News, Updates and Information


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Introducing a Fast-Track Grant for Organizations: The Chamber and Tourism Membership Grant

Introducing the Arts Commission’s newest program, under the umbrella of Fast-Track Grants: the Chamber and Tourism Membership Grants for Organizations (CTM).

Arizona nonprofit arts and culture organizations can now apply to the Arizona Commission on the Arts for assistance to become members in/with business or tourism industry chambers/bureaus/associations in their communities. The Chamber and Tourism Membership Grants for Organizations are available for up to $500 for 1- or 2- year memberships. No match is required for CTM grants. The first deadline for application is Friday, August 24, 2012.

Some of the many potential membership benefits for arts and culture organizations include; marketing opportunities, professional development, assistance with public affairs, another connection to the community, and increased exposure.

Grantees of the Arts Commission share the benefits of their organization’s membership with chambers of commerce or convention and visitors bureaus in their community, below.

“Our membership in the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce has played a vital role in the health of our organization. We co-op advertise together and our marketing and public relations pieces overlap. The Chamber plays plays a huge rule in promoting our programs and keeping us connected to our business community.”

Cathy Weiss, Executive Director of the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Wickenburg, Arizona

“Dancing in the Streets Arizona values the connections that the Tucson Chamber of Commerce has provided our organization. Business owners and other individuals had an opportunity to learn about the value of arts organizations to the community at large.”

Soleste Lupu and Joseph Rodgers Co- Founders/Artistic Directors Dancing in the Streets, Tucson, Arizona

“Being a part of the CVB and chambers of commerce has directly resulted in significant benefits for the Children’s Museum. The leaders of these organizations have their ears on the ground for unique opportunities that advance the goals of their membership and clients, while strengthening the Museum and it’s role as a community resource.”

Deborah Gilpin, CEO, The Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona


National Endowment for the Arts Research ArtWorks Program Now Accepting Applications

The National Endowment for the Arts’ Office of Research & Analysis announces that application guidelines are available for funding through Research: ArtWorks. This program supports research that investigates the value of the U.S. arts ecosystem and the impact of the arts on other domains of American life.

The NEA encourages applicants from diverse research fields (e.g., sociology, economics, anthropology) and diverse areas of expertise, including, but not limited to, health, education, and urban and regional planning. Although applicants must be non-profit organizations, they are encouraged to partner with for-profit entities, and/or use commercial and/or administrative datasets.

The NEA anticipates awarding up to 25 grants in the range of $10,000 to $30,000. The deadline for application submission is November 6, 2012 for projects that can begin as early as May 1, 2013.

The NEA will hold an informational webinar for potential applicants on September 12, 2012.  More information is forthcoming.

For grant application information and guidelines, click here

To see the grants awarded in the first year of Research: ArtWorks, click here.

For those interested in the Taking Note: Research series on the ArtWorks blog, please click here

2013 Poetry Out Loud Registration Now Open!

In 2012, over 365,000 high school students nationwide participated in Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest.  More than 11,000 of those students were from Arizona high schools. Over the past six years, Arizona Poetry Out Loud has grown steadily as more and more teachers find surprising success “making poetry matter” for students. Registration for the 2012-2013 season of Poetry Out Loud opened last week and I’d like to take a moment to share a little bit more about the program.

2012 Arizona Poetry Out Loud Finalists visit the Arizona Supreme Court

If you aren’t familiar, Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national recitation competition for high school students that provides free classroom materials for teachers and scholarship opportunities for students.  Designed to capitalize on the latest trends in poetry – recitation and performance – POL fits easily into the English, Theatre or Forensics class.  The curriculum satisfies most NCTE English Language Arts Standards, and the program takes place over the span of just two to three weeks, according to each teacher’s interest and agenda.

In addition, the Arts Commission is pleased to be working with regional partners (Young Writers Program at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona Poetry Center) to provide additional program support and in-school opportunities for teachers and students. These incredible organizations are strongly tied to their local literary and school communities, and are dedicated to creating opportunities for increased student and school involvement in poetry and literary arts.

2012 Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Champion Joshua Furtado

The competition portion of the Poetry Out Loud program is structured like a spelling bee, beginning with classroom and school level contests. School winners advance to a Regional Competition, and regional finalists advance to the State Finals, where students compete for the title of Arizona State Champion and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., (with an adult chaperone) to compete at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals and the chance to win a $20,000 college scholarship award. Each winner at the state level receives $200 and the state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. One runner-up in each state receives $100; his or her school receives $200 for the purchase of poetry books.

Free classroom materials, cash and scholarship prizes, state and national competitions; these components make POL a great program, but the teachers and students who participate are what make it extraordinary.  The real magic of Poetry Out Loud is the shared experience it creates across classrooms, schools, cities and states, and the life long love of poetry it instills in our nation’s youth.  As Erik Hollis, the 2008 and 2009 Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Champion said, “The top three things I took away from competing in Poetry Out Loud were never set limits for myself regarding goals that I am passionate about; a greater love of poetry and being exposed to so many different writers; an experience that I will remember for a lifetime.”

For more information about Poetry Out Loud, visit or

Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation.  Arizona Poetry Out Loud is a program of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, administered in collaboration with its regional partners, Arizona State University’s Young Writers Program and the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

Poetry Out Loud is open to all Arizona High Schools. To register your school for the 2012-2013 season visit  Online registration will be open August 6 – November 2, 2012. 

