Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Committee's Work Is Never Done

The Arts Education Comprehensive Task Force had its final meeting on November 10, or so they thought. How would we describe the people who have and will continue to help shape arts education policy in North Carolina? The members of the Arts Education Comprehensive Task Force are a disparate group of devoted individuals who labored for and achieved consensus because North Carolina children remained at the center of their discussion. The Committee met their legislative goal of a final report that will be presented to the North Carolina State Board of Education on December 1 and to the North Carolina General Assembly Joint Education Oversight Committee on December 2.
The basic framework of the plan has been approved:
• Implement the Basic Education Plan for Arts Education in grades K-12
• Require a unit in arts education for high school graduation
• Support and expand A+ Schools
However, the Committee understandably ran out of time to complete an implementation plan (time frame and funding), and so a sub-committee will convene to finish their recommendations by March 1. The timing will give arts education advocates plenty of time to have the answers to lots of questions we will surely get from our own industry and from the Legislature when we move forward on arts education policy.
In the meantime, a hearty “bravo” to co-chairs Mary Regan (North Carolina Arts Council) and Helga Fasciano (North Carolina Department of Public Instruction) for brilliant organizational practices that made the impossible a reality.

When Work Is Fun

ARTS North Carolina is scheduling Advocacy Workshops across North Carolina.  To follow is a list of locations and dates; contact the sponsoring organization or ARTS North Carolina for more information. 919-834-1411. All workshops are free but participants should rsvp to

February 8  Seagrove
3pm - North Carolina Pottery Center

February 10 Mt. Airy
12 Noon - Surry County Arts Council

February 16 Concord
5:30pm  Arts Council of Cabarrus County

February 18 Charlotte
9am  Arts and Science Council offices
sponsored by Community School of the Arts

February 24 Lumberton
5:30pm Carolina Civic Center
301 West 17th Street
Lumberton, NC 28358
Contact: Richard Sceiford

February 28 Chatham County
Chatham County Arts Council and Northwood High School Education Foundation
7:00pm (note new time)
Northwood High School

March 2 Wilmington
5:30 pm Cameron Art Museum

March 3  Goldsboro
5pm Arts Council of Wayne County

March 8  Raleigh
12 noon - United Arts of Raleigh/Wake County
110 South Blount Street
Raleigh, NC  27601
rsvp to
limited capacity - first come, first served
byo lunch - water provided

March 10 Greensboro/Guilford County
noon - Greensboro downtown library
contact:  United Arts of Greensboro - Altina Layman

4:30 - Ben Smith High School
contact:  Nathan Street

March 11 High Point/Guilford County
12 noon  High Point Arts Council

March 14 Durham
11:30am Durham Arts Council
Contact:  Margaret Demott

March 28 Chapel Hill
2:00pm Center for Dramatic Art/PlayMakers Repertory Company
Room 105
Contact: Shane D. Hudson -
rsvp to

Want to tell someone about the workshops?  We encourage you to promote the "fun", but the official description is:

The economic conditions of the past two years changed life as we knew it, and through it all, the arts have been essential to sustaining community life and in positioning creativity as necessary for economic recovery and a global economy. But in order for the arts to thrive, individuals must join together in a common message of arts value. Advocacy Workshops presented by ARTS North Carolina explore how advocacy is “mission critical” to grow arts support. Executive Director Karen Wells and ARTS North Carolina Board members bring knowledge, skills, and inside information on how to navigate local and state government resources.
While the calendars are out...

ARTS DAY 2011 - APRIL 11 & 12 - Send us your "picture perfect" and we'll feature you on your own advocacy materials.  (Send to

Make New Friends, but Keep The Old

There are some songs that never leave your head. As we prepare for a change at the helm of North Carolina’s Senate and House, we would be well advised to follow tried and true principles.

Make New Friends:
• Write letters of congratulations to individuals who won their elections.
• If you are an organization, publish short bios of the newly elected Senators and Representatives, with photos, and encourage your supporters to speak to the elected officials about the arts and economic recovery.
• If you are an artist or organization, make sure the newly elected are on your mailing list.
• Plan to attend the January 26th Swearing In Ceremony at the General Assembly to support and congratulate your Senators and Representatives.
• Use any opportunity (Food Lion check-out, soccer practice, etc) to tell your elected official that you would like to visit with them about arts and economic recovery…then do it!

Keep The Old:
• Write letters of appreciation to individuals who have supported the arts but lost their election.
• Ask the individual if you can meet to get their advice on how to best advocate for the arts…then do it! Use the experience of supporters who have “retired”.

Need contact information on your new Legislators?

Thursday, November 4, 2010


ARTS North Carolina encourages all arts advocates to write personal letters to all winners in the 2010 elections.  William Lewis, Executive Director of Pinecone, got right on it.  To follow is an excellent sample letter:

On behalf of PineCone - the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, Inc., and its Board of Directors, I would like to express my sincerest congratulations to you for winning your district! I am writing to pledge my support and share with you my belief that the arts are a viable solution for economic recovery. Simply put, arts = jobs!

According to a study in 2009 by the NC Department of Commerce’s Policy, Research, and Strategic Planning Division, the cultural industries contribute about 5% of North Carolina’s economy. This is evident in the following findings:

• Cultural industries create and sustain more than 293,000 jobs in North Carolina, or 5.54% of total state employment.

• The market value of goods and services produced and sustained by North Carolina cultural industries is more than $41.4 billion, or 5.86% of North Carolina’s total production.

• North Carolina’s cultural industries directly and indirectly account for 5.31% of the state’s gross domestic product with a contribution of more than $19.5 billion.

• Cultural industries sustain over $10 billion of employee compensation, greater than 4.9% of the state’s total wages and benefits.

A full report is enclosed.

Funding from the North Carolina Arts Council has been critical to the development of many of the state’s cultural organizations, helping to bring stability to our state’s arts community and providing leverage for groups to seek business, foundation, and other agency matching grants. Funding from the NC Arts Council is essential to PineCone’s general operations, as it helps pay for salaries for our two full-time and one part-time staff. Consequently, we are able to produce more than 150 music programs annually – serving more than 24,000 North Carolinians, plus an additional 4.5 million radio listeners.

