policy and advocacy
Rep. Norm Dicks and Americans for the Arts Spearheaded First Hearing in More Than 12 Years on the Importance on Investing in the Arts
In his first public action on arts issues as chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) hosted a hearing on the importance of investing in the arts in conjunction with Arts Advocacy Day, sponsored by Americans for the Arts. Rep. Dicks invited Americans for the Arts to organize witnesses to give official testimony. This subcommittee has specific jurisdiction for setting the budget levels of the National Endowment for the Arts.
The hearing, "Role of the Arts in Creativity and Innovation," was held on Tuesday, March 13, following the Congressional Arts Breakfast.
Read the opening remarks (PDF) by Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA).
Those testifying and topics addressed were:
Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center
Mr. Marsalis spoke about how the arts help shape a nation’s identity, cultural diplomacy, and disaster relief for cultural organizations in rebuilding communities. He is also the Co-Chair of the Cultural Subcommittee of the “Bring New Orleans Back” Commission. Mr. Marsalis gave verbal testimony, and we hope to have a written version for you shortly.
Dr. Sheila C. Johnson, CEO and nationally recognized arts philanthropist
Johnson is the co-founder of BET Television; a partner in Lincoln Holdings LLC, which owns the Washington Capitals and WNBA’s Washington Mystics; President and CEO of Salamander Hospitality; and a board member of several cultural organizations, including Parsons The New School for Design, The Whitney Museum, VH1-Save the Music, and Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts. She discussed arts education. Read Dr. Johnson's testimony (PDF).
James Raisbeck, CEO of Raisbeck Engineering
As the Chairman and CEO of Raisbeck Engineering, Mr. Raisbeck’s aeronautical firm developed, among other things, the Armored Cockpits for Passenger Planes after September 11. He serves on the nonprofit boards of the ArtsFund, which raises corporate funds to regrant to cultural organizations in the Puget Sound area; the Seattle Opera; the Pacific Northwest Ballet; the Seattle Symphony; and the Museum of Flight. He talked about corporate giving to the arts, the impact on business of America’s negative reputation abroad, and the federal partnership role in supporting the arts. Read Mr. Raisbeck's testimony (PDF).
Mayor David Cicilline, Mayor, Providence, Rhode Island
Mayor Cicilline spoke on the transformation that his city has undergone from an industrial economy to a cultural economy, using the arts as the central strategy. He also represented the entire United States Conference of Mayors in talking about how the arts are an economic and community development engine for cities across the country. Read Mayor Cicilline's testimony (PDF).
Chris Klein, Acclaimed Actor
Mr. Klein has appeared in films such as Election, opposite Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, and American Pie. He also starred in This is Our Youth in London's West End. Mr. Klein discussed the importance of providing children with opportunities to participate in the arts, both in and after school with community-based arts organizations. Read Mr. Klein's testimony (PDF).
Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts
Mr. Lynch discussed trends in arts giving at the federal, state, local, and private-sector levels; economic impact of the arts (including about-to-be-published statistics for some of the subcommittee members’ communities); and the dynamic work of community-based organizations that are providing resources and programs to millions of citizens daily (e.g., united arts funds, local arts agencies, arts and business councils). Read Mr. Lynch's testimony (PDF).