Advocacy

Houston Area Artists Report

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Houston Area Artists Report is an online survey and set of visualization tools aimed at shedding light on how visual artists are compensated for their work. We hope to enable artists to access data outside their personal network as well as easily identify industry-wide and organization-specific norms.Houston Area Artists Report aims to:+  make evident the current landscape of support for artists while the city of Houston is determining the future of that support+  supplement data about artists with data by artists+  enable artists to access data outside their personal network+  enable artists to make more informed decisions about their careers+  provide artists a way to track the quality of their professional opportunities over time+  enable institutions to track their relevance and degree of reciprocity in the community+  empower artists and hosts to negotiate compensation agreements+  identify city-wide and organization-specific norms+  aid innovators as they develop new policies and tools to serve and present artists+  provide funders with reports from those who they intend to support but don’t usually hear from+  create a more competitive environment and a higher level of accountability for presenters+  create a more supporting and transparent field of opportunity for artists+  exhaust less creativity on exploitative gigs and foster more creativity with good opportunities+  platform and increase that which makes its viable for artists to stay here+  publicly visualize how the arts ecosystem works together here in our city+  Advocacy for equitable compensation of artists and more effective and sustainable models in the arts is nothing new. As Houston’s arts funding policies are currently being rewritten and the city is undergoing a major cultural initiative, this survey, centered on and starting with the artists is vital in establishing equitable policies for the future.What Will Be Done With the Data?We will build visualizations once there is a significant data pool to draw from. Houston Area Artists Report is hosted by the Compensation Foundation platform, whose Bay Area Artists Report visualizations appear at left.All information is anonymous.For a piece of data to be displayed on the website it will need 5 reports. So for example, no arts organization will appear until 5 interactions with it have been recorded. Information about a sub-category of artists (e.g. Mid-Career, Painters...) will only be presented after there are 5 artists within that sub-category. No individual paths will be able to be tracked from venue to venue.In Our Own Backyard:"According to a study by the Urban Institute, artists in the United States are often underpaid in relation to their education, skills, and societal contributions. In the case of Houston, a high degree of wage disparity persists among artists, both in terms of geographic location and the different disciplines that make up a given artist occupation. Meager earnings are one of the chief reasons why increased funding remains such an enduring need for artists. Examining the earning levels for individuals whose primary source of income comes from arts-related occupations shows how viable it is for a person to pursue a career in the arts in the Houston region. As an indicator, income levels for artists can lend insight into how hospitable our region is for working artists, as well as better inform funding decisions.""Low wages often signify a lack of sufficient opportunity for workers with a certain skill set. When comparing how much money arts workers in Houston take home against their counterparts in competitor regions, the numbers initially seem to indicate that Houston is failing to keep up with its peers. In fact, Houston ranks last for mean hourly wages in arts occupations among the 13 other regions considered. Houston is distinguished, however, by the low cost of living its residents enjoy relative to other major U.S. cities – something that the arts community has benefitted from as well."            - Center for Houston's Future ReportThe Big PictureWe believe it is essential to make visible the landscape of support for artists because it also matters in the wider economy. The labor economy is changing. Experts predict that “contingent workers,” will reach 40% of the workforce by 2020. These workers, from artists to business consultants, cooks to interns, have been left out of labor policy and are often unfairly compensated for the work and financial risks they assume.As entities of all sizes turn to a more flexible, decentralized, on-demand workforce, we need ways to ensure that workers are getting a fair deal, that these new arrangements are sustainable. Public, anonymous compensation data will prove invaluable for activists and organizers advocating for their own communities, but it will also be useful to anyone who cares about where the economy is going and how to make it just and equitable for the long term.Courtesy of Compensation Foundation: Houston Area Artists Report
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Working Artist for a Greater Economy (WAGE)

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Founded in 2008, Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) is a New York-based activist group whose advocacy is currently focused on regulating the payment of artist fees by nonprofit art institutions and establishing a sustainable model for best practices between artists and the institutions that contract their labor. READ MORE ABOUT WAGE AND THEIR ADVOCACY HERE. 
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Arts and Culture Report from Center for Houston's Future

