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Celebrate the independent arts in January

When: Jan. 16-26

What: Many children dream of becoming a famous movie star or musician when they grow up. Unfortunately, this dream becomes a reality for very few. Because of this, people are often encouraged to abandon their artistic and creative endeavors in favor of “real” jobs and work that provide a steadier paycheck. But it is important to remember the importance of the arts and the value of non-commercial projects. Celebrate independent arts in honor of the Sundance Film Festival, held Jan. 16-26.

Background: Well-known American actor Robert Redford founded the Sundance Institute in 1981. The Institute is a nonprofit organization tasked with promoting independent artists and filmmakers from across the world. By providing creative and financial support, the organization tries to develop artists devoid of the commercial and political pressures that often stifle the creative process. The Sundance Film Festival is produced by the Sundance Institute and takes place annually in Park City, Utah. It is one of the largest independent film festivals in the United States and is responsible for the breakthroughs of many directors and successful films.

Story Pitch: A number of groups and organizations can pitch around the Sundance Film Festival. Colleges and universities can use this time to highlight their programs in filmmaking, or the arts in general, in order to drive interest and increase enrollment in those programs. Nonprofit foundations focused on education can advocate for creative arts programs to school boards across the country, and pressure for increased art department budgets. This is also a good time to launch public information campaigns on the importance of the arts and creative enrichment in education and personal development.

Story Hook: According to the Sundance Institute, hundreds of films have debuted at the annual film festival that have received critical recognition and gone on to see commercial release. This shows success in the arts is not confined to the mainstream. Keep the following in mind when making your pitch:

  • What are the benefits of artistic expression?
  • How do projects outside of the mainstream contribute to society?
  • Why is an arts education important?
  • How can schools better incorporate the arts into the curriculum?

Tips: A program director at an art institute can provide insight and advice. In addition, officials from school boards and educational associations can attest to the importance of the arts in education.


American Film Institute
(323) 856-7600

National Endowment for the Arts
(202) 682-5400

Sundance Institute
(435) 658-3456

U.S. Department of Education
(202) 401-1576

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