Items of Interest

Please contact ASCA Community Arts Program Director Charlie Sears at charles(dot)sears(at) Stay well, and we are grateful for all that you do! (latest update: 3/7/2024 – Resources are ordered from newest to oldest)

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Items of Interest

Items of Interest

  • National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2024 NEA National Heritage Fellows – Washington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is pleased to announce this year’s NEA National Heritage Fellows, recipients of our nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Every year since 1982, the NEA has presented this lifetime honor in recognition of individuals whose dedication and artistry contribute to the preservation and growth of the diverse cultural traditions that comprise our nation. Each fellowship includes a $25,000 award and the recipients will be honored in Washington, DC in fall 2024.

    Trimble Gilbert (Gwich’in), Gwich’in Fiddler from Arctic Village, Alaska – As a young boy, Trimble Gilbert was captivated by the sounds of fiddle and exuberance of dance during gatherings in the remote and isolated Alaskan villages of the Gwich’in people. Through watching, listening, and diligent practice, Trimble developed his own repertoire of songs and unique style, and has dedicated much of his life to teaching others the Gwich’in fiddle.

  • National Arts Summit Explores the Transformative Power of Culture in Our Communities – This national convening brings together leaders from various sectors, including government officials; policymakers; artists; advocates; academics; and philanthropic, labor, and community leaders to explore ideas, policies, and actions that can elevate the arts and humanities across the nation. In particular, the summit will delve into how the arts contribute to health and well-being, invigorate physical spaces, fuel democracy, and foster equitable outcomes. The summit will featured a host of prominent and inspirational leaders, changemakers, and artists across sectors who will contribute their insights, including Second Gentleman of the United States Douglas Emhoff, who will share closing remarks. See the full list of speakers and panelists below.
  • Kendell “KC” Henry Shares His Story as Culture Keeper and Folk Arts Manager for the U.S. Virgin Islands – Kendell Christopher “KC” Henry was born on the island Frederiksted. As a child, Kendell was supported by his Auntie Rita and her close friends as he developed a fascination for learning the culture and traditions of the U.S. Virgin Islands, learning from some of the great culture bearers of his time. Throughout his elementary school years, he was mentored by and performed with Bully Petersen of Bully and the Kafoonas and Asta Williams of the Westend Masqueraders. In high school, Kendell continued his musical education by joining a Caribbean Fusion band through the mentorship of Ms. Valrica Bryson.
  • Arts and Health: The Role of the Arts Sector in Promoting Resilience and Well-Being – The COVID pandemic took a great toll on the health of the nation. Beyond the physical—the huge loss of life, our quest to deal with the various new strains appearing suddenly, and the lingering Long COVID—there was the mental toll as well. As the Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy noted in a public health advisory released in May 2023, there is an epidemic of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection in our country: “The mortality impact of being socially disconnected is similar to that caused by smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and even greater than that associated with obesity and physical inactivity.”
  • The Pandemic Has STILL Shifted the Types of Cultural Entities People Prefer to Visit (DATA) – It’s time for a data update with fresh insight through the end of 2022, folks! As regular readers and partners know, IMPACTS Experience began monitoring how the coronavirus was impacting the types of organizations people were choosing to visit when the pandemic started, and we’ve been providing periodic updates ever since.
  • Leveraging Partnerships in the Arts to Strengthen Public Health – The arts and creativity are increasingly recognized as necessary infrastructure for healthy, prosperous and equitable communities, regardless of community size or geography. The evidence backing the value of the arts continues to grow as more states and cities invest in arts based policies as a means to improve community health and well-being. 
  • Arts Education Partnership Launches online Special Report Theatre Counts: How Theatre Education Transforms Students’ Lives On November 17, AEP released Theatre Counts: How Theatre Education Transforms Students’ Lives. As the fourth publication in the Arts Count series, Theatre Counts outlines benefits of theatre education for children and youth. Theatre Counts was created in collaboration with Educational Theatre Association, American Alliance for Theatre and Education, and Hewlett Foundation.  To learn more about the benefits of theatre education for children and youth, visit the website at explore the benefits of music, dance, and visual arts in the lives of children and youth, look for the previously published items from AEPMusic MattersDance Counts, and Visual Arts Matter.
  • National Endowment for the Arts releases Disability Design: Summary Report from a Field Scan Beginning in 2019, the National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) Office of Accessibility, in collaboration with the NEA’s Design program, set out to gain a better understanding of how designers in the U.S. are responding to the needs of people with disabilities and their inclusion in the design process as designers, leaders, and decision-makers. The NEA commissioned a field scan specifically looking at disability as it relates to public space (including architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, and other public space design) and disability and the human body and mind (including fashion design, industrial design, and graphic design and computer science). Through the scan, the NEA sought to assess the current trends and needs of the disability design field, to identify innovative programs and initiatives, and to engage scholars and designers who are advancing the work. To access the Summary Report, visit the NEA website at
  • Event Safety Alliance Health And Safety Guidance For In-Person EventsSince the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Event Safety Alliance has offered guidance for event and venue professionals trying to decide when and how they could reopen for live events. In May 2020, we released the original Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide, the product of a collaboration among more than 300 smart friends in every aspect of event production. In November, ESA issued a Six Month Update to reflect what we had learned to that point in time. In May 2021, ESA and the National Independent Venue Association (“NIVA”) joined forces to create the Safe in Sound reopening checklist.As conditions change in communities, the Event Safety Alliance has now released updated guidance, “The Health and Safety Guidance for In-Person Events is intended to answer commonly asked questions at this moment during the pandemic and empower event professionals with reliable information about applicable science and law. Our goal is nothing less than encouraging a return to in-person events in a way that is both economically viable and healthy and safe for guests, workers, and performers.”For more information and to download the Event Safety Alliance Health and Safety Guidance for In-person Events, visit the website at
