of innovation, scholarship, and solutions that contribute to our nation’s economy, security, and well-being.
CAA’s advocacy efforts this year addressed a wide range of issues of critical importance to the visual arts, from the necessity of artists to have affordable health-insurance options, to the ethical treatment of animals in works of art, to the ins and outs of copyright law and museum practices. Below is a summary of eleven issues to which CAA has been committed during the past twelve months.
In June 2011, CAA filed an amicus brief in the case of Golan v. Holder, which the United States Supreme Court began hearing in October. The issue raised in Golan v. Holder is whether Congress, after enacting the Uruguay Round Agreements Act of 1994, could legally remove tens of thousands—if not millions—of foreign works from the public domain and bring them back into copyright. Consistent with the First Amendment, the brief argued that those works should remain freely available. On January 18, 2012, the Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s previous decision, 6–2. In short, foreign works formerly in the public domain in the US can have their copyrighted status reinstated.
In December 2011, CAA signed onto a statement from the Association of Art Museum Directors that opposed the pending sale of a fifty percent stake in the Alfred Stieglitz Collection of Modern American and European Art at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Since 2005 the school had been attempting to sell the collection, donated by Georgia O’Keeffe (who specified that it never be sold or broken up). “Such an action,” stated the letter, “would violate a core professional standard of AAMD and of the museum field, which prohibit[s] the use of funds from the sale of works of art for purposes other than building an institution’s collection.” Nevertheless, the Tennessee Supreme court did not block the sale to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, on April 25, 2012. The university and museum will share the collection on a three-year rotating basis, with the museum helping to conserve the collection.
CAA board and staff members represented the organization at two events this spring in Washington, DC: Anne Collins Goodyear, then-incoming board president, and Linda Downs, CAA executive director and chief executive officer, attended Humanities Advocacy Day in March; and Judith Thorpe, an outgoing board member, and Helen Bayer, CAA marketing and communications associate, went to Arts Advocacy Day in April. The goal of both days was to support continued federal funding through the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, and to articulate to Congress the vital importance of the humanities and the arts in higher education. The National Humanities Alliance’s annual meeting coincided with Humanities Advocacy Day. Goodyear and Downs have offered a summary of this important event.
At the request of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), CAA investigated the use of homing pigeons in Jon Rubin’s interactive artwork, Thinking about Flying (2012), on view this year at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Colorado. The piece invites museum visitors to take home a bird, placed in a cardboard box, for a day before releasing it, so that it may fly back to the museum. CAA confirmed the humanitarian treatment of the birds by the artist and museum and notified PETA of the findings.
In April, CAA investigated the complaint raised by several artists who lent work to the 2010 World Festival of Black Artists and Cultures in Senegal that was not returned due to a dispute with an art shipper in Dakar. CAA determined that the situation did not need the organization’s assistance.
Michael Fahlund, CAA deputy director, testified on behalf of the organization at an oversight hearing convened by New York City’s Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations on January 25, 2012, regarding increasing access to affordable health insurance for artists. Even though CAA is an international organization, its office is in the state of New York; presently the healthcare industry is regulated state by state. Fahlund proposed that CAA be given “employer status” in relation to its members living in New York State in order to provide health-insurance options for them. The committee’s discussions are ongoing.
CAA monitored a federal bill, the Research Works Act (H.R. 3699), that was introduced in the US House of Representatives on December 16, 2011, by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and cosponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)— chairman and member, respectively, of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The legislation would prohibit federal agencies from mandating free access to scholarly articles submitted to a scientific or scholarly publication without the consent of the publisher. This act primarily addresses science and technology publications but, if enacted, could affect art and humanities publications as well. Many learned societies who are publishers oppose the legislation, and CAA board members have begun discussing the issue and are paying close attention to the legislation’s development.
Representing CAA, Fahlund contributed his expertise to a National Coalition Against Censorship committee that developed Museum Best Practices for Managing Controversy, published in May. The document offers guidance for institutions to turn controversial situations into learning experiences for their public. The committee comprised representatives from the American Association of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Art Museum Curators, Columbia University, Arizona State University, the University of Washington, and the New School. CAA’s Museum Committee is reviewing the guideline and will present it for adoption at the CAA board meeting on October 28, 2012.
