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  • From the blog

    Bucking the Trend: Securing Affordable Spaces for the Arts

     

    By Shelley Trott, Director, Arts Strategy & Ventures, Kenneth Rainin Foundation

    I’ve spent a good part of my life in the arts—as a dancer and choreographer, teacher, filmmaker, and now a funder with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. The Foundation invests in visionary artists and small to mid-size arts organizations in the Bay Area that push the boundaries of creative expression. So when we began seeing their work threatened by a volatile real estate market, we had to seek a solution.

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    The Art of Advocacy

    By Demone Carter

    Online Commons Contributor

    Tension are high within the arts sector with the news of the Trump administration’s credible threat to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Both institutions were founded in 1965 as independent agencies of the federal government to ensure that millions of Americans would have access to arts and culture. Inherent within their creation is the belief that the arts and culture are important to civic life.

    Both the NEA and NEH represent a tiny fraction of the federal budget, receiving only $148M in 2016, or 0.0003% of the overall federal budget. Therefore, their proposed elimination would not signify a significant savings for the government. Rather, the rationale for putting the NEA and NEH on the chopping block is grounded in the cynical ideology we have come to expect from the Trump administration.

    As a result, the current political context brings to the forefront the need for artists to engage with politics. If we do not, we risk being steamrolled to the margins of American society. Simply put: it is time for arts professionals to engage deeply and in more meaningful ways with the political system that affects the work we do and the communities we serve. Advocacy is the order of the day.

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