Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.
As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.
The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.
Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.
October 5, 2015Alfonso Pollard - AFM Legislative, Political, and Diversity Director
On August 25, AFM International President Ray Hair traveled to Washington, DC, to strengthen our ties with federal arts leaders. This full day of activity ended with solid gains in our relationships with two of our nation’s most historic and highly valued arts agencies.
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chair Dr. Jane Chu graciously hosted a meeting with AFM President Ray Hair and myself
to discuss how the AFM and the NEA can work together moving the endowment’s agenda. Chu, who is an accomplished pianist, studied music growing up. She eventually received a bachelor’s degree in piano performance and music education from Ouachita Baptist University, as well as master’s degrees in music and piano pedagogy from Southern Methodist University. Chu also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Rockhurst University and a
PhD in philanthropic studies from Indiana University.
Our meeting was also attended by National Endowment for the Arts Music & Opera Director Ann Meier, who is an accomplished vocalist, with a long list of outstanding vocal and administrative credits. After some discussion between Hair and Chu about their undergraduate and graduate studies in the North Texas area, the conversation shifted to NEA programs and how these programs support a broad range of community arts and professional organizations that help support the careers of AFM musicians. Chu also gave a quick overview of her newest initiative “Creativity Connects,” which will examine how the arts are central to the nation’s “creativity ecosystem” and investigate how support systems for the arts have changed. The project also will explore how the arts connect with other industries.
In addition, the NEA celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year and Chu extended a personal invitation to Hair to encourage AFM members to participate in the agency’s “Tell Us Your Story” project. The goal is to gather stories about how the arts have influenced your life. The link to the project is http://arts.gov/tell-us-your-story. Hair strongly encourages all AFM members to visit the site and leave powerful stories about themselves and their artistic lives. We feel that AFM members have some of the most compelling stories in the industry. Take a moment to reveal yourselves.
Later in the day, Hair followed up on a special invitation from Dr. John Edward Hasse, curator of American music at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. For decades, Hasse has interacted with the AFM and with AFM musicians, especially in the Washington, DC, area. His unique invitation included a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum with an eye toward partnering with the AFM to possibly acquire historic union documentation that outlines professional work by some of America’s greatest artists and prominent AFM members.
Aside from sharing background about some of the museum’s most precious musical artifacts, we visited locations within the museum that are being developed as new performance sites. However, one of the most important aspects of the visit included a discussion about how the Smithsonian can partner with the AFM to acquire relevant performance artifacts of the most renowned AFM members, past and present.
This is an exciting project and Hair has promised to work with Hasse on possibilities. AFM members with ideas must first contact Hair or myself. Of course, these artifacts will involve only materials of the highest value and quality and there is no guarantee of acceptance of every idea. However, your thoughts are always welcome. Feel free to reach out to our office.