December 14, 2016




National Arts Marketing Project Conference
November 11-14, 2016

Hilton Austin
Austin, Texas 

Arts Advocacy Day
March 20–21, 2017 
Omni Shoreham Hotel
Washington, DC

2017 Annual Convention
June 16 - 18, 2017

Hilton San Francisco Union Square
San Francisco, California 


SAAN Spring Meeting
March 19, 2017

Washington, DC

SAAN Summer Meeting
June 15, 2017

San Francisco, CA 


If you have any events to be posted, please contact Lizzie Dorman at[email protected].




Federal, State, and Local News


The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced on December 13 that more than $30 million in grants for fiscal year 2017 have been awarded to nonprofit organizations and individuals across the nation in the areas of Art Works, Art Works: Creativity Connects, Challenge America, and Creative Writing Fellowships. Americans for the Arts has been awarded a $100,000 Art Works: Arts Education grant from the NEA to support the State Policy Pilot Program, a three-year program aiming to strengthen the focus and attention being put on arts education through advancing state-level education policy.  

In this third year of work for the State Policy Pilot Program, the Art Works: Arts Education grant will allow Americans for the Arts to support its 10 state pilot teams, including Arizona, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wyoming, Arkansas, Michigan, North Carolina, California, Minnesota, and Oklahoma—which are led by State Arts Action Network members, state arts agency leaders, and education leaders. 

The grant will support a set of resources to share the lessons learned by each state team and produce a focused dissemination effort that ensures a broad sharing of that knowledge with arts education practitioners, education policy leaders, and funders across the country.


§  The Iowa State Board of Education has approved the writing of standards for arts education statewide. This action was aided by ongoing advocacy efforts by State Arts Action Network member Iowa Alliance for Arts Education and fine arts education leaders throughout the state. Iowa is currently the only state in the United States that does not have standards for arts education. The development of the arts standards will be coordinated by Angela Matsuoka, Fine Arts consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. A previous advocacy initiative of IAAE position, the passage of SF 510 in July 2015 restored the funding of a Fine Arts consultant position at the Iowa Department of Education. The Iowa Department of Education is now in the process of selecting the writing team, and work will begin in the early part of 2017.

§  California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on December 5 newly introduced legislation to establish state standards for media arts education. Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D-Long Beach)—and Chair of the Assembly Education Committee—introduced AB 37 for the start of the 2017-2018 legislative session. With the bill, "students would learn the skills to participate in video production, online and mobile media design, sound engineering, multimedia live production and virtual reality programming," and AB 37, if passed, would take effect on January 1, 2018. Current California law authorizes standards in visual arts, music, dance and theatre. Next, the bill will be assigned to its first policy committee. Stay tuned for future SAANBox updates. 


On December 6, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced $1.7 million in philanthropic funds to create affordable, safe spaces for the city's artists and arts organizations. The grant combines funds from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST). The raised funds will help establish a technical assistance and financial program to provide aid for artists and arts organizations facing displacement. The money will seed a two-year pilot program by CAST and the Northern California Community Loan Fund "to help artists keep their existing venues, or move into permanent, affordable space." Funding will also be used to buy real estate and lease it at below market rates to local artists. In addition, Mayor Schaaf pledged additional city staffing to support arts and culture in Oakland.

Though in development for the past few months, the funding news was especially meaningful in light of the deadly fire at the Ghost Ship warehouse—and artists' work and living collective—in which 36 people were killed. Mayor Schaaf stated, "The arts are at the center of vibrant and diverse communities, and are critical to neighborhood health and well-being, yet artists and cultural organizations are increasingly vulnerable to instability and displacement. This public-private collaboration and investments are aimed at preventing displacement, growing the capacity of the city's artists and cultural organizations, and enhancing municipal resources for the cultural sector over the long haul."

Grant applications are now open with a deadline set for February 10, 2017.


