October 2019              
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The International Art Materials Association (Namta) supports and advocates for the Visual and Creative Arts. With this eNewsletter and Namtaartadvocacy.org, Namta creates awareness of how its members and other organizations support art in their communities and businesses and with resources and news. Namta has partnered with organizations who are dedicated to Art Advocacy in many aspects of legislative issues, funding, and art education and helps these organizations spread the word on the current issues and how you can make your voice heard. 

2019 Grrant Program sponsored by

Congratulations 2019 Grant Recipients

Elizabeth Norden
Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, Chicago, IL - $2,500
Program supports Health & Healing with Art

Ashley Harwell
Canton Museum of Art – Canton, OH - $2,500
Program supports Military Health & Healing with Art

Grant Johnson
Louisville Visual Art – Louisville, KY - $2,500
Program supports Art Education

Read the details on Recipient's programs . . .

Namta’s Art Advocacy Grant Program was launched in 2018. The program awards grants in the amount of $1,000 to $5,000 to applicants who support the arts in any of four categories - Public Art, Art Education, The Military, and Health & Healing.


Namta partners with Americans for the Arts whose mission is to build recognition and support for the extraordinary and dynamic value of the arts and to lead, serve, and advance the diverse networks of organizations and individuals who cultivate the arts in America, and with 
Americans for the Arts Action Fund, a national arts advocacy organization dedicating 100% of their time, money, and political clout to advancing the arts in America with a mission is to mobilize one million citizens to join them in support of the arts and arts education around the country.

Celebrating Creative Life

by Mark Golden, CEO, Golden Artist Colors
from Americans for the Arts Blog

I was recently awarded the Champion of Arts Education Award by the Center for Arts Education in New York City. As the owner of a business that relies on artists, I am deeply committed to supporting arts education initiatives. The arts bring so much joy both to adults and children alike, but this rarely translates to encouragement to follow artistic passions.

This raises the question: Why do parents do so much to dissuade their children from pursuing an arts career? We celebrate our children’s work on the refrigerator until something happens that begins to make us shudder with fear. When our child comes to us and says, “I think I want to be an artist,” we try to avoid showing our panic right away - knowing that this might just be a passing notion for the day, as there were other dreamy ideas that proceeded this one including joining a rock band, a marine biologist, a park ranger. Then comes a day, as you begin to plan for your college visits, that your son or daughter says to you, “I want to go to an art school,” or they might couch it with, “Yes, I’d like a school that has an art program … and of course a strong biomedical program.” But you know that in the back of your head will be the likelihood that this ruse will cost tens and tens of thousands of dollars that may never get paid back!

So, after a year at school you get the call you’ve been anticipating, dreading, but it comes. Hearing the trembling in their voice: “Mom, Dad, I’ve decided to switch my major to fine art.” You listen, and yet you know you also have no choice. There is no conversion therapy group. You’ve already tried … the die is cast.

But, whether your child ends up in an art career or related art career, or does get that biomedical engineering degree, what you’ve supported through their school career is an incredible gift. At Golden Artists Colors, we support arts education because having a creative life is a something that will benefit and last an entire lifetime.

We work with people practicing an absolutely ancient art. They’ve said at various times, “Painting is dead.” This is such garbage. Painters paint, because they must. They have always had to. Yes, they are a compulsive lot, who are completely absorbed in the substance of paint. But every day they are able to re-imagine the same substance into new and unanticipated forms like alchemists, mixing lead into gold and being enraptured by each discovery.

It is possible that a lifetime in the arts will not yield enormous dollar benefits; yet the opportunity to lead a rich, fulfilling life is of immeasurable value. As a company that works directly with painters, I get to live vicariously through their incredible talent and creativity. They have carried us - me - to places I would never had imagined before. They have allowed me the platform where we can continue to give back, and to be a voice to support the critical notion that art education is essential to a fulfilled life.

National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM)

In October, Americans for the Arts and national arts partners have e a month-long NAHM celebration, with goals of:

FOCUSING on the arts at local, state, and national levels
ENCOURAGING individuals and organizations to participate in the arts.
ALLOWING governments and businesses to show their support of the arts.
RAISING public awareness about the role the arts and humanities play in our
communities and lives.

Get Involved!
Whether you’ve participated before or want to get involved for the first time, we have lots of ideas to help you celebrate.

Take a look at Americans for the Arts NAHM resources page for even more event ideas and tools.

