Here Are Five Ways You Can Honor National Arts and Humanities Month

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It might be the 12th day of the 10th month of 2010 — meaning I’m 12 days past due to post this — but 19 days remain in National Arts and Humanities month, which means 19 days remain to actually do something for this occasion.

Like post about it. Or, if you’re the President of the United States, issue a proclamation about it.

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Courtesy of Americans for the Arts (which has the kind of infrastructure poor bloggers like me would donate eye teeth for), there are various ways of putting one’s toes in the water should the idea alone of National Arts and Humanities Month set your heart into flights of pitty-pat. (And if anyone makes so much as a comment about squeezing so many metaphors into one paragraph, all right, fine, then, go ahead. This isn’t Proust.)

First, there is the National Arts and Humanities Month Map and Calendar, which allows you to search by state for events. For the sake of doing something out of character, I chose not to do a New York search but look at Idaho (“Fall for Boise” is Oct. 23), Kansas (the 18th annual “Family Fall Festival” is Oct. 16 in Overland Park), New Hampshire (“centennial acquisitions” are on display on Oct. 30), West Virginia (a conference of state arts educators is set for Oct. 22 and 23) and Mississippi (Enrique Chagoya lectured on Oct. 14 at George Mason University). Nice stuff.

Second, you can host (or presumably participate in) a Creative Conversation in your local area. What is this? Here’s the 411:

Creative Conversations are local gatherings of emerging leaders in communities across the country and are part of a grassroots movement to elevate the profile of arts in America during National Arts & Humanities Month every October. Started in 2004, some of these local convenings have grown into cohesive, organized emerging leader networks. This local tool empowers emerging leaders to take a leadership role in their own community by both designing programming and galvanizing their peers to connect professionally.

This nifty map will help you locate a Creative Conversation near you. (Or, as they say, don’t wait for someone else to create one — create your own.) According to an eblast from Americans for the Arts, last year there were 43 locations for Creative Conversations and more than 1,500 “emerging arts leaders” were involved.

Third, who gives a damn? I mean, it’s a fair question, isn’t it — Who cares about the arts? I’m being facetious here, yes, but there’s a video contest being run right now called “Why Arts Matter.” Alas, I’m a little late in promoting this one — the winner of the contest is being announced today. But if you still want to check out the entries, click here.

Fourth, welcome to middle age! I’m talking about the National Endowment for the Arts, which is 45, and Americans for the Arts itself, which is 50. You can now check out a timeline of their development. Just a warning: tech wizards are in the process of ironing out the kinks on this one, but some of the information already uploaded — and some of the policy evolutions — may surprise you or at least enlighten you.

Fifth, there is a webpage for National Arts and Humanities Month and it lists 101 things you can do right now to honor it. If you can’t find something on that list to motivate you into action, let me know when the wake is.

http://www.artsusa.org/get_involved/advocacy/nahm/visibility_014.asp