National Council on the Arts March 2018 Webcast Archive

Good morning. I’m Jane Chu chair of the National Endowment for the Arts and the 193rd meeting of the National Council on the Arts is now in session so I want to welcome everybody this morning: Council members, NEA staff colleagues here in person, everybody watching online at And today we’re meeting at the beautiful Arena Stage Mead Center for American Theatre here in Washington DC. Arena Stage has been a pioneer in the regional theater movement. They opened nearly 70 years ago and it’s a real pleasure to be here and I want to thank Arena Stage for hosting us. We’re going to hear a little bit later about this wonderful facility and the work that Arena Stage is doing. so for the record the Council members who are present: our arts researcher Bruce Carter from Miami Beach, Florida. Music educator Aaron Dworkin from Ann Arbor, Michigan. mMusician and songwriter Lee Greenwood from Nashville, Tennessee. Attorney, musician, and former member of Congress Paul Hodes from Concord, New Hampshire. Urban planning and community policy specialist Maria Rosario Jackson from Los Angeles, California. Arts administrator Maria Lopez de Leon from San Antonio, Texas. Author, organic farmer Maas Masumoto from Del Rey, California. Dancer, choreographer, and teacher Ranee Ramaswamy from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Producer, actor, and writer Diane Rodriguez from Los Angeles, California. Film industry executive Tom Rothman from Los Angeles, California. And museum professional Olga Viso from Minneapolis, Minnesota. We regret that Council members Deepa Gupta, Emil Kang, Charlotte Kessler, Rick Lowe, and Barbara Prey are unable to join us this morning.
0:02:04.430,0:02:08.729Soo we want to get down to business. May I have a motion to approve the minutes of our last Council meeting? All in favor please say aye. Any opposed? Okay, thank you. So before we begin I want to call attention to the passing of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter on March 16th. She was the representative from New York’s 25th district in Rochester, New York and along with New Jersey Congressman Leonard Lance, they were our co-chairs of the Congressional Arts Caucus. Congresswoman Slaughter was a longtime arts champion and a friend to the National Endowment for the Arts and as I noted in our statement on the website her advocacy for the arts made a real difference for so many individuals and in communities for whom the arts are part of everyday lives. We’re going to miss her. I want to update you now on three areas of the agency from our last October meeting and the budget – related to the budget – our activities that were going on currently, and some upcoming events. So budget activities and events. So let’s talk first about the budget. The 2018 budget – – we’re currently in the fiscal year 2018 – we had been operating on a series of continuing resolutions until Congress would be able to vote on the NEA budget for this current fiscal year. But as you know, last Wednesday the House of Representatives approved the omnibus bill which set the NEA budget at 152 million eight hundred forty nine thousand, which is a three million dollar increase over fiscal 2017 levels. On Thursday the Senate approved the omnibus bill. On Friday the president signed the bill. We’re so pleased and a so appreciative of Congress. we have heard repeatedly in many different settings positive comments from Congress about what the National Endowment for the Arts is doing. more information to be able to support the arts in their states people often make decisions on where they want to live based upon which geographic areas show vitality and so these data contribute to their understanding. And so we’re so excited about having this data to be to spread the word. In terms of events we have three agency events coming up next month in April. And the first is our 2018 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert. The concert is going to take place on Monday April 16th at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts here in Washington DC, and this year’s honorees are pianist composer and educator Joanne Brackeen; guitarist, composer, and educator Pat Metheny; vocalist Dianne Reeves; club owner, producer, and artistic producer Todd Barkin, who’s this year’s recipient of the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Master’s Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy. And since we’re in the middle of Women’s History Month it’s really fitting to note that this is the first class of any Jazz Masters that honors two women, so we’re very excited about that. I hope it encourages and it inspires more young women to enter the field of jazz. On a side note I hope you’ll also take a look at this month’s NEA Magazine – I believe everybody has a copy in their chair – because this magazine issue is focusing on women in the arts and the first story in the magazine is about our very own Dianne Rodriguez. So back to NEA Jazz Masters: if you’re not able to attend the tribute concert in person I hope you’ll tune in for our live webcast of the concert and that will also be broadcast from our website. And then the national finals for our Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students that will also take place in April. We have a wonderful partnership with the American Theatre Wing in collaboration with Playbill and Disney Theatrical Productions. This is our first year to go national. During the pilot phase of this program which was last year this contest was limited to high school students from three cities: Dallas, Seattle, and the Twin Cities region in Minneapolis-St. Paul. This year however we have invited high school students from across the country to compose and submit a song that could be featured in a musical theater production. And so in total we received 196 applications from 36 states which were very strong numbers for the second year of a program’s first year to go national. And we have six finalists – one is a duo and then five individuals: Eliza Corrington and Braxton Gerald car at da Vinci Academy in Ogden Utah Tucker Donnellan who’s a senior at Berkshire School in Sheffield Massachusetts jillian gutter slaw a freshman at Bedford High School in Bedford Massachusetts Frederick Hager is a senior at robert e lee high school in flint texas erin Reichert a senior at new orleans Center for Creative Arts in Louisiana David Volpini a junior at Chippewa Valley High School in Maycomb Michigan and so the national finals are going to take place on April 23rd in New York City and the way this works is that every finalist is going to spend the weekend leading up to the actual final in intensive workshops with professional songwriters and musicians who will provide mentorship and help students fine-tune their songs and so this gives students an opportunity to hone their songwriting and musical skills and it also gives them an insider’s look at what it takes to succeed in the music and theatre industries and so the perfected songs will then be performed by musicians during the final contest and the National Champion will be awarded a scholarship of $25,000 that’s been generously provided by the music publishers national music publishers association songs foundation and all six finalists will have their songs published by Samuel French incorporated which is one of the world’s leading publishers and licensors of plays and musicals so we’re very much looking forward to these finals and to naming a national winner and then on April 25th two days after the songwriting challenge finals will host another competition for high school students and that’s the national finals for Poetry Out Loud this year more than 300,000 students from 2300 schools across the country participated in Poetry Out Loud since the program began in 2005 more than 3.6 million students from 14,000 schools across the nation have participated in Poetry Out Loud and the finals will be taking place here at George Washington University’s Lisner auditorium in Washington DC and you can get tickets they’re available online at or you can also tune in to our web cast which will be found on our website and then in May we’ll kick off our ninth summer of Blue Star museums so from Memorial Day to Labor Day any Blue Star museum will offer free admission to active duty service members and their families and there are more than 2,000 of these museums across the country and they’re in every state and this includes museums of all sizes and variety so art museums science museums history museums children’s museums military museums and there are special interest museums as well like the Biedenharn and coca-cola museum in Vicksburg Mississippi where the first Coke was bottled in the 1890s so we’re really a proud to be able to offer this program again and our partners are the United States Department of Defense Blue Star families and the two thousand plus participating museums for helping this program succeed through the years and then two final items to note in my updates in January of this year we were honored to be named one of the best small agencies to work for in the federal government this is the second year in a row and this was determined by an annual survey that’s conducted by the partnership for public service and Deloitte we know it’s the strength and the quality of our staff that makes the National Endowment for the Arts a special place to work so I want to publicly thank each of you for contributing to our exceptional work environment because this award really is a reflection of what you bring to the office every day and your work and then before we move on to our presentations I do want to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of pepper Smith who is a colleague and friend whom we lost unexpectedly in December on our staff pepper worked in our present and multidisciplinary works department as our artist community specialist he was a model of kindness and thoughtfulness he’s a constant he was a constant source of encouragement at the National Endowment for the Arts he was very highly respected in his field applicants and grantees knew they could always trust pepper to patiently answer questions about applications and the process and the awards offer advice about their projects or just simply listen to what was required so we all miss pepper and we’re very glad that we were able to call him NEA staff for the past 11 years so this thing concludes agency updates are there any questions from the Council okay so we do want to move on now to our guest presenters who are going to talk about how the arts can interact and engage with communities so let’s start first with Edgar Dobie first up is our host Edgar Dobie executive director of Arena Stage Edgar has been a successful producer in both commercial and nonprofit theater on both sides of the Canadian United States border for a couple of decades arena stage during Edgar’s tenure has opened up the mead Center for American theater they’ve graciously allowed us to use for a meeting today and the center has really emerged as a national center that’s focused on American theater it’s got three stages state of the art scene shops costume shops rehearsal halls education spaces and the NEA has had a long history with an Arena Stage back to 1968 when it funded the production of the great white hope and that starred James Earl Jones and future neh air Jane Alexander so Edgar please we’re glad you’re here or thank you for letting us be here and share with us some of the great work of Arena Stage listen thank you it’s a great pleasure for all of us at Arena Stage to host Hostos National Council meeting to say listening to to your report in your update I am mightily mightily impressed at the work of the NEA I I’ve always felt that way but hearing about these new programs and the fact that you have so many victories to celebrate in this in this year is really really impressive so thank you and thank you for the invitation to say a few words I think he wanted to talk a little bit help me talk a little bit about arenas history in the neighborhood here because neighborhood and community is such an important word in our worlds I’d also want to expand that a little bit to talk about how the NEA has played a really central role in our success over our 68-year history and also you know we use that word investment it’s a safe word for us to use at Arena Stage because for the first 10 years of our existence we were a stock for-profit corporation but the investment that we make through through the agency here has built some real legacy programs that are very important to us and central to our to our success and and they wouldn’t be there without the long history and the