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Americans for the Arts and Sundance Institute Release 2013 Report From National Arts Policy Roundtab

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sundance Institute and Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, released a report based on findings from the annual National Arts Policy Roundtable (NAPR) led by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute founder and president, and Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. Together with a group of leaders from government, business, and the arts they met for a weekend of roundtable discussions at the Sundance Resort and Preserve in Utah late 2012 to examine the topic of how the arts can survive and thrive in this era of dramatically accelerating change.  Although the topics and participants of this annual convening change from year to year, the primary goal remains constant: envisioning new ways to advance the arts and their important role in all aspects of our society.

The NAPR participants: artists, public officials, private and public sector leaders, from a variety of geographic regions, discussed the topic Leveraging the Remake: The Role of the Arts in a Shifting Economy and proposed that the arts can serve as both a model and catalyst for change on the pressing societal challenges that face our nation. The group generated specific, actionable policy recommendations to be shared with leaders in public and private organizations. Those recommendations included the need for organizations to recognize our nation’s demographic changes and build partnerships across the breadth of a diverse America, including ethnic, gender, age, and economic groups. There was also a call for artists to be given the tools and training to be true leaders in their communities and for them to become part of the brain trust that helps the country move forward in this new economy. The roundtable analyzed “bright spot” programs across the country as a model for best practices. In addition, the development of a consistent “brand” message for the multiple values of the arts was called for so that when an artist or arts organization speaks to decision makers and stakeholders that there is a common voice and message.  There was also a call to initiate a national dialogue around how technology can be better utilized by the arts community at large.

Robert Redford, president & founder of Sundance Institute, said, “It is undeniable that artists enrich communities in measurable ways and those that aren’t so easy to quantify.  All across the country in the wake of uncertain economic times, artists are contributing greatly to restoring healthy neighborhoods and stimulating growth and real change in communities.” Continued Redford, “We know that the arts can positively benefit the economy; we see it each year in Utah with our film festival which since 2001, has brought in over a half billion dollars and thousands of jobs to the state of Utah.” 

Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, said, “There are artists and organizations across the country who are models for how the arts have served as catalysts for positive change in their communities. Our hope is that this idea, that the arts can be a tool for social and economic improvement, becomes more widely recognized by our decision makers and policy leaders as a pathway towards progress in our communities.”

For a full copy of the report, please visit the National Arts Policy Roundtable page (http://www.artsusa.org/go/policyroundtable) on Americans for the Arts’ website.

The National Arts Policy Roundtable was launched in October 2006 by Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, and Robert Redford, president and founder of Sundance Institute, on the premise that issues important to the arts are also important to society. Since its inception, the Roundtable has convened more than 175 top level decision makers and thought leaders from the fields of business, government, the social sector, education and the arts in a unique cross-sector forum designed to discuss issues and propose solutions critical to advancing American culture and vitality. Each Roundtable yields a series of recommendations on public policies and private sector practices that are necessary to move the issue from thought to action. Past topics addressed include the future of private sector funding for the arts, the role of the arts in building a creative and internationally-competitive and 21st century workforce, fostering civic engagement and in strengthening global communities. The National Arts Policy Roundtable is currently organized and hosted by Sundance Institute and Americans for the Arts. Event organization is led by Cara Mertes, Director, Documentary Film Program, Sundance Institute, and Nora Halpern, Vice President of Leadership Alliances, Americans for the Arts.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.

Sundance Institute, founded by Robert Redford in 1981, is a global, nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to nurturing artistic expression in film and theater, and to supporting intercultural dialogue between artists and audiences. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to unite, inform and inspire, regardless of geo-political, social, religious or cultural differences. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival and its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended life in general, and halted production and distribution for many creatives, the nonfiction field was plagued by issues of sustainability. For several years, sustainability has been an urgent and vigorous topic of study, debate, and organizing, as more and more filmmakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living solely on the basis of their creative work. 

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