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Jason Rapp

Arts orgs: report your COVID-19 impact to AFTA

Submissions can be updated


Via our partners at the South Carolina Arts Alliance: [caption id="attachment_44582" align="alignright" width="200"]Handwashing art by Amiri Geuka Farris Handwashing art by Amiri Geuka Farris[/caption]

Americans for the Arts has created an easy survey for all arts groups to submit their expected impact from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please fill this survey out as you are able. You may re-submit as new information is provided or decisions are made for your organization at a later date as well.

This data is VITAL is helping the SCAA, and Americans for the Arts, position the arts to have a stronger seat at the table as local, state, and federal governments work towards solutions and support for the economy.

For arts-centric resources on COVID-19 and the arts, see the S.C. Arts Commission's resources page.

Americans for the Arts staff member visits SC for Cultural Districts Network convening

A big thank you to Ruby Harper, director of Local Arts Services for Americans for the Arts, who recently visited the South Carolina Arts Commission to participate in the first convening of the S.C. Cultural Districts Network. Here's her blog post about her experience.

rubyharperheadshotI’m starting to think that every moment in my life that I write about begins with, “I was terrified when they asked me to [insert anything here]”—but, I guess that is what makes life so interesting and what brings learning and new adventures and explorations into the world. This time was a quick trip to Columbia, S.C., at the request of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) to present to their network of Cultural Districts at a day-long convening hosted at EdVenture. To give some background: SCAC established their Cultural Districts designation program in 2014 through legislation ratified by the South Carolina General Assembly and signed by Governor Nikki Haley. The goals of the program were specified in the legislation:
  • Attract artists, creative entrepreneurs and cultural enterprises to communities
  • Encourage economic development
  • Foster local cultural development
  • Provide a focal point for celebrating and strengthening local cultural identity
In the first year and a half, they processed six applications from cultural districts around the state—Rock Hill, Lancaster, Spartanburg, Congaree Vista, Beaufort, and Bluffton. According to Rusty Sox, Senior Manager with the Arts Commission, it was stronger participation than they had anticipated. One of the benefits of being a designated Cultural District is access to a support network and resources. The day-long convening I attended is part of that support plan. The group began with sharing what they wanted to learn about during their time together, whether through potential programs and leveraging assets or learning what’s working for the cultural districts individually and as a group. To prep for the meeting, I read the applications to get an understanding of how the districts saw themselves and what they were focusing on to benefit their community. [caption id="attachment_28141" align="aligncenter" width="600"]ruby-harper-columbia-cultural-district-meeting-2 Convening in EdVenture's meeting room[/caption] My part in the process was to share information about Americans for the Arts and highlight tools and resources related to Cultural Districts and arts and culture administration. It was clear they felt I had much to share, and I thankfully did, but in the end, I learned as much from the groups that presented as I am hoping they learned from me and the others in the room. Five of the six cultural districts shared highlights from their year and the genesis of their creation. Some came from a long-standing love of arts and culture; some came from thoughtful growth and planning. Two potential districts shared their challenges as they move into the application process. My favorite line from the convening was “Our district has been built like a string of pearls,” and the stand-out learning moment was finding out that Ursula is shortened to “Uschi” in German. I shared information about the National Cultural Districts Exchange (NCDE). Its creation and resource area—as well as all the great tools we have throughout the site—can benefit them in developing and promoting their district as well as casemaking for community and advocacy support. We talked about social media tactics and cross promotion—for example, who is the cultural tourist and how can you engage them? We also talked about where we are hoping the NCDE will go next and how they can be a part of that evolution. [caption id="attachment_28143" align="alignleft" width="280"]ruby-harper-columbia-sc-eddie I met "Eddie," a prominent feature at EdVenture.[/caption] Columbia is a dynamic city! As the capital of the state, I had the luxury of being near enough to the statehouse to walk a portion of the grounds. My hosts took me on a driving tour around The Vista and I got a sense of how the college (University of South Carolina, the mighty fighting Gamecocks) plays into the structure of the city. I got to see the newly built minor league baseball stadium with the adjacent abandoned insane asylum, and learned how the city is renovating and repurposing the buildings (watch for a new restaurant opening in the former morgue!). We ended the tour at a much loved local bar called Art Bar, where I had the pleasure of meeting Clark, an artist who is known for his civic and community work in developing the Vista district—and also for being affected by the gentrification that is driving artists out of their spaces as the neighborhood develops and gains popularity. I had some wonderful dining moments and learned about the historical ties to the development of the district that the restaurants played in its development. By the end of the day, I was struck by the desire of each district to develop relationships with the others—one district looked at the program as a “sister city” and had ideas of how to work together to promote each other’s cultural assets and build knowledge about the state across the state. I’ll be curious to see how their story plays out in the coming months and years. Programs like this have such potential to improve, strengthen, and grow local economy and bridge arts and culture experiences statewide.