We realize the difficulties facing the NC General Assembly in this next session. Thus, we ask you to consider those of us in the cultural industries as partners in finding creative solutions to job growth. As the numbers above bear out, the cultural industries make a significant contribution to North Carolina’s overall economy and employment. We are ready and willing to work with you to help provide solutions to several of your key challenges.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

Bravo, William!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

in other words...

in other words

ARTS North Carolina has a lot to say about arts education. But we’re turning over the mic to our Board members who are Task Force members and others who attended the third Arts Education Comprehensive Plan Task Force on October 21. The draft work of the Task Force will be presented at the North Carolina State Board of Education meeting on November 3. You can and should attend the State Board meeting and the next Task Force meeting scheduled for November 10. Now read on for the reflections of arts leaders in North Carolina about the Task Force work…

As a neophyte about the complexities of the issues on the table, and as someone observing a limited portion of the process for the first time, I was impressed by how well task force members seemed to be working together to achieve results; by the breadth and depth of the task force’s inquiries (as demonstrated by reporting on additional requested information); and by the support of the North Carolina Arts Council’s staff. The imperative for success has certainly never been more clear in my own mind after listening to the passion, concerns, and aspirations of individuals representing educators, educational administrators, our communities, and the arts.
Merritt Vale, President and CEO, Winston Salem Symphony

I was very impressed with the work of the group. They arrived at a lot of consensus about the need for major changes in our schools, in order to do what's right for the children in our state. It was clear to me, and seemed to be clear to many of the task force members, that legislation will need to be introduced to implement these changes. I am hopeful that the members of Arts NC and NCTC will have an exciting bill to support in the next session.
Angie Hays, Executive Director, North Carolina Theatre Conference

What a daunting task and important task. I was only able to stay through the early portion of the meeting, but in that time was impressed with the careful thought of the members of the task force and encouraged by the dialogue that I was present to hear.
Sharon Moore, Director, Center Stage

It was great to see legislative work in progress. There were teachers, administrators, lawyers, legislators and others working together on the common goal of developing an arts education plan for all North Carolina students. Although they didn't always agree on 'how' an arts education plan will be implemented, they were in total agreement on 'why' the plan is essential and that vision keeps the Arts Education Task Force moving forward. Our state is blessed to have this level of leadership committed to our children's overall education.
Debbie Lumpkin, Executive Director, High Point Area Arts Council

I applaud the work of the Arts Education Task Force.  It was so encouraging to see this group, made up of professionals representing all sectors of the education community, unified behind the vision that the arts are essential to an education that will prepare our students for the new global, knowledge-based economy.
Catherine Heitz New, Director of Corporate and Workplace Giving at The Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County

I am impressed by the thoughtful questions the committee is asking but mostly I am absolutely thrilled that there is a room full of legislators, superintendents, principals and citizens who are seriously working to insure that every student in NC has high quality arts education in his/her school!
Judy Osborne, Theatre Arts Educator, Union Pines High School

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

From ARTS North Carolina's President...

The Arts Education Task Force met on October 5th for our second meeting, which included a presentation on A+ Schools programs. Committee member and Guilford County Schools principal Alan Parker stated, "In all my twenty-plus years of teaching and administrating, the three years I spent at Parkview A+ School were my most rewarding." 

Representative Becky Carney, a true champion for arts education in North Carolina's public schools, inspired the group when she said, "It is not the job of this Committee to determine whether we have arts education policy, it is our job to determine how we serve the children of North Carolina through arts education." 

The Task Force is working on a mission statement and will meet again on October 21. A report is due to the North Carolina General Assembly by December 1.

Pierce Egerton
ARTS North Carolina President and Arts Education Task Force Member

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Counting the Days

The arts are an election issue.  At this critical moment in time, candidates are talking about jobs, the economy, values, and how to transform education.  North Carolina's creative industry is responsible for 300,000 jobs and $40+ billion in goods and services. It's up to us to connect the dots.

The time to make a friend with people who hold the power to affect the arts is BEFORE the election.  With less than 28 days remaining, get engaged and act on your passion for the arts.

     Individuals can send contributions to their choice of candidates.
     Individuals can volunteer for the campaigns.
     Organizations and individuals can inform and engage
          Attend a rally or a forum
          Submit questions to websites conducting forums and to candidate websites.
          Write a letter to the editor

Most importantly, VOTE on NOVEMBER 2.  If you run an organization, give your staff an hour off and make a big deal to people around you encouraging them to vote. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Arts Education Task Force Update

The Arts Education Comprehensive Plan Task Force met today in Raleigh for their first meeting and began the arduous task of creating a plan to address arts education needs in public schools K-12... by December 1. 

This message is being sent as a personal reflection from ARTS North Carolina staff and should not be read as formal minutes or as a definitive direction of the Committee. Any responses to this listserv message will be compiled and passed on to Committee leadership.

The five-hour meeting began with an overview of the Basic Education Plan, which was actually adopted by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1984 with final revision in 1995. The BEP, if it had been funded, would have created a dynamic platform of creativity and progressive education in North Carolina. Arts education language is clear and directive in the BEP, which still remains a law in North Carolina. 

NCDPI also provided information on funding formulas and how money is allocated based on number of students and types of instruction.

The work of the Committee began in earnest in break-out sessions, and several themes emerged that will be addressed at future meetings: 
  • Restoring and funding art education
    • What exactly is a mandate?
    • How would arts education be accountable?
  • Who is teaching arts education: highly qualified licensed arts educators or classrooms teachers? What does this mean in actuality, and why is this question relevant?
  • How can a comprehensive plan be sustained throughout a child's entire education, K-12?
  • What is the role of our higher education system in training teachers and supporting arts education?
  • How are different learning styles addressed through arts integration, specifically the A+ Schools program and any other national models?
  • What are models of implementation, and how are districts that have requirements managing in today's economy?
  • What are the benefits of arts education specifically related to drop-out rates and workforce preparedness, and how can they be articulated?
  • How can arts education partner with STEM initiatives (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)? (One visionary Committee member clearly stated, "one will not work without the other".)

If you would like to see how these questions and powerful issues will be addressed by the Task Force, you can attend any of the meetings as an observer:
  • October 5 – NC Archives and History – 10am - 3pm
  • October 21 – NC Archives and History – 10am - 3pm
  • November 10 – NCDPI – 10am - 3pm

Also, if you have not encouraged your candidates for North Carolina Senate and House to complete ARTS North Carolina's survey, please do so by directing candidates to:

85% of the 58 responses so far answered "yes" to this question: Will you support funding and legislation that make the arts part of the core curriculum and after-school learning opportunities?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Old-Fashioned Way

Last Friday, ARTS North Carolina sent a Call to Action to activate our electronic program, Capwiz, so you could quickly e-mail candidates a request to complete our election survey. It didn't work. We learned with the first call about a problem that the data they use is from the 2000 Census.

On that same day, ARTS North Carolina staff and Board met with a high ranking Legislator who told us that our survey was very, very important. Not only will the candidates' responses be important in your decision to vote, but how they respond serves as a base line to begin conversations after the election.

