Learning and participation in music, dance, theater, and the visual arts are vital to the development of our children and our communities. Through advocacy, research, partnerships, and professional development, Americans for the Arts strives to provide and secure more resources and support for arts education. Visit AmericansForTheArts.org for more information on the Arts Education Network.
As a new mother dedicated to fostering a creative and arts filled environment for my daughter, I consistently attend a variety of art, gym, swimming, etc. classes for her that promise to increase her social, physical and emotional growth. My daughter is 14 months old. That’s right- 14 months old. Who knew that such high expectations would be put on my daughter at such a young age?! A recent experience with a music class has made me wonder if arts programming in particular for the very young (6 months- pre-K) should have less structure and more freedom in order to help a child develop at his/her’s own pace and interest level. After all, aren’t the arts inherently differentiated? The arts let us focus more on process versus product, so is there a need to structure one’s creativity when so young? Read the rest of this entry »
As a life-long advocate for the arts in Maryland, I am thrilled, as are my colleagues and friends of education and the arts, with the break-through opportunity for arts education we now have in our state. On September 16, 2014 our Governor’s Leadership Council, which is a Prek-20 group of state leaders in education and business, unanimously approved a task force report on arts education. I co-chaired the task force and had the privilege of working with an exceptional group of educators, artists, and people from the business sector. Read the rest of this entry »
Freestyle Love Supreme. It sounds a bit like a funk band from the 70’s. It’s not. It’s an improv group that uses freestyle rap as its style. The group has been described as a mashup between the Wu-Tang Clan and Whose Line is it Anyway. They’re featured on a new reality show on Pivot TV, where they take their freestylin’ to the streets and schools of NYC.
As part of all new content created at Participant Media (the parent company of Pivot TV and producers of An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman, and The Help), the company uses its social platform, TakePart, to encourage readers to take action around a cause inspired by the content. In this case Freestyle Love Supreme inspired an action campaign about the importance of arts education called Love Arts Ed. Since we here at Americans for the Arts do indeed Love Arts Ed, we caught up with the leader of Freestyle Love Supreme, Anthony Veneziale, to ask him about his passion for improv, and how it connects to arts education. Answers are edited for brevity. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the most gratifying things about working at the Mesa Arts Center is the opportunity to partner with local arts organizations, artists, and educators, help present their work, and bring it to the attention of our patrons. These partnerships come in all shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of success, affecting different audiences in different ways. So, since this is an arts education-oriented blog, let’s focus on one of my favorite partnerships, and favorite organizations: Phonetic Spit. Read the rest of this entry »
The last few months I have been speaking a lot about arts advocacy in various venues. While sharing information about advocacy with others involved in the arts, I have come to realize that there are many who feel the work that advocates do is important; however, they are reluctant or unsure how to become involved themselves. In these conversations, I began to realize that advocating for the arts might not be enough. Perhaps arts advocates need to identify the citizens, leaders, artists, and arts audiences in our respective communities who could become arts advocates and contribute to our efforts in sustaining the presence of the arts in our respective communities. Read the rest of this entry »
I became involved with the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Network in order to form stronger relationships with arts leaders on a local and national level. Over the past few years, the network has given me the opportunity to forge vitally important connections, both personally and professionally. In addition, the experience has provided me with the inspiration and tools to develop who I am as a leader.
For the past three years, I have had the privilege of serving on the Emerging Leader Council, a nationally elected body of individuals that advise Americans for the Arts on how best to serve the next generation of arts leaders. As a member, I was honored on multiple occasions to sit around a table with 14 of the most promising arts leaders I have ever met. Their dedication, wisdom, and first-hand knowledge of the struggles facing all of us as we grow as leaders, and their eagerness to find solutions and build a stronger future have been invaluable to my current and future success. Read the rest of this entry »
My two after school art clubs, six parent chaperones, and I were walking back from our enormously successful field trip when one of my students beamed: “Mrs. Murphy! I never knew there was so much art!” We’d spent the day elbow deep in art processes at The Shirt Factory in Glens Falls–a historic shirt factory turned haven for artists, crafters, and healers. If you find yourself in upstate New York, do yourself the favor of checking it out.
My students had the incredible opportunity to participate in hour long workshops in pottery, digital photography, felt making, flower pressing, and ‘plarn’ bracelet making–crocheted bracelets made from reused plastic shopping bags. My “art clubbers” were deeply engaged during each workshop, all of which were led by working artists. I excitedly traipsed through the stairwells trying to be in all the workshops simultaneously.
I loved watching them dive into the art making they’d only heard of in our pre-field trip meetings.
I loved watching students who weren’t typically friends bond without reservation over the processes they were sharing.
I loved watching them realize the arts are a viable career option, not only an activity to complete in the art room. Read the rest of this entry »
I remember little about my first time on stage: a ballet recital at age three. We danced to “Winter” from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” and I had no idea what I was doing. Happily, the VHS evidence shows that I did not fall down.