Milliken & Co. honored nationally as a business supporting the arts

Milliken & Company, headquartered in Spartanburg, S.C., has been recognized by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, as one of the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America for 2014. Every year, Americans for the Arts, through the Business Committee for the Arts, recognizes 10 U.S. companies for their exceptional commitment to the arts through grants, local partnerships, volunteer programs, matching gifts, sponsorships and board membership. “I am once again pleased to celebrate such an impressive array of BCA 10 honorees that span business size, industry and geographic locations,” says Robert Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Each year, the BCA 10 sets the standard for other businesses by upholding the arts as an integral part of office culture, the community and the local economy. Through financial and in-kind support, employee volunteer hours and workplace arts initiatives, these businesses ensure arts access for current and future generations, in addition to serving as successful and inspiring models of business arts support.” Milliken’s commitment to the arts spans its entire history, stemming from a corporate culture that cares about and respects its associates, its customers, its communities and the world. Complementing a heritage of support for the arts, the Milliken corporate campus abounds with artwork in the form of notable sculptures, paintings, murals, mosaics and fountains which enhance the creative spirit and inspire innovation. “Communities with thriving arts programs are proven to exude stronger and more vibrant cultures - and dare to ‘do good’ for the world,” states Joe Salley, president and CEO, Milliken & Company. “The arts open our minds to the seemingly impossible and help us think with fresh perspectives, which is what our nearly 7,000 associates worldwide do every day to bring the Milliken spirit of innovation to life. It is their dedicated efforts that make this recognition possible.” The advancement of the arts profoundly impacts every industry that Milliken serves. It fosters creativity and encourages not only artists, but others who are inspired to challenge how far they can push their talents - whether it is through architecture and interior design, chemical research, product design, material fabrication or building infrastructure. Milliken also works to advance the arts and arts education within particular industries. In the architecture and design community, Milliken is a strong advocate of passionate design educators and is a proud sponsor of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Educator of the Year Award. "It was a privilege to nominate Milliken & Company for its decades of unwavering support, and now it is extremely exciting to celebrate this well-deserved national recognition!” said Jennifer Evins, president and CEO of Chapman Cultural Center/The Arts Partnership. "This award not only recognizes the company's loyal and very generous financial support, but also its extraordinary partnership in developing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design, Mathematics) education programs. Milliken’s contributions inspire a deeper partnership with the arts - one that encourages innovation in integrating arts and science in education and hands-on partnerships with Milliken associates, who share real ways to engage and excite students in careers in art, design and science." The BCA 10 Awards will be held on October 1, 2014, at a black-tie gala at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City. Other 2014 BCA 10 honorees are AC Entertainment (Knoxville, TN); Arts Brookfield (New York, NY); BBVA Compass Bancshares, Inc. (Birmingham, AL); Brooks Resources Corporation (Bend, OR); Classical Movements, Inc. (Alexandria, VA); Edward Jones (St. Louis, MO); Hallmark Cards (Kansas City, MO); PECO Energy Company (Philadelphia, PA); Thrivent Financial for Lutherans (Appleton, WI). In addition, Frederic C. Hamilton, chairman of The Hamilton Companies (Denver, CO) and chairman emeritus of the Denver Art Museum will receive the 2014 BCA Leadership Award and Deere & Company (Moline, IL) will be inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame. About Milliken Milliken is an innovation company that has been exploring, discovering, and creating ways to enhance people’s lives since 1865. Our community of innovators has developed one of the largest collections of patents held by a private company. With expertise across a breadth of disciplines including specialty chemical, floor covering, and performance materials, we work around the world every day to add true value to people’s lives, improve health and safety, and help make this world more sustainable. For more information, visit www.milliken.com. About Americans for the Arts Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.

