EXPERTS ON LOCAL ARTS AGENCIES FROM ACROSS THE U.S. JOIN HAA FOR A NATIONAL CONVERSATION
July 1, 2015
HOUSTON, TX (July 1, 2015) — Experts in the field of Local Arts Agencies (LAA/LAAs) from across the country will join Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) for a round-table discussion entitled A National Conversation: How Local Arts Communities Organize on Tuesday, July 14, from 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. in the Founders Club at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby Street. Moderated by HAA President + CEO Jonathon Glus, the conversation will focus on how other American cities organize themselves through the arts, the form and function of their LAA models, and trends across the country.
The distinguished experts participating in the round-table conversation are Michael Killoren, Director of Local Arts Agencies & Challenge America for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); Olga Garay-English, arts consultant and former Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; Jody Ulich, Convention & Cultural Services Director, City of Sacramento and previous President of Fort Worth Arts Council; and Matthew J. Nielson, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Cultural Planning and Operations Division for the City of Chicago.
The afternoon will kick off with the round-table discussion at 2:30 p.m. followed by a reception at 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are strongly recommended. For more information, visit http://houstonartsalliance.com/engagement/nationalconversation/.
America’s cities organize themselves in a variety of ways to support and advance the arts, culture and creative sectors. Often called the arts ecosystem, the local field may include nonprofit arts/cultural organizations, individual artists, cultural tourism programs, preservation conservancies, community and educational institutions, advocacy organizations, arts education initiatives, professional associations such as art dealers and artist unions and various forms of discipline-specific service organizations. These systems grow organically, and often in tandem with LAAs. These cultural intermediaries, LAAs, are created in various structures and have varying roles in their respective cities, shaped to the needs of their community.
“Every community organizes itself through the arts in a unique, organic fashion,” stated Glus. “Each city is different. We look forward to hearing from these national experts on trends in local arts agencies and the role they play in their communities.”
“I am honored to bring a national perspective to this conversation, and I applaud Houston for having this dialogue,” said Killoren. “Local arts agencies are like snowflakes: no two are alike.”
As defined by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Local Arts Agencies “provide a wide range of programs and services to help support and enable arts and culture at the local level. LAAs are intermediaries, serving artists and arts organizations, local residents, visitors and other partners. No two LAAs are alike ─ whether they serve a single village or town, a large city, county, or a multi-county region. Some LAAs are departments of local government, others are nonprofit organizations, and still others are hybrids of the two.” The NEA goes on to describe characteristics of LAAs, explaining that “LAAs may present and/or produce arts programming, commission and manage public art, administer grant programs, provide technical assistance to artists and arts organizations, and guide cultural planning efforts. Still others may own, manage, and/or operate cultural facilities and be actively engaged in community development, and partner with entities in tourism, social services, public education, housing, economic development, and public safety. All strive to enhance the quality of life in their communities by working to increase public access to the arts.”
Americans for the Arts presents a similar description of LAAs, noting that “there are more than 5,000 LAAs in the U.S.: 75% are private nonprofit organizations; 25% are agencies of city or county government. LAA budgets range from all-volunteer to over $150 million.”
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