News from Ohio Citizens for the Arts

The Nominating Committee for Ohio Citizens for the Arts needs your help in securing names and contact information for potential candidates to serve as leaders on the Board of Directors.

An Ohio Citizens for the Arts’ Board of Directors member serves one three-year term and must be a member of the organization. Other responsibilities include attendance and participation in four Board meetings each year, serving on a committee or task force, and participating in activities of the organization including membership development and Arts Day.

Members of the Nominating Committee (Mary Gimpel, Cincinnati; Jeff Strayer, Canton; and Nancy Recchie, Columbus) will be looking for geographic distribution of members, representation of arts organizations, artists, business leaders, civic leaders, and citizens with an interest in supporting the mission of Ohio Citizens for the Arts: Established in 1976, Ohio Citizens for the Arts is a volunteer, nonprofit grass roots organization working to increase public support of the arts in Ohio.

Please participate in the nominating process by providing us with potential candidates as your personal recommendation. Please respond by October 19, 2012. Your suggestions should be sent to us by email donnacollins@ohiocitizensforthearts.org, or by fax at 614.241.5329, or by US mail at OCA, 77 South High Street, 2nd floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215-6108.

Provide the following information for each individual you are recommending:

Name:
Mailing Address:
Telephone Number:
Email Address:
Profession or connection to the arts:

We would also like to you to provide a sentence or two about the strengths of this individual and what assets they will bring as a Board member of the Ohio Citizens for the Arts, if slated and elected.

Please note that only those recommendations providing all the information requested will be considered by the Nominating Committee.

Thank you for your participation and interest in supporting the arts in Ohio! If you have questions feel free to call Donna Collins at 614.221.4064.

SEEKING 10 OHIO HIGH SCHOOLS TO REPRESENT OHIO’S 1.8 MILLION STUDENTS! IS A HIGH SCHOOL IN YOUR DISTRICT THE PERFECT MATCH?

Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation, in partnership with the Ohio Arts Council, offers a unique community service opportunity for high school students in conjunction with Ohio’s annual Arts Day and Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio. Ten high schools from around the state will be chosen to send a team of six students to Columbus to serve as student advocates. These students will participate in a range of activities highlighting the value and importance of the arts and arts education as a part of a complete curriculum. This is a valuable opportunity for your students to participate in the democratic process in a way that is personally meaningful to them.

You are invited to express your interest in having your students participate in Arts Day 2013 to be held in Columbus on Wednesday, May 15th. Please respond by writing a brief statement of your interest in participating and what you hope to achieve through the student advocates program by November 19, 2012 via email, fax, or US mail (contact information can be found at the close of this message). High school selections will be made by the end of November from those indicating their interest to participate.

WHAT: Arts Day 2013 Student Advocate Program
WHEN: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 9:00 AM – 1:30 PM
WHERE: Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts and the Ohio Statehouse
Columbus, Ohio

ACTIVITIES:
Students attend an advocacy briefing
Students meet with state legislators or their aides to advocate for the arts and arts education
Students attend the Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Arts Day Luncheon with members of the state legislature
Students tour state buildings

OPPORTUNITIES:
Collaborate among academic departments within the high school (ex. arts, government, and language arts)
Host a member of the Ohio House of Representatives and/or Senate in your school for a pre-Arts Day orientation to discuss the role of a legislator in the school and arts funding process
Raise student awareness of the legislative process and citizens’ participation in government
Receive positive recognition for your school
Make an important contribution to the continuation of state funding for the arts and arts education

REQUIREMENTS:
Six (6) students who demonstrate an interest in the arts and the day’s activities
Advance preparation by students: identify and write their Ohio legislators
School-provided release time for: a) two-hour in-school legislative visit and advocacy training and b) trip to Columbus on Arts Day
School-provided transportation to Columbus for students and accompanying adult(s)
Teacher and/or school administrator to “advise” the student participation and serve as a liaison with the Arts Day Committee member

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Janelle Hallett, Member Services Director
Email: janelle@ohioctizensforthearts.org
Telephone: 614.221.4064 Fax: 614.241.5329
Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation 77 South High Street, 2nd Floor Columbus, Ohio 43215-6108
Urge Congress to Preserve Charitable Giving Incentives
The nonprofit arts community, like other charitable sectors, relies on the generosity of individual donations from people of every income level who believe the public good is served by supporting charitable organizations.