Tell Us What You Think: Annual Satisfaction Survey

Tell Us What You Think…And your organization could win a week’s worth of promotion on our facebook, twitter and blog pages!

At the end of each fiscal year we take time to reflect upon our many programs and services in order to improve our work on your behalf. Considering the multiple roles of the Arts Commission, we would appreciate your input as we plan for the coming year. Therefore we ask that you rate your satisfaction level for the last year (July 2011 – June 2012) with the programs, services and staff of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

This confidential survey contains 32 questions and should take 10-15 minutes to complete, depending on the complexity of your comments. PLEASE RESPOND BY Thursday August 24, 2012.

You could win a week of promotion for your organization on the Arts Commission’s facebook, twitter and blog pages! To be entered in the drawing, follow the link at the end of the survey to provide your organization name and contact information. The winning organization will be notified one week after the close of the survey.

Resources for Arts and Cultural Organizations in an Election Year

Are you affiliated with an AZ nonprofit organization? Are you concerned about arts and cultural issues in Arizona? Arizona Citizens for the Arts and Alliance for Arizona Nonprofits have compiled many useful tools for voters to use during this election year.

Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts recently launched Vote smART Arizona, a “grassroots campaign to help register voters, identify arts-and-culture friendly candidates for local and federal offices and to encourage civic discourse surrounding the upcoming primary and general elections.” Rusty Foley, Executive Director of Arizona Citizens for the Arts identifies two primary goals of the Vote smART Arizona project. She says, “The first is to empower arts, culture and arts education supporters, organizations, their volunteers and staff in the election process through voter registration and education about candidates who support arts and culture issues. The second is to educate the general community about the importance of arts and culture issues and help citizens make informed decisions with their votes.”

The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits is encouraging nonprofits to maximize their civic engagement potential by encouraging stakeholders to vote: “The first step to actively engage your nonprofit in promoting civic engagement through voting is ensuring that your staff, board, volunteers and community stakeholders are registered. The deadline for registering to vote in the primary election is midnight on July 30.”

Learn more about voter registration through the tools Vote smART and the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits are offering, at, and

Key dates for the upcoming elections include:

July 30: Deadline to register to vote in the Arizona primary
August 2: Arizona primary election
October 9: Deadline to register to vote in the general election
October 11: Early voting for general election begins
November 6: General election

Arizona Arts Organizations Receive National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grants

Today the National Endowment for the Arts announced the 2012 recipients of the Our Town Grant, which delivers $5 million in support for projects in 80 communities across the country. Arizona is home to four Our Town grant recipients; two organizations received funding in 2011 and two more recieved funding in the 2012 funding cycle. In 2011, the International Sonoran Desert Alliance and the Tucson Pima Arts Council each received $100,000 in grant funds for creative placemaking projects. The 2012 recipients include the Flagstaff Cultural Partners ($50,000), and the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture ($100,000), with the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation, Phoenix Center for the Arts, and Arizona State University Art Museum.

Full press release and 2012 project descriptions are included below.

National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2012 Our Town Grant Recipients

Flagstaff Cultural Partners
Flagstaff, Arizona


Flagstaff, Arizona, with a population of 62,371, serves as the hub for Coconino County and the gateway to the Grand Canyon. The city’s local arts agency, Flagstaff Cultural Partners, is teaming with the City of Flagstaff and five governmental, educational, and business organizations for a community-wide planning process, including a feasibility study and comprehensive business plan, for creating an arts incubator for the burgeoning arts community in northern Arizona. The incubator will provide professional gallery space, art studios, and workshops where established artists and professionals will serve to mentor emerging artists in best business practices and development of their work. The planning process is the first phase in the development of the incubator

City of Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona


The City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, with the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation, Phoenix Center for the Arts, and Arizona State University Art Museum, will use their Our Town grant on the Cultural Connections project, a series of temporary public art installations and free public art events in currently vacant or underutilized spaces in the Roosevelt Row Arts District, located downtown near the a new light rail stop that opened in 2008. Project activities will include establishing pedestrian connections between existing cultural facilities and the new light rail corridor. The project is expected to reinforce the district’s identity by improving the perception of safety, bringing artwork to the street, and creating connections and access to established institutions.

Insights from the National Endowment for the Arts Director of State and Regional Partnerships, Laura Scanlan

On Wednesday, June 6, Laura Scanlan briefly visited Phoenix to conduct an NEA Grants workshop. After the workshop, Laura was joined by Jim Ballinger, Director of the Phoenix Art Museum, and Jaime Dempsey, Deputy Director of the Arts Commission. Bob Booker, Executive Director of the Arts Commission, facilitated a discussion about successful (and unsuccessful) applications to the NEA and Arizona Commission on the Arts (ACA). Attendees of the workshop also weighed in. (more…)

Celebrating the 2012 Lumies Award Winners

The following post is by Emily Duwel, communications manager at the Tucson Pima Arts Council. The Arizona Commission on the Arts congratulates all of the nominees and honorees of the 2012 Lumies Arts and Business Awards!

On June 15th, over 500 people gathered to celebrate the 2012 Lumies Arts and Business Awards. The Tucson Pima Arts Council created the annual Lumies event in order to celebrate the outstanding individuals, groups and businesses – or “luminaries” – that contribute to Southern Arizona’s cultural vitality. (more…)

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