Shareable Graphics and Ads

illustrating how the Arts are transforming America's Communities

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Study from Americans for the Arts quantified how the nonprofit arts & culture industry transforms local economies across the nation.

To further that message, they have created poster/ads highlighting the role of the arts & culture in creating jobs, generating commerce, and driving tourism. 

You can help Americans for the Arts spread their message by downloading poster/ads and graphics, like the one above, to use online, on social media, and in print.

Click here to see eight different poster/ad illustrations for download or print.

Restoration of Funding
for Alaska State Councel on the Arts

Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Executive Director at the Americans for the Arts Action fund was recently very excited to share the official news that Alaskan arts advocates successfully fought back and reversed the termination of funding to the Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA) after the Governor had originally line-item vetoed all its funding and forced the 51-year-old state arts agency to shut its doors in July.

In an emergency special session of the Alaska state legislature, following outcry from Alaskans across the state, legislators restored full funding to the arts agency in a new budget deal and Governor Dunleavy did not exercise his veto power to eliminate it again.

Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund President and CEO Robert Lynch shared the following public statement:  

“I am very pleased that full funding for ASCA has been restored, and that the budget restoration received bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature. This could not have been possible without Alaskans coming together to advocate and voice support for the arts, arts education, and cultural heritage. The fact is that advocacy works and is making an impact. I am proud of the work that these committed advocates accomplished in Alaska, along with the many teachers, business leaders, young people, and cross-sector stakeholders who offered testimony."  Read more here . . .

Americans for the Arts Action Fund sent their congratulations to its members in Alaska, especially Juneau state arts leader Benjamin Brown, for leading the advocacy campaign strategically and diplomatically.

Why the Arts Matter
State Factsheets from the Arts Action Fund

Click here  for fact sheets on all of the US States, and download your State's Fact Sheet.                        


Be an Action Fund Member

If you are not already a member of American for the Arts Action Fund, click here to join.

Annual membership is free and your online benefits include:
  • Membership to vote on the legislative policy platforms
  • Breaking news and legislative alerts from the E-Advocacy center
  • Quarterly updates through Arts Action eNews
  • Exclusive access to the member's only Arts Action Fund PAC

Paint Therapy Session
takes over Parliament Hill in Ottawa

by David Thurton, National Reporter in CBC's Parliamentary Bureau
from CBC News,cbc.ca

 'You have anger? You are frustrated? Grab a brush ... and you liberate that.' Paint Therapy Ottawa is a free event open to anyone who wants to let out their anxiety and stress through art.

As an Ottawa university student, Randy Sidaoui struggled with loneliness and bouts of depression. "It looked like being locked in a dark room and not being able to get out," Sidaoui said. "It was a daily struggle." But Sidaoui, born in Lebanon, found healing in art and wanted to share that with others.

So four years ago, Sidaoui launched Paint Therapy Ottawa, an annual event on Parliament Hill that attracts hundreds of Ottawa residents and passers-by who pick up a brush and paint on the lawn -  many became impromptu artists, grabbing a paper plate with dollops of green, blue and yellow paint and transforming blank rectangular canvasses.

"When I create, I feel like I have a sort of a purpose," Sidaoui said. "And when you paint something and you show it to others, you connect with them. Art can bring that to the community."

Sidaoui invited Claudia Salguero (both pictured above), a well-known Ottawa mural artist, to join his team. She describes Sidaoui as the organizer taking care of logistics, volunteers and supplies while she facilitates the creative process. Many come to the Hill, she said, stressed and anxious about life, and without even realizing it, they get lost and turn their worries into art. "You see people alone painting for hours," Salguero said.

"We are creative by nature. But you don't know until you try, until you have an instrument and a brush in our hand … You have anger? You are frustrated? Grab a brush and paint some strokes and you liberate that."Organizers ask visitors to leave their works with them so they can be auctioned off at a later date to raise money for the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Fallen Heroes Project
and the Artist Mike Reagan

Mike Reagan is the artist who started Fallen Heroes Project, a non-profit organization. Mike typically creates two portraits a day of fallen heroes and has completed over 15,000 portraits so far in his career.

