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Special Report from Californians for the Arts: AB5 and the Arts Industries

As you may know, Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) was signed into law in September and goes into affect on January 1, 2020, making it more difficult for employers to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees.
   
In the past few months many of ACSO's members have reached out to us with concerns about how this law will impact the way they currently employ contract educators, musicians, production support, and many other types of workers. We know many of you rely on contractors to carry out your missions and programs and to bring classical music to your communities. We have heard your concerns and we have been in ongoing communication about them with Californians for the Arts, our statewide arts advocacy organization, and California Arts Advocates, their lobbying arm.
  
Last week, Californians for the Arts issued an important report summarizing their efforts over the past year to draft exemption language for AB5 on behalf of performing arts workers. And even though the bill passed without as much support and clarity for the arts sector as we all wanted, they are still working to advocate and educate the legislature on the ways that arts do business in California and to hopefully seek corrections and add exemptions to the bill.
  
But they need our help. Here are three things you should do right away:

  1. Take a short survey to share data with Californians for the Arts about how AB5 will impact your organization. This will help them with case-making.
  2. To stay informed about this issue, read a white paper that Californians for the Arts contributed to that clearly explains the background of AB5, how it could impact arts nonprofits, why worker classifications matters, and how organizations can comply.
  3. Sign up for a free webinar on December 3 at 10:00 AM PST called Dealing with the Drama: How the New Independent Contractor Law Affects the Arts Community with attorneys Vida Thomas and Bryan Hawkins. Californians for the Arts is also conducting workshops and town halls about AB5 all around the state. Click here for more information.

Also, consider joining with ACSO by becoming a member of Californians for the Arts. They advocate and lobby at the state capital for all of us to raise public awareness of the importance of the arts, to increase state funding levels, and to influence legislation that will benefit the arts.
  
There could be more changes to AB5, including cleanup language and new exemption in the future. ACSO will continue to work closely with Californians for the Arts and share with our members the latest developments.

Legislative Updates on SB 1343 and AB 5

ACSO has been tracking two pieces of legislation that could have a big impact on orchestras and other classical music organizations in California. The latest developments are outlined below.
 

 
SB 1343 - Employers: Sexual Harassment Training Requirements
On August 30, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 778, extending California employers’ obligation to provide employees with sexual harassment training from January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021. This means your organization now has an additional twelve months to comply with the recently legislated sexual harassment training requirements laid out in SB 1343. Click here for more information on the extension, courtesy of the National Law Review. Click here to learn more about the original legislation and the training requirements. Please note that SB 1343 was passed into law a year ago and SB 778 extends the timeframe in which the training must be carried out.   


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New ACSO Leadership Elected for 2019/20

At the ACSO Annual Meeting held at the 2019 Annual Conference in Monterey on August 8, ACSO welcomed four new board members, re-elected a board member, elected officers for 2019/20, and said farewell to several outgoing board members. New board members include:

Loribeth Gregory-Beck currently serves as the Director of Education & Community Engagement at the Santa Barbara Symphony, where she oversees programs and cultivates community partnerships. With experience as a teacher, arts administrator, and in business management, Loribeth brings a breadth of knowledge and practice to her work in education. At the Los Angeles Philharmonic, she led the Young Composer Programs (Composer Fellowship Program, National Composers Intensive) and projects for the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), through which she worked with prominent artists in the classical music industry, such as Andrew Norman, Gabriela Ortiz, Tania León, and the International Contemporary Ensemble, and prepared students for performances at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hollywood Bowl, and Ojai Music Festival. In addition to her work in music education, Loribeth has presented original research papers at conferences for the Society for Ethnomusicology and the Association for Asian American Studies. Loribeth earned an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from University of California, Riverside, where she was a lecturer, and a B.A. in Music, magna cum laude, and a minor in Anthropology from Webster University. 

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Sexual Harassment Training Now Required for all Organizations with 5 or More Employees; For Orchestras, This Includes Musicians

Last year the California legislature passed SB 1343 expanding the requirement for who has to be trained on sexual (and other) harassment issues, largely in response to the #MeToo movement. Previously, only supervisors had to complete the training, and it was only required for organizations with 50 or more staff members. Now it is required for all employees in organizations with five or more paid staff. Since the bill includes temporary or seasonal employees, it means that orchestras must ensure that paid musicians receive the training as well.
   
The required training has to be completed by January 1, 2020. The training must meet certain standards and must be repeated every two years. New employees must be trained within six months of hire or promotion to a supervisory position. Non-supervisor training is a one-hour session; supervisor training is a two-hour session.
   
Organizations with five or more employees will also need to update their employee manuals with the training requirements and anti-harassment and retaliation policies, plus post updated notices and hand out the California sexual harassment brochure (all available here). 
   
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing will be developing sexual harassment trainings by the end of the year, but those are not yet available.
   
In the meantime, there are many vendors and companies that provide the training. If your organization is a member of CalNonprofits, as ACSO is, your supervisors can take the required harassment training for free and your non-supervisory staff can get discounts on the required training. Learn more here. 

NEA Awards $130,000 in grants to ACSO and Seven of its Members

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced $80.4 million in grants as part of its second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $15,000 to the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) to support its 2019 Annual Conference which provides professional development for orchestra staff and board members.

“Reflecting the diverse artistic richness of our nation, these Arts Endowment-funded projects are varied in their size, scope, and artistic discipline,” said Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “The projects also illustrate the unique geographic reach of Arts Endowment funding, serving Americans in places large and small in all corners of the country.”