  • Arts Education for All Act Introduced in Congress On Oct. 15, 2021, the Arts Education for All Act (H.R. 5581) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR). Additional original sponsors include Reps. Chellie Pingree (ME) and Teresa Leger Fernández (NM), both ardent arts and culture champions. This legislation is endorsed by Grantmakers in the Arts, National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), Americans for the Arts, the Arts Action Fund, and nearly 300 other organizations. The Arts Education for All Act, the broadest arts education policy bill ever introduced in Congress, includes key provisions that will support and encourage the offering of arts education and programming experiences to Americans including our youngest learners, K-12 students, and youth impacted by the juvenile justice system. Crucially, the bill also will include provisions that would allow for rigorous arts and arts education research to be carried out to further inform how elementary and secondary education in our country can be improved. For more information about the Arts Education for All Act, including a summary and the full text of the bill,  visit the announcement on Congresswoman Bonamici’s website at National Endowment for the Arts has published a report titled Tech as Art: Supporting Artists Who Use Technology as a Creative MediumThis report is the result of a two-year research initiative exploring the multifaceted creative practices of artists who engage with digital technologies. The research examines the creative infrastructure supporting tech-focused artistic practices and provides insight into the existing challenges and opportunities faced by artists and organizations working at the intersection of arts and technology. Visit the website at to read the report, along with essays by art practitioners commissioned as a companion to the report.
  • Why we must make a case for the arts – Alaska Style Published in the Anchorage Daily News Opinion section on May 29, 2021, Rasmuson Foundation President and CEO Diane Kaplan, and Program Officer Enzina Marrari shared a case for the significant value of the arts to our communities and economy in Alaska. To read the opinion, visit the Rasmuson Foundation Blog Post at The arts are woven into the fabric of society. We depend on the arts to connect us to an outside world, to be entertained or comforted, to learn about new cultures and ways of being, and to escape a current reality that itself can seem like a horror movie. Yet we constantly require the arts sector to prove its worth and indispensability, a fight it’s been at since much earlier than COVID. 
  • What Makes People Feel Safe Visiting Museums and Performing Arts Entities? (DATA UPDATE)The United States is making progress in vaccine distribution! At the time of writing, it’s been reported that about 43% of Americans have received at least one shot and nearly one in three are fully vaccinated. This is long-awaited positive progress for museums and performing arts organizations, which have observed significant drops in attendance since the pandemic began.Though 2021 likely won’t see attendance fully recover to 2019 levels, visitation is projected to continue improving as vaccinations keep rolling out. This is great news! But feeling safe right now isn’t only about the vaccine, according to cultural organization-goers in the United States.As many know, IMPACTS Experience has been tracking what people say will make them feel comfortable visiting cultural entities for over a year. Especially given the CDC’s new guidelines released yesterday for fully-vaccinated individuals, It’s time for an update on where things stand. (And, of course, we will continue to watch as people react to these changes.)
  • New Report Examines the Role of Arts and Culture in Fostering Social Cohesion and Community Well-BeingWashington, DC and Detroit, MI—Social cohesion is a basic requirement of healthy communities, especially now since the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted trauma and exposed social, racial, and health inequities across the country. A new report published today, WE-Making: How Arts & Culture Unite People to Work Toward Community Well-Being, shows that place-based arts and cultural practices, or creative placemaking, can help grow social cohesion to encourage community well-being.Developed with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Kresge Foundation, and other funders, WE-Making breaks new ground by synthesizing research from different areas of study along with on-the-ground experiences of artists and researchers, practitioners in community development, and advocates for health equity. The report distills that information into key terms and concepts that together demonstrate that social cohesion nurtures coordinated community organizing and can lead to increased community well-being.Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Ann Eilers said, “The Arts Endowment is proud to have been a catalyst of this report. It encourages arts organizations, community developers, and public health officials to work from the same page so they can leverage the arts to help improve social cohesion for the public good. As we climb out of COVID-19 and focus on equitable recovery, this need is greater than ever.”
  • National Assembly of State Arts Agencies Publishes The Arts and Economic Recovery Research In recent years, data have emerged that reveal that the arts and related creative industries are a substantial economic force, comprising 4.5% of the U.S. gross domestic product—more than construction, transportation, mining and agriculture—and adding $877.8 billion to the nation’s economy. In light of the current challenges facing the U.S. economy—unprecedented in many ways—the need to better understand the role of the arts sector has never been more acute. To do so, NASAA spearheaded a research effort in collaboration with Prof. Douglas S. Noonan of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Western States Arts Federation. This collaborative research effort provides further evidence that arts and creative industries offer a powerful strategy for states and localities aiming to reignite economic growth. In addition to the healing value of the arts to communities and individuals, the arts have proven economic value and offer vital economic development strategies for diversifying and stimulating local economies in all types of communities. To learn more about the Key Findings, access a Technical Report on the statistical methods used to conduct this analysis, and explore Creative Recovery Case Studies, visit