The new Seattle OnHold music mix features hot Seattle talent. You can sample the music if placed on hold while calling city of Seattle offices, or you can sign up for the podcast and receive a few songs a month from local artists including guitar whiz Omar Torrez, sultry singer Courtney Fortune and reggae-rockers Kore Ionz.
In late January, I wrapped up my tenure as president of the United States Urban Arts Federation (USUAF) at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., which ran concurrently with the United States Conference of Mayor’s meeting. Events included annual awards for public leadership in the arts and a special award presented by the nation’s mayors to Americans for the Arts in recognition of its 50 years of service and the essential contributions that arts and culture make to the health and vitality of American cities. As part of its action agenda on arts and tourism, the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s also reaffirmed its call on the White House to establish a cabinet-level position for arts and tourism.
The first National Arts Index was released at the National Press Club. Using 76 indicators, the report collected a wide range of data over an 11-year period to track activity and chart trends in our field. The report covers both nonprofit and for-profit arts and cultural data. Not surprisingly, the arts follow the nation’s business cycle. The index fell 4.2 percentage points in 2008, reflecting losses in charitable giving and declining attendance at larger cultural institutions—even as the number of arts organizations grew. Nonprofit organizations have grown dramatically, from 73,000 in 1998 to more than 104,000 today. Yet due to declining philanthropic support, the nonprofit arts model is struggling.
The report shows demand for arts education is up, particularly among college-bound high school students. Another piece of encouraging news is the way the public participates in and consumes the arts is expanding. Personal arts creation is growing steadily (making art, playing music), yet attendance at mainstream nonprofit arts organizations is in decline.
The report also formed the foundation for a meeting of USUAF members with key House Appropriations Committee leadership, including our own arts champion Congressman Norm Dicks. I reported on the impacts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding in Seattle and thanked the congressman for making a strong case to ensure arts jobs were included in the final stimulus package. We are hopeful that a second round of stimulus funding will also include arts jobs.
I am pleased to report Seattle will be among a list of cities that will develop a local profile of the National Arts Index in the coming year. The localized data will allow us to meaningfully compare local trends and performance against national trends. A Seattle arts index will serve as a valuable advocacy tool in addition to our own Creative Vitality Index , Arts & Economic Prosperity Report (which we have committed to update in 2011) and Creative Industries Report. All of these studies contribute to a better understanding of our cultural ecosystem and will help us better serve the field.
- Message from the director: first National Arts Index released
- Artists sought for two park projects
- Help define mayor’s Youth and Family Initiative
- Call for artwork for Chief Sealth Trail
- Seeking artist for First Hill Streetcar line
- Connect at Ethnic Arts event, March 10
- Youth Arts project applications due Feb. 23
- Opera, theater and jazz at free City Hall concerts
- Hear jazz to reggae on city phone lines
- Artist Clinic offers low-cost healthcare
- Neighbor Appreciation Day art contest winners announced
- Meet local artists on Seattle Channel’s Art Zone
- Celebrate the Lunar New Year at Seattle Center
Jean Godden, a member of the Seattle City Council and chair of its Budget and Finance Committee, writes about the Great Recession’s impact on Seattle’s arts organizations in a recent Crosscut column, “Struggling to keep the stage lights on.” Godden asks, “What can be done to keep the lights on, to preserve our rich cultural traditions?”
Tuesday, Feb. 2 is Arts Day in Olympia. The annual event is hosted by our friends at the Washington State Arts Alliance. It’s a great opportunity to meet with your state legislators and tell them how the arts are making a difference in their communities. Arts Day Team Captains have already scheduled appointments with legislators and are standing by. Check out the appointment schedule posted on the arts alliance’s website, and let your area Team Captain know if you are available to attend a meeting with your legislator(s).
Arts Day is also a great place to network with colleagues from across the state. Join legislators and colleagues for a $10 buffet lunch and noon program in the Capitol Building’s Columbia Room. Register for the lunch program by Monday, Jan. 25. You can RSVP here. And don’t fret if you can’t make it to Olympia on Feb. 2, you can still participate.