In first grade, I made my theatrical debut. My class produced a short skit about caring for the environment, and I played the crucial role of Super Recycling Kid (who recycled to save the planet). My favorite part was wearing my superhero cape for the rest of the school day.
Ever since, the arts have been a constant in my life. As a kid, I loved the transformation inherent in theater: we created a world together onstage and, for a few hours at a time, it was just as a real as anything else. Read the rest of this entry »
In this age of rapid technological change, it seems that the number of worthy causes known to people around the country and indeed the world is also growing at an exponential rate. Take the incredible ALS #IceBucketChallenge, for example, which reached millions on social media and raised over $115 million! But when videos are not flooding your newsfeed, how do you decide which organization to support, and when? Taking this thought one step further, how do you become an ambassador for your cause and inspire others to follow your example? Read the rest of this entry »
I write this as an arts leader but, more importantly, I also write this as a dad. My wife and I have two amazing children, ages 5 and 8, who are lucky to have both parents who are artists and work in the arts. They receive daily
artistic and creative encouragement at home. We want our children to be creative in their approach to everything in life, to learn and grow with a sense of wonderment, curiosity, and discovery. We want them to express themselves in authentic ways and to respect and understand the immense role the arts and humanities play in shaping all of our lives to be more meaningful, fulfilling, and enjoyable.
They attend a fantastic public school, one of the best in San Diego (I know, I’m biased). They receive arts programming once a week, but only through the generosity of parents and families donating to a foundation that pays for it and volunteers who help support in the classroom. We’re lucky they attend a school in a more “well off” area of town whose families have the means to fund the arts programs. If they attended a lower income school, and we didn’t hold the arts as a highest priority in our home, they would receive very little to no arts exposure or engagement. I don’t think that’s fair.
On the fourth Saturday in May, every year, I wake up early to begin a day that continues to ground me in the field of arts education. I arrive at Dance Place San Diego to set up for the Carrie Anne Fipps Memorial Scholarship. Typically, Carrie’s family and friends are hanging banners and posting direction signs as I walk up. I am greeted by warm and cheerful embraces before I run upstairs to set up the check-in tables, the audition space and the judges table. It is an hour before the event will begin and parents and children have already begun to line up in the narrow hallway.
Once the doors open, students are signed in, given their number and ushered into the large dance space. The room quiets as I approach the middle of the floor to greet students and families, “Thank you all for coming today to support your child and this gift. We are all here because of one child – one young dancer who believed that dancing was a gift worth fighting for and one family whose mission has been to provide that gift to others – help me in welcoming Carrie Anne Fipps’ parents and brother to the microphone.” Read the rest of this entry »
In my last job, I worked to develop audiences. Today, I work in arts education. Many people curiously ask me why and how the two are connected. To which, I respond: “To develop audiences in the long run, a venue must work to ensure that future audience members receive a quality arts education.” This is exactly how I ended up in my previous position, before uncovering a chicken-and-egg style conundrum.
My work was with a large (2,111 seat) theatre in a European country capitol city. The venue was the first of its kind to bring blockbuster musical theatre to its audiences and capitalized on the new-found economic stability in a post-2008 economy. The time was ripe to be developing robust theatrical calendars, and audiences were justly on board. However, the question became: how is this sustainable in the long run? I began my work in the Marketing Department to understand the audience and devise strategies which would deliver on long term audience development goals. Read the rest of this entry »
If you read past the title of this blog entry you are probably one of the chosen people: the data geeks. You are the ones who love debating bar graphs vs pie charts (answer: bar graphs win. In general, they are clearer and easier to understand.) You spend hours deciding if a survey question should be multiple choice or single answer. You look for any opportunity to include an excel chart in your presentation. Yes, I’m talking about YOU. Don’t be afraid: you are among friends.
In the world of arts education, data can have a negative connotation. We live in an age of over-collection of data, much of which is never used to make decisions or change policy. This is frustrating for the data generators (schools, teachers, grantees) and data gatherers (parents, teachers, funders, administrators, policy makers). When data is presented, it is often over-visualized, leading to confusion and misinterpretation. Google “data visualization” and prepare to have a psychedelic experience with some really pretty designs. But in no way will it increase your understanding of any important issue. Read the rest of this entry »
March 29, 2014, was the final day of the first-ever National Summit on Creative Youth Development in Boston—a national convening of more than 200 youth arts practitioners, funders, policymakers, and students designed to bring new energy and focus to creative youth development. On that day 86 individuals stood up at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and declared personal commitments to advancing creative youth development. I was proud to be one of them. Read the rest of this entry »
The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation’s highest honor for the field of out-of-school time arts and humanities programs, particularly those that reach children and youth with tremendous potential, but limited opportunities. It is a signature initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Every year the President’s Committee and our cultural partners present National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards to 12 outstanding programs across the US and one International Spotlight Awardee. Thirty-eight finalist programs also receive certificates of excellence for their work. Read the rest of this entry »