SEABROOK SAYS: Kim George is Gaston’s leader for our Gaston Arts Council. Her article brings new insights into the arts locally and statewide. This is important as new impacts will be coming to us via arts in the future. NOW THAT YOU KNOW, WHAT WILL YOU DO?
The hashtag “stayartsy” was recently adopted by Arts North Carolina (Arts NC) – North Carolina’s statewide advocacy organization for the arts) to express the sentiments of many throughout the state who value and support the arts.
Speaking of Arts NC and news from Raleigh, there was great news for the arts in North Carolina at the conclusion of the Biennium budget sessions: $500,000 increase in Grassroots Arts Funds for 2016-2017 (these funds are distributed to all 100 counties and helps provide a diverse menu of arts opportunities and impact: festivals, arts in schools, administration overhead, sub-grants to community agencies, concerts) and $715,422 for A+ Schools (arts-based whole-school reform effort who since 1995 has been using the arts as a catalyst for creating connections and making school engaging, meaningful and enjoyable places to teach and learn).
On the national front there are some buzz words floating around:
- Partnerships & Collaborations
- Advocacy & Strategic Messaging
- Diversity & Equity
- Arts & Education
- Community Development
- Marketing/Communications/Social Media
And to determine the strides Local Arts Agencies (LAAs) are making in these areas, surveys were collected from more than 1,000 LAAs throughout 2015; the data gathered represents the most comprehensive information to date.
LAAs promote, support, and develop the arts at the local level ensuring a vital presence for the arts throughout America’s communities. LAAs are diverse in their makeup—they have many different names and embrace a spectrum of artistic disciplines. But each LAA, in its own way, works to sustain the health and vitality of the arts and artists locally, while also striving to make the arts accessible to all members of a community. Local Arts Agencies are referred to by many different names or titles for example: Arts Council, Arts commission, cultural commission, or heritage commission, Cultural alliance and Arts service organization.
North Carolina is in on the data gathering and “Help Us Document the Impact of Arts & Culture in NC” is the appeal from the North Carolina Arts Council who is participating in the 5th national Arts & Economic Prosperity research study to be conducted by Americans for the Arts (AFTA) during 2016. This research will produce a report on North Carolina’s arts and culture industry, as well as each of the seven economic development regions.
The 2012 Arts & Economic study found that nonprofit arts and culture are a $1.24 billion industry in North Carolina – one that supports 43,605 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $119 million in local and state government revenue. These facts are powerful tools in making the case for state and local funding for arts and culture by demonstrating the significant return on investment.
Nonprofit arts and culture organizations across the North Carolina will help measure this economic impact in their communities throughout the year. In 32 counties, local study partners will coordinate the data gathering. The arts and culture organizations in the rest of the state will work directly with the N.C. Arts Council. Audiences at arts and culture events will be surveyed throughout 2016.
Gaston Arts Council hosted an Arts and Business luncheon on Monday, June 13 at the Historic Courthouse in Dallas where leaders from Gaston County, Charlotte and Raleigh provided updates and key highlights. The featured presenters were: Rick Coleman, Mayor, Dallas, NC; Michael Applegate, CDME, Director, Gaston County Travel & Tourism; Malissa O. Gordon, Existing Industry Manager, Gaston County EDC; Ted Hall, President, Montcross Area Chamber; Liz Fitzgerald, Arts and Science Council (Mecklenburg), Program Director, Cultural & Community Investment; Andrea Schrift, Manager of Member Engagement & Events, Gaston Regional Chamber; Rebecca Scroggins, Director of Government Relations and Grants, Arts and Science Council (Mecklenburg) Karen Wells, Executive Director, Arts North Carolina (Arts NC). In attendance were area artists, community leaders, arts organization representatives from Kings Mountain as well as Gaston, Lincoln, Cleveland and Stanly counties.
To discover more about upcoming arts, cultural and entertainment events in Gaston County as well as artist opportunities visit GAC’s newly redesigned website at www.gastonarts.org. The new website features “artist of the month” and “arts organization of the month” sections.