VOL. 12 NO. 6
The Blue Moon is published bi-monthly by the
Kentucky Arts Council, a state agency in the
Please send comments, questions and information to the Blue Moon, Kentucky Arts
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Mark Your Calendars for National Arts Advocacy Day
Entering its nineteenth consecutive year, Arts Advocacy Day sponsored by Americans for the Arts, is the only national event designed to bring together a broad cross section of America's national cultural and civic organizations. Groups will join hundreds of grassroots advocates from across the country to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts.
This year Arts Advocacy Day kicks off on Monday, March 13, with a day of legislative training sessions and guest speakers. Americans for the Arts will teach you everything you need to know about the current arts issues circulating on Capitol Hill and how to lobby Congress for increased public funding for the arts. Throughout the day you'll have the chance to meet with other attendees from your state in order to make the most of your Congressional visits. On Monday evening, participants will convene at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the 19th Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy. A reception will be held in The Kennedy Center Atrium following the presentation.
On Tuesday morning, the day begins with the Congressional Arts Breakfast on Capitol Hill. The Congressional Arts Breakfast will feature brief talks by Members of Congress and other elected officials, as well as celebrity guests. The event is designed to inspire and excite you in anticipation of your lobbying visits throughout the day. There will also be time during the breakfast to make final preparations for your lobbying visits with your state delegations.
We hope that you can join Americans for the Arts for Arts Advocacy Day to present a strong, unified coalition. This has been instrumental in advancing key legislative initiatives, including increased funding for the Federal cultural agencies and enlightened tax, international, and education policies. This past year, arts advocates succeeded in securing increased funding for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as securing increased funding for arts education programs within the U.S. Department of Education. Your involvement does make an impact, and we hope that you will consider joining us for this year's important event.
For more information about Arts Advocacy Day, visit the Americans for the Arts Website at http://www.americansforthearts.org/events/2006/aad/001.asp
Arts Help States Reap Rural Economic Gains
National Governor's Association Issue Brief Paints Picture of Governors' Efforts to Revitalize Rural Communities Through the Arts
From Southern Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta and from California's coast to Maryland's eastern shore, states are turning to arts-based economic development strategies to revive rural economies stung by geographic isolation, infrastructure deficiencies and the flight of skilled workers to big cities, according to a new issue brief from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center).
Incorporating the arts into states' existing rural economic development policy helps not only to diversify rural economies but to provide these previously struggling communities with a competitive advantage in the 21st century's global marketplace as well.
By drawing upon the distinctive cultural assets that have come to characterize many of the nation's rural communities, many states are beginning to retain skilled workers, generate revenue and attract new investment by cultivating clusters of economic activity in the creative industries. Many states have generated jobs and increased tax revenue thanks to a dedicated investment in the arts.
In California, for instance, arts and cultural organizations in rural communities alone generate $6.8 million in tax revenue for the state and employ 1,400 people. In Montana, the arts employ more people than each of the following industries: mining, wood products manufacturing and building materials retail market. Meanwhile in Vermont, the creative industry includes thousands of businesses and nonprofit organizations and employs about 4.5 percent of the state's workforce.
"In downtown Idaho Falls an arts center, museums and a repertory theater have filled the void created when retailers left for large malls. With their success, we have seen other retailers, developers and professionals return to a new, vibrant and culturally rich downtown," said Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne. "Our experience in Idaho has been replicated in states across the country. I cannot overstate the importance of the arts in building strong, sustainable economies."
For rural areas to reap results--higher tax revenues, more jobs, new residents, reduced property vacancy rates and increased business investment--the brief suggests states should identify the diverse assets that the arts have to offer and strengthen the creative sector.
"This report illustrates the value-added return states reap from their creative economies--distinctive brand identity, sustainable markets and a first-rate quality of life," said Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, the NGA vice chair and NGA Center chair. "State arts councils and departments of transportation and tourism can be valuable partners in developing cultural events and programs. The Arizona Commission on the Arts recently launched a grants program, which encourages collaborative projects among organizations dealing with rural economic development, tourism, ethnic arts and tribal communities."
States currently are providing a wide range of policy options to support the arts in rural communities, including integrating the arts into economic development and tourism planning and marketing, providing capital and entrepreneurship training, improving physical infrastructure and supporting artists' collaboratives, and using community colleges to support training and business assistance efforts.
In North Carolina, all community college budgets include funding for small business assistance centers that provide courses and one-on-one technical assistance to help entrepreneurs assess the market, develop a business plan, and obtain funding. Several state agencies in Minnesota, including the Office of Tourism and Department of Transportation, combined forces to promote the state's scenic byways and their natural and cultural attractions. The Cultural Economy Initiative in Louisiana builds on the rich culinary and musical traditions in The Bayou State. Both Alaska and Kentucky have programs in place to provide marketing education and training to rural artists to help expand their sales base, generate private partnerships and assess new markets. And in Iowa, the state's cultural district program offers tax credits for the creation of artist living and working space and entertainment venues through rehabilitation of historic structures.
Strengthening Rural Economies through the Arts is the fourth in a series of issue briefs, which document how the arts can help states achieve economic development goals. The series is produced by the NGA Center, with cooperative agreement funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and research assistance from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA).
For a full copy of the brief, Strengthening Rural Economies through the Arts, go to http://preview.nga.org/Files/pdf/RURALARTS.pdf