Arts Watch Spotlight
The Mozart Effect Debunked?
Los Angeles Times, 3/1/10
"Five months after we are conceived, music begins to capture our attention and wire our brains for a lifetime of aural experience. At the other end of life, musical memories can be imprinted on the brain so indelibly that they can be retrieved, perfectly intact, from the depths of a mind ravaged by Alzheimer's disease.
In between, music can puncture stress, dissipate anger, and comfort us in sadness.
As if all that weren't enough, for years parents have been seduced by even loftier promises from an industry hawking the recorded music of Mozart and other classical composers as a means to ensure brilliant babies.
But for all its beauty, power, and capacity to move, researchers have concluded that music is little more than ear candy for the brain if it is consumed only passively. If you want music to sharpen your senses, boost your ability to focus, and perhaps even improve your memory, the latest word from science is you'll need more than hype and a loaded iPod.
You've got to get in there and play. Or sing, bang, or pluck.
'The Mozart effect? That's just crap,' says Glenn Schellenberg, a psychologist at the University of Toronto who conducts research on the effect of music and musical instruction.
Even the author of the 1993 study that set off the commercial frenzy says her group's findings—from an experiment that had college students, not babies, listen to Mozart—were 'grossly misapplied and over-exaggerated.' Psychologist Frances Rauscher, along with the rest of the field studying music's effects on the brain, has long since moved on to explore the effect of active musical instruction on cognitive performance.
The upshot of their work is clear: Learning to make music changes the brain and boosts broad academic performance. Findings across the board suggest that, even for a kid who will not grow up to be a Wynton Marsalis or a Joshua Bell, spending money and time on music lessons and practice is a solid investment in mental fitness."
To read the full article, visit this link.
Culture and Communities
National Medal of Arts Recipients Include Bob Dylan, Jessye Norman, Maya Lin
"President Barack Obama presented the National Medal of Arts to twelve recipients for their outstanding achievements and support of the arts [on February 25]. The medals were presented by the President and Michele Obama in an East Room ceremony at the White House. The National Medal of Arts is a White House initiative managed by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Each year, the NEA organizes and oversees the National Medal of Arts nomination process and notifies the
artists of their selection to receive a medal, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence." The 2009 National Medal of Arts recipients are Bob Dylan (singer/songwriter), Clint Eastwood (director/actor), Milton Glaser (graphic designer), Maya Lin (artist/designer), Rita Moreno
(singer/dancer/actress), Jessye Norman (soprano), Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. (patron/design advocate/mayor of Charleston, SC), Frank Stella (painter), Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor), John Williams (composer/conductor), The Oberlin Conservatory of Music (Oberlin, OH), and The School of American Ballet (New York, NY).
Arts Education and the Creative Workforce
Louisiana: Professor, Students Collect Instruments for Haitian School
Loyola University New Orleans Press Release, 3/1/10
"In an effort to revitalize music education in Haiti, Loyola University New Orleans music professor and Haitian native Jean Montès, D.M.A., will travel there in late March with a group of students and volunteers to deliver musical instruments to the earthquake-devastated Holy Trinity School of Music. The group, with the generous support of the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra, is organizing a massive
effort to collect music instruments from individuals who no longer use them. After collecting unwanted instruments and funds to purchase others, the group will travel to Haiti for three days to deliver the supplies to students of the school...Items that will be accepted for the drive include brass, woodwind, string, and percussion instruments. Also accepted will be supplies such as strings, rosin, reeds, music books, solo and ensemble sheet music, and
Colombia: Music Education Saves Lives in High-Crime City
"For years, the neighborhoods that sprawl over the mountains in northern Medellin, known locally as 'Las Comunas,' have been consumed by poverty, unemployment, and gang warfare. For young people, the lure of crime can be overwhelming. Pressure to join armed gangs for protection and to earn a livelihood is constant, and with a lack of other viable options, the young people from these communities are often drawn into the world of violence and crime.
However, amidst all of this chaos and violence comes a breath of fresh air, in the form of the rather eerie sound of beautiful classical music flowing through the air in the Barrio Popular #1 neighborhood. In the heart of 'Las Comunas' grows a seed that was planted many years ago,
with the intention of giving the young people of this area an alternative path in life. The Music School of Barrio Popular #1 has blossomed over the years, guiding the lives of many hundreds of young people from the neighborhood, by showing them that drugs and violence are not the way to go."
