As we round the final corner of 2020, we hope everyone had a safe and healthy Thanksgiving holiday. This week, we shared a note to our stakeholders about racial and cultural equity at Americans for the Arts. We, as an organization, have taken multi-year steps towards making racial and cultural equity the guiding principle in everything we do. Those steps have not been enough. We need to do more—to increase our efforts and communicate those efforts to our stakeholders more effectively. We encourage you to read the full letter from President & CEO Robert Lynch and get in touch if you have questions.
Also in this roundup, catch up on two weeks’ worth of blogs, including a new Member Profile, research updates on COVID-19 and the power of arts education, a perspective on unemployment by a colleague who’s been through it, and two pieces on Black Lives Matter public art since George Floyd’s murder: one article about a database created to record the art, and another on legal protections for street art that may be vandalized or destroyed. We’re also looking ahead at the potential impact of the 2020 election on the arts sector, and looking foward to next week’s National Arts Marketing Project Conference!
Member Profile: Kathryn Armstrong by Abigail Alpern Fisch
The Columbus Area Arts Council’s mission is to strengthen the Columbus, Indiana community through arts and culture. With 15 years of experience working as an art professional, Kathryn’s work as Executive Director is centered around making communities stronger through art, culture, and civic engagement.
Strengthening Education & the Workforce Through the Arts by Randy Cohen
As public and private sector leaders work to strengthen their education systems and the competitiveness of their workforce, the research points us in an unmistakable direction: If you care about students performing better academically and building a competitive 21st century workforce, use your voice to help ensure every student receives a quality arts education.
You Can Survive Unemployment in the Arts by Patricia Walsh
The Great Recession of the late 2000s had a direct impact on my employment as the public art coordinator for the City of San Jose, California. I was swept up in a massive layoff and it took me over a year and a half to find full time work again. During that time, I learned some things that I hope can help some of you out there who may be facing the prospect of unemployment or have already lost a job.
By Every Measure, COVID-19 Continues Its Devastation of the Arts by Randy Cohen
The arts provide shared and meaningful experiences in public spaces—a community connection that heals the loneliness caused by isolation and social distancing. The arts are on the right side of what needs to be done to rebuild and heal our country after this pandemic. We must continue to invest in our artists and fund our arts organizations to capture these benefits.
Art and Social Justice: A Digital Archive of Street Art & Protest by Dr. Heather Shirey
The Urban Art Mapping research team began working in early June to collect digital documentation of street art that emerged in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. We are actively seeking contributions to the database through crowdsourcing in order to capture the global scale of this powerful call for change.
Black Art Matters: Does Federal Law Protect and Preserve Protest Street Art? by Juyoun Han
Unfortunately, many BLM murals are short-lived, either because they are immediately tagged or destroyed by dissenters who blithely deny America’s problem of racism. Now, here’s the good news: the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (“VARA Law”) may be the key to protecting and preserving these artworks. Here is a brief Q&A about VARA Law for artists.
American Institute of Conservation Releases New Position Statement on Contested Commemorative and Confederate Monuments
The statement by AIC aims to address its mission to support conservators by clarifying “the role of conservators as they are tasked with the preservation of monuments deemed to be racist or otherwise offensive or oppressive, especially those located in community spaces.”
Americans for the Arts to Host Annual National Arts Marketing Project Conference Virtually December 7–8, 2020
From changes in consumer behavior, to pricing strategies in the COVID era, to addressing bias in content, to targeting audiences and accessibility planning, the National Arts Marketing Project Conference aims to equip and prepare arts marketers to set the groundwork for surviving and thriving in the next 18-24 months.
A Note to Our Stakeholders About Racial and Cultural Equity
Americans for the Arts, as an organization, have taken multi-year steps towards making racial and cultural equity the guiding principle in everything we do. Those steps have not been enough. We need to do more – to increase our efforts and communicate those efforts to our stakeholders more effectively.
Post-Election Impact on the Arts
Hear from the Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund government and political affairs team for an in-depth analysis of the 2020 election impact on the arts at the federal, state, and local level. Find out what this means for the arts during the Congressional Lame Duck session and moving forward into the next Congress in January 2021.
Pictured: Columbus [Indiana] Youth Ambassador Valeria Juarez-Trujillo wearing mask designed by artist Pierre Obando, in front of “Learning Patterns” mural designed by LAA Office. Photography by Maria Trujillo.