Friday, September 28, 2007

Arts Advocacy Update XV

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I have worked as a journalist and editor with Americans for the Arts in the past, and endorse and support their work. I am therefore pleased to appropriate this content with their permission. I do, however, urge everyone to check out their
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I'm now THISCLOSE to finishing up the book, which is why you've haven't seen me posting all week. Very strange not posting much, but I've been pretty buried under this thing. The good news is that three of the four binders with the images has been shipped off to the publisher, so we appear to be all-systems-go.

I'll have an announcement about what the book is about very shortly.

In the meantime, here is this week's Arts Advocacy Update, beginning with a new study from the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, which documents the $1.3 billion economic impact of the Greater Philadelphia cutlural sector. It actually makes terrific reading, and for New Yorkers offers a lot to think about.

And for those of you in La-La Land, there is an upcoming event called "The Power of the Stage: Drama as Diplomacy," scheduled for Oct. 7. If you're interested in what happens at the nexus of stage work and politics, check this out.

And now...

Council says yes to artists colony
Daily Nonpareil (Council Bluffs, IA), 9/25/2007
In Iowa, "[t]he idea of building apartments tailored to the needs of artists looks pretty good to the Council Bluffs City Council. The council Monday night approved the rezoning of land where two vacant International Harvester buildings. . . . The Minneapolis-based Artspace Projects Inc. has plans to create up to 35 live/work apartments in the east building."
Must be nice to live in a place with space...not much encouragement for the New York scene in this, but it is nice to hear about such plans from the heartland.

Economic study touts benefits of arts scene
Houston Chronicle, 9/24/2007
"There's a connection between the arts and economic development, and a group of civic and political leaders said Monday that Houston could benefit by doing more to promote its cultural life. To make their case, the Houston Endowment, the Houston Arts Alliance and the Greater Houston Partnership , presented a study Monday that estimated the economic benefits of the local arts scene. The study, 'The Business of the Arts: A Look into the Economic Impact of the Arts on the Houston Region,' found that the economic impact of the symphonies, art museums, ballet and opera is nearly 2 1/2 times the economic impact of the convention industry in 2005. And more than twice the number of people attended exhibitions and cultural events in 2004 than attended Astros, Rockets or Texans games the following year, according to the report."
Very glad to see Houston getting onboard the same statistical train that so much of the country has been on for the last five years. Thing is, when I first read information like this about NYC and other major metropolitan areas, I didn't think it could be true -- more cultural attendance than sports attendance? But when you think about it, it makes sense: there usually isn't a major sporting event every day of the week, and if there is, there's one team or maybe two that you might see, whereas there are often hundreds or thousands of cultural events to choose from. So the arts simply have to do the research and state the facts.

How Artists Influence Real Estate Prices
NuWire Investor, 9/18/2007
"Investors may deepen their appreciation for the arts after they realize how much influence artists can have on real estate values. . . . . Once an area has heightened cultural activity, people with money tend to become more interested in it. But culture does more than draw wealth; it can also draw workers, improving an area's job market and thus its economy."
Unfortunately, there's also a lot of anger here -- you get the artists to help fix a depressed neighborhood, and then as soon as property values begin to rise, you kick them to the curb. Sure, let's have investors aware of the value that artists bring, but let's also discuss legal ways in which artists can ensure that their sweat equity isn't swatted away but a gutless, guiless, greedy sonofabitch developer who'd sell his mother to make a buck, and probably already has.

Miami Beach's CANDO Hopes To Attract Artists
CBS4 (Florida), 9/2/2007
"In an effort to bring new artists to the city, Miami Beach commissioners are expected to give preliminary approval on Wednesday to measures that would create affordable housing in the new Cultural Arts Neighborhood Overlay or CANDO. . . . Mayor David Dermer came up with the CANDO idea as a way to not only lure new artists to the city, but to also encourage new arts-related businesses to open up there."
Great idea.

More Than 400,000 City Students Lack Quality, Well-Rounded Education Without Access to Arts
PRNewswire, 9/24/2007
The Department of Education's 2006-2007 Learning Survey "found that 41% of parents say that their children currently receive no arts education in their public school. These parents represent more than 400,000 of [New York City's] children, more than four in ten in a system serving 1.1 million city youth."
I'm just so tired of reading this. When is the community going to DEMAND some kind of change?

Reasons to keep the arts
Escanaba Daily Press (Escanaba, MI), 9/25/2007
An opinion piece in the Escanaba Daily Press of Michigan worries that new state curriculum requirements for high schools will lead to cuts in art, music and drama. Author Richard Clark notes, "In an ironic twist we are moving to a test-driven curriculum while our economic rival is discarding it. China is moving from a test-driven curriculum to one that encourages creativity."
(Referring to the story above...if Michigan, of all places, can get it, why not New York?)

Cost concerns stall digital media tax break (Hackensack, NJ), 9/23/2007
"New Jersey's digital media bill cleared both legislative houses in June, but now "sits on Governor Corzine's desk, stalled by his concern that the state can't afford the $20 million-a-year price tag. . . . Florida, Texas, Massachusetts and Connecticut have all passed similar bills in the past two years. {Senator] Sarlo and others say the New Jersey bill could create thousands of highly paid jobs and boost the state's struggling economy."
Um, couldn't Corzine just donate the $20 million? And hasn't the state of New Jersey already spent a ridiculous amount of money helping Corzine recover from not having worn his seat belt?

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