For nearly 100 years, the Charitable Deduction has been one of the primary sources of revenue for arts and culture by incentivizing giving with a modest federal tax deduction.

As Congress and the President struggled with addressing federal budget deficits, the deduction has been discussed as one possible way to increase revenue by either capping the value of the deduction to the taxpayer, reforming it or by elimination of the benefit. The Obama Administration has already proposed limiting the value of the deduction and proposals ranging from elimination of the deduction in last summer’s “supercommittee” considerations to changes that would effectively curtail tax deductions to charity.

Comprehensive tax reform has been one of the central issues Congress has said they want to resolve during the lame duck session after the election. While the result of the election will have an effect on the charitable deduction’s policy direction, the lame duck session promises to be fast-paced with precious little time for constituents and advocates to express their opinions. Please take the opportunity during this recess to urge your member of Congress to preserve charitable incentives.

For further information on the arts and tax reform, please refer to our Issue Brief.

Take Action Now!
Source: Americans for the Arts

Over $100,000 Grant Funds Available for Local & State History Projects

In tax year 2011, nearly 17,000 Ohioans voluntarily contributed to the History Fund, the matching grants program that is one of four “tax check-off” funds found on Ohio’s personal income tax form. Thanks to these voluntary contributions, the History Fund-in its first year of operation-has over $100,000 in grant funds available for programs and events related to the state’s history. The Ohio Historical Society, which administers the History Fund, is accepting grant applications through October 29, 2012.

The History Fund was created to support the preservation and sharing of Ohio’s heritage by funding local, regional, and statewide projects, programs, and events related to the state’s history. “The History Fund is an opportunity for Ohioans to help preserve their own history and we are honored that so many contributed to the History Fund in its first year of operation,” said Burt Logan, Executive Director and CEO for the Society. “It benefits Ohioans by supporting projects that help to preserve and share local and state history and contribute to Ohio’s economy.”

Previously known as the “tax check-off,” The History Fund was created in the state’s two-year budget that was signed into law by Gov. John R. Kasich on June 30, 2011. The legislation allowing for the change in state tax forms was initially brought to the General Assembly by former State Rep. Kathleen Chandler (D-Kent) in 2005. State Rep. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) re-introduced it earlier this year before it was enacted in the state budget. On previous year’s 1040 forms, Ohio residents have had the option of donating to causes such as wildlife conservation, nature preserves, scenic rivers, and the protection of endangered species. The History Fund joined these programs on the 2011 Ohio tax form and will be on future tax forms, providing Ohioans with a simple way to help preserve their state’s history.

“This matching grants program is possible due to the generosity of individual Ohio taxpayers,” said Andy Verhoff, Local History Coordinator for the Society. “The funds available from the History Fund speak to Ohioans commitment to their state and its history.”

ABOUT THE HISTORY FUND APPLICATION PROCESS
History Fund grants are competitive and require a match from recipients. Eligible history projects can fall into one of three broad grant categories: “Organizational Development,” “Programs & Collections,” and “Bricks & Mortar.” Potential funded projects might include the rehabilitation of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, oral history projects, archiving projects, archaeological investigations, educational programs, or exhibits. After grant applications are received on October 29, applications will be reviewed by a panel of professionals who represent the grant program’s constituencies (local historians, historic preservationists, museum professionals, archeologists, archivists, genealogists, etc.). This panel will hold review meetings, which are open to the public, and will make funding recommendations. The Ohio Historical Society serves only as the administrator of the History Fund and cannot apply for grant funds.

Funding decisions for the History Fund will be announced in February 2013 and the project period will begin in April 2013 (allowable project duration is 12-24 months).

For detailed information about the History Fund, eligibility requirements, the application process, and to access the online application visit www.ohiohistory.org/historyfund. Applicants are advised to make sure their proposals meet the requirements of the grant program. For the History Fund, those requirements are described in the program’s Guidelines, which explain what the History Fund will fund (and what it will not).