We believe that your membership demonstrates an understanding of the importance of arts advocacy and that you will go the extra mile on this important survey initiative. PLEASE:
  • Know your candidates running for North Carolina House, Senate, US Senate, and US House If in doubt, go to the State Board of Elections website (
  • Check this page to see if your candidates have responded (
  • Use your web browser to search for the candidate's web page, which should give you an e-mail address or a "contact" form
  • If the candidate doesn't have a web page, contact your local Board of Elections
  • Send a brief message that says:
Be sure and include your name and address so the candidate can verify that you are a voter in their district.

With your help, we can get this done. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Take Action for Arts Education

September 12 - 18 is proclaimed Arts in Education Week by US Congress Resolution 275 (
Publicly recognizing the value of arts education is an opportunity and a privilege. Please take these actions in service to our educators, our children, our economy, and our civic interests.
  • Write a short opinion letter and send to your local internet and print media.
  • Follow the example of Pitt County:
    Get on the agendas of the County Commissioners, City Council, and Local School Board for five minutes. Bring a student artist or two. Make a short presentation on the value of arts education.
  • Focus all your social media communications in support of arts education for the entire week.
  • Invite a legislator (and local elected officials) to go with you to an arts class or program in your school (good idea to check with the school first).
Imagine for one moment that all 100 counties had activists who followed these suggestions. Just imagine.
ARTS North Carolina snail-mailed over 300 letters today to candidates running for statewide and national positions. We asked them to complete a very short survey about their positions on public funding for the arts and funding and policy for arts education. In one week, we will send you a Call to Action and give you the links to your district's statewide candidates, and if your candidate has not responded, we will give you instructions about urging their response. You can check out our Election 2010 information as it goes up on our web at

Monday, August 23, 2010

Speaking of Elections...

Between arts education advocacy and the November 2 elections, ARTS North Carolina's Advocacy Update and Call to Action messages will be frequent. 
We pledge to keep information as simple as possible and Calls to Action reasonable and doable. But we need a wholesale change in the number of people who are responding activists. Even as battles are being fought on the local level, give us a piece of your attention so that we can effect change on the state and national levels. 
For example, if we had an enforceable statewide policy on arts education, would our local programs be in such jeopardy?

Advocacy Update - Arts Education: Time to Get Educated

This summer the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Congressional Resolution designating a week beginning September 12 as "Arts in Education Week." This resolution is the first Congressional expression of support celebrating all the disciplines comprising arts education and comes at a time when Congress is making plans to overhaul federal education policy.

How timely. This summer North Carolina's General Assembly unanimously passed Senate Bill 66 authoring a Task Force to create a comprehensive arts education plan for North Carolina. The Task Force will hold its first meeting on September 22.

ARTS North Carolina will begin a series of messages encouraging action steps you can take to support arts education in our state and in our nation. 

We must embrace and literally push forward the arts as a key ingredient of public school reform. We cannot imagine who would not have a vested interest in young people learning through and becoming successful because of arts education. "Arts education is not ornamental, it is fundamental," and anyone who says it costs too much money does not have their priorities in place. 

That's our job: to help get priorities in place.

Action step one: Read the Congressional resolution (note the news of North Carolina's own Milton Rhodes right above resolution info) and the North Carolina Comprehensive Arts Education Plan bill: Action step two: Contact your local Board of Elections and find out who is running for School Board in your district. Today's action step is about being informed, the first step in successful advocacy.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stay Tuned - NCAC Grants Funding

The North Carolina Legislature recommended sustained grants funding for the North Carolina Arts Council, but because of concerns about Medicaid reimbursement and economic stimulus extensions, 1% was held back from every state department. The net effect on grants was a 2.5% holdback. 

The federal jobs bill that broke through a filibuster yesterday has $16 billion in Medicaid reimbursement, and the bill is expected to be on the President's desk in the next few days. This could mean good news for grant recipients, but the impact will not be known when grants are announced by Secretary Carlisle at a news conference Monday in Durham. 

Stay tuned and live expectantly.

State Board Appoints Arts Education Task Force

The North Carolina State Board of Education unanimously voted to appoint the Arts Education Task Force members at its Thursday meeting. Senate Bill 66 calls for the Task Force to consider and recommend K-12 arts education policy, implementation strategies, and funding needs to the North Carolina Joint Education Oversight Committee by December 1. The appointees include:
  • Helga Fasciano, Co-Chair (NCDPI)
  • Mary Regan, Co-Chair (North Carolina Arts Council)
  • Becky Bailey, Facilitator (Meredith College)
  • Dan Stirckland – Superintendent, Columbus County Schools
  • Tony Baldwin – Superintendent, Buncombe County Schools
  • Jeffrey Cox – Superintendent, Alleghany County Schools
  • Jan King – Principal, Henderson County Schools
  • Greg Monroe – Principal, Greene County Schools
  • Alan Parker – Principal, Guilford County Schools
  • Noël Grady-Smith – Dance Educator, Davie County Schools
  • Barbara Geer – Music Educator (Retired), Wake County Schools
  • Gordon Hensley – Theatre Educator, Appalachian State University
  • Cheryl Maney – Visual Arts Educator, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
  • Jane Austen-Behan – LEA Arts Coordinator, Pitt County Schools
  • Catherine Demcio – A+ Schools, Wake County
  • Debra Horton – Executive Director, NCPTA
  • Pierce Egerton – President, ARTS North Carolina
  • Martin Lancaster – President (Retired), NC Community School System
  • Senator Katie Dorsett – Co-Chair, Joint Select Committee on Arts Education
  • Genevieve Farmer – Member, Joint Select Committee on Arts Education

Four additional appointees are TBD, including one Senator and one Representative from the North Carolina General Assembly.

ARTS North Carolina will keep you updated on all Committee meetings, locations, processes, and decisions. This is our industry's opportunity to make sure that every child in North Carolina has equal access and opportunity to be successful in school because arts education is valued as an essential core subject.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Value of Membership

ARTS North Carolina has begun its membership campaign asking organizations to renew for 2010-11. Individuals will receive a letter next week. We once had a very articulate Board member who would ask the question, "What is my return value?" He took a hard line business approach, and we continue to thank him.

His question will always be relevant. Over the years, ARTS North Carolina has increased recurring grant funds and then sustained them in the most difficult economic climate our nation has ever known. ARTS North Carolina brought arts education to the forefront of our Legislature and spearheaded the passage of Senate Bill 66, North Carolina's first legislation in support of arts education.

ARTS North Carolina passed the amusements tax exemption for all arts non-profit organizations... twice. We produce a highly effective legislative day, we connect our industry through communications, and we are reaching new constituents through our lively social media initiatives. We strategize and train people how to strategize in their communities. (On that note, get ready for Election 2010!)