SAANBox Recommended Read

study published in the December 2016 issue of the Society for Research in Child Developmentreported that intensive arts programs—such as music, dance, and visual arts—lowers the bodily damaging levels of stress that affect economically disadvantaged preschoolers. Scientists at West Chester University and the University of Delaware tested the cortisol levels of 310 economically disadvantaged 3- to 5-year-olds attending a Head Start preschool program in Philadelphia for a school year. The study randomly assigned the preschoolers by classroom as well as different types and numbers of arts classes. Cortisol levels were found to be lower after the children attended arts classes. Eleanor Brown, professor of psychology at West Chester University and lead on the study, commented, "This study demonstrates that a nonmonetary intervention can reduce cortisol levels. In this case, the intervention is the arts."


Bulletin Board

§  VANS Custom Culture Grants Deadline Extended!

About the grant

VANS Custom Culture Grants are available to public high schools (including charter schools) serving students in grades 9-12. The grants are intended to encourage the inclusion of the arts as an integral component of an excellent education, and to support activities that are consistent with local and national learning standards for arts education. 10 schools across the country will each receive a $2,000 grant to support their work in providing high-quality music and/or visual arts instruction for students.

What is the timeline?

Applications open Wednesday, November 16, 2016 and close on Friday, December 16, 2016 (Extended Deadline). A judging panel will convene in mid-December to select the 10 grant recipients.  Americans for the Arts will notify grant recipients in early January and will disperse all grant funds by January 31, 2017. Funds must be used between January and June 2017. A blog reporting on projects and activities funded by the VANS Custom Culture Grants will be due to Americans for the Arts no later than May 15, 2017. Selected grantees will have their grant report posted on ARTSblog.

To learn more, please download the full guidelines (PDF).

Contact Information
For more information regarding the VANS Custom Culture Grant program, or for clarification about the criteria or the application process, please contact Jeff Poulin, Arts Education Program Manager at Americans for the Arts: [email protected]  or 202-371-2830.

§  2017 BCA 10 Awards – Call for nominations

Nominations are open! We're looking for the best businesses in America partnering with the arts. Presented annually by Americans for the Arts' Business Committee for the Arts, the BCA 10 Awards recognize the 10 best businesses partnering with the arts in America. Past honorees include AutoZone, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Edward Jones, John Deere, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Scholastic, and many other businesses of all sizes. |

Help us recognize great companies by nominating a business in your community that partners with the arts. Nominations close January 13, 2017. For more information, go to If you have any questions, please contact Jessica Gaines at [email protected]

Learn more about the BCA 10 Awards at view photos from this year's event. All honorees will be celebrated at the BCA 10 black-tie gala in New York City in October 2017.

§  The 30th Annual Arts Advocacy Day will take place this spring on March 20–21, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Arts Advocacy Day is the largest conference of its kind and is the time to make your voice heard on Capitol Hill. Registration will launch in December. 

In the meantime, check out the highlights from Arts Advocacy Day 2016 and sign up to stay informed about legislative updates and opportunities to take action.

We look forward to seeing you in March 2017!


Spotlight: California Arts Council Issues Arts and Public Media Report


In November, the California Arts Council released the findings of an extensive evaluation of their support of nonprofit media organizations, specifically as it relates to arts and culture coverage and related projects. The central activities in this evaluation project included a June 2016 in-person convening of high-level California public media leaders, and the development of a subsequent report assessing the challenges and opportunities of supporting arts and public media statewide in California. 

The report, Nonprofit Media Coverage of the Arts in California: Challenges and Opportunities, is the first of its kind — assessing the status of California nonprofit media organizations' engagement with arts and culture, and the funding of such activities.

In a foreword to the report, California Arts Council communications director Caitlin Fitzwater states, "Public media is a key source through which storytelling is made available to all. With no cost for consumption, a radio can be all one needs to be transported and to stay informed. At its best, public media is embedded in communities, fostering the sharing of stories that are authentic to local cultures."

The report highlights the ways in which nonprofit media coverage of the arts plays an important role in cultural life, serving a need that is not met by commercial media. With advances in technology and the proliferation of new platforms for media consumption, the field is confronting new challenges and opportunities. In light of this, the report provides a series of recommendations for the Arts Council, and funders in general, centered on the need to take innovative approaches in supporting the nonprofit organizations creating and broadcasting essential cultural content. 

To learn more and view the complete report visit:



SAANBox Note: Happy Holidays!

Thank you
 for reading the final SAANBox issue of 2016! The SAANBox will return in the New Year on January 11, 2017.






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