Fahlund also worked with a liability insurance broker, Herbert L. Jamison and Co. LLC, and Philadelphia Insurance Companies, and with two CAA members, Barbara Buhler Lynes and Nancy Mowll Mathews, to establish comprehensive, affordable liability insurance for art historians and artists who authenticate works of art. Such insurance would help defend against a damaging financial loss that could occur from alleged mistakes or negligence. CAA does not administer the insurance but acts as a referral to the insurance company; in a brief article from this past January, Fahlund offers helpful loss-prevention tips for the art professional to avoid potential workplace liabilities.
Last month CAA signed onto a letter from the Association of Art Museum Directors sent to Congress, urging legislators to pass the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act (S. 2212), a proposed law that would shield a loaned work of art from a non-US collection from being seized by anyone with a claim to legal ownership while the art is on display in the country. According to the letter, the US has “long provided the crucial legal protection that helps make loans from foreign museums possible” through the Department of State, until a 2004–8 lawsuit involving heirs of Kasimir Malevich and the City of Amsterdam weakened those protections. The House passed the bill (H.R. 4086), which the Senate is now debating.
As a member of the Coalition on the Academic Workforce, a group that addresses workforce issues in higher education, CAA helped to prepare and administer a 2010 survey on contingent-faculty issues. The results have been tabulated and will be distributed soon. More than one thousand CAA members filled out the survey. [June 20 update: the survey results have been published.]
Founded as an advocate for the visual arts in higher education, CAA actively engages matters of public policy, litigation, and activism at the local, state, federal, and international levels. For further information, visit the Advocacy section of the website. If you have questions or have advocacy issues you would like to bring to the attention of the CAA board, please contact Anne Collins Goodyear, CAA president, and Linda Downs, CAA executive director and chief executive officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
posted by CAA — June 15, 2012
The American Association of Museums (AAM) sent the following email on June 15, 2012.
Senate Committee Approves IMLS Funding; Congress Needs to Hear from You
This week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill to fund the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). While the bill would sustain the current $30.8 million for the Office of Museum Services for FY13, this is just the first step in the appropriations process.
The bill faces an uncertain future because it includes funding for implementation of the health care reforms enacted in 2010. In a preview of the difficult budgetary decisions to come, Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby said, “In this grave fiscal climate we should not fund programs we know are going to force our country deeper into debt…. We should not mortgage our children’s future for non-essential, unproven programs.”
AAM President Ford W. Bell urged continued advocacy. “At a time when every federal program is being scrutinized, Members of Congress need to hear from constituents about how IMLS funds are essential to museums and how successful they are in serving our communities,” he said. “Participating in ‘Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum Week’ is a great opportunity to demonstrate our value.”
The bill would provide $158.8 billion in discretionary funding, a $2 billion increase over FY12 levels, which is in line with President Obama’s FY13 budget request. The bill also includes $549 million (level funding) for the Race to the Top initiative, President Obama’s signature competitive grant program, which rewards states for making changes in elementary and secondary education.
Let your Members of Congress know how important funding for the Office of Museum Services is to you!
Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum.
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May 31, 2012
Ecole du Patrimoine Africain
01 BP 2205
Dear Ecole du Patrimoine Africain:
On behalf of the College Art Association’s Board of Directors and 14,000 international members, we would like to express our grave concern for the protection of Mali’s cultural heritage in light of the current military action in the north of the country. On May 4, two mausoleums of Saints were intentionally defaced in Timbuktu, and there is reason to think such vandalism will continue unless the government of Mali and the National Army of the Republic of Mali act to safeguard the country’s cultural property.
Mali is renowned for its cultural achievements, and its cultural heritage is considered patrimony of Mali, Africa and the entire international community. Four sites have been declared World Heritage by UNESCO and six cultural practices are considered intangible heritage; they have been inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.
We urge the Government and Army to protect Mali’s people and cultural artifacts in accordance with the international Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954), the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, and the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
We appeal to the political and military authorities in Mali to work for the best interest of the Malian nation, which should take precedence in ensuring the return to constitutional order in the north. We urge them to guarantee the preservation, integrity and security of cultural goods and people in all their dimensions and components, especially in occupied areas in Timbuktu, Gao, Kidal, and ask Mali’s neighbors to prevent the illicit transfer of objects and works of art from Mali through customs and police controls at their borders.
Anne Collins Goodyear