NASAA Notes: November 2021


November issue
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November 1, 2021

From the Field

Cultural Districts: An Investment in Rich Urban Life

The Global Cultural Districts Network has developed a new guide to support advocacy efforts for cultural districts. Cultural Districts: An Investment in Rich Urban Life helps cultural leaders communicate to policymakers, sponsors and patrons that investing in cultural districts nets high returns for their communities. Supporting cultural districts attracts other investments and engenders further artistic, education, social, urban and environmental, and economic value.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Employment: Arts & Culture Sector

SMU DataArts has examined arts sector-specific unemployment characteristics using Current Population Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau gathered between January 2020 and August 2021. In the first few months of 2020, the unemployment rates in the arts industry mirrored the national average at around 4%. However, starting in April 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic’s unpredictability prompted unemployment to spike to above 15% nationally and more than 28% within the arts and culture sector. While the national unemployment rate has remained below 10% since August 2020, arts and culture unemployment has remained above 10% and has lately moved upward.

DataArts has offered certain generalizations about demographic disparities within the arts and culture sector’s employment. Since January 2020, the unemployment rates for sector respondents who identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian, multiracial, Hispanic or with disability have been higher than for White respondents. Women in the sector have seen greater unemployment numbers than men, a reverse in trend possibly caused by more women leaving the labor force during the pandemic than men.

Disability Design: Summary Report from a Field Scan

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), in partnership with the NEA’s Design Program, has released Disability Design: Summary Report from a Field Scan. This new report outlines current trends in the disability design field through looking at how disability relates to public space and the body/mind, such as through architecture, fashion and industrial design. While the report finds that the field of design has shifted to focus more on disability issues, including the intersection of many identities, less work has been done to understand how this shift has impacted people with disabilities. The summary report offers recommendations to support the field of disability design, such as integrating disability rights and justice-centered frameworks into design education, supporting professional development, securing long-term funding, and fostering interdisciplinary networking and resource sharing.

Arts and Public Health: Core Outcomes

As part of a multigroup effort, the University of Florida has published Arts & Public Health: Core Outcomes Set Briefing Paper. This brief discusses the results of a recent roundtable dialogue on measuring and evaluating the impact of arts in public health. The 31 participants worked to recommend minimum standards for evaluation that recognize the complexity of artistic and health practices, that artists must be involved in the process, and that the arts in public health work on a range of scales. The project is currently accepting participants to develop a core outcomes set, and a full report of recommendations will appear here when available.

Urban Art Mapping Project: Street Art and Anti-racism

The Urban Art Mapping Project: A Discussion of Street Art Preservation and Antiracism discusses how the Urban Art Mapping Project team at the University of St. Thomas documented the wide range of public street art that appeared in response to both the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd. The transcript of the resulting research forum outlines the methods used to explore street art and examines how this art form became a public forum for voices and perspectives that are historically marginalized. The article also details the project’s work in creating the COVID-19 Street Art Database and George Floyd and Anti-Racist Street Art Database. This article is published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Folklore and Education, which includes other articles on the practice of ethnography, folklore and education.

2021 Creative Vitality Summit

The Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), in partnership with ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and others, hosted its first Creative Vitality Summit in October. The summit brought together more than 40 creative economy experts, economic development professionals, arts and culture leaders, and equity champions to discuss the future of the creative sector. Topics included new economic equality modeling, mapping creative vitality, connecting communities through creative sectors, and the future of creative work and policy-making. The summit aimed to foster diverse perspectives and encourage sector bridging. For those who missed the conference, the preconference paper details the sessions and topics discussed. Panel presentations and discussions were recorded.

Libraries, Museums and Their Social Well-being Impact

In partnership with Reinvestment Fund, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has launched a new case study, Understanding the Social Wellbeing Impacts of the Nation’s Libraries and Museums. The study places public libraries and museums into a social well-being framework to identify these organizations’ contributions to their local communities. As social service providers and trusted community institutions, libraries and museums serve essential roles in promoting public health, education and cultural opportunities. According to the study, these institutions also can act as catalysts for racial equity and social inclusion as they are highly networked in their communities. This research precedes the completion of the larger Community Catalyst Initiative in fall 2022. For updates, visit the IMLS website.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




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