Monday, April 26, 2010

Southwest Still a Winner in the Early Spring

Better late than never is the old proverb and so we touch base with AZ in the early spring even as the spring wears on in the mid west.  It was a fine sojourn on most fronts though an eight hour flight delay on the outward leg definitely put a test on flying patience quotient.   

What else did was on the docket.  There was a trip to Mesa to see a Cubs pre-season outing.  The big Z, now newly demoted to the bull pen, looked like a real winner and threw five scoreless innings. We took Flat Stanley to the park with us so we could show his exploits to our grandson.

Other highlights were the Desert Poppies that were peppering the countryside and the Heard Museum of Native American Culture.

  

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Arts Advocacy for April

Some Brief Advocacy Items for April, 2010


This quarter’s Community Grant applications for the Illinois Humanities Council local programming are due on April 15th. Next quarter’s due date is July 15th. Get further information on your possible eligibility at http://www.prairie.org/grants

As financial pressures mount on states and their school systems, the move toward reduction in arts programming as a part of overall budget reductions is becoming more prevalent. Several federal lawmakers have been asking Education Secretary Arne Duncan to step up to the “Arts” plate and declare that “narrowing the education” is not a satisfactory solution to our problems. To get a better picture of where the arts might be heading within the national educational scene, you should put Tuesday, April 13th on your calendar. That will be the 23rd National Arts Advocacy Day in Washington DC. You can follow the action on Facebook or Twitter. Go to http://www.artsusa.org/events/2010/aad/default.asp for full details.

Still on the national level you might have some interest in a new NEA research publication. It’s titled 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts and you can find it at: http://www.nea.gov/research/ResearchReports_chrono.html There are several other reports at the same location and all are downloadable in PDF format. Age and Arts Participation: 1982-1997, The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture, or American Participation in Theater (both from the late nineties) are all interesting.

Finally I have a bit of a personal editorial. We have all been pressured into justifying theatre and the arts because it functions as an economic or social engine. We are pushed to define our existence as income producers, traffic generators for restaurants, civilizing forces in neighborhoods and schools, and employers for performers. Certainly we do all of that, but at the core artists feel a more compelling need to instruct, inspire, move, entertain, and sometimes challenge our fellows to live better or more examined lives. We are proud to be creators of art because we know that art lasts and art matters in the lives of our participants and audiences. We create because we have to and we will continue to do so for our own good and for the good of our society as long as we have the energy to pull the curtain.  Drama Jim says “Break a Leg” this spring! 

Jim De Young

ITA Director of Advocacy