A New Civic Canvas For Public Art

Decked out in neon safety vests and yellow hard hats, the construction workers lay on their stomachs before a low stone wall. Their tools were not nail guns or jackhammers, but tiny paintbrushes. Delicately, they filled in dozens of names etched into stone.

They weren’t laboring on some ordinary bricks-and-mortar edifice. They were making public art — a monument to fallen firefighters on the Capitol grounds in St. Paul.

Similar scenes are playing out across the country as cities turn to public art to fuel a sense of fun or drama that enlivens urban streets, parks and transit stations.

In St. Paul, $4.5 million in public art is being touted as key to the ambience envisioned for the Central Corridor light-rail line and its terminus, Union Depot. With the help of a hefty injection of federal money, each of 18 stops along University Avenue will feature original art appropriate to each site, such as portraits of black leaders including Roy Wilkins at the Victoria Avenue stop to evoke the old Rondo neighborhood.

From Lilliputian statues along the High Line walkway in New York to the giant silver sculpture affectionately called “The Bean” in Chicago’s Millennium Park, the idea of using art to create appealing urban environments is gathering steam, even in a tight economy.

In fact, economic development is being used as a pro-art argument, as other Midwest cities including St. Louis, Kansas City and Des Moines look to Chicago’s investment in art as a boon to tourist dollars.

“Public art is about making a space special and memorable,” said Josh Collins,
communications manager for the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority. “It gives people a sense of community and pride. They’re not just walking through some place. They’re walking through a great place they’ll want to come back to and tell their friends about.”

Private money for ‘public’ art
The movement is not without controversy. One person’s vital investment in the urban landscape is another’s waste of scarce tax dollars, as demonstrated by the dust-up two years ago over city-funded, $50,000-a-pop, artist-designed drinking fountains in Minneapolis. City Council Member Meg Tuthill lobbied to have the initial plan for 10 fountains reduced to four, citing pothole repair as a more pressing need.

“I’m all for public art, as long as we make it functional, like bus benches and bike racks,” Tuthill said. “We are not at a time when we can justify spending the money otherwise.”

“Public art” doesn’t necessarily mean public dollars, however — only that the art ends up in a public space, said Jack Becker, director of the St. Paul nonprofit Forecast Public Art.

“Lots of people think they paid for the Mary Tyler Moore statue on Nicollet Mall,” he said. “But [cable TV’s] Viacom commissioned it to promote Nick at Night rerun programming. They put up a Ralph Kramden statue in New York, too.”

The $720,000 for the new Capitol monument — which was dedicated Sunday — was collected from firefighters throughout Minnesota. “The Wave” at Target Field, the striking wind-veil sculpture enhancing one entire wall of a huge parking garage, was financed entirely by Target Corp. Several artworks in a plaza at the new 10-story Mozaic building in Uptown Minneapolis were paid for by its developer, the Ackerberg Group.

Large infrastructure projects such as bridges and light rail are public art’s best friends.
A total of $3.25 million is budgeted for art on the Central Corridor line, plus $1.25 million at Union Depot. The latter project is funded by Ramsey County, but the Federal Transit Administration is covering 80 percent of the cost. That agency is also paying for half of the art along University Avenue, with various metro and state agencies making up the rest.

“Those federal dollars are earmarked for transit projects, so if they didn’t come here, they’d be going to projects in Portland or Denver or Seattle,” Collins said. The federal government recommends spending between 0.5 percent and 5 percent of capital costs on art. The Union Depot project is at “about .85 percent,” he said.

Public art is also included in plans for the Vikings stadium, the Saints stadium in Lowertown St. Paul, the transit hub by the Twins stadium, the Hwy. 7 bridge in St. Louis Park and a new I-35 exit ramp at Lake Street in Minneapolis.

A national model
St. Louis Park has found an innovative way to get more art with less public money. The suburb is seen as a national model for asking private developers to pony up cash for public art as part of the deal.

