The annual Arts Advocacy Day is next Tuesday, April 9 and APAP is in the house! House of Representatives, that is. And we'll be visiting the Senate, too, for that matter. Every year, APAP participates in Arts Advocacy Day and on the Legislative Planning Committee to help set advocacy goals and efforts.
This past Wednesday, in advance of Arts Advocacy Day, APAP and the LPC were on Capitol Hill to brief members and staff of the Congressional Arts Caucus about the arts field's top-priority issues.
Arts advocates get a leg up on Arts Advocacy Day
and connect with Congressional staff and Arts Caucus members.
I think it's also helpful to do a mini briefing here about APAP's advocacy priorities. Below are the asks and talking points that we're using on the Hill and in our communities to make the case for the arts this Arts Advocacy Day and all year long:
- We urge Congress to support a NEA budget of $155 million.
Why? The NEA contributes to the economic growth and development of communities nationwide. The NEA improves access to the arts, supports artistic excellence and fosters lifelong learning in the arts through grants, partnerships, research and national initiatives.
- We urge Congress to preserve incentives for charitable giving by protecting the charitable tax deduction, rejecting a hierarchy of tax deductibility and extending the IRA Charitable Rollover.
Why? Nonprofit arts organizations serve the needs of people and community partners through education, artistry, economic development and social service programs serving the poor. Diminishing charitable giving incentives will have lasting, harmful consequences for nonprofit services and jobs.
- We urge Congress to enact the Arts Require Timely Service Act to reduce the processing time for artist visa petitions to 14 days.
Why? American nonprofit arts organizations provide an important public service by presenting international artists in community performances, educational events and cultural programs. Delays and unpredictability in the visa process also create high economic risks for nonprofit arts institutions and the local economies they support.
For more detailed information about all of the issues at stake, you can view the entire Arts Advocacy Day handbook online. Want to help advocate but can't make it to Washington? Watch your email inbox early next week for a special alert from the Performing Arts Alliance with an easy-to-send letter template to contact your members of Congress.
Steven A. Hoffman is a committee member for the APAP Classical Connections program and executive director at the Norton Center for the Arts in Danville, KY. He recently spoke with Classical Connections about his work in presenting and challenges today's classical music presenters face. We addressed three core questions to share with presenters:
CC: In any given season what is your greatest challenge in presenting classical music?
SH: The greatest challenge in programming classical music is programming performances that will satisfy the needs of the general public as well as the classical music aficionados. The other part of the challenge is how to build a connection between the artist and the audience and make the program relevant to them.
CC: What was an unusual tactic or “experiment” that you tried and the outcome and lessons learned?
SH: Bringing in the young dynamic violinist Hahn Bin to the Norton Center in recital and with two engaging community events in for middle school students and the college LGBT organization.
CC: What do you look for when you are presenting classical music?
SH: When choosing artists to present, consider the program, the program content, the artist themselves, or some other educational component and then work with segments of the community, including public schools, colleges and social service groups -- Rotary is big in many small towns -- as well as with the regional media. When it comes to outreach, how you engage the community and deepen the connection is really important. If you can find a bite or hook that connects the public to the artist or program, the media can also help report/promote that relevance, which helps everybody.
Through the efforts of APAP members and partner organizations such as Americans for the Arts, ArtsReady, Western Arts Alliance, Arts Midwest, NAPAMA, Cadence Arts and more, APAP presents this list of links and resources for those in need and those wishing to help.
- For emergency conservation assistance, contact the American Institute for Conservation's Collections Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT) or the National Document Conservation Center's Disaster Assistance Hotline.
- For stabilizing documents after flooding, here are tips from Conservation OnLine.
- Salvage and e-salvage information is also provided by the Studio Protector.
- To follow the art-specific impact of Sandy, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy has a good, clear update page as does the Hyperallergic blog and the Current News section of ArtsReady.
- For an immediate resource to help determine your organization's response and work in the weeks ahead, here is the American's for the Arts Essential Guidelines for Arts Responders.
- Damage-specific instructional videos for coping with water damage and addressing soot are available from Heritage Preservation (and several other good items.