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NEA Funds ACSO Organizational Members and Announces Upcoming Grant Deadlines

Eight ACSO Organizational Members have been awarded $275,000 in Art Works, Part 1 and Challenge America grants by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the first round of major grant funding in the 2019 fiscal year. Direct grants from the NEA are a crucial form of support for many community-based arts organizations, enabling grantees to leverage additional financial support from state, local, and private sources.

Art Works Grant, Part 1

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Kris Sinclair Leadership Award Applications Due March 8

The Kris Sinclair Leadership Award is given to an ACSO Organizational Member that demonstrates recent successful leadership initiatives by its staff and/or board in one or more of the following areas: finance, governance, staff development, audience development, education, or community engagement.

This $5,000 award is made possible by the Kris Sinclair Fund for Professional Development, consisting of contributions made in Kris Sinclair's name to support professional development and technical assistance offered by the ACSO. Sinclair was the executive director of the Association for 31 years and provided members with technical assistance, professional development opportunities, and consultation on a myriad of orchestra management topics.

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April is Officially Arts, Culture, and Creativity Advocacy Month in California

Californians for the Arts has announced that starting in 2019, April will officially be Arts, Culture and Creativity Month in the state of California and April 23 will be Advocacy Day in Sacramento. ACSO joins with our arts partners around the state in supporting these efforts. 

Visit Californians for the Arts' website to learn more about what we are advocating for and how you can get involved. One of the best ways to make the case for supporting the arts is to share your Arts Impact Stories. Submissions will help bring public awareness of the importance of the arts; to ensure that the arts are an ongoing part of the public dialogue; and to encourage Californians to care about the arts as a critical component of their own lives and the lives of their communities.

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ACSO Board Appoints Sarah Weber as Executive Director

The Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Sarah Weber has been selected as the association’s new Executive Director. She began her tenure in that role on January 1, 2019.

For the past two years, Sarah has served as ACSO’s Membership and Development Manager. During that time, she has executed membership renewal campaigns, written successful grant proposals, and secured corporate and individual donations. She has been a partner in program planning, managed the delivery of member services, and played a key part in producing ACSO’s signature annual conference. Her enthusiasm for inviting and growing individual participation, maintaining organizational continuity, and directing energy towards purposeful work and accomplishment will serve ACSO and its membership extraordinarily well as the organization prepares to celebrate its 50th Anniversary.

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Is Your Board Optimized? Learn the Habits of 
Highly Effective Board Members

Join the League of American Orchestras and ACSO on February 1, 2019 for an exciting leadership development seminar in Los Angeles. Is Your Board Optimized? is presented by the orchestra-savvy, Susan Howlett, author of Boards on Fire! Inspiring Leaders to Raise Money Joyfully.

After attending this workshop, you will leave knowing what highly effective board members know -- the proven-practices that don't cost money, don't require more time, but result in optimized boards. Perfect for board-staff teams, this practical session addresses the complementary roles board members play in their organization's governance and resource development.

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Speak Up Today to Repeal New Tax on Nonprofits

The comprehensive tax reform provisions signed into law last December include a new requirement for nonprofits to pay Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) equal to 21% of the value of commuting and parking benefits provided to employees. The League of American Orchestras has partnered with the broader nonprofit sector to ask for clarification of the new rules, delayed implementation, and repeal of this unprecedented tax on nonprofit expenses. While no guidance has been issued by the Internal Revenue Service to clarify which benefits are subject to the tax and how to value certain benefits, the new requirements officially took effect beginning on January 1, 2018.

A tax package now under consideration by Congress includes a provision to repeal the new tax on nonprofits. You can take action today by contacting your elected officials to ask them to:

  1. Weigh in with the Treasury Department on your behalf, and ask for a delay in implementing the new tax.
  2. Take legislative action to repeal the new tax on nonprofit parking and transportation employee benefits.

Music for Our Veterans

Note from ACSO: The author of this article, Retired United States Marine Corps Major Brian Dix, was Director of “The Commandant’s Own,” The U.S Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, in Washington, D.C. He is currently an independent conductor and composer in San Diego, California.

It is a pleasure observing various symphony orchestras crafting Veterans Day programs each year on November 11. Having worked with several artistic directors on creating appropriate repertoires, I’ve seen common threads of misunderstanding. They often suggest well-intended selections for our nation’s fallen service members that are more appropriate for a day of solemn and earnest commemoration, also know as Memorial Day. In a nutshell, Memorial Day is a day of “remembrance”; Veterans Day is for the living.

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Up and Down the Scale: September & October 2018

Sharing the latest developments and changes in the professional lives of our members. This edition covers announcements made in September and October 2018.

Individuals

The Carmel Bach Festival announced the promotion of Michael Beattie to the position of Director of the Virginia Best Adams Masterclass.

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The LA Phil at 100

Note from ACSO: The author of this article, Julia Ward, is the director, development communications and strategy and editor, Past/Forward: The LA Phil at 100 at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She is also on ACSO's Board of Directors.

When the Los Angeles Philharmonic was founded in 1919 by William Andrews Clark, Jr., Los Angeles wasn’t the likeliest place for a professional orchestra to spring up. It was a pioneer town with indigenous roots on the verge of what remains one of the largest population booms in U.S. history. The film industry had set up shop by then as well, and Fatty Arbuckle shorts weren’t doing much for the city’s reputation as a fount of classical art. But Clark and the impresarios who followed were nothing if not aspirational. 

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