"Our mission is to honor the American Fallen Heroes for their ultimate sacrifice during the war against terrorism. The foundation will provide the resources to produce and distribute to each family a hand-drawn portrait of their Fallen Hero, created by artist Michael G. Reagan, free of charge. Each portrait is intended to show our Love and Respect for these Heroes and their families.” Mike served in the Marines in Vietnam. When he came home from Vietnam, he attended Art School at The Burnley School of Professional Art in Seattle. Art school was where he was introduced to artboard and liked the substantial feel of it under his pencils and other drawing tools. He never looked back.Mike’s work is well respected, and his portraits have been commissioned by many famous people who enjoyed his style and talent. His portraits are also used to raise money for many worthy causes.Cherise Johnson, the wife of a corpsman who had lost his life serving his country in Iraq, contacted Mike after seeing his charity work featured on TV. Mike would not accept money for the portrait but delivered the art to Cherise, who was able to reconnect to her husband Michael through his portrait. This was the beginning of Mike’s life’s work and the reason he started his Fallen Heroes non-profit organization. Mike typically creates two portraits a day of fallen heroes and has completed over 15,000 portraits so far in his career.

Mike said about his inspiration for doing the Fallen Hero drawings:
“I am a Marine Vietnam Combat Veteran. I know what it is to lose friends in war, firsthand. My experience with my friend Vincent is real, and its effect on me is real. It drives me because some days I am pretty tired and very sad. But I know if I do what I am supposed to do, a family somewhere of someone I didn’t know can feel a little better if I do their portrait. Suicides are a part of my project, and I get up before most people I know to do my drawings. Once in a while, I take time to draw any commissions I might have to help pay my bills. Then some days I just draw anything to help my heart heal, so I can get back to the fallen portraits. Then at the end of the day, I walk 5.5 miles and just talk to the dogs in my neighborhood (I carry treats for them, they like me), I listen to music, try and relax, and heal for tomorrow.”On March 25, 2015, at Arlington Cemetery The Medal of Honor Society gave Mike the “Civilian Service Before Self” Honors Medal, they called it the Civilian Medal of Honor.
“As a veteran, I couldn’t believe it was happening until a Medal of Honor Recipient told me after the ceremony, that choosing me was a unanimous decision. He commented that I had no idea what I was doing for the families. But they had talked to them and told me to keep up the good work. It’s something I wear when I talk with great pride.”

Crescenthas been a generous donor to Mike's Fallen Heroes Project. Take a look at this video Crescent is running on their website celebrating Mike as one of their favorite artists.

"I truly appreciate Crescent’s generosity to my work. It’s all done for free so their gift of the board has been wonderful.
The materials I like to use are Crescent 100 artboards, and Staedtler drawing pencils, I love those. I like Crescent’s solid black illustration board as well. Prismacolor products are great when I do color. "


Ashly L Moyer
Emmaus, PA, USA
U.S. Army SGT
630TH Military Police Company, Bamberg, Germany
Baghdad, Iraq
Portrait by Michael G. Reagan 

Quietly Helping Teachers
get the school supplies they need

from an article by Lindsay Lowe  @linzlowe
from Parade.com 

Fans know and love Kristen Bell for her roles in Veronica Mars, Frozen and The Good Place — and when she’s not acting, she’s on a mission to help teachers around the country get the school supplies they need.

Kristen runs an ongoing Instagram campaign using the hashtag #FeaturedTeacherFriday. Every Friday, she posts the story of one deserving teacher who needs school supplies, along with a link to the teacher’s Amazon wishlist.  She has more than 10 million Instagram followers, so her Featured Teacher posts have a huge reach.

“I completely did not expect the response,” Jacquelyn Campbell, a New Jersey special education teacher who was one of Bell’s featured teachers, told NBC Philadelphia in February. Jacquelyn was flooded with more than 150 deliveries of vital school supplies after the actress posted her story, including books, art supplies and even Chromebooks and iPads.

“There are people out there who have everything and are willing to help, and this is one way our students are getting what they need,” she told NBC.

How One Woman Rallied
an Army of Street Artists to transform one of Venezuela’s most dangerous neighborhoods

by Annika Hernroth-Rothstein
from news.artnews.com

Katiuska Olivares has facilitated the creation of more than 50 murals in Petare, one of the most dangerous areas in Caracas.

She gently tussles the curly black hair of a small boy who has walked up to her in the middle of our conversation. He grabs her by the leg and she asks me to give her a minute so she can locate his mother, who lives just down the street. She explains that this is part of her unofficial job here in the barrio. Being a community leader, she says, is basically about looking out for everyone. But the reason I am here is because of a less orthodox role she has taken on: public art organizer.