- For emergency business relief, many small organizations, including theaters and performing arts groups, are eligible for the Small Business Authority loans and FEMA assistance. For advice on navigating both, refer to this guide from Heritage Preservation
- Other places to watch for aid and information: ArtsReady’s Useful Links, Fractured Atlas, NYFA, Americans for the Arts, the Actor’s Fund (if their site is down, you may contact them by phone at 917-281-5936, Twitter or their Facebook page). Relief is available for all kinds of artists, including a free health clinic. Call 212-489-1039 to check on hours and eligibility.
- New York specific assistance and information: ART/NY, Dance/NYC (contact Lacey Althouse or on Twitter), NYC Arts Coalition.
- Charitable organizations have set up funds for Sandy victims: Greater New York Red Cross, Samaritans' Purse, Salvation Army, The Jewish Federations, AARP, and more.
- For finding alternative spaces to rehearse, teach, and produce shows, NYCPASpaces is a great resource.
See something missing? Please email Lynne Kingsley with more resources to be added to this list. Thank you!
by Lee Prinz
During the APAP|NYC 2012 conference, the Classical Connections committee presented a pre-conference forum hosted by bassoonist, composer, writer and satirist John Steinmetz. The forum addressed new ideas in presenting classical music and allowed presenters to share success stories about what worked in each of their communities. They also took the opportunity to discuss challenges in presenting classical music and how to meet them head on.
Participants heard many inspiring words from people out there in the trenches presenting classical music in today's ever shifting landscape.
Here are a few things we learned about along the way:
1. Using Themes to Unify Programming
Emil Kang, director of Carolina Performing Arts at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said a successful tool for presenting and marketing performances to audiences is to present the project as an overarching idea as well as something that can be deconstructed to its component parts depending on how the audience wishes to engage with it.
CPA is presenting The Right of Spring at 100, a project marking the centennial of the 1913 Paris premiere of Russian composer Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. CPA has asked artists to re-imagine The Rite of Spring and commissioned 12 new works by 20 choreographers, composers, directors and visual artists, many in collaboration.
The project has components that can appeal to many audience members on a variety of levels. They can look at the overall idea or choose to go to individual concerts and events.
2. Converting Culturally Aware Non-Attenders
Martha Bonta, executive producer of live events and special programming at WQXR, said her organization learned about an important demographic it didn't know existed.
When forum host Steinmetz asked Bonta what obstacles and challenges she faced during her short three-month time at WQXR, Bonta said the biggest challenge was not the "tremendously fantastic art form that we all love so much," but reaching all of the Culturally Aware Non-Attenders, a term used in reports by the League of American Orchestra's Audience Motivation Research Project and in a Knight Foundation 2002 Classical Music Consumer Segmentation Study to describe adults who have gone to other arts events but have not attended a classical music concert in two years even though many believe they would enjoy the experience.
3. Mixing It Up: Integrating Artists and Audiences
Rob Gibson, executive and artistic director of the Savannah Music Festival offered forum attendees inspiration and energy. His 17-day festival features more than 100 events covering the musical gamut of jazz, blues, traditional Indian music, bluegrass, classical, cabaret, flamenco and funk, in addition to dance, film and theater.
Gibson's key idea that sparked discussion was the observation that many audience members (and the artists themselves) are enthusiastic about mingling with the audience following the concert. Gibson has gone so far as to have a contract clause that the artists appearing at the festival be available to meet the audience - though he said they all are most eager to do this anyway. The SMF festival brochure informs the audience members that artists are available to greet them following the performance.
Gibson also encourages artists to attend each other's performances and organizes an interview-only series with one artist interviewing another artist in front of a small informal audience.
But the real fun happens at multiple bars in town where audience members and artists alike interact post-concert!
4. Post-Concert Trumps Pre-Concert for Audience-Artist Interaction
Anastasia Tsioulcas, co-host of the National Public Radio blog Deceptive Cadence, also talked about audience interaction. Tsioulcas shared an observation from many pre- and post-concert activities she has hosted at the Lincoln Center Festival and Mostly Mozart Festival.
She noticed the number of people present for a related event (a talk or discussion) skyrocketed in both attendance and level of engagement by the audience when the activity occurred after the concert. After an event, the audience has heard and experienced the performance and can engage more with the artists.
