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Eastern Salt Company's Shelagh Mahoney Joins BCA Executive Board

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Americans for the Arts is pleased to announce the appointment of Shelagh Mahoney, CEO and owner of Eastern Salt Company, Inc., Eastern Minerals Inc., and Atlantic Salt, Inc., to its Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) Executive Board.

 

The BCA, a division of Americans for the Arts, works to ensure that the arts flourish in America by encouraging, inspiring, and stimulating businesses to support the arts in the workplace, in education, and in the community. The BCA Executive Board is comprised of business leaders who provide leadership and expertise on key BCA initiatives including messaging, advocacy, and strategic alliances.

 

Mahoney’s company Atlantic Salt, Inc. was selected as a BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honoree in 2013 for their sponsorship of the annual LUMEN festival on Staten Island, which features video and performance art by emerging artists and more established artists at the forefront of their media.

 

Read the full press release here.

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Announcing the 2015 BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, today announced the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honorees for 2015.

 

Presented every year by the Business Committee for the Arts (BCA), a division of Americans for the Arts, the BCA 10 awards honor 10 U.S. companies for their exceptional commitment to the arts through grants, local partnerships, volunteer programs, matching gifts, sponsorships, and board membership.

 

The BCA 10 Awards will be presented by Americans for the Arts on October 6, 2015, at a black-tie gala at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City. The 2015 honorees are:

Ameriprise Financial (Minneapolis, MN)
AutoZone, Inc. (Memphis, TN)
BNY Mellon (New York, NY)
Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY)
GE’s FirstBuild (Louisville, KY)
NV Energy and the NV Energy Foundation (Reno, NV)
Prospective Inc. (Reston, VA)
Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods (Houston, TX)
The Trust Company of Kansas (Wichita, KS)
U.S. Bank (Minneapolis, MN)

 

"We are grateful to honor these 10 businesses for their exceptional involvement in ensuring that the arts thrive in their communities," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "These businesses provide the arts with significant financial and in-kind support, and they incorporate meaningful arts-related programs into their employee, customer, and community relations activities. They enrich the lives of millions of Americans and truly set a standard for other businesses to follow."

 

Corning Incorporated and U.S. Bank are Presenting Sponsors of the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America 2015 gala. 

 

For information regarding BCA 10, including gala tickets and sponsorship or advertising opportunities, please contact Stacy Lasner, Business Committee for the Arts Coordinator at (212) 223-2787or via e-mail at slasner@artsusa.org.

 

Nominations for the 2016 BCA 10 awards will open in November 2015.

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The Arts Mean Business

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Supporting the arts is good for business. As Jay H. Dick, Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs at Americans for the Arts, states in a blog post for the National League of Cities, “cities of all sizes that, even minimally, invest in their local arts organizations can see economic benefits. “

 

This year’s GDP report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts found that the arts and culture sector represented 4.32 percent of the GDP – a higher percentage than tourism (2.6 percent), transportation (2.7 percent) and construction (3.4 percent).

 

In his blog post, Dick shares a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Ohio, which illustrates this economic contribution on a local level. The bank determined that for every one dollar spent in ticket sales at the Cleveland Playhouse Square, $2.20 is generated in additional expenditures to the local economy. In a five-year period, 79 new businesses moved downtown, and the cost of downtown office space nearly doubled.

 

“The great thing about the arts is they are already in your city,” says Dick. "The arts, unlike many industries, are not going to relocate overseas or to a different city. The arts are committed to serving your city’s residents and improving the quality of life. But what they do need are community leaders to recognize them as an industry worthy of both private and public sector support.”

 

For more information about the economic value of the arts in your community, check out Americans for the Arts’ Creative Industries: Business & Employment in the Arts reports, which provide a research-based approach to understanding the scope and economic importance of the arts in America.

 

Read Jay H. Dick’s post on the National League of Cities’ Cities Speak blog.
 

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Creative Kicks: Vans’ Custom Culture Competition for Teens

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Creative Kicks: Vans’ Custom Culture Competition for Teens

If you’re passionate about the arts, why not show it on your feet? Vans’ Custom Culture Competition encourages high school art classes to lend their creative designs to four blank pairs of shoes for the chance to win $50,000 for their schools’ art program and have their shoes manufactured and sold nationwide.

 

According to the Custom Culture website, the contest was created to, “inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design, and to bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets.” In addition to providing $50,000 for the winning school, Vans will also donate proceeds from the sale of the shoes to Americans for the Arts and will provide $4,000 to each of the four runner-up schools.

 

In an article about Custom Culture in the Los Angeles Times, Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch said, “Programs like Custom Culture play an important part in helping to bring more attention to the importance of the arts in high school curriculums. Together with key partners like Vans, we are working to raise awareness of the need for arts education in all of our nation’s schools; encourage high school students to embrace their creativity and the opportunities it can leverage; and inspire a new generation of innovative, forward focused youth.”

