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Monograph is one of the benefits of membership in Americans for the Arts.

Serving Communities. Enriching Lives.

As we revisit the history of the LAA movement, we also want to acknowledge some of the people whose “big ideas” dramatically impacted the movement and, in turn, pass these ideas on to those who will succeed us. We’ll hear directly from some of the voices of the LAA field—past and present—whose comments have both illuminated and inspired the work of local arts agencies. Part history, part case study, and part “idea bank,” we hope this Monograph will serve as a tribute to the accomplishments of a vibrant and growing field, as well as a catalyst and guidepost for those new pioneers who have just begun their journey.

SPECIAL DOUBLE ISSUE Cultural Torchbearers of the Community: Local Arts Agencies—Then and Now
By Maryo Gard Ewell

Introduction

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n a 2003 study, Americans for the Arts defined the local arts agency as “a private nonprofit organization or an agency of local government that presents programming to the public, provides services to artists and arts organizations, manages cultural facilities, awards grants to artists or arts organizations, and/or participates in community cultural planning.”1 In other words, local arts agencies (LAAs) sponsor programs, run facilities, provide services, offer grants, undertake cultural planning—and more. Those of us in the arts world sometimes take the existence of our state and local arts agencies for granted. There are state arts agencies in all states and jurisdictions. In fact, it is estimated that there are more than 4,000 local arts agencies throughout the United States, in places as large as New York City and as small as Lake City, CO (population of 375). About a quarter of these LAAs are staffed, at least part time. They go by many different names, offer many different programs and services, and are as various as the communities they serve. The history of the local arts agency as an institution began when community arts councils were founded in both Quincy, IL, and Winston-Salem, NC, in 1947 and 1948, respectively. However, to really understand the local arts agency movement, we must look beyond institutional structures, vocabulary, and program trends, all of which change with eras, economics, and politics. We need to look at the ideas which do not vary, but are passed from one generation to the next. In this Monograph, we’ll explore the system of beliefs governing the LAA movement by taking a look back at the historical beginnings of these shared values. 

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The “Big Four ”—What Local Arts Agencies Believe

Belief in Democracy
The idea behind local arts agencies is inseparable from the idea of democracy. LAAs embody the relationship between art, creativity, and democracy every day as liaisons to major decision-makers in both the private and public sector in their communities. Writers in the early 20th century explored this relationship. In 1909, playwright Percy MacKaye wrote that “true democracy is vitally concerned with beauty, and true art is vitally concerned with citizenship.”2 Three years later, in 1912, the poet Vachel

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here are four “big ideas” that, implicitly or explicitly, are shared by local arts agencies and form the fundamental belief system that governs their work. If you are asking, “What does a local arts agency stand for?” or if you are considering starting a local arts agency in your community, these ideas are a good place to start.

IKEA Cycle, part of the 005 King County Performance Network’s (KCPN) series of sitespecific art happenings, commissioned by 4Culture (Seattle) and LAAs throughout King

Voices of Democracy

Twentieth-century playwright Percy MacKaye and poet Vachel Lindsay had never heard of a local arts agency—the term wouldn’t be coined for another 50 years. Nonetheless, their writing linked artistic creation to the public good, creating an early framework for the work of LAAs today. These ideas were expressed again some 50 and 75 years later—when local arts agencies had become a reality—by some of the voices of the early LAA field: If we are seeking in America, let it be a seeking for the reality of democracy in art…And let us start by acceptance…that [the arts] can exist and flourish in small places as well as in large; with money, or without, according to the will of the people. —Robert E. Gard, author of The Arts in the Small Community The arts are not the exclusive province of cultural institutions; creative instincts are found in all human beings, each to one’s own measure, and cultural policy in every city must reflect this condition. —Ralph Burgard, first paid Director of the Winston-Salem Arts Council, NC Everyone possesses inherent creativity and imagination, which can be further developed. —LaMoine MacLaughlin, The Northern Lakes Center for the Arts, WI

County, WA. Photo by Bootsy Holler.

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Lindsay wrote about “The New Localism” in his book Gospel of Beauty. He said, “We should make our own…neighborhood the most democratic, the most beautiful and the holiest in the world. The children now growing up…should believe in every possible application to art theory of the thoughts of the Declaration of Independence and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.”3 This is the most basic philosophical idea behind the local arts agency, whatever its size, structure, or service area: respect for the inherent worth, voice, and creativity of every individual—and the linking of this creativity to the American democratic ideal.

Voices of a Place and its People

Local arts agencies are passionately committed to celebrating and nurturing the cultural identities of their communities. These are some thoughts about the deep connection between the arts, a sense of communal place, and individual identity: Our purpose in having this artist-in-residence was to help our kids understand the beauty of a sunrise over the prairie, and their connec-

Belief in Place—Celebrating a Place and its People
A second commonality shared by every local arts agency is a passion for place and the people who live there. Take a community tour with a staff or board member of a local arts agency anywhere in the country, and you’ll learn something about the community’s history as well as the individuals who make it what it is today. You’ll be guided to architectural features that you may not have otherwise noticed. You’ll hear about the relation of the town to its geography and why the geography is so fascinating. You’ll find out about the community’s neighborhoods, who lives there now and where they came from, and you’ll witness a deep respect for the cultures that make up that community. Through their policies and programs, LAAs celebrate the uniqueness of their communities, both past and present, and the artistic expression of their citizens and cultural institutions.

tion to that prairie. —resident of Arriba, CO As Dakotans…we are a people whose contribution to world culture is on our own terms of excellence. We create, we interpret, and we present art within the Dakota framework, telling the world of our sense of place. —from “A Declaration of Dakota Cultural Identity,” written at the Dakota Centennial Arts Congress, September 22–24, 1989 …an incredibly diverse community is attempting to invest in its people a spirit of ownership over their history and in the public art that celebrates it. —Yankee Johnson, former Arts Program Director at the Office of Cultural Affairs in the City of San Jose, CA

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Voices of the Community

Belief in Community Building— Creating Shared Value
A third tenet held by local arts agencies is community building. This phrase, so common today that we sometimes don’t give much thought to what it means, refers to those broad activities that make life better for everyone. What distinguishes this idea from “passion for our place and its people” is that in “community building,” LAAs are strengthening or creating systems for people. Examples of community building include creating systems that provide an increasingly strong public education for the benefit of all; create an increasingly healthy economy, offering work that pays enough for people to live decently; stimulate broader participation in the affairs of that place; or deepen a discussion that may already exist.

The role of the arts in building a sense of community dates back centuries. The great Greek dramas had this contextual significance. Rarely, if ever, were they allowed to depart from their intimacy with the concrete substance and rhythm of the community… —Baker Brownell, newspaper reporter and philosopher Lincoln County has the highest per capita rate of single parent families, child abuse, substance abuse, teen pregnancies, and teen suicide in the state of Oregon. It seemed unconscionable to receive generous public funding and not address these statistics within the context of presenting and producing art…There may be no more important work in community arts than building bridges. —Sharon Morgan, former Executive Director of the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts Our story and music circle methodology creates a level playing field for like and unlike individuals to come together; the emphasis is on respect (not necessarily agreement) and listening. —Dudley Cocke, a founding member of Roadside Theater, a division of Appalshop, in Eastern Kentucky

Belief in Excellence—Committing to the Highest Forms of Expression
The fourth belief that local arts agencies share is a profound commitment to excellence. Percy MacKaye wrote in 1909 that, for the arts, there cannot be “too high an excellence for the public good.”4 In the 1930s, Alexander Drummond, generally acknowledged to be one of the great voices in the American theater at that time, grew disgusted by the trite and foolish plays listed by drama services as suitable for rural production. He began a program at Cornell University in which rural people could come to the university for guidance with writing and producing plays of excellence that were relevant to their lives. His student, Robert Gard, wrote: “When plays cannot be found to fit the needs of the people, someone or some group must make up a play; in such playmaking there is a wonderful freshness.”5 Local arts agencies honor the people they serve by aspiring to excellence in every level of operation— in their aesthetic standards and in the design of the programs and services they offer. They believe that
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a child working with an artist of excellence will dream bigger, reach higher, and investigate ideas more creatively. They believe that the members of their community deserve creative work presented with the highest integrity; that people who are trying their hand at an art form for the first time should have the chance to learn the discipline of the form, to get better and better, with encouragement, critique, and support along the way. The LAA view of the “arts” is large and inclusive— from the familiar to the experimental, in every discipline and mode of expression. Their celebration of artistic diversity in communities

is not limited. The excellence they strive for may ultimately be expressed in folkloric dance, hip-hop, or ballet; Bach cantatas, computer-generated music, or rap; Kabuki theater, social-action theater, or Neil Simon plays; locally written and produced plays, public sculpture, or film; acrylic painting, crafts, or found-objects-as-art; Appalachian storytelling, poetry by Emily Dickinson or Pablo Neruda, or poetry in Swahili. From classical art to community-specific art—and even to forms that haven’t yet been given life—local arts agencies know that each art form has its own distinct standards of excellence.

Performer at Croatia Fest in Seattle. Produced by the Ethnic Heritage Council, an LAA that educates and encourages cross-cultural experiences through the arts. Photo by Jal Schrof, 006.