Before one Legislative session is finished, we are working on the next. We provide the mechanism for one of our most fundamental rights – the right to petition government. We give people the opportunity to make a difference, one action at a time. ARTS North Carolina does this work with you and because of you, and we are grateful for your sustaining support.

You can skip the paper work and renew now on-line at You can print our form and have us charge your credit card each month. You can make a pledge, and we will invoice you. You can stick a check in the mail. The important thing is to take action and keep us speaking for the arts wherever there is need.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Most Important Call to Action

Congratulations to every single individual who wrote a letter or e-mail, talked to a Legislator, attended ARTS Day, or engaged in any advocacy strategy. The arts continue to be recognized as an essential value proposition in North Carolina because of your efforts.

However, the most important action you can take to ensure continued arts support is to voice your appreciation to our Legislators and Governor. You won't need facts and statistics; you will need heart and sincerity. We cannot stress how important this communication will be to future advocacy.

Our state leadership MUST BE thanked for unanimously passing Senate Bill 66 requiring a Task Force to create a comprehensive arts education plan for North Carolina and for sustaining recurring grant funds (less a small percentage held back for possible Medicaid issues) for the grants programs of the North Carolina Arts Council. Between arts education and public funding, there is virtually no sector of our industry unaffected by these successes.

The electronic program you enter when you click the Take Action! option at the bottom of this post is nothing short of a miracle in technology. It will allow letters from across the state to go to Governor Perdue and it will also select your Representative and Senator from your Legislative district. The entire process will take you no longer than five minutes to complete, and that includes stamping and putting your letter in the mail. We want them to see your signature, the personal note you may write on your letter, the first class stamp, the return address, and the postmark from their district.

Make a difference today. Think how fortunate we are to live in North Carolina where leaders understand that the arts are essential to economic development, educational excellence, and civic pride. We must never take enlightenment for granted and must be passionate and creative in expressing our appreciation and support. Take Action! no later than Friday, July 30.  Instructions on how to complete your letter are included.
Imagine shaping the future of arts support in North Carolina because you gave up five minutes of your time.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Advocacy Update - The Budget

On Wednesday Governor Beverly Perdue signed into law the 2010-2011 state budget. ARTS North Carolina celebrates the leadership of the Governor, the Department of Cultural Resources, and the North Carolina General Assembly for their vision in sustaining recurring grant program funding of the North Carolina Arts Council for the second year in a row. The Department of Cultural Resources, under the leadership of Secretary Linda Carlisle, made the sustained funding their Number 1 Legislative Priority as the budget was in process.

The budget also calls for a contingency in the event $500 million in Medicare funding is not authorized in the federal budget. Some reductions across state government will be necessary, and ARTS North Carolina will keep you informed as DCR determines its share of minimal cuts.

We will send a Call to Action for appreciation next week after the July 4th holiday. Meantime, we affirm the leadership and commitment to the arts of General Government Chairs Senators Katie Dorsett and Bob Atwater and Representatives Susan Fisher and Alice Underhill.

It just doesn't get any better than to live in North Carolina.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Arts Education Bill Passes

Senate Bill 66, as amended by the House Education Committee, passed the North Carolina Senate with unanimous concurrence. 

The bill calls for a State Board of Education Task Force to consider, create, and recommend policies on arts education and must report to the North Carolina General Assembly Education Committees by December 2010. The Task Force must consider arts education in K-12, including the existing Basic Education Plan, availabilities of electives, requirements in every grade level, and the A+ Schools Program. The Task Force will further consider and recommend appropriate funding for the policies.

ARTS North Carolina began a concentrated advocacy effort for arts education four years ago. 

With the passage of S66, our work begins. While it may be the Task Force's responsibility to recommend policies and funding, it is the advocates' responsibility to ensure that the Task Force completes its work in a timely manner, that we communicate with our Representatives and our Senators about the recommendations of the Task Force, and that we make the strongest possible case for why tax dollars should be spent on arts education. 

ARTS North Carolina must grow its numbers of supporters and people engaged in this work. Our membership year begins July 1, but you can go online now and support ARTS North Carolina's work in arts education and other arts-related issues:

A Call to Action of appreciation will be issued upon the completion of the 2010-11 Budget. We are closely monitoring the recommended sustained grant funding for the North Carolina Arts Council. 

Continue to Live Expectantly.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

URGENT - Take Action Now, The Arts Need You!

On Wednesday afternoon, we issued a Call to Action regarding our arts education agenda item asking people to write their Representatives in support of S66 as amended by the House Education Committee. I regret to tell you that out of 18,000 possible recipients, only 243 individuals took action.

We have extended the Call To Action through next Thursday. The bill will move through House Appropriations and, if favorable, to the full House for a vote. Then it must go to the Senate for concurrence.

S66 directs the State Board of Education to appoint a Task Force to create a comprehensive arts education plan by December 2010. You can and should read the bill's content by clicking here.

This message should be forwarded to anyone who cares about arts education in our public schools with your personal endorsement for people to take action at

Apathy is our enemy. Grassroots advocacy works, but only if we take action.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Call to Action: Arts Education Moves Forward in House

The House Education Committee voted favorable this afternoon for a Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 66 that would direct the State Board of Education to appoint a task force to create a comprehensive arts education development plan for the public schools.  

The House Education Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 66 must be heard by the full House, possibly as early as this week.  

Please contact your Representative no later than Wednesday at 5pm.  Once the House approves, the House Education Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 66 must be sent back to the Senate for concurrence.

The Task Force will consider policies, recommend appropriate action and implementation strategies, and assess funding needs.  The Task Force will report to the Education Committees of the House and Senate no later than December 1, 2010.

Support a comprehensive arts education program in our public schools by responding to this Call to Action. 


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Advocacy Update - Good News

The House Appropriations Committee on General Government is recommending sustained funding for the grants programs of the North Carolina Arts Council. 

The Chairs of Appropriations are likely to meet throughout the Memorial Day weekend and will likely come out with a budget next week. If they accept the General Government Committee's recommendation, then we go into the final budget negotiations with sustained funding recommended by both the House and the Governor's budget. 

This is all very promising news. Please stay tuned in the event a Call to Action is needed.

We also expect that the House Education Committee will hear Representative Becky Carney's substitute bill for Senate Bill 66, requiring one unit in the arts for high school graduation. Carney's bill will also begin the process for the State Departments of Education and Cultural Resources to create, recommend, and consider funding needs for a comprehensive arts education plan. Again, this is exceedingly promising. 

The bill is tentatively scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, June 1st, at 11 AM in room 643 of the Legislative Office Building; the public is invited to attend.