Wisconsin: With 'No Other Choice,' District Proposes Music Program Cuts
"In South Milwaukee, the music has played as long as anybody can remember, but unless there is a dramatic change for the good in the district's school budget in the next few weeks, the entire string orchestra could be cut...Parents, students, and citizens are outraged at the mere thought of it. 'I really don't want them to cancel the music program, cause it's pretty much everything to me,' student Travis Paget said. Leslie Henry is a music therapist from South Milwaukee. She said the schools can't afford not to have music...School administrators said they agree totally with the parents and kids. But the fact is they've had to cut more than 60 positions in recent years to balance the budget. The school needs to cut close to $1 million this year, just like they did the last year, and each cut leaves a deeper wound that takes longer to heal, if it ever does."
President Obama Proposes Consolidation of Arts in Education Program
Education Week, 2/26/10
"As part of a budget plan designed to reshape federal support for education, President Barack Obama is seeking to consolidate more than a dozen discrete programs into three broader, competitive funds focused on 'effective teaching and learning' across the academic-content areas. The proposal emphasizes literacy, the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and a final catchall category dubbed a 'well-rounded education.' But elements of that approach are facing
stiff resistance from an array of organizations as well as from Democratic and Republican lawmakers...The literacy fund at the Department of Education would consolidate six existing programs into a $450 million fund for fiscal year 2011, and the Well-Rounded Education fund would consolidate nine programs into a $265 million spending pot. Among the programs targeted for consolidation for the latter fund are the Arts in Education program, Foreign Language Assistance, and Teaching American
Public Investment in the Arts
Colorado: Grand Junction City Grants Funding to Create, Protect Arts Jobs
"The Grand Junction City Council approved more than $43,000 worth of grants that will be given to local arts organizations. Although the grants are doled out every year, officials say they threw a new twist into the equation when they decided who got the money. They say the focus of the 2010 grant money was job creation and job protection. For the first time, they asked organizations applying for the funds how many jobs would be impacted
by the money. The number they got: 550. Take a walk around Grand Junction and you'll likely see some kind of art. While some might not think much of it, city officials say its economic impact is hard to ignore...The [local arts] commission says recent studies have shown that the 64 nonprofit arts organizations in the city directly contribute $11 million dollars into the local economy each year. Indirectly, officials say that
number jumps to $27 million when you factor in the tourism value of local arts programs...The commission says that's why it's so important to keep those organizations afloat during these tough economic times."
United Kingdom: London Mayor Unveils New Music Education Fund
"London Mayor Boris Johnson has published 'Making Music Matter: Music Education Strategy for London 2010-2012' and unveiled plans for a new fund aimed at increasing music education across the capital. More than £250,000 is being put into a range of projects under the mayor's plans to boost musical opportunities for young Londoners, both as players and as audiences, including the Music Education Fund, which is worth £100,000. The fund will offer seed money for partnerships between local authority music services and orchestras in the capital, so that more young Londoners, irrespective of background, can learn to play orchestral instruments, experience working with professional musicians, and have access to a wider range of musical traditions, including classical, jazz, folk, and world music...The mayor believes that there are too many short-term, one off
initiatives in schools, and music is often squeezed off the curriculum."
New Mexico: Robert Redford, Gov. Richardson Unveil Film Training Program
Associated Press, 2/27/10
"Actor and director Robert Redford and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson unveiled details of a collaboration that will expand training opportunities for Native Americans and Hispanics interested in filmmaking, the arts, and the environment. Redford and Richardson
first announced the 'Sundance in New Mexico' idea last spring. In recent months, it has evolved and been given a new name—'Milagro at Los Luceros'— to better reflect that the institute will be a product of New Mexico, rather than just an offshoot of Redford's Sundance Institute in Utah. 'It's a name that reflects the spirit of the land and the passion of its people,' Richardson said at a news conference. The project will be based at Los Luceros, a state-owned hacienda and complex of buildings along the Rio Grande north of Espanola. Besides the historic buildings,
the state will use $750,000 in federal stimulus funds to build a series of eco-friendly lodges where aspiring filmmakers can stay while attending workshops."
