Americans for the Arts Mourns Rebecca Blunk

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The Arts Community lost a compassionate champion on June 22

Americans for the Arts mourns the loss of Rebecca Blunk, who passed away on June 22, 2014, along with New England Foundation for the Arts and the greater arts community.

“Rebecca Blunk was a gentle, positive, joyful, animating force in the world of community arts advancement.  For many years starting in the late 70s  when she worked in Nebraska I had the wonderful opportunity of connecting with her regularly as an important contributor to the work of Americans for the Arts and the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies in advancing access to the arts  in rural and small communities,  and later working tirelessly to expand international arts experiences for all Americans," Robert Lynch, CEO and President of Americans for the Arts, stated of her passing.

"She remained a trusted advisor to AFTA on local, state and regional arts policy work when she went to Massachusetts in 1985 to work at NEFA.  She and I both shared a love for Massachusetts especially the healing magic of Cape Cod and its arts offerings.  Rebecca in her many  arts roles as collaborator, innovator, healer, and purveyor of positive energy will be sorely missed.“  

Throughout her career as a tireless champion and advocate for the arts, Blunk:

  • Establishing the Expeditions grant program and its annual Idea Swap convening—supporting New England’s access to the performing arts through collaborative planning and presentation

  • Hosting Creative Economy conferences and awards—showcasing best practices and replicable projects from local communities and  recognizing remarkable leadership from across the region

  • Advancing the National Dance Project, now a cornerstone of dance touring and funding in the U.S.

  • Developing a Native Arts program, increasing support and visibility for Native American artists in New England and beyond

  • Launching the National Theater Project to provide networking and funding support for some of the most creative theater makers of our time

  • Engaging in international exchange and cultural diplomacy with artists of Australia, Cambodia, France, Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, and Vietnam.

“Rebecca brought more integrity and compassion to the work of serving artists in realizing their vision than anyone I have ever known. She was a friend and inspiration to all she touched and she touched so many,” said former NEFA executive director Sam Miller, president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

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