A Message from Our Leadership

August 29, 2022


I’m thrilled to welcome you to 4A Arts.

“Thrilled” might seem hyperbolic, but it’s no exaggeration.

I firmly believe that American arts and culture can rebuild our tattered republic.

I firmly believe that the 4As’ mission can help build a membership of millions that will help our country see its own humanity instead of its divisions.

Yes, I think 4As, along with the arts organizations with which we will work, are the key to saving our democracy, our economy, our society and our planet.

In the midst of our modern-day noise, art helps us slow down, ground ourselves, listen, and re-connect.

And if we haven’t already made clear, for 4As, art isn’t just about paintings and dance. It’s about quilters and potters and beaders and low-rider painters and interior designers and bar tenders who go the extra mile with a garnish. Art is in all of us. We are all artists. And we are, of course, all audience members.

So welcome to 4A Arts. You play two roles – as artist and audience.

But your most important role is saving the soul of America.

Thank you for joining us.

Artfully yours,

Gavin Lodge

P.S. – Because I can’t help but share over and over the statistics that drive our mission, here’s some extra food for thought about how we are ALL artists:128 million Americans – nearly half the country’s population – reported creating art in 2018, according to the NEA, including singing, photography, printmaking, creative writing, dancing, playing a musical instrument, and more. But when a 2019 survey by Ipsos expanded the definition to include “creative hobbies,” that number skyrocketed from half to 75%. And in 2021, after a year of lockdowns and social distancing, American attitudes towards the arts, the number of respondents who answered positively to “How important are arts or culture organizations to you, personally?” rose by over 20%. And yet, the U.S. spends less on the arts than any other comparable country – just 0.000007% of its GDP – and Americans spend only about 55 cents a year on government funding for the arts. This is despite the fact that the arts and culture industry is the third largest in the country, bringing in $877 billion in added revenue to the country every year, more than any other industry except for retail and construction. What could we, as a country, do if we invested in such a powerful, revitalizing force?

That is our goal: to answer that question of what will we do when we invest in this powerful, revitalizing force.


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A headshot photo of Gavin Lodge, Executive Director for 4A Arts.

Written by

Gavin Lodge

Actor, entrepreneur, political strategist, and father of two, Gavin Lodge comes to 4A Arts with a unique perspective on arts and culture in America. A 20-year veteran of stage and screen, Gavin grew up in suburban Colorado and traversed the country in his work with political campaigns at the senate and presidential levels as well as touring for shows.

After studying international affairs and philosophy at the University of Colorado, he worked as a field organizer in the Iowa Caucus followed by the role of “body guy” to then-candidate Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington State. Politics empowered him to move to New York City to pursue a performing career. Ultimately, he performed in multiple Broadway shows (including 42nd Street, Spamalot, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) as well as regional theater, national tours and several network television appearances.

Though he was thrilled every time he stepped onto a theatrical or sound stage, Gavin was equally happy to take on leadership roles in his local union and later his kids’ PTA.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, Gavin jumped back into the political realm, working as a strategist for Bryson Gillette, a minority-owned PR firm focused on politics and public affairs. He also volunteered for Be an #ArtsHero, an arts advocacy movement blossoming during the first few months of the pandemic. During his time with Be an #ArtsHero, he was part of a team that successfully lobbied for a first-of-its-kind hearing on the creative economy in front of the House of Representatives Small Business Committee.

Gavin lives in rural Connecticut with his partner (a composer and orchestral conductor), his TikTok-dancing daughter (who is musically gifted in unparalleled ways) and his soccer-playing son who recently told him “Dad? I’m just not into concerts and theater stuff.” As he told his son, Gavin believes there is much more to American arts and culture than “concerts and theater stuff.” From the video games his son loves to play to low-rider paint jobs to streaming television series while sitting on the couch, Gavin sees American arts and culture as an inclusive, “big tent” spectrum where everyone is an artist and everyone is a member of an audience.


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