ARTS Day was a tremendous success. Byron Woods with the Independent Weekly has written a thoughtful and extensive article on arts activism – take a look here

All in all, it is has been a most encouraging two weeks for the arts at the General Assembly. We would be remiss if we did not credit Secretary Linda Carlisle, Legislative Liaison Melanie Soles, and Representative Becky Carney for their exemplary leadership.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Speak for the Arts - Monday May 24 in Raleigh

We need you to continue to speak for the arts!

We have just learned that the House Appropriations Committee will hold a  
public hearing on the state budget on Monday, May 24th.

The hearing will be held from 7-10 p.m. at the McKimmon Center on the campus of North Carolina State University. Three community colleges across the state will host interactive broadcasts of the hearing and it will also be streamed live on the Internet.


Every individual action is hugely significant in the accelerated budget process for 2010-11.

Committee members would like to invite members of the public to offer suggestions and comments about the budget. Each speaker will have up to two minutes to share information. 

Email comments concerning the budget may be sent to up to midnight of May 25. 

Written comments postmarked by May 25 may be sent to House Appropriations Committee, Suite 401, Legislative Office Building, 300 N. Salisbury Street, Raleigh, NC, 27603-5925. 

Additional information will be available at
The community colleges that will serve as host sites are:
Bladen Community College, Dublin
Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte
Southwestern Community College, Sylva

Visit for contact information and driving directions to each campus.

Call to Action: Ask the "Big Chairs" to sustain funding for the North Carolina Arts Council.

Call to Action
Immediate Response Needed

Before we've even had a chance to inform everyone of the tremendous response at ARTS Day, we are propelled into the thick of the legislative budget process. We have received word that the House budget could be presented to the Appropriations Chairs as early as Thursday, May 27. The Senate budget included a 5% reduction in Grassroots Arts and a 7% reduction in Program Grants, and we want this money restored in the House budget.  
Every individual action is hugely significant in the accelerated budget process for 2010-11.

House General Government Committee will begin meeting on Tuesday morning. Therefore, if you live in the counties of either Representative Susan Fisher (Buncombe) or Alice Underhill (Craven), Co-Chairs of General Government, please call their offices immediately and either speak with their Legislative Assistant or leave a voice mail. Respectfully request that the House follow Governor Perdue's recommendation for sustained grants funding and please restore the 5% and 7% reductions made in the Senate budget.
  • Representative Susan Fisher: 919/715-2013
  • Representative Alice Underhill: 919/733-5853
The schedule indicates that General Government will present their recommendations to the Chairs of Appropriations/Base Budget on Thursday and that the Appropriations Chairs will continue to meet through the Memorial Day weekend. Therefore we are asking every advocate who receives this e-mail (please forward as well) to write a letter to the Appropriations Chairs requesting that the House budget follow Governor Perdue's recommended level of funding for the North Carolina Arts Council grants programs.

We regret to say that e-mail is no longer considered an effective form of mass communication. Our electronic program does allow the same process of creating a communication, only you will be cued to print letters rather than send e-mails. Please check the instructions included when you Take Action Now. When you Take Action Now, you will be directed to the key talking points for your letter.

It is imperative that the hard copy, first class letters be mailed no later than noon on Saturday, May 22.

Let us all join together to build the momentum begun at ARTS Day so necessary to sustain funding for the North Carolina Arts Council. Our industry can and will flourish if we speak for the arts. Now. Today.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Changes in Latitudes

We knew there would be work to do.  

In spite of the Biennium Budget and the 2010 Governor's Budget, we have indication that the grants programs of the North Carolina Arts Council may be cut by approximately 6%.  This represents $400,000+ reductions in the Grassroots Arts and Program Grant categories.  

This is the very reason you need to come to Raleigh for Arts Day, and we still have 25 places available.  If you have been on the fence about whether you were needed, join us in the pasture.
The Arts Education agenda item is also in motion, but in a different direction than previously stated.  Representative Becky Carney (Mecklenburg) will offer a House Education Committee substitute bill for Senate Bill 66 which requires one unit in the arts for high school graduation.  The proposal will strengthen the arts education policy momentum by requiring the State Board of Education to appoint a Task Force to consider and recommend policy, budget, and implementation plans for a K-12 arts education program in our public schools.  
The committee bill will address our collective concerns about the need for a comprehensive plan and future funding needs.  It is clear that no bill requiring any possible new funding would be approved this session.  
Let us say a shout out to all organizations whose Board's adopted the high school requirement resolution.  Those acts of advocacy leadership provided substantial backing for a better course of action. 
Please join with us as we:
Live Expectantly.  Prepare.  Take Action.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Value of Advocacy

Hello everyone,

I’m Angie Hays, the executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference (NCTC). NCTC is a membership organization and we represent over 200 organizations – schools, colleges, theatre companies and others – as well as the thousands of students, faculty and staff members at these organizations.

People join NCTC because our board and staarts ff members are passionate about advocating for the theatre field. We offer many services, but I believe that our most important work is the work that we do to unite our members, to speak with one clear and loud voice, and to tell our collective story. NCTC speaks for theatre and works very closely with Arts NC, whose staff and board speaks for all of the arts. We work together, we join the full choir and we fully support the mission of Arts NC. Therefore, it a great honor for us to serve as a leading sponsor of Arts Day.

Someone once told me that an organization’s budget is a reflection of institution priorities. I think that is a pretty accurate. To that end, NCTC’s Arts Day sponsorship (and Arts NC membership) is one of the very first things our board works into the budget each year.

You’ve also heard that decisions are made by those who show up. The NCTC board and staff will be at Arts Day and we hope to see many of you there! We need you there. I say we because we are all Arts NC. We need your sponsorship support and we need you at Arts Day to speak loudly and with great passion.

Thank you for reading. I hope your organization will join NCTC on the 2010 or 2011 Arts Day sponsorship list and I hope to see you at Arts Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Get Coordinated! Arts Day 2010

I’m Hannah Grannemann, Managing Director at PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, and the Orange County Coordinator for Arts Day.

To be most effective when meeting with our legislators on Arts Day, we need to be coordinated – meaning we’re on message and showing up at the just the right time and with as many people as possible to show broad based support for the arts in North Carolina.

I’m just one person, you think, how do I that? Your county coordinators will help you – and you will help them! We’ll coordinate making appointments, making sure each attendee under our watch is ready to participate by knowing what to expect, where to be, and what to say (or not say) when meeting with the legislators.

Don’t know who your county coordinator is? Read the “Before You Come to Raleigh” document here.