Over the past two years, Olivares has helped transform the San Blas Sector of Petare, one of the largest and most dangerous slums in the world, into a street-art hub - a shift that has created lasting change in the neighborhood. “Most of us grew up without any beauty around us - we are a people stuck in survival mode,” she says. “But without beauty, our souls just shrivel up and die.”

It may sound idealistic. But the reality of executing a neighborhood public art program takes very real work. Olivares organizes painters, raises funds, and finds locals to help create more and more murals. She leads the project in partnership with a talented local artist named Fabian Solymar, who is known under his artist name Dagor and, to date, has painted over 50 murals in Barrio Petare.

“I love this country, this city, and I love my neighborhood,” Olivares says. “I have grown up seeing it destroyed, ripped apart by violence, and one day I just had enough and knew I needed to do something - anything - to make it better.”

Starting Small
Olivares didn’t set out to create a community-engulfing public art initiative. Instead, she started by cleaning - a seemingly simple task of engaging her neighbors in picking up trash in the nearby streets. After about a month, she noticed that when the cans, old pieces of tire, diapers, and plastic no longer piled up outside the houses, there was less additional trash to collect every week. An increased awareness and sense of ownership was setting in.

“So I thought to myself - let’s take this further, using what we have right here, all the creative energy and frustration, and turn it into beauty in these streets,” she says.

Artists at work in Petare.
Photo courtesy of Luis Carlos Castellano And Fabian Solymar

It was a small experiment at first, one corner turning into two and three, but the results were almost immediate. This area, as well as as all of Petare, has been plagued with gang violence, drug trafficking, and petty crime. But after the project started, Olivares says, she noticed that the business of the gangs began to move elsewhere, the inhabitants of the community reporting suspicious activity rather than exploiting each other’s weaknesses.

To be sure, the violence has not disappeared entirely: just a few months ago, Olivares’s brother-in-law was shot outside his home; now, her sister and her children are living with her. And the murals are hardly the only factor. The Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, a Caracas-based nonprofit group, estimates homicides have dropped as much as 20 percent over the past three years in the country after climbing every year since 2004.

It’s a counterintuitive effect of the economic crisis: Young men who might otherwise be recruited by gangs - as well as wealthier individuals on whom they might prey - have emigrated elsewhere in search of better prospects. Meanwhile, guns have become difficult to afford.

This shift, coupled with Olivares’s efforts, have made the neighborhood feel decidedly different than it once did. To date, more than 50 murals have been painted as a result of the project, and the bubblegum-style constructivist artworks have become talking points and gathering places in an area where few previously chose to linger.

“The thing about art is that it influences people even when they’re not looking at it, just by it being there,” Olivares notes. “When the kids walk by a mural, this amazing explosion of color and form, on their way to school, it tells them that not only their neighborhood matters, but that they matter.”

As Olivares and I walk down the street from her house, she is constantly greeted by those passing by, who offer hugs and ask advice about this and that. I ask her how someone so young - and a women and that - has become such a respected figure in her community, and she tells me it all comes down to her iron will to remain independent.

“I have consistently refused to accept any help from the government, no clap-box, no nothing, and I don’t even register for a government identity card,” she says. “Anyone who lives in my house has to follow that same rule, because it is all about independence. I don’t want handouts and what I do for my community, I do with my community.”

Political or Not? The decision to operate independently of the government is a controversial and potentially dangerous one in Venezuela. Art is highly regulated here and artists are encouraged to join and register with the Fundacion casa del artista, the national institute “for promotion and support to national artists of all kinds.”

There is plenty of street art in and around Caracas, but all of it is pro-government, often romantic and heroic imagery of one or all of Venezuela’s three strongmen: Simon Bolivar, Hugo Chavez, and Nicolás Maduro. The accompanying slogans also follow a strict format, ranging from Patria o Muerte (“Fatherland or death”) to Hasta la Victoria Siempre (“Until victory, always!”), and any hastily scribbled diversions from those messages are rare.

Because the political art scene has been and is so dominated by the chavista movement, the most underground and risky art in today’s Venezuela is work that refuses to use political imagery or play along with the old narrative.

Olivares’s decision to focus squarely on the benefits of the art has been particularly challenging over the past six months, since Juan Guaidó declared that he was the rightful president of Venezuela, openly challenging Maduro, who had been president since 2013. Since then, there have been violent clashes between opposition supporters and government forces and the long-suffering population - including its professional artists - has fallen even deeper into economic and social despair.

