Saturday, May 17, 2008

Arts Advocacy Update XL

The content below is from Americans for the Arts' Cultural Policy Listserv, email blast of April 30, 2008:

State Arts Funding Grows in FY 2008 National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA)
Very interesting information here. I'm taking the liberty of publishing a tease that you'll find at this link -- but click through and read the full press release, too. It'll give you a great macro sense of where things are at. Meanwhile, the tease:

WASHINGTON, DC—Legislative appropriations to state arts agencies increased in fiscal year 2008, according to a study published by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA). Between fiscal years 2007 and 2008, state arts agencies gained $9.5 million in state funds, an increase of 2.7 percent. Total legislative appropriations to state arts agencies currently stand at $359.6 million, or $1.18 per capita.

Fiscal year 2008 marks the fourth consecutive year of gains for the arts following three years of sharp declines during the recession. More states experienced increases in fiscal year 2008 than in any of the previous five years. Forty-five state arts agencies report appropriations growth in 2008, with a median increase of 8.9 percent. Three states reported declines, which were significant in Florida and Illinois. Excluding these two states, total appropriations among all other state arts agencies increased by 13.6 percent.

A Knight at the Opera: Big Plans -- Large Bills
Wall Street Journal, 4/24/2008 Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, "has managed to enchant both the masses and the elites" and vastly increase the Met's reach. But is he "overly reliant on gimmicks and buzz whose power will fade," as some critics think? The answer is important because other arts organizations are following his lead.
No, dude, you can't win.

Arts Attendance / Performing arts
Arts Research Monitor, April 22 2008
Four reports related to arts attendance, including an American study of the intrinsic impacts of performance attendance, a Canadian examination of the social impacts of performing arts attendance, a study of attendees’ motivations, abilities and opportunities to participate, and a report on the demographic and cultural factors involved in performing arts attendance in Canada. Articles: - Assessing the Intrinsic Impacts of a Live Performance - Social Effects of Culture - MAO-Model of Audience Development- Factors in Canadians’ Cultural Activities (Performing arts findings)
Nice work...ay?

Reach out and touch someone
San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/27/2008
"Theaters have a vested interest in drawing hard-to-reach audiences with 'pay what you can' shows - it's a 'worthwhile investment,'" says James Hebert. "Pay what you can" is geared to young audiences who "are weaned on the flexibility of the Internet and accustomed to defining and controlling their cultural experiences, from assembling iTunes playlists to racking up TiVo recordings to crafting avatars on games like World of Warcraft."
Great story. Not only is "pay what you can" an important audience-building trend, but it dovetails with the pending announcement from TCG of a "Free Night of Theatre" here in New York City, an extension of the very popular program that has been transforming audience-building nationwide.

Artist colony proposed for Patchogue
Long Island Business News (NY), 4/25/2008
In New York, "Patchogue’s rebirth could include a little slice of Manhattan’s SoHo. At least that’s what Patchogue officials hope will become of its 103,000-square-foot project planned for Terry Street, one block south of Main. Artspace, a nonprofit developer of loft-style live/work residences for artists and musicians, will build a 43-unit affordable housing project on the four-acre parcel."
Of course, I'd like to see an actor-centric and theatre-centric piece to this project as well, but this is pretty fascinating. And Patchogue isn't far from what we call civilization. Actually, it's in some ways far more civilized...

New N.E. database tallies culture’s fiscal benefits
Providence Business News, 4/25/2008
"Rhode Island’s arts and culture sector includes 1,750 nonprofits, businesses and professionals who pay their employees more than $350 million per year and contribute more than $750 million per year to the state’s economy, a new regional database reveals." A free service of the New England Foundation for the Arts, "CultureCount, New England’s Cultural Database,” was unveiled April 24 and is "the only regional cultural database in the country," according to NEFA.
Rhode Island -- what's it called? the "biggest little state in the union"? -- exerts much more economic influence regionally that even I would have thought. And culturally, too -- I mean, I friggin' love Family Guy. (I really do.)