You can get yourself prepared (a great help to your county coordinator) by:
  • reading over the advocacy materials at
  • going to the events on Tuesday, May 18 to learn about the Legislative Agenda and hear from Secy. Linda Carlisle about how the arts have a significant impact on the economy (and let’s face it – it’s the economy that’s at the front of all our minds, most notably the legislators with whom we’ll be meeting, so we’d better be ready to talk about it!)
  • going to the Early Bird session or the Advocacy 101 session before your meetings on Wednesday, May 19
  • talking with experienced advocates

There’s strength in numbers and working with your colleagues in the field yields new ideas.I enjoy being a county coordinator because I get to know the other arts advocates and leaders in my community and help to do our part to make sure that the arts receive the recognition and support they deserve from our state’s leaders.

We have a great list of reasons why the arts are good for North Carolina – jobs, economic development, education, community vitality – but we have to get coordinated, focused and have a successful strategy so our message gets through!

See you on Arts Day 2010!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Problem

Registration for ARTS Day 2010 is nearing capacity. In past years, advocates have been able to register at the last minute or even walk-in to the event without prior registration, but we cannot guarantee last minute decisions this year. If you plan to attend ARTS Day 2010, and we hope you do, please do not delay completing your registration at

ARTS North Carolina has some ideas about why we have overwhelming support this year. Great numbers of people are waking up to the responsibility of advocacy, especially when they see what is happening in other Southern states. Advocacy is no longer a "whispered" word; advocacy is fast becoming an organizational and individual priority. We have Linda Carlisle, Secretary of Cultural Resources, to thank for her effective creative economy message. State support is more important than ever, and the North Carolina Arts Council has demonstrated its sacrificial commitment to keeping grants funding "whole." We have social media and its volunteer guru Shane Hudson to thank for getting the word where it needed to go. We have you to thank for listening and responding by passing the word along to others. We are one step closer to the vision of a united industry with a clear and passionate message.

What will you find when you get to Raleigh?
  • A turnkey event - While we encourage review of the materials before you come to Raleigh (, everything you need will be waiting for you. If you are not working with a Regional Coordinator, make sure you have called your Legislator's office and made an appointment. If you need help with your appointment or would like a mentor to go with you on the visit, contact
  • A community - Newcomers and oldcomers are all welcomed and quickly merged into a powerful lobby for arts funding and arts education policy.
  • Training - workshops on Creative Economy, Messaging, Advocacy 101, and Legislative Training
  • Fun - speaks for itself
  • Civic engagement - satisfaction that your individual efforts made/make a difference
  • Parking Problems - Leave early and allow time; registrants are sent parking suggestions.
Don't get left out! Register now at

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Opening Night

ARTS North Carolina has prepared our industry for two major Legislative Agenda items – sustaining grant funding to the North Carolina Arts Council and passing a high school graduation requirement in the arts. Our message of the critical role of the arts in economic development and in training creativity for a competitive North Carolina economy has been heard as evidenced in Governor Perdue's budget recommendation to sustain the grants funding.

Now the stage is set and opening night is close at hand. The General Assembly convenes May 12 and ARTS Day is May 18 & 19. We kick off our advocacy work by coming to Raleigh and speaking face-to-face with Legislators and then sustaining the conversation until closing curtain, whenever that might be. Early registration deadline for ARTS Day is this Friday, and the hotel rates of $75 are only good through May 3. Time now to make your plan:

ARTS Day is more than advocacy; it is an opportunity for learning, networking, and being infused with powerful, collective energy. Workshop and training leaders include:
  • Tuesday Workshop - It's the Economy...
    • Linda Carlisle – Secretary of Cultural Resources
    • Mary Regan – Executive Director of the North Carolina Arts Council
    • Ardath Weaver – Director of Research for the North Carolina Arts Council
    • Margaret Collins – Director of Creative Enterprises and the Arts - Piedmont Triad Partnership
    • Feather Phillips – Executive Director of Pocosin Arts Center (Columbia)
    • Barbara Spradling – Director of the Innovation Institute at the McColl Center
    • Rob Pulleyn – Artist (Marshall)

  • Wednesday Legislative Training
    • Louisa Warren – Lobbyist for North Carolina Justice Center (Advocacy 101 Presentation)
    • Franklin Freeman – Chief of Staff for Governor Jim Hunt, Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and Senior Assistant for eight years to Governor Mike Easley
    • Secretary Linda Carlisle
    • Invited Legislators – Representatives Becky Carney, Rick Glazier, Linda Johnson, and Deborah Ross, and Senator Tom Apodaca
Be sure and plan time either before the workshops on May 18 or before you leave Raleigh on May 19 to visit the astounding and description-defying new galleries at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The galleries are free and open to the public. 

Legislative Update

Pitt County arts advocates Holly Garriott and Jane Behan and ARTS North Carolina staff met Tuesday with Representative Marion McLawhorn, a former librarian and true champion for the arts. At the breakfast table we articulated why arts education policy must be legislated.   Arts education is a "ready now" strategy to address issues of retention, rigor, and 21st Century Skills;  we do not need to invent new programs when strong and viable arts education programs are available.  The gap between what public schools need and what we have to offer is an issue of awareness, recognition, and value. If those who make decisions on behalf of schools don't connect public education needs with arts education, then our Legislative champions must have the vision and courage to implement policies that utlized the arts to improve education.  The gap cannot be about resources;  otherwise arts education would have more than flourished in the better economic environments. Arts education as an essential core subject has always been under resourced and reduced to a "nice to have" option.  NOW is the time to legislate and create arts education policy and be positioned when an improving economic climate can provide necessary resources.  If we wait until the state budget improves, we will have lost an opportunity. 

Legislative Report

ARTS North Carolina was in Fayetteville on Monday to visit with Representatives Marvin Lucas and Rick Glazier, then on to Greenville for Advocacy workshops and a meeting with Representative Marion McLawhorn.  Having voters set up meetings at home is significantly more productive than trying to have substantial discussion in the midst of competing priorities and crowded agendas that are the norm when the General Assembly is in session.  While we continue to celebrate Governor Perdue's recommendation of sustained funding for the North Carolina Arts Council grants programs, we are being told repeatedly that holding our own will take a lot of heavy lifting.  Given a choice, wouldn't we rather start the process ahead of "go" than not even on the board?  Uh, yeah. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Legislative Update

