Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Arts Advocacy Update II

As you know, I receive an email blast from Americans for the Arts' Cultural Policy Listserv every week and I suggest you subscribe to it. It is free and excellent source of news and information.

Here are some links to stories from the most recent blast...with commentary.

Diversity: A Seat at the Table?
Boston Herald, 6/1/2007
According to research on boards of directors by the McCormack Graduate School’s Center for Women in Politics & Public Policy, "[w]omen do the best on boards dealing with cultural affairs than in any other sector: They make up 41 percent of the 526 positions on these 23 boards of directors."
Great story. Only concerns Massachusetts but some of the analysis is fascinating.

Arts Pumped $21.2 Billion Into NYC Economy in 2005
Bloomberg News, 6/5/2007
"New York City's arts industry generated $21.2 billion and 160,300 jobs in 2005, proof that culture is 'vital' to the economy, a new report says. Alliance for the Arts, a Manhattan-based advocacy group funded by corporations, foundations and government agencies, said its study should encourage businesses and government to maintain support for cultural organizations. . . . For the first time, the group expanded its study to New York State, calculating the economic impact of the arts at $25.7 billion and 194,000 jobs statewide in 2005."
I do have some issues with Randy Bourscheidt, but his comments are very important and this story should serve as clearinghouse information for the Off-Off-Broadway indie people in terms of developing pertinent statistics.

Cultural Evolution
Philadelphia City Paper, 5/30/2007
"Public safety and education may have been the big topics in [Philadelphia's] mayoral primary, but many still consider arts and culture an important component in the city's growth. . . . Corzo said in a recent interview that the business community must become more involved with the arts community and that art is just as important to economic growth as other industries. . . . Taubenberger said that if elected, he would resurrect the defunct city Office of Arts and Culture, hire a staff and promote the arts."
The definition of an enlightened mayor (to be?). How about some presidential candidates doing the same thing, hm?

Showing the U.S.' best features
Los Angeles Times, 6/2/2007
"Can Lassie, Judy Garland and a young Elizabeth Taylor rescue America's image abroad? Rep. Diane Watson (D-Los Angeles) thinks so. She wants to ship DVDs of classic Hollywood movies overseas, hoping they will reshape an image she believes has been tarnished by the Iraq war. Her plan: Stock libraries of U.S. embassies and consulates with the films, then loosen restrictions so the public in each nation has access to them."
Send them Ishtar. (Gosh, who the heck would say something so insensitive?)

Bohemian breaks
Greater Baton Rouge Business Report (LA), 6/5/2007
Louisiana's lieutenant governor, Mitch Landrieu, is seeking "a set of far-reaching tax breaks designed to address what [he] refers to as the 'cultural economy.'" Landrieu’s proposal includes "a program with local oversight to create cultural product districts and rehabilitate historic structures, tax credits for a wide variety of artists to live and work in Louisiana and incentives to encourage food research and culinary arts."

FBI investigating Louisiana's film industry incentives
Times Picayune (New Orleans, LA), 5/29/2007
"Casting a pall over one of the few sectors of growth in Louisiana's struggling economy, federal investigators have opened a wide-ranging probe into possible abuse of generous tax credits offered by the state to lure film productions. . . . The most explosive allegation in Cyrus' suit is that representatives of the New Orleans production company, known as LIFT, paid kickbacks to Mark Smith, who until 2005 headed the economic development department's film division and who was Cyrus' boss.
Gosh, you know, I just have to love a state as corrupt as Louisiana. There's almost something quaint about how predictable it is.

Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

A Typical Matt Love said...

It's funny that these boneheads would think that sending people kitchy trash like Judy Garland and Lassie moives would improve America's image. But I concur, you wouldn't want to send Ishtar - it's a great movie, but it's pretty accurate in how it portrays US foreign policy in the middle east. Propping up dictators, willing to take orders from them to kill innocent Americans in the desert - it's chillingly realistic, but they get the message across while making people think they are seeing updated Hope and Crosby. An under-rated masterpiece.

I think this is going to be a great year for Ishtar... the 20th anniversary will mark a big resurgence. There is a documentary film about Ishtar fandom in the works, the manager of the Ishtar fan website ( is putting
together a tribute CD featuring cover versions of songs from the movie, and possibly a US release on DVD (something the heathen in Europe have been enjoying for years). So shake off that square world, get with the countdown, and blast off to Ishtar!