Americans for the Arts announced the National Arts Index at a press conference this morning. The Index is a single-number score measuring the the health and vitality of the arts in the United States. Think of the national consumer confidence score.
The 2008 score of 98.4 is down 4.2 percentage points from 102.6 in 2007, “reflecting losses in charitable giving and declining attendance at larger cultural institutions — even as the number of arts organizations grew,” according to Americans for the Arts.
The Index is a highly distilled annual measure based on 76 indicator categories. It covers a span from 1998 to 2008 and is set to a base score of 100 in 2003.
What roles should artists play in championing environmental causes? How can environmentalists and artists collaborate to build public interest around sustainability?
We’re pleased to sponsor a free panel discussion presented by the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and Cascade Land Conservancy that will explore these and other issues,
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 28 at Olympic Sculpture Park’s PACCAR Pavilion.
Titled Art and Environmental Advocacy: A Dialogue, the discussion is part of SAM’s Pivotal Perspectives: Conversations on Art and Culture, a series of discussions exploring the intersection of art, culture and the environment.
Moderated by Crosscut founding publisher David Brewster, the panel includes Grist writer and editor Jen Harper, artist Lorna Jordan, wildlife photographer Steven Kazlowski and John Marzluff of the School of Forest Resources at the University of Washington.
The event is free, but seating is limited. Advance registration is required.
We were happy to help fill City Hall with music, dance and circus arts at Mayor Mike McGinn’s City Hall open house on Saturday, Jan. 9.
Here are some photos of the day’s festivities.
And check out The Seattle Times’ photo gallery of the event.
Artists are invited to submit proposals to ARTSPARKS — a program designed to enliven Pioneer Square this summer by bringing art in all its forms to Occidental Park to create a public space where art and life entwine and art serves as a vehicle for positive and social change.
ARTSPARKS is a collaboration between the Office, 4Culture and Seattle Parks and Recreation and is part of the Downtown Parks Renaissance Initiative, an effort to make downtown Seattle parks lively, safe and welcoming public spaces. Home to a high concentration of art galleries and artist studios, the Pioneer Square neighborhood has a special role in the cultural life of Seattle.
All creative proposals are sought including, but not limited to, street theater, dance, temporary sculpture, environmental installations, music and visual art.
Applicants must have demonstrated experience in producing public arts events or installations. Maximum available funding is $2,000 per week for a 10- to 15-week program (June to September) that features multiple temporary art projects.
Application deadline is Friday, March 12. Download the application and guidelines here.
We are pleased to bring arts and culture to Mayor McGinn’s inaugural festivities this weekend at City Hall. We hope you can join us Saturday, Jan. 9, when the mayor will host an open house from 1 to 5 p.m. to celebrate the city’s commitment to openness, transparency and the spirit of service in Seattle.
Come on down to meet the mayor, tour his office and Council offices and connect with city departments. We will also lead tours of public art at City Hall. Here’s the lineup of afternoon performances:
|1 p.m.||Victor Noriega Trio, jazz piano inspired by Filipino folk music|
|2 p.m.||Recess Monkey, kiddie-pop rock for the young and young at heart|
|3 p.m.||Mayor McGinn’s inaugural address|
|3:30 p.m.||Seattle Symphony Brass Quintet, top brass perform classical and pops|
|4:30 p.m.||Quinton Morris, classical violinist with pianist Kevin Kaukl|
|Mayor’s Office, 7th Floor Lobby|
|1 p.m.||Warren Chang, world-renowned master of the erhu (Chinese two-string fiddle)|
|2 p.m.||Quichua Mashis, Andean music by Quichua Indians of northern Ecuador|
|3:30 p.m.||Northwest Tap Connection, modern and tap dance by young artists|
|Strolling through City Hall|
|1 to 3 p.m.||Circus arts up close and personal, including acrobatics, juggling and stilt walking by performers from the former ensemble Circus Contraption|
Public Art Tours of City Hall
Tours depart from the lobby fireplace nook
The Mayor’s Inaugural Music Festival will follow the open house. The free, all-ages event will feature Wheedle’s Groove, The Maldives, Hey Marseilles and Gabriel Teodros. The action gets underway, 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Showbox SODO.
Image: Seattle City Hall. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.