What is an Arts Council?

by Kim Cook

What is an arts council? Today.

In cities across the country, arts councils were formulated through various constructs to advance the arts, primarily by deploying dollars on behalf of government agencies or local workplace giving campaigns. Other traditional elements of an Arts Council portfolio could include event calendars, professional development training, advocacy programs, and public art. What happens when the dollars deployed are limited and frequently insufficient to provide substantial resources to the field, when event calendars are ubiquitous and easily available online, and professional development programs proliferate across multiple entities in the community? How does an advocacy agenda surmount a tired march around the state assembly or local city council offices and how is public art meaningful in a crowded priority list of civic challenges?

In other words: what are we good for?

This is the place where an arts council can either step up and innovate or step back and quietly administrate. We choose to exercise our imagination and our ability to collaborate in order to provide true value in New Orleans. With a commitment to partnerships, action initiatives that further awareness of the role that arts and culture plays in advancing civic goals, and a willingness to learn and adapt, the Arts Council New Orleans is shaping our own future as one of clear intent to add value with these three watchwords and goals:

People – Inspire and Connect

Place – Transform

Artists – Invest

We have a lot more to say, and even more to do. Please join us as we work to deliver quality programs and true value through an arts and culture lens as we work to honor our mission:

We believe the arts are essential to the life of the community. It is the mission of the Arts Council of New Orleans to support and to expand the opportunities for diverse artistic expression and to bring the community together in celebration of our rich multicultural heritage.

 Kim Cook

President & CEO

Arts Council of New Orleans