 

Photograph shows the shoe designs from 2014 Custom Culture winners Rio Rancho High School in New Mexico. Photo courtesy of Vans Custom Culture.

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Americans for the Arts Reveals New Initiative: Transforming America’s Communities Through the Arts

Posted by Jordan Shue & Kellyn Lopes
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Americans for the Arts recently announced Transforming America’s Communities Through the Arts, an initiative designed to increase understanding of the value of the arts and investment in the arts.

 

The initiative outlines cohesive messaging and programming related to promoting the transformative role the arts play in building better lives, communities, and workplaces.

 

Transforming Americas Communities Through the Arts works in tandem with the release of Americans for the Arts’ 2015-2017 Strategic Plan and will guide us over the next 3 years to accomplish the goals laid out in the plan.

 

Below are some, though not all, of the programs that will align with the initiative:

 

pARTnership Movement Monographs and Convenings: Over the next two years we’ll host a series of convenings around the country to highlight the value of arts and business partnerships. These will coincide with a series of 8 monographs, each based on one of the 8 reasons to partner with the arts. With this project we hope to reach more of you in person in local communities to share success stories and best practices for partnering with the arts.

 

Strategic Partnerships: Americans for the Arts’ has a number of strategic partnerships in the corporate and foundation world, with whom we work to spread the message that the arts can build capacity and competitive advantage in other sectors, and to give the arts a place at the table at large, private sector convenings.

 

BCA Survey of Business Support for the Arts: This survey is the nation’s largest of its kind, delving beyond pure numbers into the motivations behind and goals of business partnerships with the arts. The survey is released every 3 years, and the next will be released in 2016.

 

Visit our newsroom to stay up to date on the work of Americans for the Arts.

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Americans for the Arts Takes Nashville by Storm for its Annual Convention

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Officially beginning today, Friday, June 13, Americans for the Arts has landed in Nashville for its Annual Convention--a convening of arts and community leaders to network and discuss strategies for building stronger towns, counties, and cities through the arts. The discussions surrounding arts and business will be ever-present, with Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville Executive Director Casey Summar speaking about placing artists inside businesses to help advance their goals, and Vice President and Artistic Director of Arts Brookfield (a 2014 BCA 10 honoree) Debra Simon speaking on innovative corporate partnerships. Click on the following article from the Nashville Business Jounral to read about the Convention and the growing ties between Nashville's business and arts communities. #AFTAcon

 

Ties that bind: National spotlight on Nashville arts and business connections

 

“One of the things that inspired us to come back [to Nashville]… is the incredible amount of partnerships between the for-profit community and the nonprofit arts sector. Communities are changing so quickly. It’s really important that arts communities across the country see good examples… Nashville is an awesome, awesome place to showcase that.”
 

-Clayton Lord, Vice President of Local Arts Advancement, Americans for the Arts
 

 

“I think there is definitely a change in the way that business is partnering with the arts. It’s not just giving money, it’s looking at ways they can partner to advance business and creative goals.”

 

Emily Peck, Vice President of Private Sector Initiatives,
Americans for the Arts

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United Arts Funding: Why It Matters

Posted by Jordan Lohf
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Have you ever wanted to give to the arts institutions in your community, but were concerned about oversight and accountability? Or, maybe you see the potential in the arts as an economic driver for your area, but don’t know how to create the most possible impact. Supporting or starting a United Arts Fund (UAF) may be the solution you were looking for. 

 

UAFs are nonprofit organizations that raise local money for the arts in a combined effort for three or more cultural institutions. Primarily, UAFs are created by business leaders that want to see a strong arts community in their area, but want to ensure their support is utilized to create the largest impact possible. Today, allocations of UAF funds are increasingly more open to the diversity of the community, requiring member organizations to reflect the differences and needs of the whole community through project grants, capital grants, capacity building grants and neighborhood and community grants. Community planning is also becoming a large driver in funding and allocation decisions.

 

The Greater Hartford United Arts Fund, a member of the Americans for the Arts Private Sector Network, is a great example of how a UAF can help vital arts organizations “live and breathe,” as one arts leader put it. By providing general operating support, programming grants, and educating the community about the different area arts organizations and what they have to offer, the Greater Hartford United Arts Fund is strengthening the arts community and the greater Hartford area as a whole.

 

Click the video below to view images and testimonials of the art and organizations Greater Harford United Arts Fund is supporting in its efforts to maintain and bolster the local arts community.

 

For more information on UAF chapters in your community, contact Valerie Beaman, Private Sector Initiatives Coordinator, at vbeaman@artsusa.org.

 

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Louisville Arts Leader Honored by Americans for the Arts

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Administered annually since 1991, the Michael Newton Award is given to an individual, staff member or volunteer in recognition of his or her innovation in developing private sector partnerships for the arts and/or long-term achievement in effective, and creative fundraising techniques. This year, the award goes to Barbara Sexton Smith, president and CEO of the Fund for the Arts, the oldest united arts fund in the country, which raises money for arts institutions and programs throughout the greater Louisville area. She will be presented with the award Saturday, June 15 at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in Pittsburgh. 