Voices of Excellence

Local arts agencies are about the intersection of place and community, democracy, and the art form. It is through the intersection of a conviction about democracy, a belief in place and building its community, and an unwavering commitment to excellence that the local arts agency creates meaning and charts its course of action. In order to be considered as art, playwriting must be intensely local…Everybody should be an artist in his own tongue…We need to cherish the locality; if it be faithfully interpreted, it will show us the way to the universal. —Frederick Koch, founder of the Carolina Playmakers There is a vast and noticeable difference between letting a thousand flowers bloom and permitting everything to come up in weeds. But if arts councils…foster genuineness of expression…and honor authenticity…they will set standards and refurbish the instinct for what is real. —Robert E. Gard, author of The Arts in the Small Community An artwork that empowers a community is every bit as specific to that community as a Picasso portrait of Gertrude Stein is to Gertrude Stein. It is only after we come to understand the complexity and elegance that went into each of those artworks that we will be able to appreciate their transcendence. —Steven Durland, Co-Director of Art in the Public Interest

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Turning Belief into Practice— What Local Arts Agencies Do

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ow do we connect the four “big ideas” that we described in Part I—belief in democracy, place, community building, and excellence—with the activities facilitated by local arts agencies? In Part II, we’ll take a look back at some of the ideas that have shaped the programs of local arts agencies today. The connection will likely be evident, as the themes of democracy, sense of place, community building, and excellence are combined and recombined. Of course, many of the activities reflect more than one of the four “big ideas” we discussed in Part I. In this part, we’ll examine how these ideas are translated by local arts agencies into contemporary terms, according to what is appropriate for a given community at a given point in time.

their arts classes, and these local theater groups were of more than average caliber. Participants were encouraged to develop professional careers in the arts.”7 Indeed, today, the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts traces its artistic and philosophical lineage to the Settlement House movement. Jane Addams, perhaps the best-known Settlement House developer, was insistent that her Chicago Hull House incorporate classes in drama, an art gallery, and provide opportunities for immigrant groups to retain their culture; different groups had their own special nights. People were encouraged to pursue “their European skill in pottery, metal, and wood,” which might, hoped Addams, enrich the broad life of the community “if their resources were intelligently studied and developed.”8 The Chicago Arts and Crafts Society was founded at Hull House in 1898, in part to provide an alternative to the life-draining drudgery of the factories in which most Hull House clients worked. The Arts and Crafts Society tried to be a place where “people are taught and then sent forth to use their teaching in art according to their individual initiative…but where those who have been carefully trained may remain, to express the best they may in wood or metal...”9 In rural America, the Extension Service enabled people to engage in art-making. Grounded in the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, Extension agents organized opera groups in rural Iowa, integrated the arts and recreation in West Virginia, and helped stimulate folk arts in Kentucky. Marjorie Patten’s The Arts Workshop of Rural America, published in 1937, chronicles this story, state-by-state. A few key individuals are important to mention. They explicitly linked the Extension Service’s programmatic activity to the notion that a citizen whose creativity is supported will be more likely to participate in society, and that community progress will emerge from creative participation “as one way to an understanding of the democratic process.”10
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Democracy: Participation in Art-Making
In urban America, the Settlement House movement began with the establishment of the Neighborhood Guild in New York City in 1886. Other Settlement Houses quickly followed, and by 1910 there were more than 400. The primary purpose of the Settlement House was to address issues of poverty and displacement caused by rapid urbanization, industrialization, and immigration. At a Settlement House, a visitor might see language classes in progress, job-seeking workshops, discussion groups, and any number of other activities, including cultural activities. They were also sites for the expression of many cultures: “Settlement House workers…sought understanding of the cultural traditions in the immigrant groups while encouraging knowledge of American history and customs.”6 At the same time, “the Settlement Houses were strong in

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While Alexander Drummond of Cornell University was establishing a rural play-making program in upstate New York, at about the same time—the 1920s through early 1940s—Frederick Koch of the University of North Carolina was trying to stimulate people to write “folk plays.” These were plays written by community members about their own lives, their community, and the people that they knew. His student company performed folk plays throughout North Carolina, and performances were typically followed by what we might now classify as a “talk-back.” Koch’s unabashed

purpose with the tours and the talks was to stimulate members of the audience to write their own plays, too. It’s estimated that literally thousands of plays were written and produced by people in his classes and workshops. One of his associates—Loretto Carroll Bailey, author of several important folk plays—worked tirelessly to stimulate a similar Negro theater. She reached out to North Carolina towns and high schools from her teaching post at Shaw University, encouraging the writing and performance of plays by African Americans during the early 1930s.11

Dancers at the 16th Annual Cultural Crossroads, “A Celebration of our Community’s Cultural Riches.” Produced by the Ethnic Heritage Council, an LAA that educates and encourages cross-cultural experiences through the arts. Photo by Jal Schrof, 006.

A Snapshot of Contemporary LAAs

Americans for the Arts looked at 749 responses to a questionnaire that focused on the activities engaged in by LAAs. With a 45 percent response rate, these findings provide a glimpse of what some typical local arts agencies offer their communities.12
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Programming: 92 percent do at least some programming for their community. This includes cultural events, arts education, art in public places, and “gap” programming for a specific underserved community or to fill an artistic void in a given community.

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Services: 89 percent provide services such as workshops, accounting, health insurance, or advocacy to artists and arts organizations.

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Cultural Facilities: 62 percent operate cultural facilities, including performance or gallery space, arts incubators, museums.

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Grants/Awards: 50 percent provide financial awards to artists and arts organizations.

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Community Cultural Plans: 22 percent do, or have done, communityinclusive cultural plans.

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Inspiring Art-Making and Cultural Participation

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The Bronx Council on the Arts sponsors a Writers’ Center. Among its many offerings, it provides: writing workshops for young people to explore the connections between spoken word, performance, hip-hop, and poetry; writing workshops and residencies throughout the borough, including in juvenile justice facilities, temporary shelters, and schools; writing fellowships and a program for emerging novelists; as well as advice on publication opportunities.

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Many local arts agencies have collaborated with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange on the Hallelujah! project, “an initiative in art-making and community participation” that uses dance, music, and story as each community considers the question, “What are we in praise of?” said Lerman. “It will embrace all of the beauty, strength, and quirkiness of edge-ofthe-millennium America. Look—here we are in Maine at dawn, greeting the year 2000 in music and dance, joined by hundreds of residents of a small fishing village. Look again, we are in Arizona, performing with a legion of choral groups, celebrating our diversity, but united in place and time.”13 Community people’s stories and ideas help shape the piece; but community members help to perform it, too. The Hallelujah! performance at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles included rabbis, Buddhist clergy, local dancers and chorale singers, and many others, together providing a portrait of the life of their city.14

James Turrell. Knight Rise (001). Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Commissioned by the Scottsdale Public Art Program. Photo by Edwin Benoit.

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Alfred Arvold of North Dakota State University wrote in 1923 that “…there are literally millions of people in country communities today whose abilities along various lines have been hidden, simply because they have never had an opportunity to give expression to their talents.”15 Arvold recognized “expression” in broad terms, designing the spring Lilac Days Festival for Fargo, during which he and his students planted lilacs along the highways into Fargo. The Lilac Days Festival also stimulated his students and other North Dakotans to write and produce plays, as well as produce giant historical pageants involving thousands of people. Playwright Robert Gard brought Drummond’s ideas to Wisconsin. Every person, Gard believed, has experiences worth sharing and the latent ability to share these experiences through artistic expression. In the late 1940s, out of the Extension Service/College of Agriculture, Gard founded the Wisconsin Rural Writers’ Association, which attracted 500 writers the first year. The association’s ranks grew to 2,500 within five years, and it still flourishes today. In 1955, Gard wrote about a woman who participated in one of his writing workshops: “She said that there must be a great, free expression. If the people of Wisconsin knew that someone would encourage them to express themselves in any way they chose…it was her opinion that there would be such a rising of creative expression as is yet unheard of in Wisconsin…for the whole expression would be of and about ourselves.”16 In 1967, Gard’s Office of Community Arts Development was awarded the first rural arts grant by the National Endowment for the Arts. Funneling funds to five rural communities, his staff assisted these communities in devising programs—a mix of local art-making and visitor presentations that included a visit from the Milwaukee Repertory Theater to Spring Green, WI, for its summer season and acting and dance workshops by Lee Strasburg and the Wisconsin Ballet. This three-

year experiment led to the first “how to” manual on rural arts council development: The Arts in The Small Community: A National Plan. Addams, Drummond, Koch, Arvold, Gard, and countless more believed profoundly in the capacity for inspiration within every person. That belief guides local arts agencies today.

Commitment to a Place and Its People
When my husband and I came to check out a business opportunity here [in Texarkana], the locals took me downtown and showed me the newly restored Perot Theatre…I knew that any community that cared enough to restore that exquisite theater, was a place I wanted to live... —Ruth Ellen Whitt, Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council Local arts agencies manifest their love for their community in many ways. Whether it is finding creative ways to interact with and support their environment, or empowering their residents by building cultural awareness and understanding, LAAs characteristically address a sense of place as a cornerstone of their work.
Urban Design/Public Art

In 1853, the Village Improvement movement was founded in Massachusetts. “Proponents of village improvement sought to beautify their communities by controlling billboards, planting trees, paving streets and sidewalks, and securing recreational facilities. By 1900, [there existed] a national network of 3,000 village improvement associations characterized by citizen activism and a commitment to recapture a sense of community through a concern for aesthetics.”17 Frederick Law Olmstead, the famous landscape architect and park planner, helped push this movement further into city design. In 1868,

