Monday, February 15, 2010

Arts Advocacy Notes for February 2010

The February Newsletter of Arts Alliance Illinois has just come out and there are several things that you  can do to convince Illinois legislators to support adequate and responsible revenue policies for our state. It is no secret that each and every creditor and agency is suffering, but the Arts have taken more than their share of hits in the past three years. You can join the members of the Responsible Budget Coalition at their rally in Springfield on Feb. 17th 2010. If you are in a position to attend, you can get more information here.

Since this is my first advocacy update in 2010, I thought I would remind you of the prime resources you can use to keep abreast of what is going on in the area. You can track advocacy issues yourself by enrolling in just a few key websites.

For targeted Illinois state arts information sign up for the Arts Alliance Illinois e-mail notification list

You can get on the Illinois Arts Council direct e-mail list by clicking on the link.

Unfortunately, If you go to the site, you will also have to read the news about how many IAC programs have been canceled and or cut back as a result of the state budget crisis.

The Americans for the Arts Newsletter will get you current news on the National Advocacy front. For instance National Arts Advocacy Day for 2010 is scheduled for April 12-13 in Washington DC. Get more information on that once a year lobbying day right here.

In another important development the Americans for the Arts have released their first National Arts Index. This is intended to be a yearly national temperature of the arts and you can see a picture of the health and vitality of arts in the USA between 1998 and 2008. From the linked location you can access summaries or the entire report. Unfortunately there is little to shout about as even though numbers of arts organizations and demand for arts education are up, over a third of all non-profits cannot balance their budgets. Arts budgets in the schools, as many of you well know, are under heavy attack all around the country. Arts and culture continues to lose their market share of philanthropy to other charitable areas—a decline that began well before the current economic downturn. And overall, the arts are not “stacking up” well against other uses of audience members’ time, donor and funder commitment, or spending when compared to non-arts sectors.

The Association for Theatre in Higher Education has an advocacy information section at this link.

The Educational Theatre Association has an advocacy outreach page at this link.

The American Alliance for Theatre Education site also has material on advocacy issues at this link.

You can even become an Arts Advocacy Fan on Facebook.
Although it dates from 2006, this site has good bibliography and outlines of general benefits of arts programs.

This last item is not really in the Advocacy bailiwick, but I did find it interesting. The Theatre Development Fund has published a book, “Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Playwright.” It tells of a six year study of relationships between playwrights and artistic directors. Did you know that the average professional playwright earns less than $40,000 a year and that a third of them earn less than $25,000 a year? See more at the TDF site.

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