Thursday, November 01, 2007

Arts Advocacy Update XVII

The content below has been appropriated from Americans for the Arts' Cultural Policy Listserv, a product of its Arts Policy Information Center.

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
entire website and to visit it regularly as a great source of news and information for the arts community.

I also urge everyone to
join the listserv so you can receive the same email blasts I do, from which the content below is being taken.

Mayor to Ease Permit Rules for Capturing City’s Image
New York Times, 10/28/2007
"Amateur photographers and independent filmmakers looking to chronicle bird life, take snapshots in Times Square or capture the distinctive thrum of New York’s streets will not need to obtain permits or insurance under new rules being proposed by the Bloomberg administration. . . . The proposal, drafted as part of a settlement in a lawsuit, was revised after a passionate outcry over the summer from fine-art photographers, independent filmmakers and civil libertarians concerned that the original rules would have restricted unobtrusive video recording."
Good. The original rules were terrible and simply indicated that the terrorists won. Long live the U.S. Constitution.

Art Works releases community input on arts and business sectors working together to boost Twin Ports economy
BusinessNorth (Duluth, MN), 10/25/2007
"Overwhelming local response to a survey conducted in late August emphasized the significant potential benefits of greater collaboration between Twin Ports artists and businesses. A total of 320 people involved in the arts and business sectors responded to the survey conducted by Art Works, a Knight Creative Communities Initiative team which is planning an expo for spring 2008. The purpose of the Art Works Expo is to provide a structured forum for arts, business and community leaders to learn what other cities have done to leverage creative assets and develop specific initiatives to build on the unique assets and strengths of [the] area."
Seems to me that Art Works Expo is potentially national in scope. NYC should have this kind of thing -- actually, it should be leading the charge, it seems.

Arts and culture can bolster local economy
Ann Arbor News, 10/28/2007
In Ann Arbor, MI, "[a] project called 'Community & Culture' aims to strengthen individual artists and cultural groups while at the same time bolstering the local economy. More ambitiously, organizers hope to unify the very disparate parts of Washtenaw County in ways that haven't been seen before. The Arts Alliance, which is leading the project, has assembled an impressive group of stakeholders across Washtenaw County who have embarked on a carefully plotted path to gather data through community forums and an online survey over the next few months. They hope to assess the needs and concerns of the arts and cultural community, and to strategically build on existing strengths."
I'd be curious to know what the contours of the arts and cultural community are in Ann Arbor, a city I don't know all that much about. I do know Michigan is having a rough time of it.

Denver's art scene soars with new galleries, events
USA Today, 10/25/2007

"Watch out, Santa Fe. There's a new art mecca taking shape in the Rockies. 'We may not have the critical mass of a New York or Los Angeles,' says Lewis Sharp, the longtime director of the Denver Art Museum, as he leads a visitor through its much-ballyhooed, $110 million building that opened last October. 'But it really is remarkable what is happening here.' . . . The roots of Denver's cultural emergence go back as far as 1988, when voters in the city and surrounding counties passed a 0.1% sales tax to fund cultural organizations, something that is rare in major cities. The Scientific & Cultural Facilities District tax raises $40 million a year for local art, music, theater and dance organizations, and natural and cultural history sites."
And there was some opposition on the part of certain voting blocs when the 1998 tax came up for reapproval -- mostly from ultra-right-wing conservatives who'd prefer that all artists be sent to the Cheney gulag. Fortunately, the good side won. And it's good that USA Today has noticed the story. This was one of those happy news stories I was thrilled to report when I was reporting.

Companies That Give More to Charity Are More Profitable, Study Finds
Chronicle of Philanthropy, 10/29/2007
According to research by Dover Management, "companies with a solid link between giving and operating earnings outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500 index by 3.5 percentage points over five years."
Fascinating, although I can't say that I'm surprised or shocked. Indeed, it makes a fair amount of sense -- but I suspect that this particular angle is articulated only rarely.

Crossroads artists win tax abatements
Kansas City Business Journal (MO), 10/26/2007
In Kansas City, MO, artists in the Crossroads Arts District artists received "almost $1.6 million in tax abatements. Kansas City's Planned Industrial Expansion Authority unanimously approved 31 abatement requests from 18 applicants. The abatement program, the PIEA's first to target a class of building users, freezes property taxes at 2006 levels for 10 years for Crossroads buildings where more than half the space is used for art-related purposes. As a condition of the abatements, artists will make about $759,000 worth of additional improvements. . . "
Will Zack Mannheimer move to Kansas City? No, I suspect he's set where he is.

Fairfield arts may benefit from extra state dollars
Fairfield Minuteman (CT), 10/25/2007
"Governor Jodi Rell [of Connecticut] announced a $4 million in expanded grants for arts organizations last Monday. . . . The $4 million will be distributed to a marketing grant program, an operating support grant program, a special initiative grant program and Arts in Education program. The funds were allocated in the 2007 to 2008 budget."
Let us record that I am about to publicly admit the following: Gov. Rell is one Republican I think I could vote for. What a lonely existence it must be for her, though.

Gone, baby, gone
Creative Loafing Atlanta, 10/24/2007
"Like other major metropolises, Atlanta has an ordinance that's supposed to set aside 1.5 percent of all bonds issued for city-funded capital-improvement projects – say, a new fire station or even a water-reclamation plant – for arts funding. Unlike many of those cities, however, Atlanta appears to have captured a fraction of the money it should have."
I suppose where there's fire there's...water, right?

Major Tax Bill Includes Key Charity Measures
Chronicle of Philanthropy, 10/25/2007
"Congress is expected to soon consider sweeping tax legislation that would extend incentives for those who contribute money to charity from their individual retirement accounts and would remove tax restrictions on large nonprofit groups that invest in hedge funds. Those measures are part of a tax-overhaul bill introduced today [October 25] by Rep. Charles B. Rangel, a New York Democrat and the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which sets federal tax policy."
But more important, watch the people who make seven figures bitch and whine and moan about how awful and unfair and anti-American their tax burdens would be under Rangel's plan. Yeah, I feel for them. Mmm-hmm.

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