support that we received from the NEA so you know this this gives me an opportunity to crack open our family album here and and take you for a little bit of a walk my stage manager is Hannah here who’s done two clicker so and she’s also got the hook I know I’ve got about 20 minutes and I’ll try to stick to that so can we have the next here’s it here’s the here’s a picture of President Johnson and the architect Harry Wiese and Zelda fetch Adler who’s our founder I just it’s irresistible for me not to quote President Johnson because we’ve just concluded a run of the Great Society here the Robert shangkun play and I think it it’s a great place to start he’s when when the Council this is maybe bringing coals to Newcastle but in 1965 President Johnson signed the National Foundation on the arts and humanities Act into law and when he did he said it’s in the neighborhoods of each community that a nation’s artist and the arts and the humanities belong to the people for it is after all the people who create them this was a sentiment that was really shared by our founder Zelda Fitch handler who 15 years prior to that in 1950 established arena stage with the belief that there should be a professional theater outside of New York and it was it was actually more than I I was really attracted to work here at this public theater because of its history and it’s because of its founding principles in 1950 in the nation’s capital if you wanted to attend live theater it was largely imported it wasn’t created here in the community and and the two facilities were whites-only facilities so Zelda her partner and professor at George Washington University at Magnum and and Tom pitch to her handler decided you know we have to protest that fact but beyond that where let’s take an action let’s make a place where everyone is welcome and that that was one of the founding principles of this place that endures to this day the second one was that the art should really all possibly be created by resident artists her in the community so a whole resident theater movement was born out of that and that word resident is really important to remember and it’s really important to Zelda on the odd occasion when I referred to it as the regional theater movement she nearly took my head off because of the importance of that word resident it was also and this will figure a little bit later on in my remarks here it was also that idea that there should be a professional theater outside of New York was actually quite a radical idea and a whole movement was formed in opposition to the idea of Broadway we of course now have a very complicated relationship with Broadway as a as a as a industry so if we look at the next slide you’ll see in 1960 we were off we offered this plot of land at the corner of 6th and main it it forced us to actually become a nonprofit because it was this was part of a whole urban renewal project to open up the waterfront and and in order to receive that piece of property and a long-term lease we had to be a not-for-profit based on the just on the on the the relationship with the with the district at that time so Zeldin Tom figured out there wasn’t a model to follow there they they actually appeared before Congress and and we’re able to convince the the the government at the time that a public theater like a public hospital like a public college had and university had a place and at a role that deserved being being able to give the capacity to issue tax receipts which because we discovered in our first 10 years as a stock corporation that there weren’t a lot of dividends available to distribute at the end of any year if you’re going to remain active so Zelda you’ll see her there in the lobby this the second theater that we built in 1950 and sorry in 1970 was the the Krieger theater if we go back to the to the arena with the reason I love architecture that reflects mission is that the arena stage really does that it has at the time that it was built it had one entrance so there was no way to segregate an entrance into the space and then once you arrive in the space it was an arena facility so not only did you did you watch the action on the heat and the storytelling that was happening on the stage you actually look through that through the auctioning you saw that all members of your community were represented in the audience so that that idea that notion really formed the the engine of letting us move forward but we we soon recognized that that that architecture wasn’t going to be available across the whole nation there people weren’t suddenly building arenas they were tended to be building proscenium theater so we need as a second space if we were going to in you to be able to open up ourselves to new work and to new and to new new writers and new playwrights not all of whom wanted to write for the for the arena format and then suddenly it was 50 years later you know what happens looking out there at the arts administrators we if it’s a choice between doing a big show with lots of costumes and a set or repairing the air conditioning system guess guess who wins the show wins every time and that’s totally appropriate so this this place was basically falling apart you know fires and having it set up in Brent water towers so that the air conditioning could work and and all of those things so there was a decision and an opportunity for us actually on a turnkey basis to move into the Penn Quarter move out of this neighborhood and and it was a it was a whole debate and question that really divided the board it divided the community the decision was made with the support of the District Council and the mayor at the time at Anthony Williams it was it was very important for them not to lose what Arena had represented in this neighborhood you know a nighttime activity at the time a couple hundred thousand people’s were people were visiting that the theater during that and school buses were lining up and and and the fact that this corner would go dark and not be available was just something that that the urban planners and and folks knew would be a real loss and so the the you know district stepped up with a twenty five million dollar grant as an incentive to stay here on this site the board decided that that was the right move and that it was an opportunity for us to collect ourselves under one glorious curvilinear roof and this place opened reopened with a new theater the cradle’ theater and October 10th 2000 and 2010 so we’re eight seasons into this new space and that decision to stay here meant that we were we were the here we were the catalyst for development you I think many of you on the Council stayed at the hilton hotel last night that wasn’t there this time last year there’s there’s within 1500 feet of our front door there are 39 new buildings being built representing about five billion dollars worth of not planned but funded construction over the next two years so here’s here’s an example using that investment word again investment in a neighborhood how it really works what’s happened for us is that over over the last eight years our subscription basis increased from 8,000 to 14,000 our audience has increased from 200,000 over 300,000 we have 500 performances here a year but in addition to that over a hundred community events like this one this meeting room this Mollie Smith study is a place where the Southwest Neighborhood Association limits monthly where when they got a big neighborhood issue that the the meeting rooms over the district offices can’t handle this is where we have those meetings and this is where we have things like the the career and job fairs that for the districts so we’re we’re very happy with the decision to stay here we’re very happy with the 135 million dollar investment that was made by the community and by our supporters to have this facility available and it seems one of what one of our key donors said that it’s a wonderful kind of architectural statement for the ambition of this place and for frankly for the respect and the and the meaningful place it plays in in the community so the building wouldn’t be worth the dollar that we spent to build it without what lights it up what gives it its purpose and that’s one of the areas where we really intersect really wonderfully with the NEA we can go to the next slide the NEA has played really a significant role in the theaters history arenas database records go back to 1973 I don’t know what happened to the other ones but that’s as far back as they go and even in in that time the NEA has provided over eight million dollars in in grants to the Arena Stage through nearly a hundred grants that support new work creativity preservation access to our artistic excellence and planning and stabilization and much more you know in DC we don’t have the same opportunity for state funding as other places do around the country so again the NEA has played real significance for us they’ve always believed in our work especially our new work and we’ve had many world premieres here Jane mentioned one of them the great white hope which was in 1967 that went on to win a Tony Award let me pause there for a moment this was not frizzled at one of our proudest moments we cited as a victory now but it was a very very difficult time for her because she she sweated to bring that new work to the stage on the you know the first preview when the I was when the stage lights went up on two characters in bed together you know everyone in the audience took a deep breath in because it was it was a really bold moment here and then to have that scooped up by a commercial producer and to have by that time she had a resident company here of actors we had a resident company of designers and to have that just lifted and taken to Broadway without any kind of future participation for Arena Stage was it was a very difficult moment and it wasn’t just about the money it wasn’t about the royalty it was about losing half of the company so that company had she had an arc for those actors she had the three-year trajectory for the kinds of roles and programming that they were supposed to play so it was it was actually devastating and rumor has it that the producer then she did come back and offered her $50,000 which was a lot of money in 1969 and apparently she told him to take the Primrose Way to the everlasting bonfire and when they’re down there burned their 50,000 she didn’t know what it didn’t represent nearly the kind of investment and sense of ownership that she had in that so you know be careful we don’t actually what came out of that was a learning moment for us as an institution we now make sure that we have future participation in in by way of a royalty and by way of a profit share and that can be really significant dear eben Hansen which is a show that opened here two summers ago is a big phenomenal hit and it it the income that comes back to us represents about 5% of our of our total revenue which is operate on our about a 20 million dollar a year budget we’re smart enough not to assume that that’s going to be there forever so we’re tucking it away in reserve so that we can Commission to work but they say it’s a it’s a complicated relationship with the commercial theater so the other shows and the other shows that have received your support are new works Mary T and Lizzie Kaye in 2013 which was a piece created by Tazewell Thompson someone who has an artist who has a very long history with us here it was an insider’s look at the unlikely friendship between the first lady Mary Todd Lincoln and her talented seamstress Elizabeth Keckley the mountain top which maybe some of you have seen Katori Hall we produced that in cooperation with the good folks at the Huston Alley Theatre the blood quilt which is another play by Katori Hall sweat which had a life here as in head of life at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival also had a life won on Broadway and was a went on to be a Tony nominated best play in that season intelligence which was inspired by true events and of an CIA operatives Valerie Plame’s life which we brought brought to the stage as a story and finally snow child which is I don’t have a finished photo because of that as I speak they’re upstairs rehearsing but but Europe you’re supporting that production and when eventually I get to see the see it on the stage I’ll be able to look at it and say you know the NEA grant represents four of those artists that I see on the stage that otherwise we would have had to find funding for that means funded them through the rehearsal process and the whole performance process as well so it’s um you put you play a very important role in our lives in that regard it also encouraged Molly I’m Molly and I were asked by our our board to accept 