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Our mission is to bring positive arts experiences to the broadest community possible through programming and events that focus on artistic excellence and arts access.

Cities are in trouble. A new report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities—The Economy and Cities: What America’s Local Leaders are Seeing—shows that effectively every city, county, and town in America is expecting a budget shortfall this year. “[The] coronavirus will have a staggering impact on municipal employment,” notes the report, with about half expecting layoffs or furloughs. Depending on population size, 50% to 75% of municipalities will cut public services—and more than half expect that to include police.

With cities facing their most severe budget headwinds in generations, every sector of government can expect to be scrutinized to gauge impact on the community, including the nation’s 4,500 local arts agencies (LAAs).

Local arts agencies—arts councils, arts commissions, cultural affairs departments—lead, cultivate, and support an environment in which arts and culture can thrive. They ensure vibrant and accessible arts experiences for all. LAAs are an essential tool for local leaders as they work to rebuild their economy and promote social cohesion in the wake of COVID-19.

The arts are kindling for the economy—small investments with big returns. They get people out of their homes and spending money. Every time we attend a festival, visit a museum, or see a concert, we spend an average of $31.47 per person beyond the ticket cost on event-related items such as meals, retail, parking, and lodging. This provides vital income to local merchants, energizes our downtowns, promotes visitation to different neighborhoods, and puts people to work.

Arts Organization are taking a terrible blow during the pandemic, but many are finding creative solutions. The Lincoln Community Theatre has taken a creative 'if they can't come to the play, take the play to them' approach. They are beginning Parking Lot Plays in July. “We are headed to the parking lot to begin to ease our way back into performances," stated Morrie Enders, Executive Director. The theatre will present a combination of cabaret performances, old-time radio, and a melodrama throughout July and August in the parking lot.

I attended my first political rally while still in high school at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Earlier that year, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated, many cities were in flames, and antiwar sentiment raged. The convention site was locked down, but I jumped right into the street protests. Television news cameras filmed the police riot that bloodied and bruised us as we chanted, “The whole world is watching.”

Amidst the civil unrest of that decade, an aesthetic revolution was also percolating. Peter Brook’s The Empty Space and Jerzy Grotwoski’s Towards a Poor Theatre called for reimaging a stripped down essentialism. Their credos echoed Anna Halprin’s task-oriented movement and Yvonne Rainer’s No Manifesto. John Cage, Terry Riley, and Ornette Coleman deconstructed compositional notions. Amiri Baraka’s plays called out white racism, New Wave filmmakers embraced quirky realness, and visual artists tossed out all the rules, as art performed life.

Our Spring Pathfinder residency at the Lancaster County Youth Detention Center had to be cancelled when LPS shut down due to Covid-19 -- just when the kids needed art the most. So teaching artist Nancy Konrardy and Principal Randy Farmer put their heads together and came up with the idea for an all-virtual summer session. And what a success it's been! Here's a note we received from Randy about Daria, one of the students in the program who was especially moved by the experience:

Unprecedentedresilientessential … are words we have heard much about during the COVID-19 crisis. These words, in fact, describe every artist, arts educator, and arts organization—and not just during an emergency. Each of us as human beings are heard, healed, uplifted, and empowered by and through the arts. In both unprecedented crises and unprecedented times, ART is essential. With a growing understanding of the vital role the arts play in successful communities, Baton Rouge Area Chamber has sought to better understand and formalize its relationship with the arts sector.

For the safety of our winners, arts community and Mayor's Arts Awards guests, the Lincoln Art’s Council recently decided to host our 2020 Mayor's Arts Awards virtually on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

We had hoped to celebrate with you in person, however Covid-19 remains a very real part of our everyday lives. The Lincoln Arts Council (LAC) Board of Directors decided that to ensure the safety of everyone involved, the Mayor's Arts Awards will be presented live online.