I thought that we would post the first blog of the legislative season today following a meeting with a Representative.  But yesterday his LA (Legislative Assistant) called to cancel.  Most LA's are extraordinarily nice and work dilligently to reschedule when cancellations are necessary.  They are the gatekeepers, the front line, the ones who deal with complaints and requests and impossible schedules.  And if you take the time to ask, you often find rich arts histories... "Oh, you're with the arts?  My daughter is an art history major"  or proudly  "I sing in the General Assembly Chorus."  Who knew there was a chorus.  Do they take lobbyist?
The cancellation serves to illustrate a legislative reality...things can change on a dime and often do.  What you think is a sure thing falls apart in seconds.  Sometimes lost causes become modern day miracles.  There is no end game, just an ebb and flo of process and relationships. 
When the session officially begins May 12, ARTS North Carolina will post regular updates on our blog.  Most postings will be official news, but we also plan on relaying some of the astounding sights and sounds of the North Carolina General Assembly.  This is going to be fun.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Governor Perdue's Budget

Governor Perdue's 2010-11 budget (second year of the biennium budget) released today sustains 2010-11 grants funding for the North Carolina Arts Council as ratified by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2009-10. Despite the prevailing economic news, Governor Perdue's budget recognizes the major contributions the arts are making to economic recovery in North Carolina. The Department of Cultural Resources and Department of Commerce research released in November on the creative industries in North Carolina qualifies 300,000 jobs and $42 billion in products and services. Secretary of Cultural Resources Linda Carlisle continues to travel throughout North Carolina delivering the good news about the role of the arts in a creative economy, and the message is being heard loudly and clearly.

With other neighboring states suffering unprecedented reductions in public support, North Carolina is supremely fortunate to have leaders who understand and invest in the arts industry. We encourage everyone to post a thank you to Governor Perdue on her Facebook page. Tell her you appreciate her commitment to the arts and that you plan to work tirelessly to persuade the Legislature to accept her recommendation on arts funding.

The Governor's budget is only the first step of the budgetary process. The General Government Committees of the House and Senate will begin their work on the budget soon after convening on May 12. Upholding Governor Perdue's recommendation for grants funding is the top priority of ARTS North Carolina as the Legislative session begins on May 12.

Governor Perdue's budget just notched up the imperative to attend ARTS Day on May 18 & 19 and to tell your Legislators why investing in the arts means jobs and money for North Carolina. We also want you to infuse your Legislative discussions with the passion you have for the transformative power of the arts in communities and in our lives. Late registration begins after April 30 and increases the membership registration fee from $25 (a real bargain) to $45. If you are not currently a member, the individual rate of $60 before April 30 includes an individual membership good through June 30, 2011. Register now at

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ARTS Education = MORE Than You Think

In today's lead-up to arts advocacy season, consider these things about ARTS North Carolina's Legislative Agenda item to pass a high school graduation requirement in the arts:
  • The initiative is fully supported by the North Carolina Arts Council agency and their Board of Directors and the Department of Cultural Resources, Linda Carlisle Secretary. DCR has placed the requirement on their Legislative Agenda and is taking a leadership role in the passage of Senate Bill 66 in the North Carolina House of Representatives in the Legislation Session beginning May 12.
  • Because we passed the bill last year in the Senate (SB 66) we are 50% up the mountain.
Passing the requirement would:
  • Elevate the arts in practice to a core academic subject as stated in the Learning Framework for 21st Century Skills,
  • Insure public education equity because every student has engagement with the arts, and
  • Provide more incentives for federal, state, and local support of public school arts programs
The high school requirement is one action step in a comprehensive arts education program for public school in North Carolina. Additional policies to be considered once the high school requirement is passed include a middle school elective requirement, statewide policy for arts education in K-5, higher education teacher training in arts integration, support of A+ Schools, and funding for community and after-school programs that center on arts education.

Students who graduate from high school must have six electives. The law means one "former" elective in music, theatre, dance, or drama becomes a requirement. Additional teachers are not required; hires would now need to include people certified in arts education.

It will take five years to fully implement. The budget will improve in that length of time.
Want to Help?
  • Attend ARTS Day May 18 & 19 and join with hundreds of North Carolinians in speaking to your Legislators about the requirement: Registration is now open. Be sure to register by April 30th, as prices go up after that date.
  • If you belong to an arts or professional organization, pass a resolution in support of the requirement. A template can be found at and participants are asked to submit the resolution on their letterhead and attach a listing of their Board of Directors by no later than May 7.

Monday, April 12, 2010

We Want You... At Arts Day 2010

What Is ARTS Day?
People who love the arts come to Raleigh to garner public support. ARTS North Carolina will provide materials and training that enable Legislative visits on May 19. We use ARTS Day to thank our leaders and position the arts as an economic imperative. Advancing the cause must be accomplished face-to-face; ideas get lost in translation and passion diminishes if we only rely on e-mails. ARTS Day is intentional advocacy. Can anyone doubt how badly we need people willing to speak for the arts?

What Should Happen Next?

Please register. After April 30, registration fees increase significantly.

What Then?

Check below to see if there is a Regional Coordinator in your area. The Regional Coordinator will set Legislative appointments and make sure the group is together in message and logistics. If your area does not have a Regional Coordinator, we will send you very simple instructions about how to set an appointment with your Legislators and what to expect when you call their offices. If this is your first time attending and you would like an experienced advocate as a mentor, we can make that happen.

What Else Happens?

ARTS Day 2010 officially begins at 1pm on May 18 with a workshop, It's the Economy, at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Secretary of Cultural Resources Linda Carlisle will lead off a distinguished roster of arts professionals to help attendees communicate effectively about economy, jobs, and the arts in North Carolina's future. Registration will open at 12:30, giving attendees an opportunity to tour the new Museum of Art galleries prior to the workshop or at a scheduled break from 3 - 4pm. An early evening social will begin at 5:45 at the Visual Art Exchange in downtown Raleigh. For a complete schedule:

Regional Coordinators

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Show-Off Opportunity: The Picture Perfect Project

We are collecting high-resolution images (300 dpi +) for our ARTS Day 2010 materials and to use in the Legislative Building on May 19th. 

Our goal is at least one picture from every county. 

If you have an image of a citizen enjoying or participating in the arts, please send to

We are seeking the consumer end in pictures, such as people standing in a very long line to get a ticket, people enthralled at a gallery opening, avocational performers that Legislators might recognize, etc. 

Pictures must include photo caption, identification, and photo credit, and must be received by March 22nd.

Casting a Wider Net

United individual actions are a powerful force for the arts.

We need you. 

ARTS North Carolina has launched our 2010 Advocacy Campaign. This campaign will conclude when the Legislature adjourns this summer. Between now and then, we want to keep you updated.

Each week we will send out information and action requests about state public funding and arts education policy. We will ask you to spend a few minutes getting up to speed on issues and taking small steps designed to create huge leaps of support from our state Legislators.

We have a grand plan.