10-year contracts last year and when we thought that we would be interested in doing that if we could see something beyond the dealing with the vicissitudes of planning a season one after another run and the continuing to wrestle with the existential threats that face a place like this so we asked the board for permission to launch a campaign to fund something that we call the power play program which is it’s an ambitious program it’s a ten-year plan to Commission and develop 25 new plays and musicals focused on power and politics we’ve kind of learned over our history that power and politics is a red neat story kind of story to have in this particular tab so each play count will concentrate on a decade of American history and the initiative encompasses five cycles that shed light on diverse fabrics diverse voices that make up our country so there’s a one cycle is the African American voices the second is insider voices an example of that is the play that we did about Cypriots or groups Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia it gave us a real insight into their into the workings of the one member of the Supreme Court musical theater voices so snow child is a very good example of that presidential voices example of that was the play that we did about Camp David and that in that’s those 12 days in September that shaped a treaty and an agreement that stands to this day women’s voices which has always been we’ve largely been a an artist citizen woman led institution for most of our 68 years but for us making sure that that imbalance between the stories that get being that are being told or created by equally between women and men I think I think as an industry as a field it’s about 22 percent at the moment we’re trying to to get that to a more even even standing so and we have we’re hoping that we’ll also see your support through a new play that we’ve gone in but I don’t think I’m supposed to lobby for grants at this time so beyond beyond the the new work and beyond the sport here I just wanted to point out to one other program that’s are the Arena Stage programs to promote arts and and diversity which is goes back to 1989 can I can we all remember what we were doing in 1989 I see a few of your nodding your head well what we what we were doing here was writing a grant proposal to the ABE National Endowment for the Arts for us to help promote our diversity programs you know we’re at the time located here in the Netta nation’s capitol with a population of about 64 percent black 6% Hispanic and 3% Asian and others arena had become a recent creasing Lee aware of the failure and didn’t indeed the the general failure of the American not-for-profit theater and urban centers to have sufficient multicultural representation on its stages in its audience and among its personnel so this time that question was an by a grant so on December 12th 1989 the NEA awarded arena stage a 1 million dollar grant the largest and the companies at that time 40 year history for the development of a multicultural representation of its acting Ensemble production team and staff the grant awarded over a four year period in which the funds had to be matched three for one always a smart way to organize a grant and it enabled arena to expand its cultural diversity program on several fronts a cornerstone of that grant was the Fellows Program which recruits up to ten culturally diverse candidates from around the country annually and trains them under mentoring program in all aspects of Romina’s life from directing to management in order to develop a pool of capable young professionals who can go on to culturally specific theaters like the Negro Ensemble Company or inter or mainstream institutions like the Guthrie or move up to available positions here at Arena Stage I think a Zelda would be pleased she was it was one of her last initiatives here as its artistic director that that cycle of exclusion and disengagement among young people that keeps them from considering your current theater as as risk as career options that this program helped to to remove that barrier we named the program the Alan D Hughes program fellowship program and since its inception and we’ve and it’s over 25 years now we’ve trained close to 700 young theatre professionals the majority of whom have gone on to pursue careers in the theater we know this from studying and we just at a reunion last year 25 year you know the that of this program that 79 percent of the alumni still work in the theater today 25 percent or so have been part of arenas staff so it is a trips it’s a smart recruitment program for us and of those not working in the theater 71 percent still work in the arts and 58 of them work for not not-for-profit organizations so there’s a Workforce Development Program I think I think that is a pretty proud history so you know I I’m just gonna move to closing remarks here now and say that the that you know the NEA is focus on new work is not just benefitted arena stage and you heard you heard this and and Jane’s comments as well but we like to think that it’s benefited the whole theatrical canon as a whole the more work the more new work that’s supported and the greater the range of voices there are four theaters around the country to choose for them to choose from to produce in their own and that word again neighborhoods that’s why any time we hear that this agency is under threat or that our nation’s leaders don’t understand its preeminence and its importance in our life it actually hurts our hearts hearts it’s where the pride is where pride lives lives in the mind as well so we were so thrilled to get the news that the program was not only protected but there was a bump the bump is really important the very existence of the NEA helped Arena Stage to become the theater that it is today we like to think that we’re successful we have things to work on we’re still pioneering in some areas we don’t want to fall into that syndrome of having didn’t venerable and being considered to have been great once but not not today so what does it mean to us and we and we measure our supports in ways other than just simply the amount of the grant that we receive we look at trends like how how many fellows are continuing to impact the field the pipeline of new plays and musicals we have to choose from on a national scale and the talent pool of creative artists many of whom received critical early career support from one of the NEA art works programs and art does indeed work there are now from from 1950 on there are now 75 resident theaters across the country and the NEA has helped create a network of these theaters on which Arena relies on heavily we share with one another to help bring theater energy education programs to our various neighborhoods so you know I think President Johnson knew over fifty years ago that it is in fact the neighborhoods in each community where the nation’s art is born and that the nation is a role in encouraging that kind of work because it’s it’s an investment which pays dividends not the kinds of dividends necessarily that are distributed to shareholders but in in ways that where we recoup we recoup for that part of the universe that we occupy so with those remarks I’m happy to take any questions for me Council members yeah thank you answer any questions from the Council for Edgar okay thank you so much it’s an amazing tribute to of the arena’s said you know steady commitment to a neighborhood I love that it’s taken 68 years to see all of this flourish and it’s great in the new buildings amazing and I love this idea of the power play it’s a big idea about developing new work for the field it’s something that we really need how long has it been in existence how many plays have you produced how many more to go what we have we have commissioned nine we started the program about the year before last so we’re about eighteen months into the program and we’re finding that it so that we have developed an audience here that’s first of all really interested in new work but they’re also very interested in these particular stories something like the originalist which we you know we took a little bit of flack for for doing for you know I be no surprise that our audience members leaning in a certain direction and and they were curious as to why we chose to to add to the celebrity of Antonin Scalia Justice Scalia what they saw was the playwrights purpose was to imagine imagine an opportunity where the Chief Justice and his liberal law clerk could relitigate a lot of the issues that and decisions that kind of troubled us and so that that took off and it did as well as Fiddler on the Roof did that here is so so it it really encouraged us to continue in that vein so next season we have a run out of the presidential voice cycle called John Quincy jus jqa John Quincy Adams yep Edgar thank you so much thank you before we hear from our next three presenters I want to introduce Tony Schiavone our deputy chair for programs and partnerships Tony guide us through the vote on the grant recommendations please good morning Council members we will proceed with the application review and guidelines we’ve used sections of the agenda the tally of the votes will be announced at the end of today’s session the Council will be voting by ballot today on award recommendations totaling more than eighty four point three million dollars in three funding areas artworks state and regional partnerships and leadership initiatives these funding recommendations are found in the corresponding sections of the Council book for your vote to be tallied you must be present at the time of the motion discussion and vote Council members affiliations have been recorded in the Council book and will be attached to your ballots and each member has been provided an opportunity to update this information prior to today’s meeting before voting Council members should review the list of recommendations and rejections and add to the list provided in your folders any affiliations that may be missing Council members are recorded as not voting on applications with which they are affiliated this list becomes part of the agency’s official record after brief summaries of the three funding areas Council members will have an opportunity to ask questions and are discussed two recommendations before voting by ballot members of the Council may I have a motion to consider the recommended grants and rejections under artworks partnerships and leadership in the Council book is there a second thank you now we’ll summarize the three funding areas on which you will be voting and then pause for any comments or questions from Council members the artworks category is the agency’s primary category of funding for the arts disciplines and encourages support for the following four outcomes creation the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence engagement public engagement with diverse and excellent art learning lifelong learning in the arts and livability the strengthening of communities through the arts projects recommended today or the second group of artworks applications brought to the Council this fiscal year the first half was considered at your October 2017 meeting in July 2017 the agency receives 1498 eligible applications requesting more than 73 million dollars in fiscal year 2018 support recommended for the Council’s approval today are 902 projects totaling up to 23 million four hundred and thirty four thousand dollars grants recommended grants are recommended to 60% of all applicants with amounts ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 dollars and an average grant amount of twenty five thousand nine hundred eighty dollars recommended projects found 13 disciplines and fields direct grants are recommended to forty eight states the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands are there any comments or questions from the Council if not please mark your ballot state and regional partnership agreements assist the nation state arts agencies and regional arts organizations in their support for the arts by law 40% of the arts endowment appropriated program funds are awarded in this way State Arts agencies will utilize NEA support in combination with state appropriated funding to support arts organizations schools and artists in producing arts projects in communities across the country this year a total of 41 point three million dollars is being recommended for the state’s an eight point three million dollars for the region’s are there any comments or questions from the Council if not please mark the ballot leadership initiatives support a wide variety of projects of national and field wide significance at this meeting the Council is requested to approve funding for ten initiatives