“The people of the barrios are disillusioned - both the government and the opposition love to talk about us or use us as talking points, but neither have done anything to make our lives better,” Olivares says. “If we chose to have exclusively pro-Maduro art, I’m sure we could have gotten some government money, and if there were murals of Juan Guaidó, some other interest group would have chipped in.”

But Olivares wants no part in that polarization. “I don’t like the idea of this project forcing people to pick sides and thereby have even fewer options than they already do,” she says.

And while the Petare art project may be technically apolitical, the choice to keep it that way is politically charged in and of itself. And if it continues to succeed and other barrios follow, it could end up having even larger political ramifications. Olivares says that her neighbors and friends are already changing their mindset and seeing themselves as individual citizens rather than simply a people, at which point, she suspects, the government will end up having less and less power over them.

For over 20 years, Venezuela has been stuck in a political and socio-economic crisis where politicians on both sides have mismanaged the country and betrayed the people’s trust. Venezuelans have been robbed of their power of self-determination and realization, Olivares says - and she sees her project as an important step in taking it back.

“I want to radically and peacefully change my beloved country,” she says, “and I plan to do it with art.”

New Jersey is First in the US
to Provide Arts Education For All Students

from hyperallergic.com
by Hakim Biashar

Each public school in the Garden State provides some type of arts instruction for students. However, their work “remains unfinished” as they continue to equalize opportunities for artistic instruction in “less affluent schools.”

New Jersey is the first state in the country to provide access to arts education for all students, the 2019 New Jersey Arts Education Annual report says. The state has reached the benchmark for “universal arts education access”, meaning each one of its public schools provides some type of school-based arts instruction during the school day for all students. As of now, over a million students in the state are actively participating in classes in visual and performing arts, according to an announcement by New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy on Monday, August 9.

“I am proud to announce that all New Jersey public schools are now offering arts education,” said Governor Murphy in his announcement. “The future of New Jersey is bright, and today’s announcement is a critical step in ensuring that our children reach their full potential.”

“Research shows a compelling connection between the arts and achievement in school, and even after graduation,” Commissioner of Education Dr. Lamont O. Repollet followed, noting that studies have found students involved in the arts are more likely to score higher in language arts literacy and are more likely to enroll in college.

While access is universally available, not all students in New Jersey are enrolled in art instruction programs. As of 2018, 81% of all students in the state participated in arts education (a 25% increase in student participation since 2006), but 102,000 students in all grades remain outside arts instruction programs, according to the report. The report suggests that these students belong to “less affluent schools,” pointing to a problem of economic inequity. Furthermore, only 11% of students have access to all four arts disciplines required by state code (dance, music, theatre, and visual art).

“Our work remains unfinished,” Robert B. Morrison, Director of the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, writes in the report. “No child should be denied the significant documented benefits provided through active participation in arts education.”

Did You Know

An Eye-Popping Illusion
from thisiscolossal.com

The world's largest art museum may be more than 200 years old, but its iconic entrance - a glass pyramid - didn't arrive until 1989. To mark the structure's 30th anniversary, street artist JR was commissioned to design an optical illusion made of paper strips.

The temporary collage, when viewed from above, gi
ves the famed 21-meter-high (nearly 70-foot-high) pyramid dizzying added depth. JR again re-imagined the Louvre pyramid in a 3D optical illusion. He used his iconic black and white stickers to make it appear as if the pyramid continued underground in an excavated crater. It was left in shreds within a day as visitors walked across it. JR embraced its short duration and even said that brevity had been his intent. He stated on Twitter: "The images, like life, are ephemeral. Once pasted, the art piece lives on its own. The sun dries the light glue and with every step, people tear pieces of the fragile paper. The process is all about participation of volunteers, visitors, and souvenir catchers."

JR calls himself an "urban artivist", he creates pervasive art that he puts up on the buildings in the Paris area projects, on the walls of the Middle East, on the broken bridges of Africa or in the favelas of Brazil. During the pasting phase, community members take part in the artistic process. In Brazil, for example, children became artists for a week. In these artistic acts, no scene separates the actors from the spectators.

A Quote

“There are two languages - two distinct languages.
There are verbal - which separates people, because if you put one language, the other country doesn’t understand it at all - and there is the visual, which is understood by everybody.”

- Yaacov Agam, Israeli sculptor and experimental artist best known for his contributions to optical and kinetic art.

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