Kelly Olshan

Kelly Olshan

In America, the arts are often seen as a luxury. They are the first thing to go when school boards cut budgets, and successful arts policy is seen as the exception, not the rule.

Like other so-called “luxuries,” people go to extreme measures to preserve its integrity. Historically, art is something we risk incarceration for, accept poverty for, or in the case of the quintessential rock star—quit your job, sell your house, and move across the country. Chuck Close said art saved his life. Ai WeiWei has been detained by the Chinese government. Thrice. Clearly, we’re onto a powerful motivating force.

Yet if so many acknowledge the arts’ value, then why do we even have to convince people to participate? Americans for the Arts’ CEO Bob Lynch traces Americans’ view of cultural events to our puritanical roots: “In Europe, arts advocacy organizations don’t exist they way they do in America—simply because they don’t need them.” Read the rest of this entry »

John Wood

John Wood

The “Love and Forgiveness Project” at Detroit School of Arts, a recipient of the 2014 VANS Custom Culture grant, involves a collaboration between a variety of media and disciplines. Poet and educator Suzanne Scarfone is the lead curriculum writer for the Afghan Women’s Writers Project Lessons from Afghanistan: A Curriculum for Exploring Themes of Love and Forgiveness.

Suzanne choose the poem “Small Heart” as the starting point for our collaborative project. The poem was shared with musical composer Marilyn Perkins Biery, who created a composition for soprano, chorus, piano, and flute. The full composition will be recorded by Scott Koue at Detroit School of Arts in May 2014 with students and professional musicians from the community. The audio track will be used as the score for the animation project. Read the rest of this entry »

Are We Okay?

Posted by Jessica Wilt On August - 21 - 20141 COMMENT
Jessica Wilt

Jessica Wilt

With all the not so good news happening in the world lately – war along the Gaza Strip, new tensions flaring in Iraq, the aftermath in Afghanistan, and nationally; the racial chaos unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri along with the devastating passing of comedian and actor Robin Williams to depression and suicide – I find myself asking the question, “Are we okay?” The world could use a giant hug right now. I know I could use one.

If we’re not okay, what are some things we can do to make ourselves and our kids feel better? The combination of Arts Education with Social Service or Creative Youth Development are not necessarily partnerships we think of when it comes to the arts, but really, they are critical. We can talk all day until we’re blue in the face about the value of arts education in K-12 and higher education, arts integration, the new arts standards and common core, arts advocacy and many other reasons why we support arts education, but how often do we actually talk about the arts being a critical part of our daily physical, emotional and mental health? Read the rest of this entry »

Kelly Olshan

Kelly Olshan

Ask a fine arts professional about arts management and most will respond with something along the lines of, “What is that?” At least that was my experience when I inquired about the field at my small liberal arts school in Asheville, North Carolina. Such reactions lead me to believe I was entering the uncharted territory of a highly specialized, obscure field. This is not the case. Read the rest of this entry »

Earl Bosworth

Earl Bosworth

Panels and symposiums don’t normally draw large crowds, at least not like live music and marching bands do.

So, when members of a select panel spoke recently at the NSU’s Museum of Art │Fort Lauderdale during a very unique symposium hosted by Broward Cultural Division, it was successful within itself that a crowd of more than 100 attendees arrived, including many from Broward’s Latin American and Caribbean communities.

They came to hear experts speak on the impact of creativity in their respective regions.

In attendance were Consulate representatives from St. Lucia, Jamaica and Peru, along with Broward County Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness, a huge proponent for diversity and supporting the minority Latin American and Caribbean demographic in Broward County. Holness opened the symposium with remarks that cited Broward County’s creative sector’s growth in the last six years at 57 percent, during a period of national depression. He also brought to light the demographics of Broward County which show a Hispanic population of 26.5 percent, Black and African-American population of 27.9 percent, and a white population of 41.9 percent – making it a Minority-Majority County. These demographics signify the importance of recognizing, measuring, and supporting the arts and cultural wealth that lies here. Read the rest of this entry »

Talia Gibas

Talia Gibas

Last week I had the privilege of attending “The Arts and Passion-Driven Learning,” a three-day institute with Harvard Project Zero. Brilliantly, the institute was presented in collaboration with The Silkroad Ensemble; after treating us to an inspired performance, Silkroad musicians joined us as facilitators and learners for the full three days. Thanks to them, the sessions prompted frank and moving conversations about rehearsal as a learning environment, how artistic risk-taking can feel like liberation and/or transgression, and how cultural differences manifest in unexpected and uncomfortable ways.

On the morning of our second day, I had an uncomfortable thought. I was attending the institute as neither a classroom teacher nor an artist, but as an arts education administrator. Understanding how to keep teachers and students engaged obviously informed my work. But I wondered – can arts administration be as “passion-driven” as teaching and learning? If I believe teachers should be given license to examine how and why they stay invested in their teaching practice, shouldn’t I do the same for my own work as an administrator? Read the rest of this entry »

Bacardi and the Arts

Posted by Laura Bruney On August - 14 - 2014No comments yet
Laura Bruney

Laura Bruney

This piece by Laura Bruney of the Arts & Business Council of Miami was originally published December 17, 2013 on their blog, www.artsbizmiami.org/ArtsBizBlog.