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Here in Houston we create and celebrate arts and cultural heritage the same way we do so many other things – with bold strokes, rambunctious energy, and great good humor.We’re particularly proud to brag on our most prominent and celebrated institutions, crowing (correctly) that we’re one of the few cities in the United States that boasts permanent resident companies across the major performing arts disciplines – symphony orchestra, grand opera, theater, and ballet. Not to mention exceptional fine arts museums. So yes, we’ve got good reason to toot our trumpets. These institutions have a storied history. They’re well-respected and well-reviewed throughout the country and around the globe.Of course, when we consider Houston’s arts and cultural heritage in broad terms, we’re not all about the high-brow. Our folk and vernacular traditions encompass everything from neighborhood renditions of free expression such as the Beer Can House to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The rodeo, in fact, may be the single largest ambassador of the Houston region’s cultural identity. A recent editorial in the Houston Chronicle noted that the rodeo has become “so successful that it draws more visitors than all the people in the entire city of Houston” while still engaging a diverse and burgeoning hometown population. The Chronicle identified the rodeo and the Houston Grand Opera as exemplars of organizations that have “embraced the obligation to … reflect the community.”Indeed, our major institutions do an admirable job of connecting with the Houston region’s diverse constituencies. And all those varied communities have generated a fertile artistic and cultural universe that reflects our manifold cultures and backgrounds, as well as our gloriously colorful future.So when we decided to study the Houston region’s arts and cultural heritage, we knew we’d be working from a rich palette. We also knew this topic would present particular challenges, unlike those encountered in earlier reports. The arts by nature capture a subjective version of our world, and for that reason prove resistant to quantification. In the absence of hard data, the temptation is to talk about what we like or don’t like. But our aim here is not to produce a qualitative review of our arts and cultural scene. Nor is it to assess the economic or social impact of arts and culture on our region. Our aim is to come to some understanding of how well the greater Houston region cultivates, encourages, and nourishes artistic and cultural expression, particularly in terms of financial sustainability.The Arts & Cultural Heritage Community Indicator Report focuses on three regional topics – cultural organizations, funding for the arts, and people and jobs. The report strives to capture longitudinal trends and challenges with comparisons to competitor regions within Texas and around the nation. Within this report, we selected individual indicators* following a literature review, and consultation with dozens of arts and cultural leaders throughout the region via interviews, focus groups, and peer review meetings. The chosen indicators reflect both the priorities voiced by these leaders, as well as practical considerations related to the availability of the existing data. DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT BELOW.
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Research from the Houston Arts Alliance

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From the Houston Arts Alliance website:In 2012, a resounding amount of information from research surrounding the arts in Houston was released through three different studies, illuminating the intersection of Houston's creative industries, nonprofit arts, and quality of life issues.The Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University, under the leadership of Co-Director Stephen Klineberg, conducted the first-ever Houston Arts Survey. That survey revealed that 73% of all respondents asserted that the arts contribute significantly to their quality of life. This appreciation extends across the city's diverse populations, with the vast majority of respondents supportive of continued and, in fact, enhanced public funding of the arts and arts education.These findings aligned with Houston Arts Alliance's economic impact studies, providing further compelling evidence of the strength of the arts in Houston. HAA released the economic impact of nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences in Houston/Harris County as part of Americans for the Arts’ national Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study. Our local nonprofit arts industry generates $869 million in total economic activity annually and supports the full-time equivalent of 19,651 jobs. Conducted every five years, this 2010 study showed a 39% increase in Harris County over 2005.Following the 10-county footprint of the Greater Houston Partnership, HAA together with the University of Houstonmeasured The Creative Economy of Houston for the first time. This diverse and broad-based collection of for-profit industry sectors such as film, design and architecture as well as the non-profit arts employ 146,000 individuals with a $9.1 billion economic impact annually.Taken together, all three studies support Houstonians’ active participation in the arts, our willingness to support the arts, and the great growth potential for creative services and products. Even coming out of the Great Recession, Houston's arts have proven not only resilient but also set for sustained growth. This data informs public policy, education, tourism and business leaders about the benefits of the arts and creative economies.
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Texans for the Arts

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What is Texans for the Arts?Texans for the Arts (TFA) is a highly effective, non-partisan statewide arts advocacy organization that provides coordinated information about legislative activity related to arts issues and organizes advocacy efforts in order to protect and increase public funding for the arts at the state, national and local levels.The TFA legislative agenda advocates for the development and implementation of public policy that supports a strong and vibrant  arts and cultural industry.  Our goals include:Protecting the legal authorized funding level and uses of the Municipal Hotel Occupancy Tax for the development, support and promotion of the arts;Promoting passage of increased state appropriations for arts’ funding;Increasing state appropriations for the Texas Commission on the Arts which in turn provides greater resources for arts and cultural organizations throughout Texas; andMonitoring legislative action that impacts the non-profit sector, such as tax exemptions, regulatory issues, etc.Texans For The Arts is a 501(c) 4 organization that coordinates legislative advocacy.Texans For The Arts Foundation (TFAF) is a 501(c) 3 organization which provides professional development and advocacy education for both arts administrators and committed arts’ supporters to build a broad constituency of citizen advocates.TFA and TFAF bring together voices of arts leaders, board members from arts organizations, and committed supporters from across the state to amplify the collective voice for increasing public funding for the arts. Read more about Texans for the Arts here. 
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Pros Vs. Cons - Performing Rights Organizations