Beginning now, ARTS North Carolina will send you important material and resources for your advocacy work - our education phase. On May 18-19 you will come to Raleigh for ARTS Day armed with facts and stories to make our case. For the remainder of the Legislative Session, we will orchestrate strategic action alerts based on circumstances and our Legislative agenda.

Let's test the system. If you do not know your state Legislators, go to and click on "Representation" on the main bar. You will need your 9 digit ZIP code, but the site will also give you a link to the ZIP code directory. Once you enter your ZIP code, you will see who represents you in the State Senate and State House. When you click on one of their names, it brings up a page with the Legislator's picture and other very useful information. It's important to know what your Senators and Representatives look like so you can have a conversation if you see them at home.

Home advocacy is the best kind.

Also, make sure ARTS North Carolina has your name and email address by requesting to be on our listserv at

Now is the time - take action.

Monday, March 1, 2010

All The Things You Didn't Know That You Didn't Know

I have worked with Fractured Atlas for over four years now as its director of membership and program development. Prior to Fractured Atlas, I worked for the NEA – the National Endowment for the Arts (as opposed to the National Education Association, which all of my friends thought was my employer). Due to my work for the government agency, I began to learn about all of these different organizations, oddly titled “arts service organizations,” that had been established throughout the country to provide resources to artists. No one ever taught me about these organizations in college, when I was pursuing a degree in Directing for Theatre & Film. And today, after speaking to thousands of artists across the country in my role at Fractured Atlas, I find that the same thing remains true.

Artists are an interesting bunch. (And I can say that because I am one as well, as are most of my friends.) Some artists want to work on their own – think of the painter who stays isolated in their studio all day. Some artists want to work with others – think of the ensemble theater companies that create and develop work as a group. Some could care less if others appreciate their work – maybe they just create art to maintain their own sanity. And some crave acceptance – they read every review of their work the moment they hit the internet at midnight. But if there is one thing that is consistent amongst all artists and all arts organizations -- from the professional to the amateur, from the Kennedy Center to the community theater down the road -- is that they all have needs.

Whether it’s money, business acumen, patrons, jobs, education, or even shelter (we artists like to call it “space”), we all need something. And, unfortunately, a large part of the U.S. artist community does not know how to go about fulfilling those needs. Whether they went to conservatory schools for their MFA’s or whether they are cultural tradition bearers, no one ever sat them down and said, “By the way, there are organizations out there that want to help you.” The artists that know about arts services organizations (“ASO’s”) either went to school for arts administration or have heard about them through the grapevine. And yes, I will certainly applaud the few professors out there who are doing their due diligence and telling their students about these organizations and their programs. But, why these things aren’t taught in a required course in every arts school in America is beyond me.

Why aren’t artists taught about insurance, mortgages, contracts, 401k’s, 501(c)(3)’s, and 1099’s, from the get-go? (In fact, why aren’t all students, regardless of discipline, taught this from the get-go?!) This is a major problem (among many others) in the U.S. educational system, but it’s one that arts service organizations are helping to solve by making many different resources available to artists across the country.

You, dear blog reader, probably already know about these resources. Heck, you read ARTS North Carolina’s blog! But, you need to tell your artist-friends, and your friends’ artist-friends about them! Spread the word, get involved, and involve others.

I could end there, but I don’t think this post would be as helpful if I did. So, who are the ASO’s in your neighborhood? Well, ARTS NC for one. And ARTS NC might recommend North Carolina Dance Alliance for you dancers. Or they may recommend the North Carolina Arts Council (even with all of the drastic budget cuts that every state is experiencing, each state still maintains a state arts council) or Southern Arts Federation (there is also a regional arts organization for each area of the country). Or how about something more national like The Folk Alliance (if you’re into folk music and dance), Theatre Communications Group (self-explanatory), or Alternate ROOTS (if you create art meant to encourage social action)? Maybe you are a college professor – check out College Art Association. Are you a visual artist? Have you ever heard of CUE Art Foundation?

Let’s revisit that stuff about non-profits. Did you know that you can raise tax-deductible donations for your artistic work without actually spending all of that time and money on paperwork and lawyers to get your own 501(c)(3) non-profit status? I bet you’ve never heard of “fiscal sponsorship.” Many organizations, including Fractured Atlas, have programs like this. Maybe you’ve never heard of it before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a real and viable fundraising tool. You can check out our program here (as an artist, I’ve used it myself!), but you can also check out New York Foundation for the Arts (another national ASO despite the name – one that runs a great resource database called NYFA Source) and The Field. Or, you can look at a whole big list of fiscal sponsors here. Once you’re sponsored (or even if you’re not), you can do some grants research at The Foundation Center. Or, maybe you have a significant annual budget, have been running a company consistently for a few years, and are thinking about actually getting non-profit status. If so, you should Google “Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts,” “Business Volunteers for the Arts,” or “Arts & Business Council” and see if there is one of these groups in your area, as they can provide tremendous assistance. And, once you’ve got your 501(c)(3) status in hand, you should contact those organizations again and ask about developing a Board of Directors (or visit BoardNetUSA to find some interested folks).

And what about all of you arts advocates out there? It’s terrific that you found ARTS NC! If you’re not in North Carolina, you can find your state’s advocacy organization here. And, if you want the folks on Capitol Hill to hear your voice, definitely get involved with Americans for the Arts.

Look at all of these resources I’ve listed, many of which I’m assuming you never even heard of! And if you, someone who is connected to an arts service organization like ARTS NC, is unaware of these organizations and their resources, just think about all of the artists out there who don’t even know what an arts service organization is! Do them a favor and let them know.

Fractured Atlas is a non-profit organization that serves a national community of artists and arts organizations. Their programs and services facilitate the creation of art by offering vital support to the artists who produce it. They help artists and arts organizations function more effectively as businesses by providing access to funding, low-cost insurance, education, and more, all in a context that honors their individuality and independent spirit. By nurturing today's talented but underrepresented voices, they hope to foster a dynamic and diverse cultural landscape of tomorrow. ARTS NC members can access a free Associate Membership to Fractured Atlas. Contact the ARTS NC offices to find out more!

With Fractured Atlas, Adam J. Natale (Director of Membership & Program Development) has created innovative audience development, online education, and arts insurance programs, formed partnerships with over 70 arts organizations, presented at multiple national conferences, and has helped the organization grow immensely, with over 4,000 artists joining in the past year. A graduate of American University with a degree in Directing for Theatre & Film, he is a freelance director, serves on the Board of Directors for Red Bull Theater, and is a member and the immediate past chair of Americans for the Arts' Emerging Leader Council. Formerly, he served the Theater & Musical Theater disciplines at the NEA and worked as an Associate Producer with the New York Musical Theatre Festival.