|Showcasing State Arts Agency Ingenuity|
Journey Proud Documentary Series
Journey Proud is a new documentary series produced by Alabama Public Television (APT) and the Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA) highlighting the people, customs and traditions of Alabama. The series is hosted by folklorist Joey Brackner, director of the Alabama Center for Traditional Culture, the folklife division of ASCA. APT Executive Producer Chris Holmes cites the center's extensive fieldwork with the fascinating people and places of Alabama as his inspiration for creating the series. Journey Proud, which premieres this October on APT, is a new format and forum for ASCA to continue its work of highlighting and supporting the cultural diversity of the state. Journey Proud episodes will be available on-line, and the series will be enhanced by social media and APT's on-line educational resource, APTPLUS®. The program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Alabama Humanities Foundation, Alabama Power Company, Daniel Foundation of Alabama, Community Foundation of South Alabama and Sybil H. Smith Charitable Trust. For more information, contact Joey Brackner.
State Legislator Listening Tour on Arts and Tourism
There is a unique effort under way in Massachusetts to develop the potential of cultural tourism. State legislators have embarked on a listening tour in an effort to learn about local cultural tourism prospects and develop policies that strengthen the arts and arts-driven tourism. By the end of 2014, the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development—in partnership with the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism and regional tourism councils—will visit all of Massachusetts's cultural districts and tourism regions. Through community forums, legislators aim to learn more about the state's cultural heritage and how policymakers can leverage the attraction and economic benefits of the arts. They are seeking feedback from the cultural and business communities as well as the general public. The listening tour is an example of how a state can engage multiple stakeholders in developing a cultural tourism agenda. It also illustrates a method for cultivating legislative leadership for the arts and creative economic development. For more information, contact MCC Communications Director Greg Liakos.
In addition to incorporating diversity into their own policies and programming, state arts agencies can encourage their grantees and other stakeholders to commit to practices that foster cultural awareness and inclusiveness. A recent example of this can be found in the Mississippi Arts Commission's (MAC) Diversity Toolkit, which offers guidance on how grantees can make the arts accessible to people of myriad backgrounds, circumstances and interests. The toolkit is designed to help arts organizations better reflect and engage all segments of the publics they serve. It first identifies opportunities for addressing diversity and then outlines ways to develop diversity strategies. Both programming and staffing/leadership decisions are addressed. MAC makes clear, however, that the toolkit is not exhaustive and that every group committing to diversity has to determine for itself what its goals are. To help groups begin their internal diversity dialogue, MAC's toolkit concludes with recommended resources and action prompts. For more information, contact MAC Arts Industry Director and Accessibility Coordinator Diane Williams.