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for instance, his firm made suggestions to the Riverside, IL, Improvement Company about ways to design its suburb. Concerned that amenities traditionally possessed by the few ought to become increasingly available to the many, Olmstead suggested that the roads to Riverside should include “varied and agreeable accessories,” such as groves of trees, sheltered seats, fountains, and other “special decorations.” He also suggested “the appropriation of some of the best of your property for public grounds” that would remain open, for common use.18 According to Olmstead and others, beauty was appropriately part of the public good. Some arts commissions were established late in the 19th century, reflecting this notion. The Boston Art Commission, for instance, was created in 1890 to site new public art on city property and to preserve and protect it. The commission was established with the belief that art should be woven throughout the city and its daily life. The City Beautiful movement culminated in the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. This movement advocated a return to beautiful, inspirational, classical architecture, and many of the fair’s demonstration buildings—the Museum of Science and Industry, the Aquarium, the Midway with its classical sculpture—still remain in their grandeur today. Beauty was linked by Daniel Burnham, proponent of The City Beautiful, to progressive social reform. He believed that, while beauty is innately good and beautiful public spaces are a public good, beauty also instills “order, calm, and propriety” in the city. Finally, by making public spaces beautiful, the citizen would feel greater pride in the city and beauty would “awaken a sense of community with fellow urban dwellers.”19 Today, many local arts agencies follow these traditions, helping to create beauty in the built environment for the delight and inspiration of the public, build civic pride, and reinforce a “sense of place.” Note how contemporary author Isabel

Allende’s words unconsciously echo Olmsted’s: “Every public building should exhibit paintings, every mall should be a place for theater and poetry, every park a concert hall, every empty lot the setting for sculptures. Our children should be educated toward curiosity and originality. All human beings are creative; the responsibility of society is to use that creativity for better evolution and development.20 Julie Numbers Smith is executive director of the Boise City Arts Commission, and for her, art and good government are intertwined: All city agencies should be about supporting the whole of the community in their various roles, be it safety, protection, clean water, transportation and yes, cultural development. Who wants to live a city that is safe, well-plumbed and boring? If my city is homogenized with commercial enterprise like every other city, how can I feel any pride or sense of place? As an agency director I must ask: ‘How can we create community around a fireplug or a streetlight or a police car?’ The arts must be integrated into every level of governance from building social capital to the built environment.21
Cross-Cultural Communication

Executive Director Ruth Ellen Whitt of the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council (TRAHC) said, “In our beginning, TRAHC leaders expressed their essence this way: ‘Through the arts we grow in compassion and understanding of one another.’ It’s still true. We need both today.”22 Among the most important of America’s challenges today is that of intercultural understanding, in the interest of an inclusive and equitable society. Because local arts agencies embody a love of place and a desire to build and strengthen their places, they are naturally concerned with the processes by which people can help the community they share move forward. Given America’s history of
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Building a Sense of Place

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Many LAAs have worked to ensure the presence of artists on all public works committees, from planning manhole covers to bridges. In other places—Sioux Falls, SD, or Grand Junction, CO, for instance—LAAs work informally with businesses, downtown development authorities, and local government to place temporary public artworks that remain on view for a year in the downtown.

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LAAs have instituted more formal “percent for art” programs, in which the municipality sets aside a certain percent of the cost of public buildings—or in some cases, of any public project including roads, parks, and public utilities—for artwork for these buildings or sites. Karen Bubb, manager of the city of Boise’s public art program said, “In an urban setting, where so much of what is truly important is obscured from view, public art is often all that remains to remind us that we are nourished most fundamentally by that which touches our imagination.” 23

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The Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs manages Seattle’s Percent for Art program, whose mission is to integrate artworks and the ideas of artists into a variety of public settings. Along with artists Fernanda D’Agostino and Valerie Otani, librarians and patrons participated in the creation of a recent piece at the Greenwood Branch Library. The work expresses the atmosphere of inquiry inspired by a public library. In addition, Seattle’s public art program includes neighborhood-initiated pieces, temporary pieces, and a 2,500-piece collection of works displayed in public buildings.

Carolyn Braaksma with Jeff Engelmann and Andrea Lee Forman. The Path Most Traveled (1). State Route 101 Pima Freeway in Arizona. Commissioned by the Scottsdale Public Art Program. Photo by Dan Coogan.

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Rooted in Cultural Democracy

Rachel Davis-Dubois was a Quaker activist-educator who worked during much of the 20th century to help facilitate true cultural equality. In 1943 she wrote: The melting pot idea, or ‘come-let-us-do-something-for you’ attitude on the part of the oldstock American was wrong. For half the melting pot to rejoice in being better while the other half rejoiced in being better allowed for neither element to be its true self…The welfare of the group…means [articulating] a creative use of differences. Democracy is the only atmosphere in which this can happen, whether between individuals, within families, among groups in a country, or among countries. This kind of sharing we have called cultural democracy. Political democracy—the right of all to vote—we have inherited…Economic democracy—the right of all to be free from want—we are beginning to envisage…But cultural democracy—a sharing of values among numbers of our various cultural groups—we have scarcely dreamed of. Much less have we devised social techniques for creating it.24 Davis-Dubois was a close friend and colleague of W. E. B. DuBois, among the first people of color to be published and widely quoted. A highly cultured man, with a Ph.D. from Harvard University, DuBois was always conscious of Jim Crow racism and, indeed, ultimately left the United States because of his disappointment in the failure of America’s potential. In his 1903 book, The Souls of Black Folk, DuBois wrote: Work, culture, liberty—all these we need, not singly but together, not successively but together, each growing and aiding each, and all striving toward that vaster ideal that swims before the Negro people, the ideal of human brotherhood, gained through the unifying ideal of Race; the ideal of fostering and developing the traits and talents of the Negro, not in opposition to or contempt for other races, but rather in large conformity to the greater ideals of the American Republic, in order that some day on American soil two world-races may give each to each those characteristics both so sadly lack.25

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immigration, cultural displacement, and the constant movement of people, local arts agencies are often at the forefront of defending and showcasing the cultural expressions of peoples. A local arts agency may sponsor a cultural festival to introduce the newly arrived Cora Indians from Mexico to the people of their new home in the rural West. Perhaps they introduce young people in isolated places to the cultural groups they will meet when they leave town to seek a job or education elsewhere. Perhaps they enable the many cultures of an urban area to meet one another in the context of a multicultural festival. Local arts agencies begin with the premise that introduction is the first step to understanding, and understanding is the foundation of true cultural equity in an inclusive society. Unlike the notion of the “melting pot,” local arts agencies recognize the importance and vitality of all the distinct cultures that contribute to America. Multicultural expression has flourished in the United States throughout its entire history, though relatively little about the cultural expression of people of color has been published until recently. Nicolas Kanellos wrote that “No one mentions for example the theatre houses that bore Spanish names and were already functioning when the first minstrals arrived from the East. Neither do they make note of the professional and amateur Spanish language companies that represented the only available theatrical entertainment for Mexican and Anglos alike in various parts of the Southwest.” As a result, “it was simply assumed that such a theatre did not exist.”26 Today, local arts agencies pursue this goal in many ways, resulting in programs as well as policies to strengthen multicultural communication, participation, and access to resources. Indeed, sponsoring cultural festivals—including performing arts, visual arts, food, and literary arts—is a common activity of local arts agencies. Sometimes these are expressions of single

cultural groups; sometimes these are multicultural festivals; but consistent among them is the design of a cultural celebration by and for the people of that culture, as well as the introduction of, or deepening the experience of, that culture for the other groups in the community. In San Francisco, the following language guides the distribution of the Arts Commission’s Cultural Equity Endowment Fund: “The goal of cultural equity will be achieved when all people that make up the City have fair access to information, financial resources and opportunity vital to full cultural expression, and the opportunity to be represented in the development of arts policy and the distribution of arts resources; when all the cultures and subcultures of the City are expressed in thriving visible arts organizations of all sizes; when new large-budget arts institutions flourish whose programming reflects the experiences of historically underserved communities, such as: African American; Asian American; disabled; Latino; lesbian and gay; Native American; Pacific Islander; and women.”27 The cultural stories must be told, the expressions must be known, so that together we may create strong and vibrant communities. “In the long run, when all of a community’s arts organizations and artists are provided equal access and decisions are made based on the health of the entire community, the cultural environment will be a more vital one.”28 It’s about equity and justice.
Pollinate, part of the 005 King County Performance Network’s (KCPN) series of site-specific art happenings, commissioned by 4Culture (Seattle) and LAAs throughout King County, WA. Photo by Cheronne Wong.

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Visionaries and Vanguards: Lessons of Leaders in the Local Arts Agency Movement

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ny discussion of the past, present, and future of the local arts agency movement in America invariably leads us to discover the kinds of individuals who have led—and are currently leading—the charge to embed the arts in the very fabric of our communities. These individuals embody the four basic principles of the local arts agency (LAA) field:

a strong fundamental belief in democracy; a passion for a place and its people; the importance of building community; and a commitment to excellence at all levels of an organization and its endeavors. There is much to be learned from the “founders” of our field—the visionaries whose legacies we follow and whose mantles we don as our own. However, we must also acknowledge our current leaders, whose achievements within the constantly shifting environment of our times speak to the creativity and drive necessary to keep the LAA vision alive and strong. This special section profiles four visionaries and vanguards—the pioneers who have laid the foundation for the LAA movement and those who are now on the forefront of building the future. Their stories reflect the passion for arts and community that started them on their journeys; the diversity of their backgrounds and experiences working in both urban and rural areas throughout the country illustrates the variety of paths one may take to find meaning and fulfillment. And within the uniqueness of their individual visions, we still find our common ground.

R ALPH BURGARD Arts in the City: Organizing and Programming Community Arts Councils, 1968
Potentially, arts councils can provide a new frame of reference for art and the city.1 Ralph Burgard, the first executive director of the nation’s first community arts council (Winston-Salem, NC), is a legendary figure in the community arts council world. Nearly everyone who has grown up in this field can summon at least one image that represents Burgard at his most passionate—when he is advocating for his community. In one popular anecdote, Burgard is remembered as gesturing to a river full of trash and saying, “I have a vision, and I see that the river is clean, and children play on its banks, and there is a barge on the river, and on the barge is a symphony orchestra…”

A singer and a philosophy major in college, Burgard first tried the world of advertising. While recovering from serious optical surgery, he began to rethink his career path. A friend mentioned orchestra management, which led him first to the Rhode Island Philharmonic and then to the Buffalo Philharmonic. In 1955, he heard about a job in Winston-Salem, NC, at a new kind of agency—a community arts council. That same year he became its first paid director. “I loved it because it was about all the arts—it was much

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Ralph Burgard, former Executive Director of the nation’s first community arts council. Photo by George Baker.