Tsioulcas talked about audience engagement through social media and gave the NPR work with Le Poisson Rouge in New York City for NPR @ LPR as an example. For each live event at LPR, NPR hosts a web chat. Tsioulcas mentioned that audience members sometimes have mixed feelings about social media at a live event and that it is important to be respectful to performers, audience members and the music. But by using social media, the audience becomes local, national and international. Listeners engage with the music and each other as they are experiencing the concert virtually, and this creates a sense of engagement and even ownership. She noted that people seem to enjoy processing events together - a powerful way of encouraging and nurturing the experience.
5. Applying Business Administration Principles to a Performing Arts Organization
The second half of the forum featured Richard Dare, executive director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He is leading the charge to turn the 154-year-old orchestra and performing arts organization around by applying business administration principles.
Dare shared a bit of the history of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, as well as their current state and future plans. He took the audience on a tour of the challenges the organization faces and how it is plans to put the orchestra on steady footing for the future. For more on Dare's approach, see his recent article in Huffington Post.
Join the APAP Classical Connections committee for Fear, Risk & Opprotunity: Presenting Classical Music, a free webinar 3-4 p.m. (EDT), Thursday, June 21, 2012. John Steinmetz will moderate an online discussion between Ruth Felt of San Francisco Performances and Tim McHenry of the Rubin Museum of Art. Register for this webinar and send questions to email@example.com.
Photo: 2012 YPCA participant Benjamin Hochman performs at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, by Jacob Belcher for APAP.
by Brian Taylor Goldstein
I was speaking to members of an ensemble the other day who assured me they didn't need to worry about licensing any of the music clips or videos on their website unless they charged a fee for people to listen to or watch them, or otherwise earned money from them. Rather, as they were using them only to promote performances and encourage people to buy tickets, the ensemble contended that this was a "non-commercial" use. This is, in fact, a common belief. Unfortunately, it's also among the most common misconceptions.
The truth is that any time you are using someone else's image, photograph, music, design, words or performance to sell or promote a service, it's a "commercial" use - even if you do not earn a direct fee.
Think of it this way: If, unbeknownst to you, a dentist found a photograph of your smiling self on Facebook and used it on a billboard to advertise his or her dental services, you'd probably be pretty upset. Would it make a difference to you that he was not actually selling the photograph? Probably not. He would still be using your face to sell his dental services.
Placing materials on your website operates just like placing them on your billboard. You need permission to use someone else's image, performance or copyrighted material to promote or "sell" your own services. And, like all other laws, regulations and statutes, this also applies to tax exempt 501(c) organizations.
Selling tickets to a classical concert or a cultural event is just as "commercial" as selling tickets to a rock concert or a Broadway show. Selling is selling. So, what would constitute a "non-commercial use?" You guessed it: something that doesn't promote or advertise a product or service to the general public-like showing a video of your performance to your Grandmother during her next visit. In other words, if you don't put it on your website, post it on the Internet or otherwise use it to help you sell tickets, it's probably a non-commercial use.
Join APAP and FTM Arts Law for a digital rights webinar on May 17, 2012 when Robyn Guilliams and I will be discussing some of the most common challenges in using materials on the Internet. Register for this webinar and submit questions ahead of time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
||For additional information and resources on this and other legal and business issues for the performing arts, visit ftmartslaw-pc.com.|
THE OFFICIAL DISCLAIMER:
THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE!
The purpose of this blog post is to provide general advice and guidance, not legal advice. Please consult with an attorney familiar with your specific circumstances, facts, challenges, medications, psychiatric disorders, past-lives, karmic debt and anything else that may impact your situation before drawing any conclusions, deciding upon a course of action, sending a nasty email, filing a lawsuit or doing anything rash!
In the past decade, the Department of State and the United State Customs and Immigration Service have made drastic improvements to the visa application process, primarily in cutting visa processing times. But procuring a visa is at the discretion of the USCIS or Customs and Border Protection officer who is reviewing the application or visa. These officers may or may not be versed in the arts, which can make a difference, particularly for international artists.