Milly

S.C. teaching artists highlighted on Americans for the Arts blog

The South Carolina Arts Commission was honored to be asked to contribute to an Americans for the Arts blog salon on teaching artists. Many thanks to the four artists highlighted: Bob Doster of Lancaster, Patz Fowle of Hartsville, Francee Levin of Columbia, and Glenis Redmond of Greenville. (Image: Glenis Redmond with student)

Rich in Rewards: Why Teaching Artists Teach Glenis Redmond with studentWhy do some artists decide to teach? For many, the attraction is a desire to connect students to a creative process and to the larger arts community. For others, teaching fuels their work as artists. The South Carolina Arts Commission’s Roster of Approved Artists includes more than 900 artists who have been approved to conduct residencies and performances in schools. Many have been teaching for as long as they’ve been artists. We wanted to know more, so we asked four Roster artists about their experiences. Read the artist interviews here: http://blog.artsusa.org/2014/03/13/rich-in-rewards-why-teaching-artists-teach/

Who knew? The arts bring big bucks to the economy!?

[gallery link="file"] We knew! Now we have an official analysis quantifying the impact of the arts. From McClatchy's Washington Bureau:

The value of the arts to the economy has always been an elusive figure – until now. For the first time, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, part of the Commerce Department, has quantified art’s impact, finding in a study released Thursday that 3.2 percent – or $504 billion – of the gross domestic product in 2011 was attributable to arts and culture. “The positive value of arts and culture on society has been understood on a human level for millennia,” said Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. “With this new effort, we are now able to quantify the impact of arts and culture on GDP for the very first time.” The gross domestic product is the value of all the goods and services produced within a year and is used as a measure of economic health. The National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, asked for the data to be targeted to arts and culture. The Bureau of Economic Analysis has, until now, tracked art’s value to the economy through a category that includes spectator sports but omits such cultural elements as motion pictures, advertising, radio and television, publishing and newspapers. “Art and culture is a significant part of the U.S. economy, not just its contributions of ideas and creativity to the innovation economy, but also as an important part of the labor force and our country’s GDP,” said Joan Shigekawa, the NEA’s senior deputy chairman. The agency participated in the development of the data, which comes at a time when government funding of the arts is especially tight. Arts are often not seen as having a significant economic impact. But the NEA points out that the newly calculated figures are higher than the value the federal economic agency estimates for the U.S. travel and tourism industry, which it put at 2.8 percent of GDP. It is not that the federal government didn’t track the arts closely; it’s that they were in different categories across the data in the GDP spectrum. “It is a rearrangement of already existing accounts,” explained Paul Kern, the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ branch chief in charge of the new arts and culture category. The definition of what constitutes arts and culture, he said, now aligns with definitions used by the United Nations and the European Union and goes beyond the traditional concept of arts and culture as performing arts, artists, arts education and museums. “By following these guidelines our definition of arts and culture is narrowly tailored to include creative artistic activity, the goods and services produced by it, the goods and services produced in the support of it, and finally the construction of buildings in which it is taking place,” said the Bureau of Economic Analysis in announcing the new data. From 1998 to 2011, the arts took a big hit in the recession, falling from a high of 3.7 percent of GDP in 2004 to 3.2 percent in 2009. The data show that arts and culture entities are important employers, providing jobs in 2011 to 2 million workers who earned $289.5 billion in wages, salaries and supplements. “The largest share worked in the motion picture and video industry, which employed nearly 310,000 workers at $25 billion in compensation,” according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. “Museums and performing arts industries each employed roughly 100,000 workers who earned $6 billion and $8 billion, respectively.” “This study demonstrates that the federal government is serious about the arts as an industry, that it recognizes the arts as a larger-than-expected portion of GDP and as a vital jobs sector,” said Robert Lynch, president and chief executive officer of Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit advocacy group.
Via: McClatchy Washington Bureau Images, left to right -- Three of the major arts events in South Carolina and their estimated economic impact as reported by each event: Spoleto in Charleston ($55 million), ArtFields in Lake City ($5.4 million), Artisphere in Greenville ($5.5 million).

