Ivory, Airline Tips, IRA, and the NEA

October 29, 2014

Saving Elephants—and Instruments

The League continues to lead national efforts to urge Congress, the White House, and federal agencies to improve policies that impact existing, legally crafted musical instruments that contain small amounts of endangered species material.  In the latest issue of Symphony magazine, a comprehensive article describes the evolving policy dilemma on African elephant ivory, including the points of view of national conservation groups and officials at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

The League's Washington, D.C. office stands ready to help orchestras navigate the rules for crossing international borders. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of your orchestra's next international tour dates, and be sure to stay up to date on the latest policy developments and our tips for traveling with the necessary permits.

Stay tuned for opportunities to make your voice heard.  New draft regulations to change the rules for domestic commerce and travel with musical instruments containing protected species material may be issued by the end of 2014.  The League will notify you when it's time to weigh in! In the meantime, you can learn more about the broader effort to protect African elephant populations by visiting the Wildlife Conservation Society and World Wildlife Fund.

To Carry On or Not to Carry On? Updated Aviation Tips Available

More than two years have passed since the February 2012 passage of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act, which includes a provision to ease air travel for musicians flying with musical instruments. With the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) yet to issue the necessary regulations to put the new rules into practice, the League continues to partner closely with the American Federation of Musicians and an array of national music organizations in conversations with senior DOT and aviation industry officials. We are advocating for swift implementation of the new law and immediate relief for traveling musicians. In the newly reorganized Aviation Policy section of the League's website, traveling musicians can find updated tips for traveling by air and links to key developments on this issue.

Advocate for Reinstatement of the IRA Charitable Rollover

With midterm elections just a week away, policymakers are back in their home states and districts, campaigning and reconnecting with constituents. One issue area that is ripe for Congressional action after the elections is the reinstatement of the IRA Charitable Rollover, which expired at the end of 2013. The House of Representatives passed the America Gives More Act this summer, which would permanently enact several expired charitable giving incentives, including the IRA Rollover. The next step is in the hands of the Senate, and then members of both chambers will begin final negotiations on tax policy before the end of 2014.  Take action now to remind all of your elected officials how essential charitable giving is to the services your orchestra provides in your community.  Contact your Senators today!

NEA Announces New Director of Music & Opera, Upcoming Convening on Transforming Place         

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will have a new Director of Music and Opera beginning January 15. Ann Meier Baker, currently President and CEO of Chorus America, formerly worked at the League of American Orchestras and the National Association for Music Education, in addition to having been founding director of the National School Boards Association Foundation. Baker will replace former music and opera director Wayne Brown, recipient of the League's 2014 Gold Baton Award for distinguished service to America's orchestras. In Baker's role at the NEA, she will lead grant making in music and opera awards as well as the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships.

In other agency news, the NEA will host a full-day convening on November 3rd on the role of the performing arts in transforming communities. With support from ArtPlace America, this gathering is designed to cultivate a better understanding of how performance-based organizations, along with the artists they engage, transform places through their artistic practices. To view the agenda, see list of participants (including the League President and CEO Jesse Rosen), and register for the webcast, please visit the event page.