Recently, several very reputable international artists have been denied visas, and their canceled shows made national headlines. While the USCIS can be unpredictable, there are easy ways to avoid the major surprises that kept these artists home:
- Petition early! While the USCIS does its best to address all incoming O and P I-129 visa applications in 14 days or less, it doesn't guarantee the two-week processing time. You can petition for a visa as far as 12 months in advance of an artist's planned arrival in the U.S. Submit your I-129 early.
- Schedule a consulate interview sooner than later. Some consulates are extremely busy, and you must book an appointment many months in advance. The Department of State's website provides approximate appointment wait times. Consult the website and plan accordingly. Initiate the interview process by completing the form DS-160. Consular interview questions are based on your responses provided on this form.
- Obtaining a visa is a three-step process. First is the I-129 petition sent to the USCIS. This step is like a pre-screening and will tell you if you are eligible for the next step of the visa process. The next step is the consular interview. This is the stage where the artist is granted a visa. The final step is arrival in the U.S. CBP has the authority to deny entry on visas already awarded. If anything seems fishy, officers can detain you, question you or send you straight back home.
- Artists from Canada are not required to obtain a visa. They are only required to petition for one. This means an I-129 petition must be filed, and it must be approved. There is no need for a consular interview.
A thorough resource about obtaining visas for foreign artists and foreign artist tax withholding is www.ArtistsFromAbroad.org, a website maintained by APAP and the League of American Orchestras.
For more information about APAP visa assistance and consultation letters, contact me at email@example.com.
Photo of Yemen Blues at globalFEST by Juan Padron for APAP.
By Alicia Anstead
Editor, Inside Arts Magazine
A blog post
by Felicia Knight, former director of communications at the National Endowment for the Arts, caught my eye this morning because it made me think the singer/songwriter Randy Newman should have called "Short People,"
his 1978 hit single, "Rude People." Rude people really are just like you and I (and maybe they sometime are you and I), except we've earmarked them as rude. And apparently Knight, who now runs her own media consulting firm
, has had just about enough of rude people.
In her blog post, Knight delineates the categories of rude people including my favorite (by which I mean least favorite out in the world): the “I’m too important to be dealing with you” type. Knight examines the media -- because that's her milieu -- but I've often thought journalism and the arts have a lot in common both temperatmentally and professionally. So I think we can learn something direct from her ideas.
If you're anything like me, you communicate with the public all day long: colleagues, clients, clerks. I've found that the degree to which people are happy in their work -- that is, motivated, creative, stimulated and energized -- is often reflected in their manners and their productivity whether they're running a presenting organization or making the art that is presented at that organization.
"Do we have to get tough with each other?" Knight asks. Well, these are tough times, and our moods and habits can be adversely shaped by more work with fewer dollars and reduced staff. I'd argue we do have to be tough about productivity, efficiency and creativity -- and sometimes that looks like being tough with others. But it doesn't have to. After all, there is a polite way to make your own limitations known: "I can't meet with you now, but may I call you back in 30 minutes, please?" Or what if you step outside of your usual scope of work and try someone else's job for a morning or just an hour? I'd like to see every executive try that outfit on for size -- and I wonder how it might affect the appreciation factor in the office.
Knight advocates for better manners all around -- the return of the "please and thank you" culture. Hear, hear. I'd like to add better modeling, too. How can you be an example of good manners and thoughtful leadership? What expectations do you have for your staff -- at all levels -- and how do you build good manners into the ecology of your workplace, your public actions, your emails?
Those are real questions, and we'd like to know your answers....please.
For the last several months, I've been unable to travel to conferences and other convenings in our field. But I have actively been following colleagues who have taken the extra step to tweet from far-flung gatherings. When you can't afford to attend a conference or when your schedule simply doesn't allow it, the Twitter feed from onsite attendees becomes crucially valuable. It's not a replacement for the real thing, but it does allow you to feel connected and share knowledge in real time.
With this in mind, here are a few tips for tweeting from live events.
1. Make sure you include the event's hashtag. This establishes the unique group at the event and allows all tweets to be collated on the feed. Usually an organization will announce a hashtag, but don't be shy about asking for it.
2. Before you attend the event, start tweeting! Tell your followers: "I'm headed to #APAP2012 & I'm psyched!" (Notice the hashtag is included in the tweet rather than at the end of the tweet. Doing this saves space and still serves the hashtag purpose.)