Senator Wes Hayes of Rock Hill receives national Public Leadership in the Arts Award

Americans for the Arts and the National Conference of State Legislatures today announced South Carolina State Senator Robert Wesley (Wes) Hayes of Rock Hill as the recipient of the 2013 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership. The award honors a public official who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts at the state level. Senator Hayes will receive his award today at the National Conference of State Legislatures Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Senator Wes Hayes“I am deeply honored to be recognized as the recipient of the 2013 Public Leadership in the Arts Award. Over the years I have been an advocate for the arts because of the vital role they play in our education system, and because of the important impact that the arts make on the quality of life in my community and throughout the state. Additionally, I have supported the arts because they play an important part of the economic well-being of my state by creating jobs, improving the business climate, and bringing in tourism dollars,” said Hayes. Senator Hayes has been one of the most faithful and effective advocates for the arts to ever serve in South Carolina’s General Assembly. During his nearly 30-year tenure, he has taken a high profile role as a pro-arts legislator, speaking regularly at Arts Advocacy Day events, press conferences and statewide meetings. He has consistently supported and advocated among his colleagues for increases to the South Carolina Arts Commission’s budget, and has consistently led Senate efforts to override the gubernatorial vetoes of arts funding that have become a regular feature of the budget process in recent years. Senator Hayes not only founded South Carolina’s Senate Arts Caucus, but also continues to serve as its co-chair. In addition, he confers annually with arts leadership in the state to develop a legislative agenda for the arts, providing key insights and wise counsel about issues and opportunities. During the last legislative session, he played a key role in winning a $1 million increase to the Arts Commission’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget. “Senator Hayes is one of the great champions for public support of the arts in South Carolina,” said Betty Plumb, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance. “Whether the issue is education policy or the state budget, he is always there to stand up and speak out to make sure that all citizens have a chance to benefit from the arts in their communities and classrooms. He is one of the most respected members of the Senate, and as a Senate co- chair of our Legislative Arts Caucus, we are very lucky that he is willing, time and again, to use his influence to support and defend the arts for the people of our state.” “Senator Hayes has been a tremendous supporter of the arts,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "His advocacy efforts on behalf of the arts in South Carolina not only demonstrate his commitment to public funding for the arts as a financial stimulus in the state’s communities, but also to the people of South Carolina, who benefit from the arts in so many ways.” Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org. Via: Americans for the Arts

Arts agencies, visitor bureaus and destination marketing organizations invited to apply for award

Application deadline is Sept. 9, 2013. Americans for the Arts has partnered with Destination Marketing Association International to establish the 2013 Arts Destination Marketing Award. The Arts Destination Marketing Award is presented annually to leaders from destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and/or convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs) and local arts agencies that work collaboratively using the arts to market the community as a travel destination. This award recognizes the importance of a strong relationship between a community’s destination marketing organizations and its local arts agency. A total of two awards will be presented at The National Arts Marketing Conference, November 9-11, 2013, in Portland, Oregon. The application deadline is Sept. 9, 2013. The application process is simple, and complete guidelines are listed on the application, along with a link to a cultural and heritage-focused toolkit. For more information, e-mail Theresa Cameron at Americans for the Arts. Via: Americans for the Arts  

Telling the story of arts education: “Happiness is the arts”

In this ARTSblog post, Stephanie Milling, assistant dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University, shares her belief that arts educators should collect and share feel good stories that demonstrate how students are transformed by involvement in the arts. We agree, and we invite S.C. arts educators to submit stories, anecdotes or even ideas for stories about your students and how they have benefited from arts education. Use the "Submit a Story" link above, and we'll follow up.

The last couple of weeks, two interesting news stories that shared conflicting perspectives of the arts were reported on the NBC Nightly News. The first report told the story of a failing school in Boston that was turned around when the principal chose to eliminate the funding that customarily subsidized the security force and invest it in the arts. This move that some considered controversial at Orchard Gardens , a school in Roxbury, MA, resulted in one of the fastest student improvement rates statewide. The other anecdotal evidence that students, teachers, and the principal shared during the report reinforced evidence that arts advocates have always had statistics to support: students who study the arts in school perform better in the classroom and demonstrate more prosocial behavior. As an arts advocate, this feel good story tugged at my heart strings. I was satisfied that this principal’s quest to prove the value of the arts in education proved fruitful. As a former teacher in schools like Orchard Gardens, I was delighted to see a failing school turned around. The second report featured the retailer, The Children’s Place, and the demands to stop selling a girls t-shirt after complaints that it portrayed a sexist stereotype. The shirt said “my best subjects,” and featured checkboxes next to shopping, music, dance, and math. The boxes next to shopping, music, and dance contained checks while the box next to math was empty. While the controversy surrounding the shirt was motivated by individuals who viewed the shirt as sexist—and I am not denying that it was sexist–I was also bothered by the fact that it trivialized dance and music as core subject areas. By selling such a product, The Children’s Place and the t-shirt designer communicated that young women are intellectually inferior to their male peers and that studying the arts is equivalent to shopping. While the first news report portrayed the type of story that supports the work arts advocates do in this country, the second illustrates the need for continued dialogue with those who fail to understand the value of the arts in education—even if the faux pas was unintentional. While there are many ways to approach the dialogue of why students benefit from studying the arts with statistics and research to support this perspective, lately I have been thinking of a more straightforward point of entry into the conversation that might resonate with multiple audiences: engagement in the arts can lead to happiness. While approaching a conversation about the value of the arts in education with the idea that it makes us happy might sound facetious, I think it might help develop some common ground between those advocating on behalf of the arts and those who need to be more receptive to the idea that engagement in the arts leads to success in other academic subjects and life. The research of Mihaly Cszikzentmihalyi supports such a claim. Csikszentmihalyi argues that flow is the secret to happiness. Human beings achieve a state of flow when they are engaged in a focused task to the point where they lose themselves the task due to intense focus. Having involvement in such creative activities like the arts help individuals attain happiness in other areas of their lives. While this summary of Csikszentmihalyi’s research does not do it justice, watching his TED talk and reading his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience will make up for my brevity here. The point that I am trying to make is that we need to catalog and share our feel good stories since not all of them will be on the NBC Nightly News. Arts educators regularly see such transformations in their students that are motivated by involvement in the arts. We need to collect these stories and know that they capture the essence of what we aim to accomplish. While the t-shirt being sold at the Children’s Place indicated that dance and music are fun, it sent the wrong message. The arts are not frivolous activities. Instead, it is the challenges that are encountered and surmounted during the creative process that contribute to the happiness felt during artistic activity.
Via: ARTSblog (Americans for the Arts)
The last couple of weeks, two interesting news stories that shared conflicting perspectives of the arts were reported on the NBC Nightly News. The first report told the story of a failing school in Boston that was turned around when the principal chose to eliminate the funding that customarily subsidized the security force and invest it in the arts. This move that some considered controversial at Orchard Gardens , a school in Roxbury, MA, resulted in one of the fastest student improvement rates statewide. The other anecdotal evidence that students, teachers, and the principal shared during the report reinforced evidence that arts advocates have always had statistics to support: students who study the arts in school perform better in the classroom and demonstrate more prosocial behavior. As an arts advocate, this feel good story tugged at my heart strings. I was satisfied that this principal’s quest to prove the value of the arts in education proved fruitful. As a former teacher in schools like Orchard Gardens, I was delighted to see a failing school turned around. The second report featured the retailer, The Children’s Place, and the demands to stop selling a girls t-shirt after complaints that it portrayed a sexist stereotype. The shirt said “my best subjects,” and featured checkboxes next to shopping, music, dance, and math. The boxes next to shopping, music, and dance contained checks while the box next to math was empty. While the controversy surrounding the shirt was motivated by individuals who viewed the shirt as sexist—and I am not denying that it was sexist–I was also bothered by the fact that it trivialized dance and music as core subject areas. By selling such a product, The Children’s Place and the t-shirt designer communicated that young women are intellectually inferior to their male peers and that studying the arts is equivalent to shopping. While the first news report portrayed the type of story that supports the work arts advocates do in this country, the second illustrates the need for continued dialogue with those who fail to understand the value of the arts in education—even if the faux pas was unintentional. While there are many ways to approach the dialogue of why students benefit from studying the arts with statistics and research to support this perspective, lately I have been thinking of a more straightforward point of entry into the conversation that might resonate with multiple audiences: engagement in the arts can lead to happiness. While approaching a conversation about the value of the arts in education with the idea that it makes us happy might sound facetious, I think it might help develop some common ground between those advocating on behalf of the arts and those who need to be more receptive to the idea that engagement in the arts leads to success in other academic subjects and life. The research of Mihaly Cszikzentmihalyi supports such a claim. Csikszentmihalyi argues that flow is the secret to happiness. Human beings achieve a state of flow when they are engaged in a focused task to the point where they lose themselves the task due to intense focus. Having involvement in such creative activities like the arts help individuals attain happiness in other areas of their lives. While this summary of Csikszentmihalyi’s research does not do it justice, watching his TED talk and reading his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience will make up for my brevity here. The point that I am trying to make is that we need to catalog and share our feel good stories since not all of them will be on the NBC Nightly News. Arts educators regularly see such transformations in their students that are motivated by involvement in the arts. We need to collect these stories and know that they capture the essence of what we aim to accomplish. While the t-shirt being sold at the Children’s Place indicated that dance and music are fun, it sent the wrong message. The arts are not frivolous activities. Instead, it is the challenges that are encountered and surmounted during the creative process that contribute to the happiness felt during artistic activity. - See more at: http://blog.artsusa.org/2013/08/14/happiness-is-the-arts/#sthash.gzOzjXPo.dpuf
The last couple of weeks, two interesting news stories that shared conflicting perspectives of the arts were reported on the NBC Nightly News. The first report told the story of a failing school in Boston that was turned around when the principal chose to eliminate the funding that customarily subsidized the security force and invest it in the arts. This move that some considered controversial at Orchard Gardens , a school in Roxbury, MA, resulted in one of the fastest student improvement rates statewide. The other anecdotal evidence that students, teachers, and the principal shared during the report reinforced evidence that arts advocates have always had statistics to support: students who study the arts in school perform better in the classroom and demonstrate more prosocial behavior. As an arts advocate, this feel good story tugged at my heart strings. I was satisfied that this principal’s quest to prove the value of the arts in education proved fruitful. As a former teacher in schools like Orchard Gardens, I was delighted to see a failing school turned around. The second report featured the retailer, The Children’s Place, and the demands to stop selling a girls t-shirt after complaints that it portrayed a sexist stereotype. The shirt said “my best subjects,” and featured checkboxes next to shopping, music, dance, and math. The boxes next to shopping, music, and dance contained checks while the box next to math was empty. While the controversy surrounding the shirt was motivated by individuals who viewed the shirt as sexist—and I am not denying that it was sexist–I was also bothered by the fact that it trivialized dance and music as core subject areas. By selling such a product, The Children’s Place and the t-shirt designer communicated that young women are intellectually inferior to their male peers and that studying the arts is equivalent to shopping. While the first news report portrayed the type of story that supports the work arts advocates do in this country, the second illustrates the need for continued dialogue with those who fail to understand the value of the arts in education—even if the faux pas was unintentional. While there are many ways to approach the dialogue of why students benefit from studying the arts with statistics and research to support this perspective, lately I have been thinking of a more straightforward point of entry into the conversation that might resonate with multiple audiences: engagement in the arts can lead to happiness. While approaching a conversation about the value of the arts in education with the idea that it makes us happy might sound facetious, I think it might help develop some common ground between those advocating on behalf of the arts and those who need to be more receptive to the idea that engagement in the arts leads to success in other academic subjects and life. The research of Mihaly Cszikzentmihalyi supports such a claim. Csikszentmihalyi argues that flow is the secret to happiness. Human beings achieve a state of flow when they are engaged in a focused task to the point where they lose themselves the task due to intense focus. Having involvement in such creative activities like the arts help individuals attain happiness in other areas of their lives. While this summary of Csikszentmihalyi’s research does not do it justice, watching his TED talk and reading his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience will make up for my brevity here. The point that I am trying to make is that we need to catalog and share our feel good stories since not all of them will be on the NBC Nightly News. Arts educators regularly see such transformations in their students that are motivated by involvement in the arts. We need to collect these stories and know that they capture the essence of what we aim to accomplish. While the t-shirt being sold at the Children’s Place indicated that dance and music are fun, it sent the wrong message. The arts are not frivolous activities. Instead, it is the challenges that are encountered and surmounted during the creative process that contribute to the happiness felt during artistic activity. - See more at: http://blog.artsusa.org/2013/08/14/happiness-is-the-arts/#sthash.gzOzjXPo.dpuf
   

Arts education data outlined in easy-to-read e-book

In partnership with Vans Custom Culture, Americans for the Arts recently released Facts & Figures, the first e-book in a new series, Arts Education Navigator. Facts & Figures provides all of the data needed to convince someone of the benefits of arts education and illustrates the urgent need to prevent the decline of arts education. Drawing on classic research in an easy-to-read format, this e-book highlights key data points every advocate needs when discussing the importance of arts education. The e-book also provides ideas for using the data, including sharing the facts and starting conversations with decision-makers about arts education. Download the e-book. Arts Education Navigator Sample pages from Facts & Figures Via: Americans for the Arts  

Milly

Young arts professionals gathering in Greenville

The South Carolina Young Professionals Arts Network (SCYPAN) is celebrating National Arts and Humanities Month by hosting an Americans for the Arts "Creative Conversation" on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. in Greenville, S.C., at the downtown Mellow Mushroom. The event will an informal, casual conversation about the role of the young professional in the arts industry - both as an employee and as a patron -- lead by the SCYPAN leadership team. Order some pizza and drinks and meet others in the industry interested in capitalizing on the influence and enthusiasm of young professionals. This event is open to the public, but registration is requested. Read more and find out how to register on SCYPAN's website. SCYPAN is South Carolina's only statewide group for young professionals in the arts industry. Providing networking opportunities, advocacy alerts, industry updates and acting as a resource for all members of the community, SCYPAN serves young professionals ages 21-35 across the arts spectrum - from artists, to managers, to designers, to board members. Via: SCYPAN

Creative Conversation event Oct. 13