Monday, May 11, 2009

Arts Advocacy News for May

It will take you about two minutes after you click this URL to send a quick message to your senators and house representative about your support for this year’s National Endowment for the Arts budget. And don’t forget to tell your legislators what arts group or groups you are speaking for. Do it now. Don’t delay.

I suspect, if you are like me, you do occasionally wonder if these kinds of advocacy messages really do work . Here is an answer to that question. Take another minute to look at a detailed account of just how advocacy groups, for example The Theatre Communication Group, helped to get theatres back in the eligibility arena for Economic Stimulus Bill assistance.

On May 1, 2009, the Cultural Data Project will launch in Illinois. The Illinois Cultural Data Project (or Illinois CDP for short) allows arts administrators to track their performance over time and to benchmark themselves against similar organizations in specific disciplines, geographic regions, and budget sizes.

With a few clicks of the mouse, users will be able to generate any of 77 reports made possible by the project, such as a quarterly or annual report. Or, users can compare themselves to organizations the same size that are located around the corner or at the other end of the state. The Illinois CDP harnesses the power of technology in service to the cultural sector.

Do you want to learn more now? Check out the following:
• A special sneak peek version of the Illinois CDP is available online.
• The Illinois CDP website will be live Friday, May 1, 2009 at
• The Illinois CDP taskforce is hosting an orientation session on Friday, May 15, 2009 at 9 am at the Chicago Cultural Center in the Claudia Cassidy Theatre at 78 East Washington Street in Chicago, Illinois. Additional trainings will be held throughout the state.
National Service and the Arts

On April 21, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act under which national service will see the greatest expansion in programs in 50 years. The Serve America Act will more than triple the number of volunteers serving in this country from 75,000 to 250,000. One section of this act notes that the utilization of “skilled musicians and artists” for promoting community unity will be encouraged.

Congratulations to the Free Street Theater (Free Street Programs, Inc.) in Chicago for receiving a $10,000 Illinois Humanities Council grant. Their project was “Declare!”-- A series of workshops that examined the writing styles and the historical importance of speeches of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Barrack Obama. A key emphasis in the program was to illustrate how change can be achieved through language, or as the proposal stated it how "before anything can 'become' it must be voiced."

The next deadline for Ilinois Humanities Council major (up to $10,000) and mini (up to $2,500) grant proposals is July 15, 2009. Potential applicants may review and download grant applications at Other recent successful IHC grant applications with theatrical connections were to Chicago’s Time of Your Life Players for Drama and discussions for Seniors and the Monmouth College Theatre and Galesburg’s Orpheum Theatre for a project titled “And How Was the Play, Mrs. Lincoln?” This program helped fund a full production of Tom Taylor’s Our American Cousin as well as a lecture/symposium on historical aspects of the Lincoln Assassination.

Last but not least is to remind Illinois residents of the “One State Together in the Arts” conference in Peoria on June 1st and 2nd. Co-convenors are the Illinois Arts Council and the Illinois Arts Alliance. Early bird registration rates have now expired, but you can still register at:

1 comment:

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