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!