Green Papers-Not What I Thought They Were About

Due to the imminent failure of my refrigerator’s compressor, I don’t have as much time to devote to the old blog as I had hoped.

With that in mind, I wanted to direct people’s attention to Americans for the Arts’ efforts at creating a conversation around green papers on topics of importance in the arts. Given the whole push for environmentally friendly activities, I initially thought a green paper was essentially an attempt to issue a white paper on good conservation practices.

It turns out, a green paper is actually a policy document similar to a white paper, only less binding. Who knew? I mean, there are ribbons of every color for every cause, I thought this was a similar attempt.

In any case, Americans for the Arts’ are making a big effort to have substantive conversations on many topics across the next year. In their definition:

“Green Papers are short, easy to read, visions of the future meant to inspire a nationwide dialogue on the future of the arts. As a way to celebrate the successes of the past 50 years in the arts field, Americans for the Arts has collected Green Papers from a variety of national arts service organizations and peer groups representing different perspectives and disciplines.”

Currently their topics include:

The Future of…

* Art Therapy
* Artists’ and Arts Organizations’ Preparedness and Emergency Response
* Artists’ Residency Programs
* Arts and Disability
* Arts Education
* Arts in Healthcare
* Arts Learning for Children/Youth
* Community Arts Education
* Cultural Democracy
* Dance Education
* Leadership for the Arts
* Jazz
* Preservation
* Private Sector Support for the Arts
* Public Art
* Public Voice in Arts Advocacy
* State Arts Agencies
* Strings
* Symphony Music
* Digital Infrastructure for the Creative Economy
* Theatre
* Urban Municipal Arts Agencies

They want people to get involved and contribute to the conversation. I wonder if they also need people to lead the conversations. You can’t tell from the list here, but there are no links to pages for Art Therapy, Arts and Disability, Jazz, State Arts Agencies, Symphony Music and Theatre. I don’t see a call for leaders, though I certainly may have missed it. Most of the Green Papers were rolled out on February 16, perhaps the leaders for the unactivated sections weren’t immediately available to discuss those areas.

I also am curious to know why there is someone leading Strings but not Symphony Music and why there is a Dance Education category, but no Dance. Guess I have to stick around, read and ask these questions.

Oh yeah, and where is the paper on environmental sustainability in the arts! 😉

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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