totaling more than ten and a half million dollars support is requested for 35 recommended projects and creativity connects which will support partnerships between the arts organizations and organizations from non arts sectors such as business education environment faith finance food health law science and technology the NEA national heritage fellowships which recognize the recipients artistic excellence and support their continuing contributions to our nation’s traditional arts heritage southernxposure performing arts of Latin America which funds u.s. organizations presenting exemplary contemporary and traditional dance music and theatre from Latin America to communities across the United States USA artists international a program that showcases the excellence diversity and vitality of the u.s. artists and arts organizations at international arts markets around the world and supports the participation of us artists at other significant cultural events abroad NEA decreed an initiative to enhance literature’s role in American culture Poetry Out Loud which encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization recitation performance and helps students master public speaking skills and learn about their literary heritage the 2019 class of any age as masters fellows 60 recommended projects in our town which will help transform American communities into lively beautiful and resilient places with the Arts at their Court 11 projects in research artworks which will build evidence about the value and impact of the Arts and encourage strong partnerships and exchanges of information with other researchers in Shakespeare and American communities a program that brings professional theatre performances and educational activities to students and schools across America are there any comments or questions from the Council if not please mark your ballot finally there are several items under the awards of updates section of the Council book these grants have been awarded under the Chairman’s delegated authority and are brought to the Council’s attention at this meeting but no vote is necessary included are 138 challenge America grants in 42 states and five 20% amendments to help regional and state arts agencies hurricane recovery efforts in Florida Texas Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands thank you thank you Tony while we’re collecting the votes I want to go ahead and start introducing our next presenter our next guest is Mark skorca mark has been the president and CEO of opera America since 1990 there were 120 opera companies when Mark began and this has increased to nearly 2,500 organizations and individuals across the nation opera America has administered funding initiatives of over 15 million to opera companies and their partners since 2000 opera America has been a longtime partner with the National Endowment for the Arts but in 2016 opera America received an NEA our town’ grant to help opera companies really become agents in their community to build the arts and build vitality throughout the community and cities across the country so Marc would be eager to have you share our your experiences related to our town its effect on opera companies and their partnerships with communities Jane thank you so very much and thank you members of the Council for inviting me here today and to all of my great colleagues on the staff of the NEA over these many years you have supported our service to the entire field of opera for which we are so grateful and the our town grant in particular is one of the most transformational grants that we’ve ever had supporting operas progress as an agent for community vitality through our art form I’ll say more about it in in a moment the impetus for our our program is based in the fact that we know opera has the intrinsic capacity to communicate with people across cultural social and economic divides it is a multimedia story based artform that explores human emotions across a range of experiences frequently walking the line between the rational and the irrational music elevates the representation of the human condition beyond the capacity of words to do so so we believe in the intrinsic power of the art form but we also recognize that opera continues to be beset by negative stereotypes so the challenge is especially great for us to demonstrate the intrinsic value of the art form against these negative stereotypes and like so many of the nonprofit performing arts we still function with a business model that exploits the visibility of privileged people to help us pay the bills we recognize that a number of our opera companies have been on the right track in terms of building strong community partnerships with other arts and non arts organizations so our intent in this program was to strengthen the skills of those who are already good so that we build a community of practice and then make that community of practice available to more of our members on a regional basis so that we move the entire field forward we are grateful for the support of the NEA for this what we call the civic action group we’ve since evolved the language a little bit a peer learning group among representatives of leading companies informed coached by a superb faculty where we all participate in the evaluation of programs and thinking about how to make them better through this process we have examined old vocabulary that we all have employed sometimes thoughtlessly and among other words we’ve expunged the word outreach from the Opera America vocabulary I can chat about that later we’ve also examined inherited practices in the nonprofit opera business that frequently contribute to the maintenance of barriers barriers especially to those who are newcomers to our artform so while we’ve been examining vocabulary and examining inherited practices we’ve also discovered new words new words that trigger concepts that have been central to our work over the last two years the importance of showing up the idea that in order to build bridges to new communities we are required to show up to a performances and activities and cultural centers churches or temples that serve communities who might be new to opera the importance of appreciating the guest-host dynamic where in order to have the authority to host people one has to be a practiced and gracious guest and that sometimes opera companies are in the habit of entering a room as an 800-pound cultural gorilla and we need to learn the humility of being a good guest – we’ve learned to disaggregate some of the assets of the Opera Company and to recognize that our power of convening is something can be used for the benefit of the community as we heard here at arena that we have the ability to bring together city leaders and some of the most influential citizens in the community to discuss community issues we have learned to emphasize the importance of the history of the place and the people who live there and as you’ll hear a lot of the new operas that are being developed are rooted in the history of the place where our opera companies exist we also have placed a premium on doing work that grows out of established relationships and not finding relationships once we’ve decided what work we want to do but rather to allow local partnerships to influence the decisions and in some instances for us to co-create the work we’ve looked at the importance of continuity over time that opera companies have to decide what communities they wish to build bridges to and to invest in those bridges year after year not on a short-term basis that looks and feels like exploitation but on a long-term basis that demonstrates the integrity of the of the effort we also recognize that we have to figure out how to measure our work through the eyes of the beneficiary and not just through the eyes of the opera company had our education programs improve student learning rather than had our education programs build the audience for tomorrow to focus on the benefit through the eyes of the beneficiary and to acknowledge that in reciprocal relationships all parties all parties need to be willing to change that partnerships that require only one party to change really aren’t reciprocal so we’ve learned a lot as we’ve examined our vocabulary and inherited practices we’ve been guided by faculty members Roberta Bedoya mark Valdes logan phillips michael road and at our staff level kurt howard claire Gorrell Leah Bartow Brandon bride and of course our member companies so in the presentation that I have here I will try to have my language expand on the scope of these small screens and I’ll change the slides and I hope you can see them but as I said we began talking about a civic action group that would be supported by the NEA and work to create a community of practice we since have talked it used substitute the word practice we believe it’s really important for our opera companies not to take action because they know but to practice practice being a paradigm for our work we all rehearse we all practice we’re all subject to coaching and it is much more rewarding we have found to live in the realm of curiosity learning and discovery than to live in the world of knowing so we’ve moved it from a civic action group to a civic practice group we have worked with nine US companies as I say in a peer learning group where we all review one another’s projects and coach one another about how to make them stronger we also have been joined in our nine company cohorts by our colleague organization opera ca Opera in Canada and we’ve had four Canadian companies who have bought into this project and contributed money to the project so that we’ve worked across borders our goal has been to help companies identify community priorities develop reciprocal partnerships with arts and non arts organizations to deepen engagement across traditional divides and hopefully to co-create programs and artwork that matters to to everyone our civic action group participants have included as I say nine companies you’ll see from some of our smallest companies like Anchorage Opera – among our largest companies Lyric Opera of Chicago the company roster includes organizations that are based in more rural communities and some that are based in of course big urban cities so taking you through a couple of highlights of these nine companies and what they’ve done Anchorage Opera as a result of participating in our civic action group have begun to program socially relevant works in order to stimulate community conversation and to use their power as a convener to broaden the discussion in 2017 they produced the opera glory denied by Tom to pulo which relates the true story of Colonel Jim Thompson America’s longest held Pio w for nine years from 1964 to 1973 the work resonated with the local military and veteran population of course the Opera was performed very close to the Elmendorf Richardson military base which Jane visited but as part of each performance anchor chopper staff collected stories from local veterans which were transcribed onto clock cards that were placed on every seat in the theater so when people came to see the Opera they were also reading a story of a real veteran and what they had been through in their war service it really made it a community resonant project just a couple of months ago Anchorage opera produced the Opera as one by Laura Kaminski it tells the story of a transgender protagonist and they elected to do as one because proposition one will be voted on on April 3rd and it will determine the use of bathrooms by gender transgender people and Anchorage Opera wanted to stimulate discussion about this and before each of the performances there is a discussion from transgender people from the community they were photographed in these photographs are by Alaska native Jennie Irene Miller of Lillian and of Danny the two people who are photographed here who are both transgender and Jennie identifies as to spirit the photographer as to spirit which is a sacred alternative gender identity recognized within the First Nations community and actually our opera company from BC that was performing in the Civic action group revealed to us that in the First Nations community they work within British Columbia the community identifies they have language for five gender types five gender types so as you begin to build bridges into new communities you learn a great deal the vote on Proposition one is April 3rd but certainly the community has become more aware of all of the issues the human issue the political issue through the discourse that was engendered from Anchorage operas production of as one Cincinnati opera has a really great history of working with the community their program opera goes to church is 13 years old and it brings leading