Its latest success is “The Dream Elevator,” a 44-foot-tall sculpture by Minneapolis artist Randy Walker that pays homage to the city’s historic grain elevator. It’s now under construction in front of a new senior-living complex at 36th Street and Woodale Avenue.

Another trend encouraging officials to promote public art is a move away from so-called “plop” art — works that don’t have a direct correlation to their surroundings. Instead, artists are involved from the outset of projects, which not only saves money but results in art that better fits its environs.

Irrigate, an initiative led by St. Paul artists who live near the Central Corridor, is an example of the trend. A partnership between the city of St. Paul and two nonprofit arts organizations, Irrigate connects artists with neighborhood groups and small businesses along or near the six-mile corridor. One result: A colorful stained-glass design by artists Steve Bougie and Richard Fuller beautifies a chain link fence at University and Raymond avenues.

“It’s not art for art’s sake,” said Mary Altman, public-arts administrator for the City of Minneapolis. “It’s an organic part of the community, meant to be interacted with.”
She cited the success of Minneapolis’ new utility-box program. The city offers artist-created designs on vinyl that neighborhood associations can purchase at low cost to cover those ugly curbside fixtures.

“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing” since the program was introduced, Altman said.
Liesl Fenner, who manages the public-art program at the national advocacy nonprofit Americans for the Arts, said that the thriving Twin Cities scene reflects a national trend, but that a downturn may come: “A lot of the projects being completed now were funded through capital-improvement dollars approved years ago.”

Fenner offered another reason that elected officials mindful of being seen as spendthrifts might support public art in tough times: “When dollars are tight, people who can’t afford to see a play or go to a museum can still enjoy public art. It’s free and accessible.”

Source: StarTribune

Music Makes Kids More Empathetic, Research Finds

Exposure to music can makes kids more empathetic, a recent study has found.

The University of Cambridge research, though preliminary, may affect how school systems, policymakers and educators view music and its relationship to a child’s development.

The yearlong study, conducted in the U.K. by researchers Tal-Chen Rabinowitch and Ian Cross, both members of the music faculty at Cambridge, found that children between 8 and 11 years old who engaged in group musical activity were more likely to develop empathy than those in control groups where music was not included.

The study defined empathy as a child having an understanding of the emotional state of another. A total of 52 children – 28 girls and 24 boys – were split, randomly, into three groups. One met weekly and was immersed in interactive musical games and was composed of 13 girls and 10 boys. A second group undertook activities involving the use of written texts and drama, but no music. Another group had no interactive activities at all.

The study found that children involved in musical group interactions scored higher on an empathy test that was given to all the children both before and after the activities.

“Analyzing these two domains theoretically, led us to hypothesize that certain processes and underlying cognitive mechanisms should be naturally shared between musical group interaction and empathy,” said Rabinowitch, the lead researcher.

Some involved with arts education find the study intriguing for how it underscores the effect the arts has on young students.

“In the intense focus on academic performance and test scores, we can lose sight of the social and emotional dimensions of learning and child development,” said Joe Landon, executive director of the California Alliance for Arts Education.

“In fact, the two are related,” Landon said. “Quality arts programs have the potential to empower and engage students in ways that can promote learning across the board. Students who have a positive sense of themselves are more likely to embrace learning new things and find success in school.”

The study confirms what Sacramento Philharmonic tubist Julian Dixon believes about the benefits of group music activity. Dixon leads such activities as part of the orchestra’s outreach programs.

“With music I find kids develop more understanding, and it makes them more empathetic,” Dixon said.

The most telling example happened last April during the orchestra’s “See the Music, Hear the Art” outreach program at Sacramento’s Mustard Seed School – a school established to meet the needs of homeless children. It was there that Dixon said he encountered Elijah, a 9-year-old with a reputation for being disruptive in group settings. He had been street-toughened by living in transitional housing. Dixon led him in a group activity.

“I began seeing his face soften. It became more childlike in expression,” Dixon said. “Later, he offered to carry my stuff to my car. He reached out.”

In the University of Cambridge study, music activity stressed what researchers called “entrainment,” wherein players become rhythmically attuned to each other during the course of the musical games. Imitation and sharing of musical goals were key. Imitation games demanded that one child do something musically, with the next child imitating it, and the next imitating the imitation. These happened in mostly unstructured, improvisational situations. Each child playing a musical instrument also had to attend to other children.