The reception area in the Bacardi headquarters in Coral Gables is impressive. The oak walls are covered with artwork from Latin-American masters from Porto Carrero and Lam to an incredible Antonio Gattorno piece that lives center stage filling one of the main lobby walls. Each piece in the collection has a story, one more interesting than the next. The art owned by the Bacardi family is one of the more impressive private collections of Latin American art in the world. It is here that we met Aura Reinhardt, Vice President of Corporate Relations who shared with us some of Bacardi’s history and their involvement with the arts. Read the rest of this entry »

Gerard Atkinson

Gerard Atkinson

An unexpected part of the internship job description—being called upon to be a documentary judge. In addition to my work in the Research Services team at Americans for the Arts, I was asked to be a judge at this year’s National History Day, in the senior group documentary section. It turns out the arts and history have a lot to do with each other. Read the rest of this entry »

Kandis Horton

Kandis Horton

…and not just because they make awesome shoes!

In addition to the Vans Custom Culture Contest the company puts on for high schools nationwide every year, they have partnered with Americans for the Arts to contribute $2,000 to ten high schools in order to further art programs that have big goals or aspirations to improve facilities for students. The Las Plumas High School (LPHS) Art Department teachers–Kandis Horton and Julie Tooker–applied for the Vans Custom Culture grant in November of 2013 in order to serve the art students of the area in a manner that would enrich their arts experience and education. Read the rest of this entry »

Aileen Rimando

Aileen Rimando

Music has been one of my greatest passions for as long as I can remember, and my experiences with it have truly shaped my life for the better. As a performer, educator, administrator, and friend, it is even more rewarding to be a first-hand witness to, and take part in, making positive change in others’ lives through music. The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia’s newest project and collaboration with the healthcare industry through Heart Strings: Music Education for Patients at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has been a wonderful example of the transforming power of the arts.

My name is Aileen Rimando and I am the Communications and Outreach Coordinator for The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. An educational component was recently added to my role, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to expand our outreach offerings to the private healthcare industry to engage and inspire the Philadelphia community. Read the rest of this entry »

Jess Perry-Martin

Jess Perry-Martin

“Gearing Up for the Future” is a high school mural project exploring innovation from a Steam Punk perspective. Valley Academy of Arts & Sciences art students embraced the design aesthetic of the Industrial Age in their mural.  This piece envisions a world where idea and innovation run free of the constraints of the past. They created a work laden with symbolic imagery (see video for slide-show of mural project) that explores the endless potential for innovation in technology, science and beyond.

VAAS students are educated to value the integration of art, science, and global collaborative thinking.  VAAS is a unique school because our students choose to enroll here and have many opportunities to learn a variety of arts and sciences that go beyond their required courses for graduation and university admission. Read the rest of this entry »

Maud Lyon

Maud Lyon

If you want to know why art matters, look at Detroit. Art has become the centerpiece of the plan for Detroit to emerge from municipal bankruptcy. The visionary plan began to take shape last fall with three goals: protect the city’s retirees from disastrous cuts in their pensions; avoid years of contentious litigation that would hamstring efforts to rebuild Detroit; and avoid selling the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) to pay the city’s debts.

Dubbed the Grand Bargain, indeed it is. Everyone has to contribute in one way or another, and everyone gives up something to make it work. A group of more than 13 foundations, national and local, have pledged $366 million over the next 20 years to support the pension fund. The State legislature approved $195 million in current dollars for this special fund (equivalent to $350 million over 20 years). The DIA’s board voted unanimously to raise $100 million, not for the DIA, but for the pension fund, and as of mid-July, have achieved pledges for 80% of that goal. Read the rest of this entry »

Stephanie Milling

Stephanie Milling

With the end of the summer rapidly approaching, it is time to start thinking about the new school year. Even though I have been living on an academic calendar most of my life, I never get tired of the excitement and exhilaration that accompanies new beginnings. As a college professor, the new year provides a time to develop an artistic and educational vision for the future and determine how I will guide students in their learning. As we wrap up summer looking forward into the fall, it is time to consider what should be on our back-to-school checklist. In addition to planning curriculum, it is necessary to consider the arts education advocacy agenda for the year ahead and our role in supporting its continued benefits to students around the country. Read the rest of this entry »

Janet Starke

Janet Starke

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this one. It is the inevitable statement that numerous friends and colleagues make to me each summer (most still trying to determine precisely what I do for a living).

“So, what do you do when school is out?”

“This must be your slow time of year, right, when the schools are out?”

Of course, they are well-intentioned and demonstrating genuine interest in our work and what we (actually) do, but the simple answer is NO! Read the rest of this entry »

Calico Brown

Calico Brown

VADA, the Visual Arts & Design Academy at Santa Barbara High School, is thrilled to announce a very special mural collaboration project with artists Joe Shea and Yoskay Yamamato. The artists will work with VADA students on a series of mural paintings, which will then be installed on the Anacapa Project building in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone.

Visual Arts & Design Academy

Visual Arts & Design Academy

VADA is a “school‐within‐a‐school” that integrates rigorous academic coursework with project‐based, career‐focused, and art & design instruction in a supportive and creative environment. VADA serves 175 students in grades 10 through 12 at a culturally and economically diverse urban high school in downtown Santa Barbara. VADA teachers collaborate to create a thematically and conceptually integrated curriculum. Field trips to major Southern California museums and design firms, artist residencies, guest speakers, mentorships, and internships give students exposure to and experience in the creative sector. Read the rest of this entry »

Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.