artists and young artists to important black churches around the Cincinnati community where they engage in performance of music from across genres it has been so successful over 13 years that six years ago they’ve expanded it to include Cincinnati Opera goes to Temple they’ve developed a tremendous range of relationships and now we’re working with other non arts organizations in the community to develop some work but before I go to the next slide the bottom photograph here is Cincinnati operas opera Express this is something that we funded through a different grant program where Cincinnati Opera outfitted a 45 foot trailer truck as an opera house and inside seats and curtains little stage and they take the truck to farmers market street fairs parking lots of big shopping malls and they do 15-minute presentations that explain opera and where singers sing arias and it is filled constantly all over the city not only introducing people to opera but bringing of course the identity of Cincinnati opera across the community from these relationships they’ve developed a program called Cincinnati opera next diverse voices and they are co-creating they are co-creating works with other non arts organizations in Cincinnati including the music Resource Center that’s reflected here in the in the photograph young people are developing their potential by making connections through reading writing and storytelling they are co-creating right now an opera called girls 2020 about the teenage experience as a young woman it will be premiered in 2020 as part of the 100th anniversary celebration of Cincinnati Opera in Houston there is a division of Houston Grand Opera called hgo Ko Ko stands for company community and collaboration the staff of that department within the company work with various community groups to develop all kinds of new work much of it co-created the veterans songbook project was developed in order to engage the visible active and organized veteran community in Houston veterans wrote about their experiences and composers were commissioned to set those stories as songs and the veteran song book project held a concert of these songs on Veterans Day this past fall the song of Houston series Commission’s composers and librettist to create works that tell the story of the place one of them after the storm was actually based on the historic destruction of Galveston in a big hurricane and it had particular resonance as you could imagine in the era of hurricane Harvey de coeur Okoye is doing a new opera called home of my ancestors chronicles the African and African American woman’s experience coming home to Houston on Juneteenth Juneteenth is the holiday commemorating the June 19 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas Lyric Opera of Chicago has a multi-faceted set of programs that serve the community in different ways a signature event is the Chicago voices program that celebrates singing and music making across genres including blues jazz rock folk hip-hop gospel and classical music its curated by renee fleming and performances occur in the opera house in the community created performances program community groups are invited to bring their stories to life and there’s a 15 week creative process during which the stories are converted into opera form these are performed fully staged at the Harris theatre for music and dance one of them harmony and hope shares the real-life stories of recovering addicts struggles with temptation and ex-convict resisting the call of the streets and an immigrant mother and her young children who faced homelessness lyric opera Chicago also has the empower youth program it involves students in partnership with the Chicago Urban League to engage in a two-year training program about composition storytelling and dance again a multi-faceted program to serve the community and bring different community voices into the Opera House Michigan Opera Theatre has a program called ambassadors now Michigan Opera Theatre over the years has developed relationships with over 70 community organizations throughout the metropolitan area around Detroit Michigan opera ambassadors are volunteers that work with these community organizations to introduce opera into the communities this comes to fruition in May of this year when Michigan Opera Theatre will produce the Midwest premiere of the summer king it’s an opera about the legacy of Josh Gibson who dominated Negro League baseball but it was denied the opportunity to play in the major leagues due to segregation of course inequity continues to be a major issue in Detroit and Michigan Opera Theater believes that bringing the Opera to the stage the summer King will resonate deeply with the community they’ve organized a take me out to the Opera series across the city that will bring programs that explore the distinction of arts and sports as institutional leaders in breaking racial barriers this will combine music baseball local history events concerts lectures in order to draw the connection between sports and arts as breaking barriers and opera Memphis one of the most visible programs they’ve developed in a number of years are called 30 days of opera and in 30 days of opera opera Memphis goes to between 40 and 50 locations some of these are cropper theaters ban shells public parks and other public venues and they introduce opera opera singers and engage people in creative interaction with their work but most recently they have started the McLean fellowship program and the McLean fellowship program named after a very important african-american singer Florence Cole Talbert McLean is designed to explore the history of black opera in Memphis to City where there was a separate black opera company just as there was a separate black baseball team so the McLean program the McLean fellowship will replace their current young artist program with a fellowship for singers directors coaches and conductors of color at opera Omaha they’ve instituted something called the Holland Community Opera fellowship these are community minded entrepreneurial artists who come to Omaha to live and work and to serve as ambassadors of the company by developing relationships with community leaders and twos up to design and implement unique projects that combine artistry leadership advocacy and citizenship opera Omaha has partnered with the University of Nebraska in as a leader in service-learning service-learning is an educational approach that combines learning objectives with community service in order to provide a pragmatic progressive experience while meeting societal needs so the first fellows have been engaged and they had a training program through the summer they will engage in meaningful dialogue with the community on issues of social relevance and they will help to fulfill unmet needs of the community for arts experiences and education they spent the summer conducting meetings with community organizations and leaders to get a better understanding of the perceptions of opera and the needs of the community what they found was that the primary community needs or diversity immigration racism transportation physical and social-emotional health and economic disparity and now the ambassadors are working with the the fellows are working with the partner organizations to explore how opera Omaha can use its assets in a disaggregated way to provide learning opportunities economic opportunities and others for the people who are partnering with them in this in this program at opera Philadelphia or skip to slides they have the teen voice program it is a a youth singing program for Philadelphia’s young people they perform concerts there are no auditions there are no cuts if you don’t make the the talent cut it is a very participatory youth singing program but more important opera Philadelphia has become very engaged in creating work that reflects the terroir of Philadelphia the most noteworthy example recently is we shall not be moved an opera that was inspired by the 1985 Philadelphia Police Department bombing of the move house and in 2013 by the closing of schools due to budget cuts across Philadelphia this was the the performances of we shall not be moved were accompanied by community discussion across the city all performances were sold out the production moved on to the Apollo Theater in New York where is entirely sold out and it has moved on finally to Great Britain where it was also very very well received in st. Louis the last of the companies I’ll speak about this morning they have a long history of engaging community and conversation about the art starting back almost ten years ago now with their action of the death of Klinghoffer they created an interfaith discussion group that included Jews Christians and Muslims and talking about the issues that were raised by the production of death of Klinghoffer they have gone on in the community to organize a commemorative concerts every September 11th and after the killing of Michael Brown in in in Ferguson they organized along with jazz st. Louis and the public radio station a program that featured great singer Denise graves and they created a scholarship program for art students in Michael Browns name all of this led by Opera Theater of st. Louis they also bring relevant stories to the mainstage with Terrence Blanchard’s champion telling the story of Emil Griffiths and the next Terence Blanchard opera fire shut up in my bones based on the book by Charles blow so lots of this work going on supported by the civic action work the civic practice work we’re doing in Opera America but what we end with here is the fact that opera merica is initiating a new grant program called civic practice grants we have an endowment a topper America that generates money for us to make our own grants and for about 20 years we’ve been doing audience development grants that help opera companies introduce new works in the creative process to audiences who may not be familiar with a contemporary vernacular in the Opera world we feel that our opera companies have been so skilled over the years of doing this that we can repurpose the grant money from audience development grants into what we’re calling civic practice grants so building on the learning from our civic action group we will be awarding grants of up to $30,000 over two years to opera companies on a course on a competitive basis to help pay for not necessarily any work that goes on on stage but to pay for efforts that they make to learn more about civic priorities within their communities to develop relationships with other arts and non arts organizations and and deliver services that build understanding across historic divides and that increased civic cohesion so this is a first time really where upper America is investing in civic practice that will be a precursor we hope to work that is co-created but in the meantime is really focused on building robust long-standing relationships that are informed by our learning about showing up listening learning and living in curiosity and discovery all of this has been made possible by the IRA Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and we remain tremendously grateful for this investment be happy to take any questions from the Council thank you very much for a very interesting discussion the question I had is this is a very ambitious project that you’re doing so I’d like to find out one one what is your secret of success and two what’s your biggest challenge opera is ambitious from the very start so scale doesn’t scare us the you know the I think Opera is blessed and it’s so interesting because we are beset as I said by negative stereotypes we are blessed with an art form that a story-based that is multimedia that mixes words images and and music where we access the most basic emotions of human beings as i said to maria last night that opera is a kind of refined primal scream so it has this great potential to connect with people you know we’ve only gotten started so I don’t suggest that we have had real success but I think the people who have careers in Opera have a great desire to have their love for opera affirmed and opera is affirmed when the community understands its importance and its relevance so this work really enables those of us who’ve lived inside the world to demonstrate that opera matters today so there’s a great motivation born of our desire for the affirmation of this is an expressive medium in the 21st century the biggest challenge some of the biggest challenge is the heritage repertoire how does opera today perform in interpret works that are 19th century works that have a different cultural perspective on gender and on race and how do we change gears so that new work that is about the United States in the 21st century