Animating Democracy January 2009 E-News
Animating Democracy News and Updates

Americans for the Arts launches program and registration for 2009 Convention
Details for the 2009 Americans for the Arts convention program have been posted online!
Renewable Resources: Arts in Sustainable Communities will convene arts and cultural professionals from across the country in Seattle, WA to network and participate in over 75 field-crafted sessions—plus the opportunity to see the Public Art Year in Review and hear from keynote speakers.

This year, Americans for the Arts will again present a Civic Engagement Track. Featured Innovator Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founder and artistic director of Urban Bush Women, will offer an inside look on this ground-breaking dance company’s investment in fostering civic and community engagement in its own community of Brooklyn through programs and its summer institute. Sessions in the Civic Engagement Track will present innovative practices, new research, and evolving models to help position artists and arts organizations as leaders and partners in advancing civic participation and a culture of engagement. Check out the Americans for the Arts Convention website for more details on sessions to be presented!

Further information about additional program tracks—including the Diverse Cultures and Public Art Program Tracks—convention schedule, and registration is available online. Deadline for early-bird registration is February 23, 2008.

Americans for the Arts releases Recommendations for Economic Recovery & the Arts
Earlier this month, Americans for the Arts officially proposed Nine Recommendations for Economic Recovery & the Arts to help nonprofit and governmental arts groups—as well as individual artists—during this economic downturn. Available online, these policy recommendations offer perspective on Americans for the Arts’ own advocacy efforts for organizations and artists looking to align local advocacy with national efforts.

In addition to the policy recommendations, information and resources can be found online through the Americans for the Arts website pertaining to the House Appropriations Committee’s $825 billion economic recovery package—which includes an infusion of $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (in addition to its annual appropriations) to specifically preserve jobs in the nonprofit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support.


News from the Field

Fahrenheit 451 & Social Change: The Big Read in Vermont
From now until May, through the NEA initiative The Big Read, the Vermont Art Council will provide copies and curricula on Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451 to schools, libraries, and community groups. Through Bradbury’s parable on a society gone awry, the Arts Council will encourage readers to consider the book as a platform for discussion on how artists use their work as social commentary to provoke public awareness, and in some cases, effect social change. Launching later this month, The Big Read Kick-Off will feature Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, a preview of a new documentary filmmaker Deb Ellis featuring interviews with Vermont artists whose work targets social issues, and a video interview with Ray Bradbury. (Thanks, Community Arts Network).

Seattle Office of Civic Partnerships honored for work in race and social justice
In December, the City of Seattle’s Office of Civic Partnerships, a team focusing on funding for arts programs in Seattle, received a 2008 Excellence in Management Award from Seattle Management Association for the team's work to advance the city of Seattle's Race & Social Justice Initiative. Honored for the Office’s commitment to inclusiveness in all its programs, the award singled out smART ventures, a flexible, small awards program in which 77 of 119 projects funded (since the program’s launch in 2006) have been awarded to diverse and underserved populations.


Articles and Publications

New from CAN: Goldbard on Public Service Jobs for Artists
In December, the Community Arts Network published "The New New Deal 2009: Public Service Jobs for Artists?" by arts policy writer Arlene Goldbard. Through the piece, Goldbard provides an overview on previous public employment projects such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA) toward framing the question: Will President Obama's economic stimulus package include public employment for artists? Required reading for arts professionals considering the “what ifs” as Obama begins his first weeks in office, the article reviews proposed initiatives under consideration and a selection of lessons learned from past employment projects which may help or hinder success.


Events on the Horizon

Cornerstone Theater Company Institute Summer Residency Program
Dates: July 9–August 9, 2009
Eureka, California
Since 2004, Cornerstone Theater Company has traveled across California working with artists, educators, and activists to create community-engaged theater through the Institute Summer Residency Program. In summer 2009, Cornerstone will invite individuals seeking to study and collaborate with professionals well-versed in ensemble, community-based theater to participate in its sixth Institute Summer Residency in Eureka, CA. A hands-on collaborative training opportunity, the training offers participants the experience of creating a community-specific theater production and opportunities for exploring strategies of community engagement while living with and within a small, diverse community. Classroom curriculum and production experience will combine to provide a thorough understanding of the community collaboration process.

The application deadline for the 2009 Summer Institute Residency Program is March 13, 2009. For more information about the Institute curriculum, as well as reflections from previous years institutes, check out the Summer Residency section of the Cornerstone website.

National Arts Advocacy Day
Dates: March 30–31, 2009
Washington, DC
Bringing together arts, education, entertainment, and policy leaders, National Arts Advocacy Day highlights the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts. A new administration and Congress brings the promise of bold, new leadership for the arts in America. However, during these uncertain economic times, it is important to let congressional leaders know that the arts are an economic engine for development and a priority for every American.

This March, join hundreds of grassroots advocates from across the country in legislative training sessions, the Congressional Arts Breakfast on Capitol Hill, the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at the Kennedy Center, and meetings with your members of Congress on important arts-related issues. Your involvement does make an impact! Register today!


With support from the
Ford Foundation
Washington, DC Office
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