Saturday, February 23, 2008

Arts Advocacy Update XXXI

The content below is from Americans for the Arts' Cultural Policy Listserv.

Protest Group Assails Eli Broad Art
New York Times, 2/14/2008
"The Guerrilla Girls, a group that protests what it calls 'sexism and racism in politics, the art world, film and the culture at large,' sent an open letter to the philanthropist Eli Broad saying that female and minority artists are inadequately represented in the exhibition at the new Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and in the collection of Mr. Broad’s private foundation. In a posting on the group’s Web site,, the organization claims that of the 30 artists in the inaugural exhibition at the Broad Museum, 97 percent are white and 87 percent are male. Similarly, the group says that of the 194 artists in the collection of the Broad Foundation, the nonprofit organization that acts as a 'lending library' for Mr. Broad’s art holdings, 96 percent are white and 83 percent are male."
My question: What will the Guerilla Girls do if nothing is done?

Maryland's art industry generates megamillions
Baltimore Examiner, 2/15/2008
"More than $1 billion. This is the phenomenal amount 228 arts organizations in Maryland generated in fiscal year 2007, according to a report by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. . . . Every dollar of direct spending in the local arts industry generates $2.13 in expenditures on goods and services in Maryland, noted the report. All organizations evaluated in the study were nonprofits that received grants from the Maryland State Arts Council."
Most states develop (and should be developing) reports such as this. It's a very powerful politican weapon -- and superb ammo for arts advocates. Great to read.

N.M. film industry touts $1.5 billion windfall (NM), 2/19/2008
"According to the New Mexico Film Commission, production companies have spent more than $486 million working in the state since 2003. . . . The state has offered some generous tax incentives for movie makers, who get a 25 percent break shooting movies in New Mexico."
Good story.

Plan to measure creativity
Times Educational Supplement, 2/15/2008
In the UK, "[s]chools could soon be required to evaluate how creative pupils are. The Government is investigating ways to measure creativity to ensure children are proficient in areas that are not appraised by existing tests, such as imaginative thinking. Assessments would go beyond creative subjects such as art and music, with teachers expected to look at how pupils adopt a creative approach across the curriculum."
Good grief. I'm a liberal and this is weird even for me. I mean, I understand the desire to want to measure creativity, but this idea that we can somehow try to quanity, numerically, creativity...ugh. It's enough to want to leave every child behind. Well, some of them, anyway.

EU suggests singers and musicians should earn copyright fees for 95 years
International Herald Tribune - AP, 2/14/2008
"Singers and musicians should earn royalty fees for 95 years — almost double the current 50-year limit, a European Union official said Thursday as he promised to draft new copyright protection rules. . . . People are living longer and 50 years of copyright protection no longer give lifetime income to artists who recorded hits in their late teens or early twenties, he said."
Assignment: draw Miley Cyrus at 106 years old. Ready, go.

Grants feed growth of creative economy
Boston Business Journal, 2/14/2008
In Massachusetts, grants totaling $5,571,500 will be awarded to cultural organizations, thanks an investment of $7 million in the Cultural Facilities Fund by the Legislature in October 2007 as part of a FY2008 supplemental budget.
Good news!

Is PBS Still Necessary?
New York Times, 2/17/2008
As President Bush proposes drastic cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's 2009 budget, Charles McGrath muses whether public television, with its shrinking audience, still fills a need. (Public radio's listenership is growing.) Much of public TV's problems stem from the success of cable TV, he says, which offers "the kind of stuff that in the past you could see only on public TV, and in at least some instances they do it better. . . . Considering how much it costs to create new topnotch programming, the best solution to public television’s woes is the one that will probably never happen: more money, not less."
Or maybe we need to look at why public radio's listenership is increasing. Good article but some of the premise strikes me as agenda-driven.

Missouri’s arts funding improves ranking
Springfield Business Journal (MO), 2/14/2008
"After sinking to dead last in the country four years ago for its lack of arts funding, Missouri has improved its ranking to No. 14, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. . . . In his fiscal 2009 budget, [Governor] Blunt has recommended $14.6 million to the Missouri Arts Council – the largest appropriation to the Missouri Cultural Trust Fund in state history, according to the release. He also is recommending a $4.5 million increase for other Nonresident Athletes and Entertainers Tax cultural partners, including the Humanities Council, Public Broadcasting, Historic Preservation and State Library Networking."
California, are you listening?

Outdoors tax or not? You decide on Nov. 4
Star-Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN), 2/14/2008
"Minnesotans will be able to decide whether they want to increase the state's sales tax to help fund outdoor programs, the arts and the environment, legislators decided Thursday. . . . If voters approve, the proposed amendment to the state constitution would eventually generate about $276 million a year for groups as disparate as deer hunters and public TV."
For deer hunters? What funding do they need? Sigh.

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