3. Describe what you see. How many people? What are they doing? Is there a buzz? Who just walked in the room? What did you overhear? Who is seated next to you? Include a picture! These types of tweets help non-attendees get a sense of the atmosphere and visualize the setting. Here's a tweet from the closing plenary at our conference in January: "#APAP closing b'fast w Azar Nafisi is packed! Her message is a wake-up call about curiosity & empathy. #APAPNYC"
4. Tweet the full names of speakers, their titles and something you notice about them: "Sandra Gibson, APAP's CEO, is at the mic welcoming members. She's wearing one of her fab necklaces!"
5. Report on what you hear. Some tweeters find it easy to make a quick note with a pen and paper, and then transcribe it through Twitter. Others are fast typers. Know what works for you. And proofread! Be sure to spell names, locations, titles correctly. A quick surf on Google or an organization's website can assure accuracy. Printed programs can be very useful, too.
6. Retweet other ideas you missed and find worthy of repetition -- and be sure to comment. It's always nice to acknowledge a colleague: "Happy you're here. RT @texasfolklife: Is represented @APAP365 in nyc!"
7. Keep tweeting! Stay with the action to offer your followers the complete picture. When it's over, say so: "Azar Nafisi gets standing O. We're all tired but she has re-inspired & re-energized us. Thank you! #APAP #APAPNYC ."
8. On the other hand: Don't wear yourself down by tweeting too much. Be selective. Tweeting can enhance your experience or exhaust you. Strive for the former.
9. If you notice something else at the event -- a man who just walked in with a cloud of balloons -- tweet it! Not all of your tweets have to be about the main action.
10. If you're like me -- following virtually -- join the discussion. Let your colleagues know you're part of the conversation no matter where you are and that you appreciate their reportage and commentary: "Great live tweeting from Arts Forum at The Times Center. Keep the tweets coming! @nycarts #culturetrack"
A final note: You can tweet directly from your Twitter account on your computer or cell phone. We also use Hootsuite, Echofon and Tweetdeck on our phones. Do you have tips for tweeting from live events? Let us know and join our conversation @APAP365
After Arts Presenters awarded Ken Fischer the 2011 Fan Taylor Award at the APAP|NYC conference in January, I began thinking: How does Ken do what he does as president of the University Musical Society of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor? What are his secrets for leadership?
You can't win the Fan Taylor Award without achieving an impressive body of knowledge about our industry. So I asked Ken to compile a "Top Ten" list about his principles for leadership. The list was published in this spring's issue of Inside Arts. If you're a member, you should have received this by regular USPS mail. You can also find a link at the end of this post.
What struck me about Ken's list was the underlying importance of community. He basically says: Get out in your community, be friendly out there, know what's out there and who's out there (and call them by name), stay connected and contribute to the well-being of your people (internally and externally). In a way, it's a "golden rule" for building and maintaining connections.
And it's worth revisiting. You can read Ken's list and insights here
. In the spirit of his ideas, let's take the next step: What are your principles -- your "golden rules" -- for leadership? Share them with us here at Arts Presenters, and we'll keep them circulating among our membership and beyond.
---Alicia Anstead, Editor, Inside Arts
Michael Kaiser's latest entry
on HuffPo explores the changes in corporate funding habits over the years -- the journey from corporate good will toward the arts to corporate visibility through the arts.
The change, however, is a slippery slope, he says:
How do we create visibility without bastardizing our art? Every arts organization must have clear rules on what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to providing visibility for potential corporate sponsors.
The same slippery slope applies to the trend toward empowering audiences. Performances are no longer singly focused on drawing audiences into a venue. Presenters, producers, directors and artists are looking for ways to empower audiences. In a way, we're enacting a similar "in-kind" artistic experience contribution from ticket buyers.
And the same question lingers: How do we do this without bastardizing our art? What is acceptable in presenting both an art and an art experience for patrons? What happens when patrons become co-collaborators, co-curators and co-artists?
The questions become increasing important in a digital world where participation is one click away.
We're eager to know how members are navigating and discussing funder and audience shifts. How are you adjusting to funding challenges and audience participation?