I’ve always believed that the arts are the ‘antennae of the race.’ And the magnificent contribution they make will be fully realized when the arts are seen as essential elements in all aspects of public and private life.
—Ralph Burgard

Pioneering leaders act in isolation, unaware that they are part of a broader community. They act on intuition and experience, struggling to not revert to the practices of the past. They feel alone and strange, often criticized, even ridiculed, by their community. For believing that they can lead in new ways, solve entrenched problems, and create sustain-

bigger, broader than my work with the symphony. Working on a total picture of cultural development, with an entire community, seemed so interesting. How could I not rise to the challenge?”2 As the director of a community arts council, Burgard doubled sales for arts events and put into place many of the arts services—not to mention the vision for the arts in the community—that continue in Winston-Salem today. Burgard eventually moved to St. Paul, MN, to direct the St. Paul Arts & Science Council—a pairing of two domains that resonated with his fascination with many forms of learning and creativity. Under his leadership, the Arts & Science Council built a major art center and created a united fund for the arts. While in St. Paul, he also founded the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Burgard remembers those heady, early days of the young community arts council field as a time when boards and staffs were giddy with the possibility of affecting the course of western civilization. This sense of possibility eventually crystallized into the creation of the Community Arts Councils of America (CACA), a national organization that, after several name changes and mergers, is now Americans for the Arts. Burgard became the first executive director of CACA in 1965, and in 1970 he formed his own firm, Burgard Associates. Burgard Associates has helped craft innumerable cultural plans, strengthened community choruses, and helped schools make great strides by adopting the academic-arts curriculum. Arts education is where Burgard currently channels most of his passion. His A3 Initiative, implemented in more than 30 schools across the country, is one of the few programs where the arts

able progress, they often get labeled negatively as idealists, dreamers, innocents…Isolation dissolves when they learn that they are part of a community, that there are many more like them. They gain confidence and courage. They find new energy to stay in the challenges and struggles of pioneering… There is a critical need to tell the stories of these pioneering leaders-in-community, to get public attention for their efforts. Remember how difficult it is for any of us to see a new paradigm, even when it’s right under our noses…We need to hear their stories, celebrate their successes, and continue to support them as our beacons to the future… —Margaret Wheatley, Finding Our Way— Leadership for an Uncertain Time, 2005

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are taught daily as part of the public school curriculum to improve the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children: “I think arts councils could play a major role in implementing the continuing integration of art and life. In America, sadly, we ‘visit’ the arts—where elsewhere in the world, the arts are part of daily life.” “There’s so much to be done. America’s priority for the arts can be substantially improved if educators are shown that the arts, when taught daily, can help them achieve their educational goals. In this process, we should use the language of educators, not artists.” To make this case, Burgard is working with Columbia Teachers College and a respected assessment organization to measure the cognitive, social, and emotional outcomes achieved by America’s 500 arts magnet schools when using an academic-arts curriculum.

product of the first rural arts award granted by the newly founded National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 1967. Indeed, the National Council—the NEA’s governing body—was initially hesitant about making this precedent-setting award: Was enabling “everyman” to make art what the NEA was supposed to be all about? In his book about this era, Reluctant Bureaucrats: The Struggle to Establish the National Endowment for the Arts, Charles Christopher Mark writes of the legendary Leonard Bernstein, a National Council member, who passionately turned the tide. Bernstein insisted that Gard’s proposal to bring a program of quality theater to rural America, where citizens participated in the artistic process as both creators as well as audience, “had everything to do with why we are sitting here…[Bernstein] who represented art in its highest form, was an…ally of Bob Gard’s concept of developing the inherent need for a creative outlet in all people.” 4

ROBERT E. GARD The Arts in the Small Community, 1968
There has never been a society in history that has encouraged the creativity of all of its citizens, and America in this respect may be setting the precedent for a new stage of evolution in the development of man and his society…3 These words are in the first draft of The Arts in the Small Community, the manual that was to eventually become the first book ever written about rural arts councils, and the final

Gard grew up on a farm in southeastern Kansas. During the Depression, he grew increasingly aware of the stories and creativity that thrived in rural America and committed to the idea that these stories should be told. He found his mentor in the eminent playwright Alexander Drummond from Cornell University, whose New York State Plays Project enabled the average rural New York farmer and his family to come to the university to write and produce plays about their lives. Gard took Drummond’s basic concept with him to Wisconsin in the early 1950s, where he found fertile ground for developing a new type of theater in “The Wisconsin Idea.” The Wisconsin Idea was the prevailing philosophy shaping both
Robert E. Gard (l), founder of the Wisconsin Idea Theater, meeting with farm family circa 150. Photo courtesy of University of WisconsinMadison Archives.

state and university politics during the first half of the 20th century, with the fundamental premises that good government and good public education were inseparable; that every Wisconsonian had talents waiting to be nurtured, whether in engineering or in art; that the University of Wisconsin could nurture these talents; and that Wisconsin’s economy and government would be the better for it. The Wisconsin Idea Theater wasn’t a “theater” in the literal sense—instead it was a movement that encouraged people to listen to the dramas and stories that are in all of us. Gard believed everyone could and should write their own stories, and he thought that he could help. He reached out to

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and engaged other groups in the community in this effort. Working closely with the university’s Extension Service youth specialists, by 1954 Gard was able to actively involve an estimated 2,000 young people across the state in drama projects as part of 4-H programs. The idea of theater as a grassroots movement kept growing. In Madison in 1957, Gard wrote and co-directed Man and His God, a play that brought 500 citizens from 24 denominations together to investigate the nature of faith. “On what stage could you see St. Paul in company with Adam and Eve, Mephistopheles, Buddha, ancient Jewish prophets, and the gods of Greek and Scandinavian mythology? Where could the sonorous words of the Old Testament be heard interspersed with a Japanese noh play, readings from the sacred Hindu scriptures, and poetry by such diverse authors as Aeschylus, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Christopher Marlowe?” The show was “not a play, not a pageant, but perhaps a new art form.”5 Gard saw the public radio and television outlets, WHA radio and WHA-TV, as ways to engage people in Wisconsin culture. The radio series Wisconsin Is My Doorstep introduced listeners to Wisconsin culture through lively radio drama, and the television series of the same name introduced people to Wisconsin arts and arts ideas via a talk-show format. He wrote the scripts for the multicultural Folk Festival in Milwaukee and the Rhinelander School of the Arts, both still flourishing today. With more than 40 books to his name, Gard’s work throughout the 1950s and ’60s has influenced the work of countless local arts committees and councils in Wisconsin. In The Arts in the Small Community, Gard encourages community arts councils to reach out to and ally themselves with health, recreation, ethnic, religious, and business groups—25 years before most of us in the field were thinking along these lines. The Arts in the Small Community captures the work of local arts agencies in any place with its closing words: If you try You can indeed alter the face And the heart Of America.6

BILL AGUADO Bronx Council on the Arts
The creators come out of neighborhoods that don’t always have access.7 Bill Aguado, executive director of the Bronx Council on the Arts, didn’t grow up in the Bronx. But talking with Bill, you’d never know it. His love of the Bronx—his home now—and its residents is deep and passionate. For Aguado, the Bronx “has always been a place where people came to from somewhere else. They’d pull themselves up by the bootstraps and then move out. It has always been a transitional place. And we’re still the doorway. People still come here from so many different places. The Bronx Council on the Arts tries to help new residents see the assets that they bring with them when they come. Whether someone designs clothes or makes music, we help them to ask: ‘How is this a source of my strength? How can I use my strength so that I can keep one foot in this country, one foot in my home culture?’ ”
Bill Aguado, Executive Director of the Bronx Council on the Arts. Photo courtesy of the Bronx Council on the Arts.

I love this job, the people. The Bronx Council on the Arts is about them.
—Bill Aguado

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Aguado is not himself an artist, he says, though he takes a poetry workshop at the Bronx Council on the Arts Writers’ Center. He grew up in West Harlem and is the son of Puerto Rican immigrants. He remembers, “As a Puerto Rican, I was supposed to walk with my head down; I was dirt; I was criminal. But my family was proud and they taught me to use that pride to deal with racism, discrimination. They explained that I need not hide, that I should stand tall.” Aguado became a guidance counselor and an educator-activist, always challenging the status quo, and in the early 1970s he found himself running an alternative school with 60 young people—prostitutes and killers, ages 12–16. He quickly realized that traditional education simply didn’t make any difference to the kids he was supposed to be helping. Then Aguado noticed that an artist that came to volunteer at the school—an actor—got the students to use their bodies, to move intentionally. More volunteers arrived, including a farmer and a poet—suddenly he realized that “these kids, who never used to pay attention, simply refused to leave the school. They got into it.” The kids were manipulating objects, ideas, dance, art, and poetry, and the more they were involved, the more they were comfortable with—and excited by—learning. Aguado visited other schools and witnessed the same impact of the arts on learning. He saw firsthand the joy, the involvement, and the camaraderie of people who were engaged together in singing or in acting. The Bronx Council on the Arts had partnered with Aguado in his education work, and in 1978 when they were looking for a grants manager, Aguado applied for the job. By 1980, Aguado was the executive director, and 26 years later he is still excited about coming to work every morning.

community agencies, tackling issues of healthcare for the neighborhood and education for kids and adults, as well as addressing issues of crime and drugs. They are asking the questions: “How can young people find meaning? How will they use their leisure time in a way that’s personal and important?” Through the arts, they are finding answers.