intersects in a meaningful way with the inherited repertoire and how do we build audiences who understand this dialogue between theme based 19th century repertoire and contemporary relevant 21st century repertoire so I think building those bridges internally represent a big challenge thank you very much I was gonna ask you to demonstrate your primal scream but I’ll pass on that during the coffee break afterward we’ll go outside because he travels so much and and this shift in Opera and its presentation as an art form but also his entertainment because that’s kind of think the way the layman looks at it what’s the what’s the opinion of the international community of opera compared to what we’re doing here in America that’s a really great question I just flew back on Sunday from a European meeting in Sofia Bulgaria and the the Europeans look with great admiration at the American opera scene in Europe the nineteenth-century repertoire is there inherited repertoire it is not an imported art form it is native to France and Germany and Italy and these opera companies feel an absolute obligation to continue performing those works even if they lose relevance with audiences who are living in those cities they realize that the United States we have more flexibility we do not have have the direct link to that cultural inheritance so if there are works that we feel are no longer relevant we can allow them to fall off the Billboard and we can replace them with American work that are telling American stories so the the Europeans look at us as having greater flexibility than they do and they admire the way we are creating an American opera cannon that resonates with today’s audiences in very theatrical terms that’s excellent thank you a little misconception about Nashville Tennessee and its approach to opera it’s called the Opry just wonderful well I will say Nashville opera Nashville Opera is a particularly inventive opera company in our membership they’re doing great work there it’s such an amazing program it’s so really great to hear a real model for all of us that work in large you know institutions performing arts institutions what I’m hearing right now is that what is the over is the overall goal to develop audiences to go to your theaters inside and watch or is it to have this sort of twofold where it feels like it’s in the community and then it’s in a building it’s in the and and are they eventually is the goal for them to meet or is it that you’re finding that people don’t know need to go to the theatre we are living in the space of curiosity right now and discovery and that’s a really important question a lot of our opera companies are now performing in 2nd and Found spaces around the community and a question we are wrestling with is how much do we want one audience member to migrate across all the different things that we’re doing and we we believe it is great if hundreds or thousands of people go to a found space to see a new opera that is about the city or about a contemporary issue they may or may not attend a production of La bohème in the Opera House and they may not attend that performance because the the venue may somehow be a barrier or the price may be a barrier or the perception of a dress code may be a barrier so we recognize that audience members will not necessarily migrate across all of these different threads what matters is that audiences are attending whatever iteration of opera resonates with them in their lives so we are not looking for outcome measurement as more opera subscribers in the Opera House learners the business model benefits from that but we are not looking at that as an outcome because we recognize that different audiences have different tastes and they will follow different products of what we’re doing thank you so Marc thank you for a really compelling presentation it’s wonderful to see the impact of the our town program in the way that you’ve described it because there are new relationships and partnerships collaboration in even co-creation inherent in that kind of work and that’s not always easy work or fast work can you talk a little bit about the experience and Timescape that you have to consider and do this kind of work opera opera has a long developmental arc so any of these projects take 2-3 years to develop it’s also the case that it’s a different skill set to co-create work when one is accustomed to just producing canonic pieces so at the same time that we are changing the mindset of the producing company and and rebalancing what they value as their work we are also developing people have the skills to work with communities to co-create pieces and frequently we’re pulling people in from the theater world and other genres that have more experience in co-creation than we do in opera so it is a very long term developmental process both of the skill set to co-create and the works themselves that take years to create a libretto a score to rehearse and finally put on the boards so it is a very long arc kind of project I will say you know the the it’s a big project and of course opera merica is only stimulating the progress because we accept companies into our learning cohorts on a competitive basis thanks to the NEA support it is the imprimatur of the NEA that it is a project supported by the agency and that it is competitive and our members rise to the competitive spirit when there’s an application so your support brings focus puts the spotlight on the project and and and builds the lure of it so I can’t overstate the importance of the NA support for this project Marc thank you for the presentation I really like that you mentioned that you were using your assets you know in a different way to really address inequity and looking at people in communities it’s just an audience you know and really engaging with them in a deeper way I just wonder how many of your of the of your members are actually working with and in Latino communities across the country there are a number and what we try to do in this work is to encourage opera companies to make choices what is the the community in your city where you want to build a long and lasting bridge because you can’t do parking you best this year and you and then Madame Mao next year and then Florencia the year after and build any real bridges you have to make choices and in some of our companies or zona opera Fort Worth Opera others their choice has been to work with the Latino community and that includes multi-year planning with spanish-language opera it includes partnership in Arizona with Univision which has been a great partner it requires some thoughtful casting to see whether or not there are Latino singers or people who are fluent in Spanish so they can participate in the spanish-language media activity that goes on which is a rich media world so spanish-language speakers are spanish-speaking singers do very very well for their opera companies but we do really encourage people make choices and they make those choices for the foreseeable future recognizing that they can’t support every community in their City what what matters most to make the choice but yes there are a number of companies working with Latino communities anyone else mark thank you so much Jane thank you our next guest is Jessie Rosen who has been the president and CEO of the 2000 plus membership League of American orchestras since 2008 jessie has been instrumental in overseeing the league’s focus on developing research for the field he’s created new initiatives in such areas as diversity artistry leadership development community engagement and the NEA is a strong supporter of the league’s mission to strengthen orchestras through learning leadership development research communication within the field Jessie welcome and please share with us about some of the community engagement projects in which your members are engaged thank you Jane and thank you for having us here this morning and you know it’s a wonderful moment to be here and to celebrate with everyone the renewed budget for the agency and the bump in the budget and that and without leadership from the agency sustaining strong relationships with Congress in the administration so Jane Mary Ann thank you for that and also to all the staff that we work with in the agency that has been such a ongoing source of encouragement to us and enormous help and stimulation so to everyone on NEA staff a very big thank you so I want to talk a little bit about the journey that orbiters have been on over the years moving toward greater more meaningful authentic engagement with their communities the work it’s not finished it’s a work in progress but we are making progress so here we are whoops very sensitive clicker okay so these are the 1200 orchestras in America those big dots represent lots and lots of concentration of orchards as little dots or smaller numbers of orchestras and here we’re seeing them plotted against census tracts of the concentration of our population so you can see there are 1,200 orchestras are all over the place but they’re in all the places with lots of people so we’re all across the country the 1,200 orchestras give about 28,000 performances every year a hundred thousand musicians performing 25 million people come in to concerts every year one of the amazing things though about our membership the orchestras in our country two-thirds of all orchestras in America budgets under $300,000 if you look at the next budget group three hundred thousand and two million you add those two together ninety one percent of America’s orchestras have budgets under two million dollars and so and we think of workers as we tend to think of our big iconic institutions and their big concert halls that is a part of the orchestra story but it’s far from the entire story and the breadth of activity is really extraordinary and it’s activity it’s happening for the most part at a community level people just love to play orchestra music they love to go to the concerts so our story is kind of a bigger one than the one that we often imagined about ten years ago the league did some public perception research and we asked influentials what they thought about our field and we got very high marks on upholding standards of excellence and quality on serving young people and a deep commitment to education we did terribly on the question about serving a broad section of community and when we heard that at the league we sounded the alarm bells to our members and we said this represents significant vulnerability for us we got to work on it and actually nobody listened or our fuel what wasn’t quite ready moment but we began to work this issue and some of the initial work we did we created a diagnostic tool your orchestra your community and this was not a not a prescription for how to engage with community was a really a series of questions that utilize their rubric and with a discussion guide to bring or stakeholders together to think differently about their community engagement and then fast forward just a couple years ago we did our first study first research study on Orchestra activity in communities and this was an NEA funded piece of research and there’s an awful lot in there but the one of the big highlights is here this is looking at where Orchestra activity occurs and so the big circle the little slice of the pie that’s what happens in the concert hall that’s about 15 percent everything else is happening elsewhere outside of the concert hall and when we look at the activity outside the concert hall go over to that bar so about 75 percent of activity is taking place in schools and about 25 percent taking place in other community locations one of the ways we’ve tried to work with our members to understand and advance their work in community is to map their activity it’s another piece of work supported by the NEA this is a map of the Florida orchestra it looks at their penetration into public schools in the Tampa area and this is telling us that 80% of the public schools in this area are reached by the orchestra and 92 percent of title one schools are being served by the orchestra this is a very handy way to see where you are and and what you’re doing here’s a another map this one is the Pacific Cynthia in Orange County and here we’re plotting activity against concentration of Hispanic population 37% of the population Orange County’s Hispanic and so I think it’s the it’s the the pink part of that map is where you have the highest concentrations of Hispanic population so the origin can see really clearly the extent to which they are serving that part of the community so these are great diagnostic tools for our members but also true advocacy tools so they can communicate where they are and what they’re doing this is just support