Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tax Season.

We are not born knowing how to do our taxes. Often it is not the most fun task in life (although I find it very satisfying!). I know may artists that have not filed there taxes only to be found by the IRS with huge fines. Artists may not fuel the economy by exorbitant incomes, but we still have the responsibility to pay our taxes.

Here are a few great resources for tax time.

First if you make below $56,0o0 you can e-file for free through the IRS website. You can save your work online as you go and through direct deposit immediately pay or file for refund.

Considering an artists work is specific, there are many write-offs that one may take. See here for a few examples. (It's a good reason why you should get your butt to class! Or maybe why that new leotard will pay off.)

Happy tax time!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Help a fellow dancer.

Andrew Allagree is a dancer, and friend of mine, who is dealing with a relapse of a rare autoimmune disorder that is being labeled Brainstem Encephalitis (swelling of the brain stem). It first struck him in 1999. At that time he lost almost complete motor function, was on life support for two weeks, was sent to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and subsequently began to teach himself how to walk again. Over a span of about two years he managed full recovery and went on to dance with Ballet Florida, danced in London, was in the opening cast of "Movin' Out" on Broadway, and last year spearheaded a campaign that raised $800,000 to help keep Ballet Florida from going under.
In December 2008 the illness suddenly struck again. Currently, he is in Good Samaritan Hospital in south Florida, where his condition fluctuates between ICU and "stable." There are no neuro-immunologists, the specialists he needs, in this hospital to help him. His medical bills over the past 8 weeks exceed $780,000; and because this is a pre-existing condition, he is not currently covered by any health insurance. The fund raising that is going on presently is in attempts at getting him an Air-Ambulance to UCSF in CA, where he has support of his family and partner, and where there are neuro-immunologists that are more experienced in dealing with this very rare, life threatening situation.
If you are a Facebook member and would like to support Andrew morally, you can "friend" him.

If you would like to support him financially, his Facebook cause is: Save Andrew Allagree Encephalitis Fund. The link:
You do not need to be a Facebook subscriber in order to donate on this link.
Here is a video supported by the band Five For Fighting, featuring Andrew in his own work created after his initial recovery and before the relapse.
Here is a news story from south Florida. If you click on the "play" button in the upper right you can watch the video article.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The NEA made it!

The recent campaign to get the arts community mobilized and advocating to local legislators has paid off. In the conference committee on capitol hill yesterday, the funding for the NEA was reinstated in the stimulus package and passed both the House and Sentate vote.

The New York Times ArtsBeat Blog reported,

"To the relief of cultural institutions, the economic-stimulus bill approved by Congress on Friday preserved $50 million in financing for the National Endowment for the Arts. While minuscule by comparison with some other allocations in the bill, it is a hefty sum for the endowment, whose annual budget is $145 million. Sixty percent of the new money will go to individual arts projects competing for N.E.A. funds. The remainder will be be distributed to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations for disbursal.

Leaders of cultural organizations had been on tenterhooks throughout the week. An earlier House version of the stimulus bill had a $50 million allocation for the arts endowment, but it was excluded from the Senate version approved on Tuesday. And a week ago, Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, had won Senate passage of an amendment he proposed ruling out stimulus money for museums, theaters or art centers. (He lumped them with casinos, golf courses and swimming pools as undeserving.) Under the language approved on Friday, the arts groups were deleted from that portion; the bill does still explicitly rule out money for casinos, golf courses, swimming pools, zoos and aquariums.

Arguing for the $50 million in arts money on the House floor on Friday, Representative David R. Obey, Democrat of Wisconsin, said: “You know what? There are five million people who work in the arts industry. And right now they have 12.5 percent unemployment — or are you suggesting that somehow if you work in that field, it isn’t real when you lose your job, your mortgage or your health insurance? We’re trying to treat people who work in the arts the same way as anybody else."

From Americans for the Arts- A United Voice
This is an important victory for all of you as arts advocates. More than 85,000 letters were sent to Congress, thousands of calls were made, and hundreds of op-eds, letters to the editor, news stories, and blog entries were generated in print and online media about the role of the arts in the economy. Artists, business leaders, mayors, governors, and a full range of national, state, and local arts groups all united together on this advocacy issue. This outcome marks a stunning turnaround of events and exemplifies the power of grassroots arts advocacy.

We would like to also thank some key leaders on Capitol Hill who really carried our voices into the conference negotiation room and throughout the halls of Congress: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Appropriations Chairman Dave Obey (D-WI), House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA), and Congressional Arts Caucus Co-Chair Louise Slaughter (D-NY). We also want to publicly thank President Obama for taking the early lead in recognizing the role of the arts in economic development. These leaders were able to convincingly make the case that protecting jobs in the creative sector is integral to the U.S. economy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The arts are part of the solution!

The arts are a powerful economic engine and play a vital role in our communities, enhancing each of our lives.

Get the facts, not the spin! Let’s keep and increase arts funding in the stimulus package!

Here are ten reasons why the arts should matter to you.

1. Increased funding in the arts invests in an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, is the cornerstone of tourism and economic development, and drives a creativity-based economy.

2. Nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences generate $166.2 billion in economic activity every year.

3. Nonprofit arts organizations return nearly $30 billion in government revenue every year.

4. Nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences support 5.7 million jobs.

5. Investment in non-profit arts generates a spectacular 7:1 return on investment. That is, $1 invested in the arts generated $7 in the community. $50 million to the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) would generate $35 million in economic activity.

6. The arts are shovel-ready – each dollar of arts funding goes to work immediately creating jobs, attracting investment, generating tax revenue, and stimulating local economies through tourism and consumer purchases.

7. Artists constitute a sizeable class of workers -- only slightly smaller than the total number of active-duty and reserve personnel in the U.S. military.

8. The performing arts draw more attendance than sports. 70% of Americans attend at least one performing arts event per year versus 53% that attend one sports event.

9. Children who receive an arts education on a regular basis are more likely to be recognized for academic achievement and less likely to engage in delinquent behavior.

10. A strong arts and culture sector and a creative workforce attract and keep businesses in the community - it is one of the top ten attributes corporations look for in a new business site.

The arts are not “pork spending”. Even if you are not an arts patron, the money spent on non-profit arts funding benefits you.

The money allocated for the National Endowment for the Arts represents less than 1% of the proposed economic stimulus package.The arts are part of the solution!

Take action now! Write your congressmen in under 5 minutes!
Click here:

Research comes from Americans for the Arts, the National Governors Association, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Performing Arts Research Coalition.