Rhode Island: Native Oscar Nominee Testifies at Film Tax Credit Hearing
The Providence Journal, 2/25/10
"House Finance Committee members were looking for numbers that could help them decide whether the state should keep—or scrap— its motion picture tax credit program. What they got was a surprise guest appearance and an ultimatum. Save the tax break, actor James Woods told committee members, and he’ll make a movie right here in Rhode Island—one featuring international film star Kristen Stewart. 'It seems pretty simple,' Woods said, sitting at a table normally reserved for state employees and leaders from cities, towns, and organized labor. 'This is one of the few win-win situations that we could all be involved in.' Committee members were seeking input on several tax
elements in Gov. Carcieri’s 2011 budget proposal, which would, among other things, eliminate the state tax break for movie and TV productions based on numbers that suggest the costs far outweigh the returns."
The Creative Economy and the Private Sector
Michigan: Film Office Claims 8,000 New Jobs Created Last Year
"Michigan's film tax incentive created more than 4,000 Michigan jobs for crew work, and another 4,000 jobs for Michigander actors and extras, according to the 2009 Michigan Film Office report made public [this week]. The bulk of the crew jobs average $30 or more an hour. The Michigan Film Office program provides incentives for film, television, and other digital media production, as well as infrastructure development and work force
training. Specifically, the laws provide a refundable tax credit of up to 42 percent for production work in Michigan; a 25 percent tax credit for infrastructure investment specifically designed for this industry; and a tax credit for worker on-the-job training. Filming expenditures in Michigan have increased from $125 million in 2008 to an estimated $223.6 million in 2009. In 2009, 126 companies applied for the refundable tax credit. Of
those, 62 were approved and 46 of those companies completed their work in 2009."
Maryland: Annual Baltimore Cultural Events Generated $36 Million Last Year
The Baltimore Sun, 2/28/10
"A trio of annual Baltimore events—Artscape, the book festival, and the New Year's celebration at the Inner Harbor—generated an estimated $36 million in economic benefits during the past year, according to the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA). The estimate is part of a more sophisticated
effort to attract additional corporate sponsors and justify continued public subsidies for the events. 'The impact [of the three events], regionally, is huge,' said Bill Gilmore, executive director of BOPA, a private, nonprofit organization that works exclusively for the
city...Gilmore said he was pleasantly surprised by the findings, especially the numbers generated by Artscape, which the city bills as America's largest free arts celebration. 'I was
absolutely flabbergasted by the $26 million figure for Artscape. I just never dreamed that people spend $9 million with the vendors,' he said."
Utah: Salt Lake City to Host Newly Expanded Gaming Company Studio
The Salt Lake Tribune, 2/26/10
"Electronic Arts, one of the leading producers of digital games, says it is expanding its Utah studio and moving it into a larger office in downtown Salt Lake City to start on a 'groundbreaking' new project. That announcement comes just days before a summit of the Utah's digital media industry that is being billed as a representing the maturity of the industry that has long roots here.
Electronic Arts Executive Producer Ben Bell said the company would be hiring for the new Salt Lake City office. It currently has an office in Bountiful; a spokesperson said she would not immediately say whether that office will
remain...Companies that make video games, create animation, movies, and other media, employ over 475 people directly and over 1,575 Utahns indirectly, according to a report by the Utah Economic Development Corporation of Utah. Though relatively small in numbers, Utah is the fourth largest state per capita for the number of multimedia artists and animators, according to the report."
Hawaii: Impact of Television Show Not Lost on Local Economy
Pacific Business News, 2/26/10
"Jean Higgins knew the television series she produces was having an impact on Hawaii’s economy when she pulled up to the set on the first day of shooting the fourth season of Lost and counted 10 shiny new pickup trucks on the lot.
The ABC castaway drama will finish filming its sixth and final season this spring. And when it leaves, will take with it the millions of dollars the production has steadily pumped into the state economy since 2004.
Lost has had an estimated $400 million impact on Hawaii’s economy during its six seasons, according to state
figures...In 2009 alone, the show spent $78 million on season five and part of season six, employed 2,025 local people, generated $7 million in tax revenue and had a total output for the year of $121 million, according to state data.