I came across recently and it just it just really struck me this idea that music is not a thing but a verb and you know the thing part we work so hard you know back in the last part of the last century to figure out how to sell a lot of tickets and make our institutions work and sustainable and we were selling things we were transactional and the shift that’s happening in our field is to a more relational way of thinking about how we do things idea that music is a verb it’s something we do it has a result it has impact it creates value a very powerful idea and I think rather than say anymore about a wonderful video a wonderful example of this new way that we have of thinking about orchestras and what they do it’s quite self explanatory so I’m just gonna turn it on yeah you stopped teen star my name is worth washed a door towards each other I am up the dwama stripe aqua aqua aqua aqua c ab c hasta I am great-great-great-great grandson of Chiefs Ian and so I would welcome you onto this land in my position with the symphony is important for me to help people to communicate with each other and for our musicians to communicate with other cultures and audiences and this was an incredible opportunity to learn how to do that which means not having all the answers and being willing to take risks our goal at the outset was for it to be very balanced and very equal with input from the tribal artists and the tribal musicians and also from the symphony musicians and more traditional Western composer and I felt like we really accomplished that we’ve been here for a long time and so to be recognized like this and to come into a hall and participate in this kind of a thing this is this is a great thing this is a wonderful thing my expectations were that it was going to be very challenging of me to walk gently and leave a huge amount of openness and space for an exchange and that I was not going to push it or pull it anywhere I was going to try to guide it very gently and as a collaboration wherever possible the thing that’s most challenging is what’s most challenging with almost all of the collaborations between non-native organizations and the tribes and that is helping the organization understand some of the depth of tribal culture there were many different aspects of the project that we honestly didn’t know in which direction they will go but this is what made it very very exciting at the Duwamish longhouse we had a cultural exchange we got to sit and have lunch and talk about many things the different ways that we approach music and my conclusion really was that all music is of a spiritual source music has that ability to change relationships and transformed relationships that’s one reason why I’m so excited to be a part of this that was basically the way we communicated in the beginning and this is probably the most honest way of communication in just a short period of time it’s been amazing to see our new friends come into what they call the longhouse and feel like it’s their own I was curious what it will end up being it was nothing like a traditional symphony that you get the score and you work on the details and then you get with the musicians it was much different than only music that improvisation between the native musicians and our Symphony musicians we were creating it while we were rehearsing everybody brought what was on their hearts and this is how this piece came to life when Paul started to play perked up and said while this is very intense and very interesting and very musical and I had never heard anybody play quite like that the phrasing and the intonation but especially the commitment and the playing was really very special and that made me more drawn to my intensity in my participation many of our elders have been fighting through the years and so it’s very difficult for the kids of today to understand their heritage and who they are but the pride that these kids had coming down the aisles was phenomenal to look out and see that they make a difference it was a whole bunch of different tribes coming together in addition to modern society in a great big house I hate all great big house full of sound this is a very good he definitely brought on my way of seeing music how it can unify us all as a community because this is the perfect proof that it is possible and disease happened millions happen here in Seattle this music and collaboration is building bridges we’re letting go of things that have happened in the past and so chief Seattle he you know he tried to bring people together and so I think that’s still true today it’s not just me and you or I it’s us so I want to thank us with Edith’s joke take what yes thank you for your hard work [Music] so one of the things I just love about this is that the center of this really is a creative process of music making and it’s a complete marriage really of our understanding about community and also artistry they are really one in the same and that the artistry and creativity becomes enhanced and grows by virtue of contact and connection with others at our conference two years ago in Baltimore Oh before that you saw in that crawl that project was supported by a project we do which is mirrored by Opera America it’s the relationship we have with the N and Gordon Getty foundation which allows us to support innovation across our field and another kind of equivalent program we do the Ford awards for excellence community service this allows us to recognize the emerging practice among orchestral musicians and their work in community it’s supported by the Ford Motor Company Fund um and our conference in Baltimore two years ago congressman Elijah Cummings came and spoke and he said to us you know diversity is not a challenge it’s an opportunity and I genuinely believe that that’s the right framework for thinking about this and our experiences is bearing this out as orchestras think about community thinking about diversity equity inclusion is in the forefront of their thinking in their work today and it must be it’s extremely complicated and difficult work one of the ways we’ve tried to add value to our members in this work is through research and we did two big studies last year both also supported by the NEA and I’ll I’ll just kind of want to bracket this for a second and just say that the NEA s commitment to research has really been a model I think for all of us in national associations what we learned from undertaking research is its power to catalyze and inform and help action occur help change occur and these two studies supported by the NEA have really triggered enormous amount of not only discussion but activity throughout the orchestra field they’ve been downloaded thousands of times actually half of the downloads are from outside of the orchestra fields but the first one has a quantitative look at racial ethnic and gender diversity in orchestras I won’t go into the findings except to say to two points you know one is an confirmation of what we know which is the representation of African American and Latin ex musicians and orchestras is horribly low in his state at about 1.8 percent African American and 2 percent Latin x for about 25 years without moving there is however important positive news and that is that the gender balance in orchestras went from a hundred percent male to forty eight percent female and fifty two percent male so that gives me hope we have made change before and I think we’ll be able to do it again um our role with our membership around this has in fact been on the one hand research but also to convene to bring our members together for intensive conversations among themselves but also with partners in higher education and across the performing arts sector and one of the exciting developments has been happening in the work in our field is that we have new partners the American Federation of musicians has been at the table with us throughout these conversations over the last two years and that brings tremendous capacity for influence and participation across the musician community we’ve also found that our partnerships established the Performing Arts Alliance have been incredibly enriching as we at the league undertake this work and being able to learn from our partners and the rest of the arts sector and particularly those who are working in diverse communities helps us do much better work um there’s a lot of activity happening locally in many orchestras on the National Front and about three weeks we’ll be announcing a major initiative together with a Sphynx organization in the hand the New World Symphony whereby will be providing very substantial financial and professional development support to black and Latin X musicians so be on the lookout for that coming soon this is just our destination page on our diversity and inclusion Resource Center on the league league website um in closing I just want to talk about one one last example of illustration from our field and it’s Cincinnati what you’re looking at is a slide of Music Hall the hall that the workshop performs and and luminosities the name of a series of concerts the orchestra does and the concerts occur not in the hall but outside the hall in Washington Park and this is the over-the-rhine neighborhood in Cincinnati which is a neighborhood that has been extremely challenged and troubled and the park has been a place where people did not want to go was not safe it was falling apart and the orchestra together with the city work to revive the park and make this a safe place in a desirable place for people to go so the orchestra’s was to start performing in the park but they did it in a really fascinating way and that was they worked with local videographers and the videographers met with groups of people in the neighborhood and they played tapes of the music that was going to be programmed in the concerts and they asked them as you listen to this music what does it make you think about was it make you feel and out of those discussions they created a video thing I don’t know the video art that was projected on the facade of the Music Hall during the performances and you know here’s another another look at it here’s a another one and of course in you know the actual contrast this is you know continually flowing it’s not stills it’s a it’s moving moving video show going along with the music which also featured the Cincinnati ballet in the Cincinnati opera and the orc should do these concerts over four years and over that period of time they in fact succeeded together with the city in making Washington Park a place people want it to go the most interesting thing though about this for me is a series of questions that the Cincinnati Symphony people ask themselves every year when they think about getting involved in work in their community and they begin with what do we believe in what does our community care about what are the issues our city’s facing who can we partner with the amplifier impact and what metrics can we apply to determine our success this is a series of questions what never would have been asked in orchestras ten years ago this was simply not how we defined our work and this doesn’t make the old work go away you know the old questions we ask what do we invest in so we sound better how do we just get even more excellent and an even higher quality how do we get more people in the contro those questions still matter but actually asking these questions is a pathway to the answers to the other old question so they kind of kind of fit together anyhow this framework I think has enormous promise for our field the knees are in fact questions being asked across our community of organizations and so I’d like to close with that thank you Thank You Jessie questions from the Council for Jessie quick question when you listen to music what do you think about wow what a great question I don’t I mean so many things it kind of depends what I’m listening to I don’t know I I think over time you know when I think about what I think about when I listen to music I can’t help but thinking about ba ba just makes me think there’s something large and enormous and mysterious and orderly in the universe and it’s just a great sense of satisfaction and joy I I want to thank you for those opening statistics because I I am I am guilty of stereotyping Orchestra as I admit it and the notion that 66 percent of orchestras in the US have less than 300,000 budget is an amazing statistic so thank you so much for doing that other questions thank you so much Jessie our final guest is Rendell Reed Smith Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of culture and history and one of his main responsibilities is the oversight of the West Virginia Commission on the arts the State Arts agency among the programs