Thursday, July 23, 2009

CRAFTIVISM: Updates on the Fight for Arts Funding- the Time to Act is Still Now!

To catch you up on arts funding happenings since Tam's and my articles about the need for Craftivism in saving The Arts, a recent timeline:

July 7: NEA Stimulus Grants Announced Today
Grassroots action through Americans for the Arts efforts led to a federal economic stimulus recovery package for the The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)! As part of the $50 million federal, the NEA announced

July 9: SB 850 Rears Its Ugly Head
A huge blow as Senate Bill 850 came up again for back in consideration- the bill includes zero funding for the arts and total elimination of the PA Council on the Arts (PCA) plus another $1.7 billion in cuts to other remaining appropriations. Its passage would mean no grants to the arts for FY2009-2010. Immediate and significant action to support state funding for Pennsylvania's arts! Programs, jobs and services are at stake.

July 14:
Save the Arts Rally in Harrisburg, PA

July 20: HB 1416 now zeros out PCA funding
Tthe PA Senate approved HB 1416 as amended, which included ZERO funding for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. HB 1416 as amended will be sent back to the House of Representatives tomorrow morning where one of three options can take place:
* They concur with the changes made by the Senate and send the bill to Governor Rendell for his signature;
* They vote to nonconcur with the changes and send the bill to a conference committee for further diliberation and compromise, or;
* They take no action on the bill

PA ARTS NEEDS YOUR HELP NOW! There is seriously no time to waste... :/

What you can do:
1.Sign the on-line state petition to Save the Arts in Pennsylvania (it will take you only about three to four minutes).
2.Sign up for action alerts from Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania.
3.Contact your state legislators today through the Legislative Action Center.
Facebook Members: Sign up for the “Save the Arts in Pennsylvania” Cause and become a friend of Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania.

And stay tuned for (hopefully positive) news!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pittsburgh's Crafty Scene: I Made It! Market on Vid!

Pittsburgh, PA's indie craft community is unique in it's richness, visibility, connectedness, intitiative, and commitment to supporting local artisans and all things handmade. A huge force in the 'Burgh's crafty scene is the I Made It! Market, the area's only "nomadic" indie arts & crafts market, which sets up in different city neighborhoods several times throughout the year. By doing so, and by partnering with organizations and venues sharing a similar vision, I Made It! seeks to connect Pittsburgh and surrounding communities with the economic and cultural vitality of local arts, artisans, and the craft scene. I Made It! was founded by Carrie Nardini (a former Etsy Pittsburgh member- yay!), a powerhouse in the local Handmade Revolution who has made Craftivism and supporting area artisans the "cool" thing to do, while creating a strong presence and following for the market and those like it.

Check out this nifty vid by KeystoneEdge featuring Carrie (and and several of us Etsy Pittsburghers) at a recent I Made It!. Look for Lynne, me, and Tam there in the background vending. :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Why Pittsburgh Rocks!

As if having the best dang indie craft community anywhere wasn't enough to make Pittsburgh a city to flock to, our Steel City offers a plethora of unique and awesome reasons to visit (and remain). Here are just a few of the reasons that Pittsburgh is in a category of its own among world class destinations, and a logical site to host the upcoming G-20 Global Economic Summit (from

•Pittsburgh is the only city in the United States with the distinction of being named "America's Most Livable City" twice by Places Rated Almanac.

•Pittsburgh has 446 bridges, more than any other city in the world.

•Pittsburgh is a leader in the environmental movement, with 33 green-certified buildings. The David L. Lawrence Convention Center is the first – and largest – certified green convention center in the world.

•Pittsburgh is ranked among the Top 10 of the World's Cleanest Cities, Forbes magazine (2007).

•Pittsburgh is home to the world-famous Andy Warhol Museum, named after Pittsburgh native and renowned pop artist.

•Pittsburgh is sometimes referred to as the "San Francisco of the East Coast" for its hills and beautiful vistas.

•Pittsburgh is the birthplace of Heinz Ketchup.

•Pittsburgh is named one of the Top Travel Destinations for 2008 Worldwide by Frommer's, a leading publisher of international travel guides.

•Pittsburgh boasts the second-most beautiful nighttime view in the United States, according to USA Today.

•Pittsburgh is consistently named one of the best arts destinations in the United States by AmericanStyle magazine.

•Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Natural History has been named one of the best places in the world to see dinosaurs by the Discovery Channel and Forbes. With more than 103,000 specimens, the museum has the finest Jurassic dinosaur collection in the world and is the world's third-largest repository of dinosaur fossils.

•Pittsburgh is home to many "firsts" – the first U.S. public television station (WQED), the first U.S. radio station (KDKA), the first all-aluminum building (Alcoa), the first polio vaccine (Jonas Salk), and the first robotics institute (Carnegie Mellon University).

•Pittsburgh is safer than 82 out of 100 metro areas in the United States, according to Places Rated Almanac.

•Pittsburgh is located less than 90 minutes from Fallingwater, the world-famous home designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Two other Wright-designed homes are also available to tour nearby.

No wonder Pittsburgh was recently, once again, named the most livable city in the United States in 2009- and 29th worldwide- by The Economist magazine and sixth best city in "Ten Cities For Job Growth In 2009" by Forbes Magazine. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette). And the crafty scene is just as fantastic as the city! But you already knew that...

Support Pittsburgh crafters and EtsyPittsburgh!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

CRAFTIVISM: Show Support for Much Needed State Arts Funding!

We've got an update to Tam's (of BarkerBell Herbs and Heirlooms) eloquent plea for advocacy for saving the Arts in PA! Some hopeful news on the NEA, but your support is still hugely important. Please act now, and spread the word- there is so much at stake!

The past few years have seen increasing declines in arts funding and arts-friendly public policies throughout the U.S. (Arts Action Fund). Arts funding impacts arts programs in schools (including K-12), the performing arts, arts organizations and individual artists, and the richness and diversity of our national culture and heritage. Additionally, The Arts generates billions of dollars in economic activity and federal tax dollars from income every year, not to mention millions of jobs (American Arts Alliance), the reduction of which will further tax our teetering economy! On the national front, recent news has been hopeful as the U.S. House of Representatives approved an increase in National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) by $15M (Americans for the Arts)! However, the Senate must be convinced to match this funding level, making public support and advocacy still hugely important.


Please visit Americans for the Arts E-Advocacy Center and write to your Senators to urge them to support the NEA funding increase, and join the Arts Action Fund (it's free)! Spread the word about this important issue to everyone you know. Your action is critical!

Each year, 40 percent of the NEA's program dollars go to state arts agencies to help maintain the stability of arts funding, policy, infrastructure, and access. BUT, this is conditional on each state appropriating its own funding for the arts, making the situation in Pennsylvania particularly dire. In May, the State Senate passed a budget bill that would eliminate all arts and culture grants in the state through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) from the PA State budget (Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council) for FY 09-10! While the PA House of Representatives Appropriations Committee voted down that Senate bill in June, we're now awaiting the House's own budget bill (Citizens for the Arts in PA). It is essential that PA voters let the House know loudly and clearly that funding for arts and cluture grants must be budgeted for!

Sign this
petition. Join the "Save the Arts in PA" Facebook cause or follow the cause on Twitter. If possible, attend the "Save the Arts in PA Rally" on July 14th (see above). Tell everyone you know about what's happening, and ask for their help to stop it! And please, contact your Senators and representatives in the House to urge them to support state arts funding!