'It’s impressive when you see the power of what one series can do,' said Georja Skinner, administrator of the state’s Creative Industries Division, who also oversees the Hawaii Film Office that handles permitting for productions and administers the Act 88 tax credit."
Philanthropic Giving and the Arts
Nevada: Former Gaming Executive Leads Efforts to Fund Performing Arts Center
Las Vegas Sun, 3/1/10
"On two occasions Don Snyder approached one of the nation's largest private philanthropic organizations about supporting a performing arts center in Las Vegas. Both times, Snyder says, the foundation said it wasn't interested in getting behind the project. More than $150 million later, that institution—the Las Vegas-based Donald W. Reynolds Foundation—is the Smith Center for the Performing Arts' largest benefactor. What
happened to bring the foundation's board around was the successful unfurling of a strategic business plan, laid out 11 years ago, that required public and private funding. Without public funding, the result of a two percent car-rental tax, and land on downtown's 61 acres provided by the city, the private funding would have never come forward. 'Each one reinforced the other,' says Snyder, now chair of the Smith Center's board. 'Each encouraged progress in the
other. We couldn't go out to the general public and ask them to support a dream.' That's exactly why early organizers brought in Snyder, then-president of Boyd Gaming."
Arts Canvas: The View from the Field
by Valerie Beaman, Private Sector Initiatives Coordinator, Americans for the Arts
Securing private funding is more competitive than ever given this current recession. So, how do we make the case for supporting the arts and how do we maintain a vital relationship with the private sector in spite of the funding downturn? How do we define the relevance of the arts to business in the face of urgent and basic social needs?
Our Private Sector Initiatives department at Americans for the Arts is leading efforts to stimulate additional support from the three major areas of the private sector: business, foundations, and individuals.
As part of our efforts, we are planning two interactive opportunities for the public to weigh in on the future of private sector support. The first is a blog salon for the week of March 8, 2010, focusing on building awareness about why and how the private sector supports the arts. This salon event will appear on ARTSblog, with a team of 20 bloggers from the
private sector and local arts agencies contributing to the cause. Some of the authors include Diane Swonk, Chief Economist for Mesirow Financial; Gary Steuer, Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia; Janet Brown, Executive Director, Grantmakers in the Arts; Colin Tweedy, Chief Executive, Arts & Business UK; Larry Thompson, President of Ringling College; Mark Brewer, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Central Florida, Inc., and many others. The bloggers will
attempt to answer these questions and raise issues of their own.
The second opportunity is the Private Sector Support for the Arts Green Paper which can be found at blog.artsusa.org/category/private-sector-support. This paper raises a lot of questions about the future of private sector support and is called a green paper because once drafted, it will be shifted and changed based on the ongoing dialogue from the field.
This discourse will be fueled by Green Paper Ambassador Keely Saye, who will prompt conversation topics and synthesize feedback over the course of the year.
Please join us in these conversations! We’re hoping that these discussions will be provocative and inspire some new thinking on the future of arts support.
To respond to Valerie's post, and read other arts bloggers, please visit Americans for the Arts' ARTSBlog.
Americans for the Arts Half-Century Summit News
Early-bird registration for the Americans for the Arts Half-Century Summit in Baltimore ends on March 19, 2010. In order to lock in at the $350 member price, please register before the deadline to save $175! Also, it was announced this week that Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post, will present the Opening Keynote presentation on June 25.
Call for NAMP Conference Session Proposals
The National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP) invites you to submit a session proposal for its 2010 conference. Join us for New Tech. New Tools. New Times., November 12–15, 2010 in San Jose, CA. From arts marketing and new technology to sponsorship and fundraising, the 2010 conference will
provide the tools you need to reach audiences, funders, and new partners. Share your practical ideas and strategies on new technology and succeeding in the new economic environment. The NAMP Conference welcomes session proposals from a variety of arts, nonprofit, marketing, and fundraising professionals. Proposals will be accepted in the following categories: Conference Sessions (should be complete learning experiences with specific outcomes and learning objectives)
and Roundtable Discussions (intimate, facilitated group conversations focused on topics of interest and importance to marketing professionals and arts leaders). The deadline for proposals is March 16, 2010.
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