ASHLEY KING Gunnison Arts Center
Get Into It!8 Ashley King is the executive director of the Gunnison Arts Center in Gunnison, CO, a town of approximately 5,500 people just west of the Continental Divide. Gunnison has traditionally been a town of self-reliant railroaders and ranchers. Students at the small college are fond of pointing out that the closest “real” shopping mall is three hours away. This isn’t a place, you might think, where the dance program is so large it has outgrown its original building. King came to Gunnison as a college student and was involved
Ashley King, Executive Director of the Gunnison Arts Center. Photo courtesy of the Gunnison Arts Center.

There are challenges, of course, and political obstacles. But they pale in comparison to the fulfillment of helping people move on to the next step in reaching their dreams. “We are all dreamweavers,” he said. “There is nothing like giving people who didn’t think they had talent a chance to try something, to give them a chance to prove something of their own worth to themselves.” Aguado is not only trying to give individuals the opportunity to fulfill their personal dreams, the Bronx Council on the Arts is trying to help make the Bronx a healthy and meaningful place to live. The council works jointly with many other

in the college’s Program Council, booking and managing entertainment using student fees: “I got great joy out of producing shows for people’s enjoyment.”9 At the same time, King learned about planning, decision-making, and politics. When King walked to school she would pass the Gunnison Arts Center, where she would notice posters about upcoming events and think: “I could do that. I could do more than that!” She didn’t get the first job she applied for at the Arts Center, so she did what many students do after college: she became a

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waitress. She got to know the early morning crowd—the welders, construction guys, and teachers who came in for coffee on their way to work. She learned that the welder made sculpture in his spare time, and that the teacher was into African drumming. She got to know the town’s “movers and shakers”—the city council members, county commissioners, bank presidents, business owners, and most of the citizens of the community. King also learned how to work under pressure, the importance of taking responsibility, and the essentials of customer service and working with the public. “When I was in college, I thought I knew the community. It wasn’t until I spent some time really participating in the community as a waitress that I realized I hadn’t known a thing.” When the job at the Arts Center opened up again, she was prepared with this deep understanding of her community— and the job was hers. King currently oversees a staff of four—all of whom are also women under 30. The intense energy level generated by the staff is reflected in the center’s slogan: “Get Into It!” And people do.

You might even see King in a play, as she’s in at least one a year. Indeed, it’s important to her that the entire staff participates— the rest of her staff take dance classes. But at the end of the day, customer service is still her mantra.

What keeps me going is the sense of community that we find in a place like this. It’s seeing people discover themselves. Discovering the talents in each other. Forming friendships. Getting into it.
—Ashley King

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Ralph Burgard, Arts in the City: Organizing and Programming Community Arts Councils (New York: Associated Councils of the Arts, 1967), 65.

When King started as executive director of the Arts Center, the community theater was dormant; now the theater hosts six different drama series. The dance program has exploded, with residents enrolled in more than 500 spots in classes ranging from tap to hip hop. The dance program has gotten so big that it’s already outgrown the Arts Center. Rocky’s Gym has been providing dance space, but the program is already near capacity there as well. The Gunnison Arts Center is also host to five galleries, The Clay Center, writers’ groups, The Arts Center Singers, a movie series, and an outdoor music series in the summer. How does the community receive the Arts Center? A total of 85 businesses—nearly all the businesses in town—financially contribute to the center, as do hundreds of members. And even more “get into it.” It’s King’s goal that everyone in town find a reason and a way to express themselves creatively. “We’re about participation. We want to be such a user-friendly place that anyone finds a reason to enjoy something here. Maybe they came because they knew someone in the recital, but they might leave saying, ‘I could try that.’”
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Ralph Burgard in interview with author, January 2005. All of Burgard‘s quotes are from this interview. Robert E. Gard, “The Arts in the Small Community: A National Plan” (unpublished draft, University of Wisconsin Archives, Steenbock Library, n.d.), 3. Charles Christopher Mark, Reluctant Bureaucrats: The Struggle to Establish the National Endowment for the Arts (Dubuque: Kendall-Hunt, 1991), 119. Women’s Section, Milwaukee Journal, April 28, 1957.

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Robert E. Gard, Ralph Kohlhoff, and Michael Warlum, The Arts in the Small Community: A National Plan (Madison: Office of Community Arts Development, University of Wisconsin, 1968), 98. Bill Aguado in interview with author on May 9, 2005. All of Aguado‘s quotes are from this interview. Slogan for the Gunnison Arts Council (CO). Ashley King in interview with the author, May 2005. All of King’s quotes are from this interview.

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Community Building
Cultural Planning

Community building is a relatively contemporary term. As an activity, however, it can be traced back at least 50 years. Virginia Lee Comer of the Junior Leagues of America came to Winston-Salem, NC, in 1943 to help analyze the cultural life of the community. Comer’s subsequent report outlined gaps in the community’s cultural life—gaps in the existing audience makeup and in what was artistically available. As part of her research, she catalogued potential and actual arts spaces using a broad definition that included churches and union halls. This report ultimately led to the formation of the first formally constituted local arts agency in the United States.29 At about that same time, community developer Baker Brownell was devising a “community selfstudy” process in Montana, in which community residents were urged to use theater as a way of helping their entire community understand their past and visualize options for their future.30 Today, local arts agencies are taking the lead in cultural planning for their towns, cities, and regions. Craig Dreeszen, who has facilitated scores of cultural plans, defines the process as “a structured, community-wide, public/private process that engages the members of a community in communications to identify their community’s arts and cultural resources, needs, and opportunities, and to plan actions and secure resources to address priority needs.”31 Dreeszen notes that most of the early plans were especially focused on the needs of local artists and arts organizations, but they are now also addressing broader community needs and the role of the arts in meeting these needs. Cultural plans take many forms to meet the diverse needs of America’s communities. Dreeszen cites the Rapid City, SD, Many Voices plan from 1993 that was intended “to help empower the

American Indian community to preserve their culture and develop the economy.”32 Denver’s cultural plan (1989) was formally adopted by the Planning Commission as a subplan of the city and county of Denver’s “master plan.” In 1980, the Neighborhood Institute produced a cultural plan for the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago. In the early 1990s, as a result of explosive growth in the region, Portland, OR, started asking about the direction of the arts and how the arts and government could work together to meet the expressed needs and interests of its people; the Metropolitan Arts Commission’s “Arts Plan: Animating our Community” was the result.
Collaboration

Arts groups are frequently one of many groups working together to make a community a better place for everyone to live. The dramatist Percy MacKaye worked actively in urban areas such as Boston, and his pageants were often part of a very broad community-building process. Boston was changing fast in the early 20th century. The schools, teaching in English, were not meeting the needs of non-English-speaking immigrants. Recreational opportunities did not exist for all people, and public health issues were becoming serious. Boston was also experiencing political corruption and housing was deteriorating across the city. In 1909, a group of leading citizens convened 13 discussion groups that eventually led to citywide conferences in the areas of business, health, labor, religion, city planning, women’s clubs, youth, and more. A central committee representing these groups synthesized the findings of the study groups and set about identifying the best ways of starting reform and reflecting the conference findings back to the citizens of Boston. Among their activities was a citywide pageant in 1910—“Cave Life to City Life”—that looked back at the city’s history, incorporated the findings of the committees through performance,
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Performer at the 16th Annual Cultural Crossroads, “A Celebration of our Community’s Cultural Riches.” Produced by the Ethnic Heritage Council, an LAA that educates and encourages cross-cultural experiences through the arts. Photo by Jal Schrof, 006.

Ensuring the Cultural Stories Are Told

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Some arts councils hire folklorists—in New York, folklorists for Greater Rochester, GeneseeOrleans, and the Queens Council for the Arts document and showcase the cultural groups that make up their city or region and show how these groups contribute to the fabric of life in that place.

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The Colquitt/Miller Arts Council in South Georgia regularly sponsors a play, Swamp Gravy, based on stories collected from residents of the area—both African American and white. Each Swamp Gravy script addresses a theme that people share. The stories, acting, and music reflect multiple images of a common humanity, bringing the people of the region closer together. They “break down the walls that are racial and socio-economic boundaries to bring to life the stories that have helped shape our community.”33

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The Albuquerque Arts Alliance in New Mexico stimulated the formation of a Heritage Council, which conducted a cultural survey of the area. Its website includes information about approximately 27 cultural groups, ranging from Sub-Saharan Africans to Korean to Persian and Mexican, as well as calendar listings of multicultural events and information about multicultural presenters.

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In Carbondale, CO, the population is changing rapidly, as more and more people whose first language is Spanish move to the area. The mission of the Carbondale Council on the Arts & Humanities begins, “to foster a multicultural community…” and the huge summer Mountain Fair reflects this commitment by offering salsa bands, mariachi bands, Latino pop vocal stars, as well as concerts of the youth folklorico ballet of the Aspen-Santa Fe Ballet.