that Randall has introduced during his tenure are the festival of songs for high school show choirs the first statewide initiative of the vh1 Save the Music Foundation program to bring free musical instruments to qualified pre-k through middle schools in West Virginia our June Council meeting is going to take place in West Virginia so this is a great time to get a taste of what we’re going to experience in West Virginia Randall we’re glad you’re here today and as we welcome Randall let’s listen to a short clip of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice about the importance of the Arts our arts need to grow in West Virginia we do not need to restrict in West Virginia and the other part that is mandatory is we’ve got to be able to have a seamless seamless transfer that none of our programs none of our funding nobody whether it be the sick or the elderly or whatever we will be heard so we’ve got to be seamless in the transfer we’ve got to save money and that may warrant my signature provided provided if I could find a way to have a secretary for the Arts secretary for the Arts in the cabinet how would you like to work for a governor like that he is amazing madam chair thank you for those very kind words they say that West Virginia is of all the north the southeast of all the south the farthest north it twists your tongue to mouth it of all the east the farthest west the east us of the West’s but others say that of the best it is the very bestest they say that West Virginia is a good old state to be from when from a way like farc it is and you don’t plan to recover but actually the thing to do is stay and say that heaven is almost West Virginia some say they are even they say that West Virginia is despite the shape it’s in the very largest of all the states for if we could begin to flatten it and roll it out the hills that now convex us it would be bigger by a snout than all the size of the state of Texas but roll the hills I wouldn’t try or send the mountain sprawling some even say they hold the sky and keep the moons from falling these immortal words to all West Virginia’s were written by our West Virginia poet laureate Louise McNeil she was poet laureate from 1979 to 1993 the poem entitled just for fun captures the true wit and light-hearted nature of all West Virginians and we are excited to share that as well as our warm-hearted hospitality when you the National Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts join us in wild wonderful West Virginia on June 28th and 29th for your next meeting we are honored to host for the first time in over 27 years a meeting of the National Council on the Arts outside of our nation’s capitol in our capital city of Charleston West Virginia we have planned two days of adventure in the arts our Arts for you West Virginia nestled in its entirety in Appalachia is God’s country its beauty is majestic our mountains magnificent and our Mountaineers are magical you will love West Virginia and honey we’re going to love you so I brought just a few things to share today to introduce you to West Virginia so in your packet let’s start the culture Center the West Virginia culture culture Center will play host to your event the governor’s mansion there’s post cards here the governor’s mansion we’re going to have dinner there you all will have a good time and then our beautiful cast Gilbert capital will be the background for your visit information on Charleston is there and then our most recent arts work magazine that gives you the all the happenings are happening in our state and then I also included for you back in 2016 when we did the governor’s awards for the Arts to honor the 2015 of the 50th anniversary of the National down of the Arts we gave away additional awards 50 individual artists 50 arts organizations and they’re all in these books so you get a good overview of what we had in the arts in West Virginia also there’s Dance Festival because some of us like Mary Ann Carter we love dance don’t we and we are the only only state supported dance festival in the country and then I gave you my my annual report because in the the second page there’s a map of where all the arts are in all 55 counties and then of course your signature program poetry out loud we had over 4,800 students participate in Poetry Out Loud in over 50% of our high schools like 48 high schools and we had 43 finalists and our state champion is fabulous this year so thank you for this program and then I put in here I have a comprehensive agency so I serve as also the state’s torte preservation officer and so we do a calendar every year so this year we did it on the poets of West Virginia next year we do literature in the year after that we do music so turn the page as you saw from the video of our governor Jim Justice the arts are definitely on their way up in our state I hope you will have the opportunity to meet our governor and our beautiful first lady they love the Arts and the governor is a huge supporter of the Arts just yesterday Governor Justice announced plans to create the department of arts culture and history and more importantly he and the legislators just increased my budget by 20% for fiscal year 2019 all for the Arts I hear yes I heard and continued to hear his words well when he said on his very first day as governor to all the state agency directors anyone can have an imagination I want to work with creative people because they get the work done so we at the division of culture in history are definitely the creative side of wild and wonderful and while in West Virginia you will visit our arts organizations and meet our artists who could not excel without your assistance and the guidance of the National Endowment for the Arts thank you thank you thank you for what you do for our country and especially the great state of West Virginia in closing President Lyndon Johnson captured the essence of what you do best when he signed the Act in 1965 to create the National Endowment of the Arts he said in the long history of man countless in powers and nations have come and gone those which created no lasting works of art are reduced today to short footnotes in history’s catalog art is a nation’s most precious heritage for it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation and where there is no vision the people perish great words that still ring today you have been great partners to my state and let me tell you honey there ain’t nothing greater on God’s green earth than West Virginia and thank you for helping us and before I open up the floor for questions it is my privilege and I am very proud to introduce to you from my madam senator Shelley Moore Capito office jtj thirsty where are you JT stand up Jane y’all gotta stand up because you want to know he’s not allowed to say this and you can go ahead and fact check it but you wouldn’t have your money if it weren’t for my senator because she is on Appropriations and the special committee in her and Senator Murkowski and Senator Collins they are rock stars for the Arts so thank you for letting me come here I cannot wait for you all to come to West Virginia you’re gonna have one great time you got any questions right right down well you know I love I love I’m too shy I am too shy for Hollywood and demure Moss are all West Virginians like you now my mother will tell you that I’m special see you know everybody says why are you the way you are and I said because I was very fortunate I was breastfed on Mary Kay pink Cadillacs and Mary Kay enthusiasm and you can do it so if you want to be successful have a Mary Kay mother question I did have is how did you get the governor be so supportive of the Arts let me tell you the governor I I love this man and more importantly I like him you know when he says to you what well you know it’s easy to love somebody but it’s hard to like him but you know he he’s just amazing he is a true West Virginian he loves West Virginia and he loves West Virginians and he believes in the arts for education but also for tourism and we all know that heritage tourism is the fastest-growing facet of the industry people who go to the arts go to the symphony go to the Opera they spend more money so he he loves the Arts and he understands house want to help our state and I got to tell you can your question that you asked him about what music well that was a great question music was is my art has been my whole life I was a singer I sang twenty years fourteen years in Europe and you know the thing about music is it’s an international language the only one you don’t have to understand the language to understand what people were saying to you so because of that background I just I I’m lucky that I have a job where I can work eight days a week and take that energy that music taught me the language and arts are essential I tell everybody the only pure academic is the arts everything like history science English math those are purely electives arts are instilled in all of those subjects I’ve met some West Virginia farmers who it’s tough how does art reach them or what does it have for them well you know you have to understand our state and I believe that the people who went first across the mountains when they were not allowed to go across the mountains or sturdy people they settled in those valleys they brought all their culture with them and my daddy was a Union truck driver 33 years my mother grew up in a very poor part of West Virginia parents in West Virginia all they want is better for the next generation and that includes the arts my mother learned to chord on a piano from her preacher’s wife and but she was insistent that we had arts music education and you find that in all all parents in West Virginia I’m serious you know when I did my job first I’ll MIT to it I did it wrong the first four years I was trying to create audiences in 30 to 50 year olds honey of their minds are made up you’re not going to convince them so we changed code to be able to fund state to state to schools because what a child does in West Virginia mom and dad are going to do mall mall and pop all are going to do and uncle Randy’s going to do it too thank you you’re welcome I hope that answered your question yes sir and as you know I’ve just accepted a concert date in Charleston and I will pick you up the airport my promise like I promised last night I promised maneuvers in Finney’s a year and as you know in Tennessee we have some traditions of volunteerism and we had a couple of state songs Rocky Top and the Tennessee waltz of course familiar and country music I can remember however in one of my USO tour is when we finished it in Hawaii we were flown by the West Virginia National Guard and we brought our keyboard into the catering room and we sang country road before the guard which has seemed to be such a endearing song for all of America even my son was at Washington Lee University for four years and they did that in their choir there in Virginia singing about the the wonderful part of West Virginia that is so romantic and such beautiful countryside and all the United States we have every state has something to tout but I think from our perspective here on the NEA Council we were privileged to come to Charleston and and certainly be welcomed by the governor because as he embraces art in a way that most states probably should as well we congratulate you on your work and bringing art to the people of West Virginia thank you I have an incredible staff they do all the work and everybody I hire is definitely smarter than me I just get out and do what they tell me to do but thank you very much we’re looking forward to being in West Virginia thank you so much and congratulations yes sir oh the West Virginia hills how majestic and Hal grande with their summits bathing glory like our Prince Emanuel’s land is there any wonder then that my heart with rapture thrills as I stand once more with loved ones in those West Virginia Hills all the hills beautiful hills how I love those West Virginia West Virginia Hills if or sea or land I roam still I’ll think of happy home and my friends among those West Virginia [Music] thank you all thank you we have one final piece of business I’m pleased to announce that the National Council on the arts has reviewed the applications and guidelines presented to them and a tally of the Council members ballots reveals that all recommendations for funding and rejection have passed any final comments or questions from the Council I want to thank the entire NEA staff thank you so much for all your hard work and that went into preparing for the Council meeting so the one hundred ninety third meeting of the National Council on the arts is now adjourned [Applause]

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