What the NEA means to us ...   07.24.09

I'd like to start by saying, simply, I <3 the National Endowment for the Arts. I've worked at three different arts organizations in the last 10 years (The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Mid-America Arts Alliance, and now SPACES) and all are regular recipients of NEA funding. For example, the SPACES World Artist Program (SWAP) has received NEA funding for the last six years.

Reason enough to love the NEA, right? They support fabulous art institutions that bring quality art to communities of all sizes across the United States.

But, as with all relationships, it's a little more complicated than that.

Rewind almost three years ...

I was working from my home office in Cleveland for Mid-America Arts Alliance, which is located in Kansas City, Missouri. As a fairly recent transplant to Ohio, I wanted to get to know the area, so I volunteered at the Cleveland Artists Foundation. The nice gallery manager there, Nicole Edwards, told me that there was a development manager position open at SPACES. Shortly after that, she started working for SPACES in a communications role, and I was hired for the development position.

We share an office, the same middle name (Louise) and the same taste in music. She's a really, really wonderful person to work with.

But we almost didn't live happily ever after ...

Things are tight, folks. We are a nonprofit, and I'd be kidding you, me, and a whole bunch of other people if I said that we aren't thinking a lot about where the next dollar is coming from. Fortunately, the National Endowment for the Arts used funds allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for job preservation. More precisely: to support the preservation of jobs that are threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn.

We applied and received funds to preserve the communications manager position. That means Nicole  -- without whom I wouldn't have this job -- can count on keeping her job.

I love the NEA ...

~ Posted by Sarah Hoyt, Sr. Marketing & Development Manager

Author: Christopher Lynn, Executive Director
Category: General

Budget Update from Ohio Citizens for the Arts   07.22.09

Below is a "re-printing" of an email from Ohio Citizens for the Arts. Thank you to all you corresponded with your representatives and policy makers to retain arts funding. Please continue your efforts and do all you can to educate your politicians about the arts and their importance to our communities.  I recommend reviewing the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Advocacy FAQ page.
The final curtain in the budget drama came down with a thud as the Governor signed the state's FY 2010-2011 budget.  In the worst economic crisis since the creation of the Ohio Arts Council, the good news is that there still is an agency.

Your advocacy efforts ensured we still have an Ohio Arts Council despite threats of extinction by some law makers.  Thanks to all of you who participated in this process.

The bad news is that the Ohio Arts Council will have fewer dollars to help Ohio's vital arts community in the coming biennium. We are deeply disappointed in the final budget allocations for the Ohio Arts Council, which total $13,188,580 for the biennium.  This funding represents a 47% decrease from the original appropriation of $24.9 million for the previous biennium and a 38% decrease from the final allocation of $21.3 million. We are disappointed that the members of the Ohio legislature and the Governor, who heard our message and told us they agreed that the arts are important and worth the state's investment, in the end did not provide adequate funding.

We must recognize that with tight budgets as far into the future as discernible, with the plague of term limits which restrict members to a few years of learning about the arts, and with increasing problems in the area of Ohio's economy and education, it is now imperative that we do much more on a constant basis to educate members of the legislature, possible members of the legislature, and the Governor about the importance of what we do to help solve Ohio's most pressing problems.  If you believe in the necessity of public support to keep our arts institutions and artists viable, we must redouble our efforts at communicating that which we know to a certitude to legislators.

Our policy makers must be made to understand the role the arts play in education.  We now have generations of tests which prove conclusively that children who are immersed in the arts do better across the board, in every subject and in their ability to learn.

The Board and staff at Ohio Citizens for the Arts have never been more proud of the arts advocates in Ohio.  During this budget cycle more than 25,000,000 emails were sent to the Governor and members of the Ohio House and Senate.  Arts advocates made personal visits with legislators at home and in Columbus. Arts advocates worked beyond the call of duty to enlist friends and colleagues to join in the advocacy effort.  Editorials, facebook, blogs, and websites all carried the call to action in support of the arts. We thank you for your dedication.

We must forge ahead in our efforts to educate policy makers about the value of and need for the arts in Ohio.  We must continue to deliver the message that the arts in Ohio are part of the solution.  The arts are economic drivers that generate revenue:

Creative industries contribute more than $25 billion to Ohio's economy annually
Creative industries support 231,200 jobs in Ohio's economy annually
Creative industries generate $1.06 billion in state and local tax revenues annually
Creative industries generate $1.78 billion in federal tax revenues annually

Ohio Citizens for the Arts is committed to help you, your organization, and your community to continue the fight for arts funding. Together we can educate and prepare legislators to be better equipped to make the right decisions about investing in the arts.

William P. Blair
Legislative Counsel
Donna S. Collins
Executive Director
Ohio Citizens for the Arts

Author: Christopher Lynn, Executive Director
Category: General

links for 2009-07-22   07.22.09

the Cloud Project: About
"Developments in nanotechnology and planetary-scale engineering point to new possibilities for us to conform the global environment to our needs. These advances combined with a dream to make clouds snow ice cream have inspired a series of experiments that look at ways to alter the composition of clouds to make new and delicious sensory experiences. Using ice-cream as a catalyst for interesting dialogue, the projects focus is to welcome people into a mobile space that sits outside institutions, letting new audiences experience and imagine emerging scientific developments and their consequences."

Why can't art be allowed to shock? (The Guardian)
"Nobody seems to think there's anything wrong with art being poignant just for the sake of being poignant, or angry just for the sake of being angry, or beautiful just for the sake of being beautiful. So shock seems a perfectly legitimate effect. It is a slightly lumphammer approach, though, because shock is an unsubtle state. To be "in shock" means your faculties are more or less paralysed. These will tend to include the aesthetic, emotional and discriminatory ones. And if you've really shocked the audience, you may find yourself running out of moves. Soon you're playing the fire alarm, not the piano."
(tags: art.criticism Dash.Snow New.York shock.tactics)

Bicycle Kitchen Los Angeles
"Official Mission Statement: Our mission is to promote the bicycle as a fun, safe, and accessible form of transportation, to foster healthy urban communities, and to provide a welcoming space to learn about building maintaining, and riding bicycles."
(tags: environment non.profit.organizations Bicycle.Kitchen Los.Angeles bicycles community)

Author: Christopher Lynn, Executive Director
Category: Links

links for 2009-07-20   07.20.09

Belgium Pillow Fight (
Feathers fly as people participate in a giant pillow-fight at the central train station in Antwerp, Belgium, Saturday July 18, 2009. More than 200 participants, some dressed in pyjamas, showed up at the station in the morning to participate in the impromptu event which was organized by people using text messages and the Internet.

Author: Christopher Lynn, Executive Director
Category: Links

links for 2009-07-18   07.18.09

Art House Co-op | We build art projects and communities
We're a co-op of artists from all over the world that explores both the virtual and physical aspects of art.

Brooklyn Artist Swoon Invades the Venice Biennale on Boats Built From Garbage ( New York Magazine)
"This week, Swoon, a 31-year-old Brooklyn artist whose name is Caledonia Callie Curry, is leading a waterborne invasion of the Venice Biennale (she didnt bother to try to get in officially) with a crew of 30 artists, musicians, and miscreants in tow. Though they have raised some $150,000 for this crash party, the money wont show in the boats theyll travel in, because the boats are made of trash"a symbol of the freedom that comes with radical self-reliance, and one that is meant to effect change."
(tags: performance Swoon Venice.Biennale garbage New.York.City boats)

Author: Christopher Lynn, Executive Director
Category: Links

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