policy and advocacy
Americans for the Arts Organizes Hearing on Arts Advocacy Day 2008
For the second year in a row, in conjunction with Arts Advocacy Day, Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior hosted a hearing on the importance of investing in the arts. Rep. Dicks once again invited Americans for the Arts to organize witnesses to give testimony before the subcommittee which determines the budget levels for the National Endowment for the Arts. The hearing, Role of the Arts in Fueling Creativity and Innovation, was held on Tuesday, April 1, following the Congressional Arts Breakfast. The entire hearing can be viewed at CSPAN's online archives.
Those testifying and topics addressed were:
Robert Redford, Chairman of the Sundance Preserve, actor
Mr. Redford is both an Oscar winning filmmaker and the chairman of the Sundance Preserve in Utah. He has been in such notable films as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, and also won an Oscar for his directorial debut on Ordinary People. As the chairman of the Sundance Preserve, he is the creator of the noted Film Festival held annually. Mr. Redford spoke to the subcommittee about both the importance of the arts in his life and his work with the Americans for the Arts National Arts Policy Roundtable. Read Mr. Redford’s testimony (pdf).
John Legend, musician
Mr. Legend is a five-time Grammy Award winning R&B singer, songwriter, and pianist. His latest album has been certified Platinum and has sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide. Mr. Legend is a member of the Americans for the Arts' Artist Committee and was awarded the Young Artist Award in 2007. He is also the founder of the “Show Me Campaign”—a grassroots movement to fight worldwide economic and spiritual poverty through fostering sustainable development at the individual, family, and small community levels. Mr. Legend discussed the importance of a creative foundation in today’s society and the opportunity to use arts to spread a positive message. Read Mr. Legend’s testimony (pdf).
Kerry Washington, actor and filmmaker
Ms. Washington is an emerging actress who has appeared in such films as The Last King of Scotland and Ray. She has also worked behind the scenes as both a director and a producer. Ms. Washington is a member of Americans for the Arts’ Artist Committee and was awarded the Young Artist Award in 2005. While attending George Washington University as a presidential performing arts scholar, Ms. Washington helped create a support system for people of color in the arts called Shades of the Fine Arts. She spoke on how National Endowment funded programs impacted her life and continue to affect children’s participation in the arts. Read Ms. Washington’s testimony (pdf).
Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Mayor of Honolulu
Mayor Hannemann serves as the Chair of the Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He represented the whole U.S. Conference of Mayors when he discussed their new 10-point plan, Strong Cities, Strong Families, for a Strong America, which includes the arts as a driving force for America’s economy and diplomacy. Mayor Hannemann also discussed the example that Hawaii’s arts culture can give to the rest of the country. Read Mayor Hannemann’s testimony (pdf).
Jonathan Spector, CEO of The Conference Board
Mr. Spector joined The Conference Board after serving as the vice dean of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a trustee of Wesleyan University and a Board Member of the March of Dimes. He is a former senior partner at McKinsey & Company, and chief executive of two startup technology companies. Mr. Spector also co-authored the 2007 book We Are Smarter Than Me, which addresses the way businesses can harness the power of collective intelligence. Mr. Spector discussed the importance of creative professionals in the workforce and the results of the report Ready to Innovate: Are Educators and Executives Aligned on the Creative Readiness of the U.S. Workforce. Read Mr. Spector’s testimony (pdf).
Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts
Mr. Lynch discussed the economic impact of the arts (including statistics for some of the subcommittee members’ communities) and the dynamic work of local arts agencies that are providing resources and programs to citizens across the country. Read Mr. Lynch's testimony (pdf).