Save the Date – IAA annual meeting on Tuesday, Feb 24th

The Illinois Arts Alliance will host its annual Members’ Meeting and Reception on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 3 pm at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.

The Members’ Meeting is an opportunity to network with other arts professionals and supporters and discuss issues of importance to the arts community in Illinois.
Ben CameronBen Cameron (pictured to the right), a nationally renowned speaker, former theater professional, and arts activist, will touch on the concepts of change, transition, and renewal and their meaning for the arts in an engaging keynote address.
Currently, Cameron manages a $17 million grant program for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, but he also has experience as an artist and arts administrator. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2006, he served as executive director of Theatre Communications Group from 1998 to 2006 and director of the theater program of the National Endowment for the Arts from 1990 to 1992.

‘Thank or Spank’ your Congressperson

A few weeks back I posted the 2008 Congressional Arts Report Card for Illinois. (see the post here).  Soon after this, Scarlett Swerdlow, of the Illinois Arts Alliance/Foundation, alerted me to their “Thank or Spank” campaign, which allows Illinois residents to voice approval/disappointment to their elected officials.  Via Ms. Swerdlow:

Please take a moment to “thank or spank” your congressperson based on his or her Arts Report Card score. We’ve made it easy for you to take action. If your representative scored a B or higher, our online Action Center will generate a message congratulating and thanking your member. If your representative scored a C, D, or F, our online Action Center will generate a message encouraging them to do more to support the arts and arts education. Simply enter your zip code to get started!

I urge all my readers to “Thank or Spank” their representative(s).  (and for those non-Chicagoland readers of my blog, you can do the same!). 

I just contacted my rep Jan Schakowsky, thanking her for her A+ grade.  You can do the same here.  (on a related note, if you do e-mail your rep to voice your concerns, so in a civil, respectful manner.  You never know – they may come around soon; perhaps their grandson or niece will get involved in the arts, and their eyes will open when they see how the infusion of culture in a person’s life is beneficial to the world at large)

 

Illinois Arts Banner

Blagojovich Cuts Arts Budgets!!

An article in PerformInk, by Jonathan Abarbanel, explains the bad (but hopefully temporary) news:

Blagojovich Cuts Arts Budgets

In a high-risk game of political brinksmanship, Governor Rod Blagojevich in mid-August used his line-item veto to slash hundreds of millions of dollars out of the state budget passed by both houses of the Illinois General Assembly. Playing partisan power politics pure and simple, Blagojovich cut 100 percent—every last penny—of the usual Member’s Initiatives, many of which were intended for performing arts organizations.

But the governor only eliminated the earmarks of Democratic legislators—his own party—letting the initiatives of Republican members stand. His action was intended as a direct slap at Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, one of only two or three Democrats statewide who has as much power as the Guv, and perhaps more. In what can only be described as a game of “my clout is bigger than your clout,” the two servants of the people have measured each other for months, pushing the state to the edge of economic shut-down several times.

To read the rest of the article, go here.