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and attempted to project a vision for the city’s future. “There was a strong belief…that as the pageant was planned, rehearsed, and performed, various groups in Boston would get to know each other and understand the problems facing the city they all shared…Sons of Veterans…in the role of War…stood side by side with workers from the Central Labor Union who depicted Strife, Slavery, and Serfdom. The elite students from the Latin Girls School…danced next to Russian immigrants from the Elizabeth Peabody [Settlement] House.”34 The Boston pageant emphasized “progress through community interaction and

cooperation.”35 And—importantly—the composers, playwrights, and choreographers associated with the early days of pageantry believed that the pageant was a wholly new kind of contemporary, innovative art form, and that they were on the cutting edge of art-making. Thus, the pageant (until World War I) was undertaken within the context of a broad concern for social reform, not as an isolated “arts event.” Pagents portrayed society’s ills and showed artistically how these ills could be addressed through cooperation and education—

Collaborating Beyond the Arts

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Appalshop, based in Appalachian Whitesburg, KY, is a multifaceted cultural organization with roots in the War on Poverty. It includes a radio and television station, a touring theater company, a filmproduction program, an arts center, and more. Among its recent projects was RFK in EKY. When John Malpede, a playwright-activist known for his work with the Los Angeles Poverty Department theater company, relocated to Kentucky, he noticed how many people still remembered Robert Kennedy’s 1968 visit to Appalachia—similar to the way that many of us remember where we were on September 11 or when John Kennedy or Martin Luther King, Jr. were shot. Over several years, Malpede developed RFK in EKY, an enormous recreation of Kennedy’s visit that resulted from detailed research into what people were wearing, what people said, even which babies Kennedy held. A cast of hundreds recreated highlights of the visit during 48 hours, including Senate subcommittee hearings, strip mine walking tours, and speeches at colleges. Punctuating the recreation were public conversations on poverty, employment, insurance, education, and many other topics.
There Goes the Neighborhood by Sutton Beres Culler, part of the 005 King County Performance Network’s (KCPN) series of sitespecific art happenings, commissioned by 4Culture (Seattle) and LAAs throughout King County, WA. Photo by Sean Stearns.

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In Amery, WI, on the banks of the Apple River, the Northern Lakes Center for the Arts commissioned and produced a series of arts activities about the town’s relationship to the river, including pollution and water usage. Activities included the premiere of a piece commissioned for the local chamber orchestra that incorporated writings by naturalists and environmentalists; a production of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People (dealing with the conflict between clean water and development); stories, poems, and essays by local writers; a show of images by local photographers; a public sculpture calling attention to mercury contamination; and more. Each activity was accompanied by public discussions and dialogue.

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and they did this by creating a huge artistic piece in which people from diverse cultures, faiths, and neighborhoods and different economic, political, and religious groups worked side by side to make the community a place of healthy systems for all its people. We see the arts participating in broad community efforts today in the work of many local arts agencies. Ruth Ellen Whitt of Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council (TRAHC) has eloquently summarized what may be a common aspiration among local arts agencies: TRAHC has had an undeniable impact on this part of the world…We are the leadership organization of arts and ideas that is the catalyst for producing an energized, turned-on, tuned-in, creative, connected community. Each of those words was chosen with care—and with intention. We ask: Are we being effective catalysts for connecting and improving the way our community does business? Enhancing the way our schools do business? Inspiring pride in our community while encouraging the creative potential of all residents? Encouraging cultural tourism? Are we effectively tapping the potential of the arts and humanities to ‘build’ people and community?”36 They must be, as Texarcana Mayor Horace Shipp suggests in his remarks at the Arkansas Art Links Annual Conference two years ago: “I shudder to think what our community would be like without TRAHC.”37
Facilities

A community center is a place, a neighborhood laboratory, so to speak, where people meet in their own way to analyze whatever interests they have in common and participate in such forms of recreation as are healthful and enjoyable. The fundamental principle of the community center is the democratization of all art so the common people can appreciate it, science so they can use it, government so they can take part in it, and recreation so they can enjoy it. In other words, its highest aim is to make the common interests the great interests. To give a human expression in every locality to the significant meaning of these terms—“come let’s reason and play together”—is in reality the ultimate object of the community center.38 Today, many LAAs manage cultural facilities. Some of their cultural facilities are single buildings; some are arts areas in other buildings, such as libraries or recreation centers; some are multifacility cultural complexes, as in the four Arts Parks managed by the Broward County (FL) Cultural Division. Some of these cultural facilities are publicly owned and some are privately owned. While others, like the Northern Lakes Center for the Arts in Amery, WI, were purchased by individuals and gradually transferred to the local nonprofit. And some are entire arts districts. The Arts Council of Greater New Haven is a living example of the pivotal, and at times complex, role an LAA may play in these endeavors today. Elizabeth Monz, its executive director, describes New Haven’s arts district and the role of her agency this way: We are very proud of Audubon Street, officially designated the Audubon Arts District in 1996. Home to the Neighborhood Music School, the Creative Arts Workshop, the New Haven Ballet, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, the Educational Center for the Arts (an interdistrict arts magnet high school), the Park of the Arts, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, and of course

Homes for the arts have ranged from the grand 19th-century halls of New York to the tiny upstairs rural opera houses found throughout the United States. Sometimes, these facilities are state-of-the-art dedicated arts facilities. Alfred Arvold had a different notion. Committed to the idea of integrating the arts into the community in the early 1900s, his philosophy was that the arts should not have stand-alone homes, but rather be part of larger community centers:
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the Arts Council, Audubon Street is the arts education center of New Haven. The Cooperative High School for the Arts & Humanities and the John Slade Ely House contemporary art gallery are one block away. The one-way, curved street fosters a campus-like feel with students traveling back and forth and, in the nice weather, all sorts of arts activities and performances happening at any given moment on the street…we were an integral part of the development efforts in the ‘80s and ‘90s that brought together a healthy mix of residential, retail, restaurants, markets, and arts…39

Commitment to Excellence
Presenting and Access

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director for Arizona State University Public Events, has said that “Presenting in America today is part of a continuing journey of connecting communities through each other’s music, dance, theater, and ritualized cultural expressions. We learn of difference, recognize our similarities, and celebrate our humanity.”40

Examples of LAA Cultural Facilities

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Cumberland, MD, is a city of 24,000 people situated along the Potomac River—the largest city in its county. The Allegany Arts Council and the city of Cumberland have worked together to create an Arts and Entertainment District. Redevelopment grants, tax credits, and creative marketing have enticed artists to relocate to this district to live and work. In addition, the Arts and Entertainment District includes galleries, the county museum, two theaters, the Cumberland Music Academy, and a heritage area; soon, the Allegheny Highlands Trail will run through it as well.
Urvasi Dance Company performs at the Winter Worldfest, Seattle. Produced by the Ethnic Heritage Council, an LAA that educates and encourages crosscultural experiences through the arts. Photo by Jal Schrof, 005.

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After 20 years of planning, the Office of Cultural Affairs in Dallas recently opened the Latino Cultural Center. A Ricardo Legoretta-designed building in vibrant orange with a purple tower, the center provides a long-awaited home for Dallas’s Latino arts organizations and artists.

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Project Row Houses is a bold idea being executed in Houston, where the city’s rich AfricanAmerican heritage is being preserved and new work is being made and showcased. The campus incorporates 22 abandoned shotgun-style houses and includes needed services for women as well as space for artists: “Together, we’re expanding the original campus which now includes 13 units of low-income housing, two of which are long-term artists residencies and two commercial buildings, one of which houses the historic Eldorado Ballroom, an artist-initiated bike co-op, and an artist residency/gallery space…Ten of the 22 row houses are dedicated to art, photography, and literary projects, which are installed on a rotating six-month basis. When a group of artists is commissioned, each is given a house to transform in ways that speak to the history and cultural issues relevant to the African-American community…”41
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Many, if not most, of America’s local arts agencies “present” the arts to their communities by sponsoring visiting artists—bringing more arts to more people through presenting. Josiah Holbrook of Millbury, MA, gathered his neighbors together to read books and discuss the ideas that they prompted. They began to invite professors to their gatherings as well, to lecture and discuss new ideas with the group. This grassroots movement grew into the American Lyceum Association in 1831, and by 1850, approximately 3,000 of these groups existed in communities of all sizes. Honoraria were ultimately provided, and the assembly hall replaced the parlor as the gathering site. It seemed logical and efficient that speakers should go “on the circuit.” In 1867, James Redpath centralized speakers when he formed the Redpath Lyceum Bureau, a booking company. It was well organized and costs were kept down through what we now call “block booking” and through favoring communities located on or near railroad lines. But it also naturally favored those groups that could afford the fees, so poorer and more isolated communities were served less. The grassroots self-improvement movement was altered by centralization and efficiency. At about this time, Methodist minister Dr. John Heyl Vincent began experimenting with the arts as one way to improve teaching the Bible at his summer camp in Chautauqua, NY (1874). The camps proved so effective that Dr. Vincent encouraged the creation of Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circles based on his study packages. “Dr. Vincent was not promoting art, he was promoting art as a way to learn and a way to teach.”42 Meanwhile, Keith Vawter, a newly hired manager of Redpath’s Lyceum Bureau, believed that by combining the fine Lyceum speakers with the great number of potential “presenters”—i.e., Chautauqua circles—more audiences could

be reached and more work could be available for the speakers. Realizing that many of the Chautauqua circle communities did not have assembly halls, Vawter provided tents. The tents—perhaps connoting the populist circus and the religious revival experience—drew people from all walks of life as nothing had done before. Gradually, theater experience was introduced into the Tent Chautauquas.43 Today, LAAs continue the work begun nearly 200 years ago, presenting the arts—performing, visual, and literary—by providing accessibly to the arts and engaging people in dialogue about the experience and its meaning. Some of the LAAs’ presenting programs “fill in the gaps.” In a community that may have no exposure to dance, for instance, a local arts agency might create a dance series. Presenting is often a way of building a community. The Association of Performing Arts Presenters includes among its values the notion of artists playing a leading role in civic affairs, as well as people of all cultures interacting through the arts. Some presenting programs are intended to help people experience the expression of a culture that they might not otherwise know, giving neighbors an insight into neighbors through a look at their cultural values. LAA programs may create “psychological” access. For instance, residents of a community may be concerned that the symphony hall, though nearby, isn’t the place where “someone like me” might be welcome. The local arts agency works to break down this preconception. Some programs address financial access, as when going to a symphony hall may be a geographically or financially impossible experience for residents in a particular community. The LAA brings the symphony to these members of the community for a cost that is affordable by raising funds to subsidize the experience.