Congress sees eye to eye on helping one immigrant group -- entertainers
Los Angeles Times, 4/27/2008
"With support from both sides of the aisle, the House and Senate are working to clear visa hurdles for fashion models, singers and pro athletes to enter the country. . . . The ARTS (Arts Require Timely Service) Act, sponsored by Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Valley Village), would give the Department of Homeland Security a 30-day window to process visas for performers and their crews. If it failed to meet that deadline, it would have to offer 15-day expedited processing free to artists invited by a nonprofit organization."
About time my government started dealing with this issue. What creatives from foreign lands have to go through to get into the country now is hurting us culturally -- and it's hurting stateside artists who want to travel overseas, which is perhaps equally if not more important. I'll keep an eye on this.

New Bills Would Limit Liability on Use of 'Orphan Works'
Digital Media Wire, 4/25/2008
"A bipartisan group of powerful lawmakers this week introduced legislation that would mitigate the legal risk and potential damages associated with the use of 'orphan works,' or songs, books or other copyrighted media where the creator or owner cannot be identified. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) are sponsoring the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008 in the Senate, while House Judiciary IP Subcommittee Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduced The Orphan Works Act of 2008 in the House. The bills would enable creators to use orphaned works after documenting a 'good faith' search for their owners, submitting a 'Notice of Use' with the copyright office, and providing attribution to any original owner."
Only problem here is one of the amendments -- to furnish "orphan Republicans" after the next election with legislative perquisites. Let us pray.

Group aims to aid arts via new tax
Reporter-Herald (Loveland, CO), 4/23/2008
"Dance, theater, natural history and science could create a driving economic force in Northern Colorado through tourism, supporters of a proposed Science and Cultural Facilities District said Tuesday. For three years, a 12-member steering committee has worked on the plans for the proposed district. The committee members’ work will come to fruition in November if they can gather enough signatures to get the district proposal on the ballot." Denver created a similar district in 1989, which in 2005 "distributed $34 million to qualified organizations, and the area brought in $387 million in outside revenue."
I read through this pretty thoroughly. We're talking $.01 in tax for every $10 in expenditures -- not including food -- adding up to about $20 per person per year. Seems fair.

N.Y. gives filmmakers bigger tax break for production in state
Poughkeepsie Journal (NY) - AP, 4/23/2008
"Gov. David Paterson is signing a bill that will triple the tax break [from 10 percent to 30 percent] for television and movie producers who decide to shoot in New York. . . . Paterson says New York has been losing out in recent years to other states that have offered their own tax credits, a trend he says has cost the state economy about $750 million."
What's so funny is how this decade began -- with everyone screaming about "runaway production" and asking, "When the states finally start competing?" Now the states are finally competing and it's turning into a race to the bottom. I'm not saying whether that's good or bad -- I'm not sure I know what the alternatives are -- but I find it ironic and amusing.

State deficit brings arts funding back to earth
Dayton Daily News (OH), 4/22/2008
"Especially when it comes to arts funding, what goes up is likely to come back down. The Ohio Arts Council, which made national news when it boosted support 11 percent last year, announced a 10 percent cut Tuesday, April 22, in response to a shortfall in the 2008-9 state government budget. Gov. Ted Strickland has directed state agencies including the OAC to find $733 million in savings because of a projected deficit that could go as high as $1.9 billion."
Sigh. Get used to it. The economy is tanking and this is going to be the meme on and off for the next 1-2 years.

Tourism money may be redirected to the arts
Winston-Salem Journal (NC), 4/30/2008
In North Carolina, "[t]he Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County would receive a significantly bigger portion of the county's hotel-occupancy tax if a resolution before the board of county commissioners gains approval at the local and state levels. However, the redistribution of the tax money is likely to lead to job cuts at Visit Winston-Salem, which is the city's chief marketing arm to visitors."
Courtesy of...the Robin Hood Foundation? Doesn't seem so great, this idea.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: