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Arts and Culture Public Officials Breakfast 2015

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Arts Cleveland Blog

Showing blog posts written by Megan Van Voorhis

Report from Capitol Hill

Earlier this week, I joined over 500 artists, arts administrators, arts educators and students in Washington, D.C. to advocate for favorable arts and cultural policy at the federal level. I have to confess, this is the first time I have ever been to the National Arts Action Summit and Arts Advocacy Day. My years of experience have demonstrated that the best relationships with public officials are built at home over time – long before you have to make an ask of them. What makes this year special, then? In short, for a second year in a row the President has proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts – an action that would have material impact on the arts and society. Going to Washington would ensure I can sleep at night, knowing that I had left no advocacy opportunity vacant.

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Categories: advocacy, Arts Education, Connecting with Policy Makers, funding | comments

Do you remember that time we all went down to City Hall?

When we talk with people about public policy and the arts at CPAC, it’s not unusual for that question to come up. ‘I do remember’, I say. ‘It was one of the first arts activities I was involved in when I came to Cleveland.’ Following on the heels of the City of Cleveland’s adoption of a live/work ordinance, Cleveland City Council adopted resolution No. 491-02 calling for an “Artists’ Summit and Exhibit for the purpose of promoting and supporting local Cleveland artists, underscoring their importance to this community and fostering cultural and artistic exchange and opportunities to all artists and citizens in the city.” We convened on Wednesday, May 15, 2002. It was significant because it was the first time that artists, arts and culture leadership and sector supporters assembled en masse at City Hall to talk about how to advance arts and culture in Cleveland. It was an exciting day for all those who experienced it. A report was issued from the proceedings, a second summit was held in October of that year, and that was it. Fifteen years later, people still look back on that moment fondly, but then they say, what happened from all of that?

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Categories: public policy | comments

Our story began with you. Our future starts with you.

The last year has been a pretty quiet one as far as CPAC goes. Certainly 2017 was stormy as far as the fate of public sector funding for arts and culture at the national and local levels. Will the CPB, IMLS, NEA and NEH survive? Will the cigarette excise tax revenue run out? If so, at what pace? And, how should we respond? And then there was the private philanthropy side, with many expected changes beginning to take root. Significant as those things are, it was a pretty quiet year at CPAC. Why? Because in uncertain times it’s useful to pause and take stock of things. Reflect. That’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve been quietly reflecting – on our past, and on our future.

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The Federal Tax Bill…And Us.

Over the weekend, a tax reform bill was passed by the U.S. Senate. Now, a conference committee has been charged with reconciling that bill with one previously passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The objective is to produce a bill that the President can sign before December 25. There are a number of provisions that affect those of us working in nonprofits and public service. The Arts Action Fund has a helpful analysis of the bills and how the arts could be affected. We wanted to make sure that you are aware of a few of those provisions and to provide you with some resources to find out more information.

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Categories: advocacy, public policy, tax | comments

Is an arts job really as legitimate as a [insert every other industry here] job?

My colleagues in the arts industry may bristle at this question, particularly in light of the fact that I’m an arts and culture advocate. If truth be told, I thought we had moved beyond the point where we have to answer this question, due in large part to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis & National Endowment for the Arts. Last year, they released data demonstrating the considerable contribution that arts and cultural production makes to the GDP. After years of local and national organizations conducting analyses to explore the role of arts and culture in the economy – much to the dismay of some in the arts and culture field – the economists in government were finally paying attention.

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Categories: Artist as an Entrepreneur, Artists, Education, research | comments

National Organizations Examine Creative Intersections

'Snaps and Words'

We spend a lot of time analyzing the environment in which the arts and culture sector operates, both locally and nationally. We follow the news closely to understand what’s top of mind in our community and we meet with people outside of arts and culture to learn the same. We have conversations with artists and arts and cultural leadership to understand their priorities and challenges. Along the way, we identify those places where the priorities of the arts and culture sector serve the broader community. We call those creative intersections.

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Categories: Artists, arts and culture, artsandhealth, creative intersections, Health, Neighborhoods | comments

Moving Forward with Light Speed

Yard signs are popping up all over Cuyahoga County. Newsletters and emails are being sent. Literature is being dropped. Phone calls are being made. Curtain speeches are rolling forth. Momentum is building. The force, as they say, has indeed awakened. I could go on with the Star Wars metaphor, by noting how useful a Jedi mind trick would be to the arts and culture campaign, but really, what we need is one big force push to ensure that arts and culture prevails.

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What I did for Summer Vacation: A Reflection on the Arts and Democracy

This summer, I had the opportunity to attend the Kettering Foundation’s Deliberative Democracy Exchange in Dayton, Ohio. The week-long event brought people together from throughout the world to have conversations related to one fundamental question for Kettering: What does it take to make democracy work as it should? With the turmoil in the Middle East, the ongoing questions about the justice system in the United States, and the influence of money in our elections system, you like many Americans, might be wondering if democracy can work. In truth, there are days I get so frustrated by what I see that I wonder if there is any hope at all for our democracy. Then I remember something really important. It is our democracy, and without citizen engagement, it can’t function as such.

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Categories: Civic Engagement, Neighborhoods, public benefit, public policy | comments

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