Treaty negotiations, the next Administration, NEA updates, and more

September 21, 2016

League joins international treaty negotiations

Following the successful policy solutions achieved this summer on domestic rules for musical instruments that contain small quantities of African elephant ivory, League VP for Advocacy Heather Noonan departs for Johannesburg, South Africa this week to represent orchestras in treaty negotiations on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The League was credentialed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to participate in the full 12 days of deliberations. Delegates from more than 180 countries will consider a proposal to streamline current requirements for travelling internationally with musical instruments that contain protected species materials, and other policies that impact musicians whose instruments contain rosewood, ivory, and other material that is subject to the terms of the treaty. The League partners with the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), the American Federation of Musicians, the American Federation of Violin and Bowmakers, and other national and international music organizations on these issues, and with support from NAMM will host an event open to all CITES delegates to discuss CITES policy solutions that balance urgent conservation needs with ongoing international cultural activity.

Advancing the arts in the next Administration

The League plays a key leadership role alongside an array of national arts and cultural organizations crafting and promoting the statement, Advancing the Arts to Support National Policy Priorities, calling for a robust commitment to the arts as the next Administration takes office in 2017. The nonpartisan statement, signed by 65 groups (and counting) representing the diversity of U.S. arts and cultural activity, calls on the next Administration to leverage the arts to their full potential by identifying and raising their visibility in policy issues that cut across federal agencies, including economic and community development, health and wellness, veteran and active duty military care, education and youth development, international diplomacy and cultural exchange, and technology and communications policy.

NEA news: new report and next grant deadline

As part of the NEA Chairman's 50th anniversary Creativity Connects initiative, Creativity Connects: Trends and Conditions Affecting U.S. Artists was produced in cooperation with the Center for Cultural Innovation. It examines issues such as funding and training, but also widens the lens to look at the effect of other forces shaping the work environment for artists including technology, the gig economy, student debt, and the growth of cross-disciplinary work. Accompanying the report is a new interactive graphic on the NEA's website, called Bright Spots. This graphic features resources and successful projects undertaken by partnerships of arts and non-arts organizations that demonstrate new ways in which creative people are working.

In other NEA news, the grant deadline for Research: Art Works is quickly approaching. These grants support research that investigates the value and/or impact of the arts and this year, the NEA is offering research support in two areas:

  • Track One: Value and Impact research projects aim to examine the value and/or impact of the arts in any topic area(s) by using data and methods appropriate to the proposed research questions. Matching grants range from $10,000-$30,000.
  • Track Two: Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs research projects aim to test the causal or inferred-causal impact of the arts on individual or cohort outcomes by using experimental or quasi-experimental design methods appropriate to the proposed research questions. Matching grants range from $30,000-$100,000.

Applicants must choose only one of the track options and submit no later than October 11, 2016. Please direct any questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Music education: keep celebrating!

Thanks to all the orchestras who celebrated National Arts in Education Week! From September 11 - 17, social media was filled with wonderful stories and pictures about the impact of arts education on children and adults. As orchestras kick off the season and welcome students in this new school year, please keep the stories coming and feel free to use #artsed at any time, especially since October is National Arts and Humanities Month. Make the most of every opportunity to promote the need for more equitable access to arts education! Also, the start of a new school year is a great reminder that states are beginning to make plans to implement the new federal law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Advocacy at the local level is critically important! To stay up to date on the law and opportunities for the arts, bookmark the League's ESSA Resource Center.

Visa reminder: file early!

Orchestras that engage foreign guest artists are reminded to file visa petitions carefully and early. Delays continue to persist at the Vermont Service Center, and petitioners experiencing significant delays at either service center may wish to request a traditional expedite. If USCIS does not choose to grant the traditional expedite free of charge, it may be necessary to upgrade to Premium Processing Service. Keep an eye on your case status, and feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions at any point in your visa petition process