Rabinowitch wanted to establish whether strengthening or refining those activities in a group context would also focus and strengthen them in an everyday context.

“Empathy is considered to be a precursor of pro-social behavior, a crucial ingredient in our daily social lives,” said Rabinowitch. “Empathy keeps us ‘together,’ connected, and aware for each other.”

To establish whether the children developed empathy, the researchers gave children a 22-question test called the Bryant’s Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescents. The test asked hypothetical questions such as “If you saw a friend had fallen over, would you go over and help them up, soothe them, or laugh?” A nonverbal test of matching faces and a memory task game also were part of the testing.

“Overall, the capacity for empathy in children that participated in our musical group interaction program significantly increased,” said Rabinowitch.

It was an effect the research team did not see in the children from control groups – which included children who participated in equivalent sessions of games and special tasks, but without any music.

In the nonmusical groups, the researchers used drama and storytelling in similar ways in a group activity setting. The expectation was that children who participated in the control-games groups would also show an enhanced capacity for empathy following the program.

“Such an effect was not found, but still, we’re very hesitant to draw definitive conclusions, as the sample size of this particular group was small,” said Rabinowitch. “While this is a preliminary study, replication of its findings with larger groups in different cultural contexts would have significant implications for the value of music in education.”

The research holds a certain interest for Ross Thompson, professor of psychology at UC Davis. “It’s a well-designed investigation,” he said. “The results are not strong, as the authors recognize, but they lend support to the idea that attentiveness to another’s feelings and goals … can generalize to other situations involving sensitivity to another’s feelings.”

Thompson believes the research raises interesting questions, given that much of musical instruction nowadays is geared to individual performance – such as a piano recital – rather than for improvisational group performance.

“The characteristics of empathy-promoting musical components may not be common in the typical experience of young children learning a musical instrument,” Thompson said.

Source: The Sacramento Bee

Suggested Reading

Performing on the Global Stage: Exploring the Relationship between Finance and Arts in Global Cities: In this article, we explore the relationship between contemporary Global Financial Centers or GFC and Global Arts Centers or GAC. Are financial entrepôts still places for cultural encounters? Does the symbiotic relationship between international financial prowess and ditto prominence in arts in cities still hold in an era of intensified globalization? Are Asian cities which have become prominent financial centers in recent years also global arts centers? To address these questions, we compare a ranking of Global Financial Centers with a ranking of Global Arts Centers. For the first, we make use of the Global Financial Center Index constructed by the Z/Yen Group, for the latter we created a large database with “art events” to be able to construct a ranking of cities according to their prominence-global and local-in arts. Our data show that the relationship is much more complex. At the top of both rankings, there is indeed a strong overlap, apart from Berlin which is GAC but not a GFC, but further down the picture gets blurred with only a partial overlap. European cities are strongly overrepresented, and to a lesser extent North-American cities, while Asian and South-American cities are underrepresented and African cities do not show up at all.

Expanding Time for Learning Both Inside and Outside the Classroom: This report synthesizes what is known about the effectiveness of school and program interventions that aim to address deficiencies and inequities in academic achievement and educational attainment by expanding learning opportunities for students both inside and outside of school.

Technology News You Can Use

Some Schools Actually Want Students To Play With Their Smartphones In Class: If there is one thing that the mobile-computing era has made clear, it’s that kids love touch screens. Because those touch screens – smartphones, iPads, Kindles and the like – are an inevitable added distraction to the classroom, schools across the country are struggling to deal with the growing prevalence of the technology. But a growing number of schools are embracing these hand-held, Internet-ready devices by creating policies that put them to use in the classroom.

What if Cloud Vendors Go Out of Business or Delete Your Account? In the TechSoup Global NGO cloud survey we found that people in nonprofits and libraries are indeed concerned about data security in the cloud the world over. Cloud data security and privacy challenges were cited by 27% of respondents as a significant barrier to cloud adoption. Find out more about the survey results on cloud computing.

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