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Courtesy of Independent Artist Network. One of the most often asked questions in the music business involves Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC. "What are performing rights organizations, why should I join one, and which is the best to join?"  What are PROs? PROs collect the royalties due to artists for public performance of their copyrighted works. This includes radio and TV performance, use in other forms of media, and public performance (live or on a jukebox). The copyright owner is entitled to varying royalties from each performance of his music. The PROs track, license, collect fees, and distribute royalties. They collect royalties for and represent songwriters, lyricists, composers, and publishers. What are PROs NOT? PROs aren't record labels, publishers, or promoters. They are not unions. They do not license mechanical rights (rights to make CDs, tapes, or other copies). They are not booking agencies or personal managers. Who Can Join PROs? Writers and Publishing companies can both join a PRO. You can join as a songwriter, or if you have your own publishing company, you can join as a publisher. Membership requirements vary, but generally want to see proof that your music has been publicly performed or published. As you can see, most songwriters already qualify for membership. Publishing Companies can be a bit more complicated (and expensive) to register, but are necessary when more than one person holds rights in the creation or ownership of a song. You can only be a member of one performing rights organization at any given time. Anyone who meets the requirements can join ASCAP or BMI, while SESAC uses an approval method to grant membership . . . read more at independentartistnetwork.com
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VIDEO: The Relevance of Performing Rights Organizations

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Ashley Miller,  Vice President of SESAC a performing rights organization located in the West Coast, discusses the benefits of the performing rights organizations gives to an artist and the role they play as advocates.Miller, as a music supervisor, was responsible for establishing and overseeing the music department for independent film production company Millennium Films/New Image Pictures as Exec In Charge of Music/ Music Supervisor which included a slate of 15 – 20 films per year, music publishing and soundtracks. Miller’s feature film credits include such major releases as “Rambo”, “Righteous Kill”, “Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans”, “The Black Dahlia”, 16 Blocks” and “Brooklyn’s Finest”. 
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SESAC, Performing Rights Organization

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 Performing rights organizations (there are three of us in the U.S.) are businesses designed to represent songwriters and publishers and their right to be compensated for having their music performed in public.SESAC was founded in 1930 to serve European composers not adequately represented in the United States. Though the company name was once an acronym, today it is simply SESAC and not an abbreviation of anything.   With an international reach and a vast repertory that spans virtually every genre of music, SESAC is the fastest growing and most technologically adept of the nation’s performing rights companies.SESAC will represent the right for your music to be played in public. Songwriters and publishers are paid royalties based upon how much their songs are played. The system required to compute compensation is based on many factors, including state-of-the-art monitoring, computer database information and broadcast logs. Unlike ASCAP and BMI, SESAC utilizes a selective process when affiliating songwriters and publishers, resulting in a roster of affiliates who have personal relationships with the SESAC staff. In short, SESAC’s creative staff provides affiliated songwriters and publishers with a level of service and attention unparalleled in the industry.SESAC’s corporate headquarters in the heart of Nashville’s Music Row houses all of the company’s divisions, from creative to licensing to administration. The company also has offices in New York, London, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Miami. 
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Royalty Rates for Radio Broadcasters under the Performance Rights Act

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Courtesy of Music First Coalition.4 page download includes chart summary of Royalty Rate and Exemptions for Public and Commercial Broadcasters which cite the Performance Rights Act S.379 & H.R.848.  Also available to view online.
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Americans for the Arts Action Fund

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 We are the Arts Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit membership organization affiliated with Americans for the Arts.  We are the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. Launched in 2004, the Arts Action Fund seeks to engage citizens in education and advocacy in support of the arts and arts education. The Arts Action Fund's goals are to:Enlist and mobilize 200,000 citizen activists who will help ensure that public and private resources are maximized and that arts-friendly public policies are adopted at the federal, state, and local levels.Policy goals like these:Increased public funding for nonprofit arts organizations in order to better serve their communities.Ensure that every child has the opportunity for a comprehensive, high quality arts education in grades K-12.Nurture an environment to allow individuals and families affordable access to all forms of the arts.The work of the Arts Action Fund involves four primary components:Educate elected officials, candidates, the media, and citizens on how the arts enrich us by creating better students, better schools, and better communities.Provide advocacy training on the federal, state, and local levels—involving our extensive arts advocacy infrastructure and network to help educate and train individual arts advocates and local organizations.Evaluate Members of Congress—assessing and rating their voting records on high-priority arts issues and holding them accountable to their constituencies of arts supporters.Galvanize the voice of the public—aggressively petitioning to shape public policy for the arts and arts education.
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Houston, TX 77266-6494


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