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As Betty Switzer, former executive director of the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, recalls: Following a recent concert by Paco Peña, an elderly gentleman, whose primary language was Spanish, contacted the general manager of the Center and said, “Thank you for making Paco Peña affordable so that I could see him. I could not afford to go when he was in Dallas before, because the tickets were too high for my income. He has been my favorite artist for years, and now I have seen him in person. It was a wonderful experience for me.”44
Services for Arts Organizations and Artists

groups; providing expanded clerical assistance for larger groups; operating centralized mailing lists; providing master community calendars; providing centralized box offices and data collection; promoting all of the arts via common calendars, brochures, and advertising; working with chambers of commerce to create hotlines and arts kiosks; providing awards for outstanding service to the arts; creating arts festivals, arts centers, or united fundraising efforts; supporting the arts in schools; providing arts programs for low-income and other “disadvantaged” people; enhancing local arts criticism; creating public television programs; enhancing urban design; stimulating the creation of new art forms; and, of course, serving artists. The need for these services was clear. The two local arts agencies that were in operation in 1948 had grown into a community of about 55 agencies by 1956; 450 in 1967 (of which approximately 70 had paid staff); 1,000 in 1982; and about 4,000 today.46 Not all LAAs are called “community arts councils,” as the first two were; some are commissions, arts and science councils, cultural and heritage commissions, public corporations for the arts, cultural partners, or arts united.47 Some are within park districts. Some are not incorporated at all. Some serve entire communities; some serve regions; some serve boroughs; and some serve neighborhoods. It’s what they do that matters, not what they call themselves or their scale. Still, nearly all retain the original mission of “service to artists and arts organizations” that was originally articulated in Winston-Salem and Quincy. Neither of the arts councils in WinstonSalem and Quincy have faltered in providing assistance to local artists and arts groups, and both claim more than 50 member organizations. Winston-Salem annually raises more than $1 million for redistribution locally, and its staff engages in a myriad of support activities, including maintaining an events calendar and joint marketing efforts. In Quincy, a wide variety of management services—from advice to use of the
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When the first arts councils in America—in Winston-Salem, NC, and Quincy, IL—were created to help support existing arts organizations, they did so by helping to coordinate events. These arts councils created and distributed cultural calendars and provided basic management services so that arts organizations could focus on art-making. The number of arts councils and the range of their services grew slowly, but in 1965, as part of the Great Society, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the act that created the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This act specified that 20 percent of the NEA’s program funds must go to formally designated state arts agencies in each state. Only a few states had arts agencies in 1965, but by 1970, all 50 states and territories did. The next logical step was to extend the federal-state partnership to a federal-state-local partnership. The NEA made special funds available for encouraging state agencies to hire staff to help form local arts agencies or community arts councils. Sometimes with the help of state arts councils and sometimes not, many such groups emerged to serve artists and arts organizations. By 1968, when Arts in the City: Organizing and Programming Community Arts Councils was published,45 the following activities were typical services of local arts agencies: serving as quasi-staff for unstaffed arts

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copy machine—are available to members, not to mention the common ticket booth, the arts radio and television shows, television and radio commercials on five television and cable stations and 13 radio stations, mailing labels, and more. The cluster of marketing services alone has an audited value of $725,000, as noted by Executive Director Rob Dwyer. Dwyer’s comments about the services the Quincy Fine Arts Society provides illustrate the passion that has been passed on through the decades:

The community arts movement is a “religion” for me. I don’t mind getting blistered lips and scabby knees begging for the arts. My passion for the arts stems from my basic belief that, as important as the arts are today to our society, in the future the arts will be even more important. Why? Because artists have the stewardship for imagination. And as we move into the future, the artist’s imagination will play an even more important role in our society. We are moving away from material objects such as a water glass that is 99 percent material and 1 percent idea,

Building Understanding, Promoting Access, and Pushing the Artistic Envelope

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LAAs facilitate “access to the arts” in many creative ways. The Dare County Arts Council in North Carolina sponsors an annual art competition, in which the winning piece graces the cover of 55,000 phone books. The Northern Lakes Center for the Arts (Amery, WI) curated an exhibit of hubcaps innovatively displayed on the gallery walls that attracted many people new to the center.

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The Garden Island Arts Council on the island of Kaua’i started a music series called E Kanikapila Kakou, meaning “let’s play music.” Now in its twenty-second season, the series is described as “a grassroots program—free, fun, and friendly—that over the years has featured almost every star in the galaxy of

Wisconsin’s Northern Lakes Center for the Arts drew new visitors, including many younger arts-goers, to its gallery through an innovative exhibit of hubcaps. Photo courtesy of the Northern Lakes Center for the Arts.
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Hawaiian music…featuring ‘Musical Ohana’—fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, aunties and nephews, uncles and nieces…It’s Hawaiian music with a twist—composers teach the audience how to play and sing their compositions…The program’s goal is to extend the gift of Hawaiian culture through music to current and new enthusiasts locally, regionally, and globally.”48 The Red Herring improvisational dance group of Madison, WI, is collaborating with the Northern Lakes Center for the Arts in Amery, WI, to create and present a site-specific piece conceived especially for this town. Founder-choreographer Heather Good describes the project: “In Amery, we’ll be doing two things: creating a site-specific improvisation in a public space and creating a ‘moving gallery’ in the Northern Lake Center for the Arts. The ‘moving gallery’ idea is to create improvisational dances in different places in and around the building, focusing on spaces where audience members may not be accustomed to viewing performances (in the restrooms, coat closet, hallways, stairwells, even in the seats of the auditorium itself)...”49

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There are some 70 United Arts Funds in cities as small as Battle Creek, MI, raising money and redistributing it to arts groups citywide. Many LAAs raise funds for regranting to artists and arts organizations, or regrant public funds on behalf of their city’s or county’s taxing authority.

to computers that are 99 percent idea and 1 percent sand. The more our culture moves away from material objects toward the world of imagination—the more the world becomes a “green screen”—the more important our artists become. I don’t think there is anything more important today than to sustain and nourish our artists’ imaginations.50
Arts and Education

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Providing bookkeeping and other clerical services, databases, joint marketing efforts, office space, and information-laden websites is common. Sometimes arts councils even share staff positions. For example, in Colorado the Steamboat Springs Arts Council shared a marketing position with the PerryMansfield Performing Arts Camp.

Amy Welch Baskin of the Greenville Arts Council in Mississippi said of the arts in education, “Here in the Delta, arts-integrated learning engages our disadvantaged students whose learning style is not served by traditional teaching methods. Art levels the playing field for these students, giving them avenues for seldom received success and esteem.”51 At the Greenville Arts Council, they’re working with an arts education initiative recently cited in testimony before Congress for its results with young people. During the past two decades, many local arts agencies have embraced the idea that programming in arts education is a natural extension of their arts development mission. The history of arts education in America is multifaceted and parallels movements of educational reform. Ralph Waldo Emerson imagined the day when all Americans would understand the arts: “Art should exhilarate and throw down the walls of circumstance on every side.”52 And noted educator Horace Mann believed that learning to draw was an integral skill needed to become a literate adult with the ability to clearly express ideas. By 1873, “the emphasis was on drawing as an aid to developing manual skills, reflecting the vision and anticipated need of the industrial age in the United States.”53 In the early 20th century, debate arose about the proper way of educating children in the arts. The practice of teaching the drawing of simple shapes and “coloring inside the lines”

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Public art programs enable artists to create works of art for their communities. Less common are such projects as the Art-O-Mat at the Sea & Sounds Gallery, managed by the Dare Arts Council in Manteo, NC. The Art-O-Mat is a retired cigarette machine reformatted as an original art vending machine. For a few dollars and the pull of a handle, you can purchase a piece of original art! The Art-O-Mat at the Sea & Sounds Gallery (one of 78 in the country) has included the work of 280 artists from nine counties.

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Many LAAs view the development of their facility— or facilities—as a key service to local artists and arts organizations. Certainly, providing studio, gallery, and performance space for both established and emerging artists is a service. But Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT, has gone even further, making available its Loading Dock Lounge as a place for artists and audience members to “hang out” and discuss the work.

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unfortunately still exists today; however, the more enlightened scholars became about how children psychologically and physically develop, the more likely they were to accept the notion that children’s visual, auditory, and kinesthetic logic is based on their own experience and interpretation of the world around them. If local arts agencies look to a single thinker who meshed ideas of education with ideas of democracy, it would surely be educational

reform champion John Dewey. In Art as Experience, Dewey recognized the important role education plays in the survival of democracy and the role of the arts in education: “As long as art is the beauty parlor of civilization, neither art nor civilization is secure.”54 Sheila Sears was executive director of the Canon City Arts Center (CO) in the 1980s, and her work with youth programming led her to the Denver chapter of Young Audiences, a national

LAAs in Arts Education

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In Colorado, some 15 teams of arts councils and school districts have worked with the state’s Alliance for Arts Education and the state arts agency in a model program, the Arts Education Equity Network. Each arts council-school team received training in community organizing and used this training to systematically

Singing the Now by Christian Swenson, part of the 005 King County Performance Network’s (KCPN) series of sitespecific art happenings, commissioned by 4Culture (Seattle) and LAAs throughout King County, WA. Photo by Kimberly Mate.
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add in-class arts education experiences to the curriculum. In Walsh, CO, the elementary school hired its first art teacher. In Durango, CO, the arts council added an arts education position to its staff, and that person worked with arts educators to enable students to prepare for, and participate in, the district-wide Creativity Festivity, consciously responding to the state’s standards in art and music. The Boston Office of Cultural Affairs is working with the public schools, Brown University, and other organizations on Dramatic Developments. Students in grades six to eight, working with arts education organizations, are using drama as a tool to enhance literacy and public speaking skills, as well as to improve overall school performance. Amy Baskin spoke for the many local arts agencies who are committed to arts in education and arts education itself: “I believe that an arts rich education engages students in learning, making them lifelong learners able to address the challenges of the 21st century with creativity and open minds.”55
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The West Valley Arts Council in rural Maricopa County, AZ, is continuing in the tradition that may have begun in Minnesota in the 1930s, in which students contribute to the broader community while learning arts techniques. The Owatonna Art Project (MN) enabled children to create arts projects for the community, which included public park plantings and window displays in commercial areas. Today, replicating the Gallery 37 program founded in Chicago in 1991, the West Valley Council has created an employment program for teens that partners them with professional artists to design, develop, and install permanent pieces of public art.