 

The award’s namesake, Michael Newton, came to the United States from England in the late 1960s and soon after began serving as director of the Arts and Sciences Council of Greater St. Louis. He also served as president of the Los Angeles Music Center and the American Council for the Arts. This award honors his distinguished career in the united arts fund field, advancement of consolidated fundraising strategies on the behalf of multiple arts institutions in the community, and exemplary management and leadership skills.

 

"It is such an honor to be receiving this award," comments Sexton Smith. "I'll bring it home and share it with our entire community because they are the ones who deserve this. We are lucky to live in a place where the arts are paid for and provided for everyone. I believe art is the common thread that connects all humanity and I get up every day looking for ways to create community connections through the arts. We believe a great American city is safe, healthy, educated and vibrant. The Arts are key to making this happen. Together through the Arts we create a great American city!"

 

In Sexton Smith’s tenure at the Fund for the Arts, the average gift through the workplace campaign grew from $87 in 2001 to more than $167 in 2011. The percentage of total dollars raised from employee campaigns increased by 25%.

 

Sexton Smith is also responsible for the creation of the Fund's NeXt! leadership development program, the goal of which is to prepare the next generation for volunteer leadership roles in the area of arts and cultural interests, with a strategic focus on strong corporate citizenship. Throughout the program’s two year commitment, NeXt! members attend monthly educational sessions about fundraising and professional development and are paired for fieldwork with one of the Fund’s cultural partners. Not only is NeXt! an exceptional fundraising technique (all 44 NeXt! host organizations are also donors to the Fund), it is an innovative example of a partnership with the private sector. Regional law firm Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC has sponsored the program for the past three years, absorbing the cost for program participants.

 

Americans for the Arts is pleased to honor Barbara Sexton Smith as the 2013 Michael Newton awardee for her exemplary leadership skills and extraordinary long-term achievement in effective and creative fundraising in the Louisville community. 

 

For more information on the Michael Newton Award, visit AmericansForTheArts.org. To learn more about the programs and initiatives at Louisville’s Fund for the Arts, visit FundForTheArts.com.  

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Yo-Yo Ma Urges “STEAM” to Drive the Nation’s Workforce

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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On Monday, April 8, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma was the guest speaker at Americans for the Arts’ annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at the Kennedy Center in D.C. The Lecture was the kick-off for Arts Advocacy Day 2013, the annual convention of arts advocates from across the country to advance federal support of the arts, humanities, and arts education.

 

In his speech, Ma made the case that the arts embody many of the characteristics employers are seeking in today’s workforce. He states:

 

“One of the topics I’ve been reading about recently is what kind of work force we need in the 21st century. What will our graduates need in order to succeed?  The experts say we need four qualities in our students and in our workforce. They need to be:

 

  • Collaborative,
  • Flexible,
  • Imaginative,
  • and Innovative.

 

“Now according to the 2012 IBM Global CEO Study, ‘Collaboration is the number‐one trait CEOs are seeking in their employees, with 75 percent of CEOs calling it critical.’ (“Leading Through Connections: Insights from the Global Chief Executive Officer Study”)

 

“The Council on Competitiveness says, ‘Those who learn to innovate will prosper in a global economy.’ (“Thrive. The Skills Imperative”)

 

“The Center for Public Education calls out ‘creativity and intellectual flexibility’ among other competencies. (“Defining a 21st  Century Education: At a Glance”)

 

Ma went on to discuss the national movement from STEM education (science + technology + engineering + mathematics) to STEAM education (science + technology + engineering + arts + mathematics), stating, “STEM without STEAM loses steam, but STEM with STEAM will power our country forward. The qualities crucial to success in the 21st Century workforce will not come just from studying science, technology and engineering and math, as important as those disciplines are.”

 

Hundreds of arts leaders and supporters joined Ma on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, pressing for an increase in arts funding from the federal government. The goal is for funding for both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to be restored to $155 million each per year. After 2012 budget cuts, the NEA received appropriations of approximately $146 million. Funding for the organization, which provides support to artists and arts organizations throughout the country, has steadily decreased each year.

 

Click the video link below to see Yo-Yo Ma’s full speech and performances from the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy. For more information on Arts Advocacy Day 2013, visit www.artsusa.org/events/2013/aad.
 

 


 

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Creative Conversations: art of the partnership

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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JOE MAHONEY/TIMES-DISPATCH

 

On November 27, 2012, Americans for the Arts and The Conference Board convened business leaders and artists for a discussion about how the business and arts sectors can leverage their respective resources to achieve vital industry objectives. The gathering, the first of a series of Creative Conversations, was hosted by Dominion Energy and Altria with significant support from CultureWorks, and took place at Altria and at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Click the following link to read an op-ed article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch written by Americans for the Arts CEO Bob Lynch and The Conference Board CEO Jon Spector regarding the first of these Creative Conversations and the future of the relationship between arts and business.

 

Creative Conversations: art of the partnership

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