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organization that partners extensively with schools. Sears’s local arts agency and artsin-education experiences both influence her perspective today: Providing an encounter with an art form that is experiential can be transformational, opening the participants’ eyes, ears, and brains to pure aesthetic experience. There is certainly pleasure and validation when you see the “light” go on in an adult. However, the satisfaction is nothing compared to what happens when the same experience is offered to children…Children’s affinity for creative experiences can knock the breath out of you, and make you realize that you can take risks in programming for children…your mission should be elastic enough to embrace and plan for your “future community” too—in most cases, kids in K–12 classrooms.56 Various theories about how children learn and express themselves continue to evolve—from Jane Addams to John Dewey to Eliot Eisner and Howard Gardner, who articulated the notion of “multiple intelligences.” Using the body of arts education philosophy and research, contemporary local arts agency programs offer learning activities that foster understanding of, and response to, the arts. There are programs with the purpose of strengthening arts education itself in the school; there are programs that use the arts to enhance learning about other subject areas; there are programs that recognize the arts as one way to address social issues of at-risk youth; and there are programs with the purpose of using the arts to broaden the connection between schools, children, and the greater community. Just as we have looked to the past to meet the people whose work has inspired our own, so must we be conscious of—even aggressive about—ensuring that those who come after us have opportunities to make art and to explore ideas creatively. It is through arts education that this past and future can come together.

Conclusion

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ocal arts agencies share an organizational history that, although it may have “officially” begun in the 1940s in Illinois and North Carolina, is in fact rooted in the most basic, fundamental ideals expressed in the founding of our country. Perhaps most importantly, LAAs share a history of ideas that includes democracy, the importance of place, the creation of a strong community, and a deep commitment to creative excellence. The local arts agency movement in America is significant. It is much deeper than simply expanding the number of arts activities. It is deeper than creating and sustaining nonprofit organizations called “arts councils” or “local arts agencies.” It is about claiming, acting on, changing, and passing on critically important values and ideas—values and ideas that are at the very heart of a meaningful society for future generations.
Endnotes

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Elizabeth H. Olson, Local Arts Agency Facts, Fiscal Year 2003: The Triennial Report on the Budgets and Programming of Local Arts Agencies During Fiscal Year 2003 (Washington, DC: Americans for the Arts, 2004), 1. Percy MacKaye, The Playhouse and the Play (New York: MacMillan, 1909), 190. Vachel Lindsay, Adventures While Preaching The Gospel of Beauty (1912; repr. in Adventures, Rhymes and Designs. New York: Eakins, 1968), 52–54. MacKaye, The Playhouse and the Play, 191. Robert E. Gard, Grassroots Theater: A Search for Regional Arts in America (1955; repr., Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999), 135. Naima Prevots, American Pageantry: A Movement for Art and Democracy (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1990), 38. National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, http://www.nationalguild.org/ (accessed November 6, 2006). Christopher Lasch, The Social Thought of Jane Addams (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965), 101.

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Lasch, The Social Thought of Jane Addams, 193. Gard, Grassroots Theater, 222.

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Dreeszen, “Community Cultural Planning and Community Development”: 4. Swamp Gravy, http://www.swampgravy.com/main.html (accessed November 6, 2006). Prevots, American Pageantry, 30. Prevots, American Pageantry, 31. Ruth Ellen Whitt in e-mail to author, February 2005. Ruth Ellen Whitt in e-mail to author, February 2005. Alfred Arvold, “The Community Center Movement,” College and State 1, no. 3 (1917): 4. Elizabeth Monz in e-mail to author, May 2005. Colleen Jennings-Roggensack in e-mail to author, February 2005. Project Row Houses, http://www.projectrowhouses.org/ (accessed November 6, 2006). Patrick Overton, Rebuilding the Front Porch of America: Essays on the Art of Community Making (Columbia: Columbia College, 1997), 53. Overton, Rebuilding the Front Porch of America, 52–54. Betty Switzer in e-mail to author, May 2005. Arts in the City by Ralph Burgard (Associated Councils of the Arts, 1968) was the first book in which the concept of community arts agencies was discussed. Maryo Ewell, “Community Arts Councils: Historical Perspective,” pt. 2, University of Oregon Culturework series 4, no. 2 (April 2000), http://aad.uoregon.edu/culturework/culturework13.html. Olson, Local Arts Agency Facts, Fiscal Year 2003, 5. Garden Island Arts Council, “E Kanikapila Kakou,” http://www.gardenislandarts.org/ (accessed March 10, 2006). Heather Good in e-mail to the author, February 2005. Rob Dwyer in e-mail to author, February 2005. Amy Welch Baskin in e-mail to author, May 2005. Ralph Waldo Emerson quoted in Frederick Logan, Growth of Art in American Schools (New York: Harper & Bros., 1955). Excerpted online at http://www.noteaccess.com/APPROACHES/ArtEd/History/Logan. From Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Complete Essays and Other Writings (Modern Library, 1940), 312. Logan, “Perspectives,” http://www.noteaccess.com/APPROACHES/ ArtEd/History/Logan (accessed February 27, 2005). John Dewey, Art as Experience (1934; repr., New York: Perigree, 1980). Amy Welch Baskin in e-mail to author, May 2005. Sheila Sears in e-mail to author, May 2005.

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Marjorie Patten, The Arts Workshop of Rural America: A Study of the Rural Arts Program of the Agricultural Extension Service (New York: Columbia University Press, 1937), 76–78. Olson, Local Arts Agency Facts, Fiscal Year 2003, 1. The Wallace Foundation, http://www.wallacefoundation.org/ (accessed November 6, 2006). Great Leap, Inc., http://www.greatleap.org/ (accessed November 6, 2006). Alfred Arvold, The Little Country Theater (New York: MacMillan, 1923), 19. Gard, Grassroots Theater, 217. Craig Dreeszen and Pam Korza, Fundamentals of Local Arts Management (Amherst: Arts Extension Service, 2003), 4. Olmstead, Vaux & Co., Preliminary Report upon the Proposed Suburban Village at Riverside, Near Chicago (New York: Sutton, Browne & Co., 1868). William H. Wilson quoted in Julie Rose, “The City Beautiful Movement,” 1996, http://xroads.virginia.edu/~CAP/CITYBEAUTIFUL/ dchome.html (accessed February 7, 2005). From William H. Wilson, The City Beautiful Movement (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989). Boise City Arts Commission, www.cityofboise.org/arts_commission (accessed March 10, 2005). Julie Numbers Smith in e-mail to author, February 2005. Ruth Ellen Whitt in e-mail to author, February 2005. Karen Bubb in e-mail to author, February 2005. Rachel Davis-Dubois, Get Together Americans: Friendly Approaches to Racial and Cultural Conflicts through the Neighborhood-Home Festival (New York: Harper and Bros.,1943), 5–6. W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903; repr., New York: Signet, 1969), 52. Nicolas Kanellos, A History of Hispanic Theatre in the United States: Origins to 1940 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990), xiii. Angela Johnson, “Cultural Diversity and the Local Arts Agency— Serving the Entire Community,” National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies Monograph 5, no. 3 (1996): 6. Johnson, “Cultural Diversity and the Local Arts Agency”: 11. Dorothy Graham-Wheeler’s report tells this story in great detail. Dorothy Graham-Wheeler, Forty Years in the Cultural Lane: The Winston-Salem Arts Council, Inc. (Winston-Salem, NC: Salem College, 1989) Internship Report in Arts Management. Richard Poston, Small Town Renaissance (New York: Harper and Bros., 1950), 49–63 and 193–209. Craig Dreeszen, “Community Cultural Planning and Community Development,” Vanguard: The Newsletter of the Community Development Society 31, no. 4 (1999): 1.

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Washi n g to n , D C O f f i c e 1000 Vermont Avenue, NW 6th Fl o o r Wa s h i n g to n , D C 2 0 0 0 5 T 202.371.2830 F 202.371.0424 New Yo r k C i t y O f f i c e O n e E a s t 5 3 rd S t re e t 2n d Fl o o r New Yo r k , N Y 1 0 0 2 2 T 212.223.2787 F 212.980.4857 info@ a r t s u s a . o rg w w w.A m e r i c a n s Fo rTh e A r t s. o rg Autho r M a r yo G a rd Ewe l l Editor s K ir s te n H i l g e fo rd M a re te We s te r

About the Author
Maryo Gard Ewell is a veteran of the local arts agency field, having worked in the first “access” award program, granted to the University of Wisconsin in 1967 by the National Endowment for the Arts. She has held positions with the Arts Council of Greater New Haven (CT) and has worked as community development coordinator for both the Illinois and Colorado arts councils. In 1995, Maryo was the recipient of the Americans for the Arts Selina Roberts Ottum Award, which honors leaders working in the arts and in arts management who have made a meaningful contribution to their local communities. The author thanks Sheila Sears and Sarah Sibley, who were invaluable in helping to get this Monograph off the ground.

Copyright 2006, Americ a n s fo r t h e A r t s. Printed in the United S tate s.