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.
The Film Production class at Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies was busy shooting a narrative film projects this past semester with the generous help of Vans and Americans for the Arts. With our grant, we were able to hire USC Film School graduate student, Julius Robins, to facilitate workshops and demonstrations of every aspect of film production from script writing to post-production effects. Julius runs our sessions the way film classes are run at USC. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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 »
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 »
…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 »
“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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
Say the words “arts education” and most likely you think of K-12, classroom-based, standards-based arts instruction tied to the school curriculum. (You may also think that there’s an extreme lack of this happening in the current school system, and you would be right.)
When I attended my first National Arts Education Council meeting for Americans for the Arts this past January, the question was posed: “What is arts education”? After some awkward silence and darting eyes, council members began expressing their perspectives on what arts education meant to them. What emerged was a kaleidoscope of approaches and contexts: classroom-based and community based, during school and after school, arts integration and arts education, K-12/higher education/life-long learning, arts as education and arts as social service, etc. Read the rest of this entry »
A little Broadway trivia: What “role” have Broadway superstars Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth, Audra McDonald, Sutton Foster and Kelli O’Hara all played? Answer: they’ve all played the “role” of guest actors through ArtSpeak!, a program created, produced, and underwritten by Shugoll Research to bring Broadway stars into public schools.
ArtSpeak! will be starting its 18th year in Washington, D.C. area schools this September when Patti LuPone appears at Blake High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. Ms LuPone will be interviewed about her career on stage in Blake’s high school auditorium, answer student questions, sign autographs and, best of all, sing three songs. Can you imagine if multi-Tony Award winner Patti LuPone performed in your high school? Read the rest of this entry »
Each day the need for continuous engagement in higher learning is evident. All sectors of society depend on the advanced new knowledge and full development of all human talent. To that end, every citizen’s capacity to expand and acquire increased global learning for the express purpose of addressing the world’s urgent challenges and problems—economic, ethical, political, intercultural, and environmental—becomes more and more paramount. Recently, there has been enormous emphasis placed on the need for greater exploration in areas such as the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). While the need for advanced new knowledge in the STEM fields is unquestionable, the development of all human talent requires equal emphasis in the arts and humanities. Nevertheless, the key is not found in a silo approach but in an integrative or collaborative model. Read the rest of this entry »
Earlier this summer, you may have read Kristen Engerbretsen’s, Americans for the Arts’ Education Program Manager, blog post about the final event of the 2013-14 Vans Custom Culture program in NYC. It was an exciting, inspiring and high-octane event honoring some of the most innovative shoe designs I have ever seen. Being able to spend time with Vans employees – a company that values the arts as a vital part of education, community and life as told by their Brand Manager in this blog – and the students whom they work with as part of this program, was definitely one for the books!
However, did you know that the Custom Culture program doesn’t end with a big party in NYC? Read the rest of this entry »
One of the wonderful things about the annual Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention is that the discussions held there reverberate beyond the days of the conference and beyond the people who were able to participate in person. As someone who was unable to attend, I was so pleased to be able read about, and dig into, some of the dialogues that were held last month in Nashville.
My interest was piqued when I read Devon Smith’s piece on the fate of failing arts organizations. She dives into a debate session held at convention on the controversial but essential argument that as an arts community, we too often distribute scare resources to keep struggling organizations on life-support when it may be more beneficial for the arts ecosystem as a whole to let them die gracefully. Read the rest of this entry »
Editors Note: Americans for the Arts has partnered with VANS for the past two years on their Custom Culture program. Last night in New York City was the final event, where the winning shoe design was picked. Below are remarks that our Arts Education Program Manager made during the event:
Hello, my name is Kristen, and I’m the Arts Education Program Manager at Americans for the Arts. Whether you like to sing in the shower, dance like no one is watching, or design the next great VANS shoe, we want to support that. Our motto is “All the Arts for All the People.”
We firmly believe that the arts have the power to transform lives. In fact, last year we had the privilege of featuring an artist at our annual convention named Inocente. Her story is nothing short of incredible. As a teenager, Inocente was homeless, the victim of abuse, and the daughter to undocumented immigrants. Her life had hit rock bottom until one day she walked into an arts center in San Diego called A Reason to Survive. She began painting, and indeed, it gave her a reason to survive. She graduated from high school and selling her art kept her from living on the streets. Her powerful transformation was featured in the Oscar winning documentary, Inocente.
Americans for the Arts knows that learning in the arts enables every individual to develop the critical thinking, collaborative, and creative skills necessary to not only survive but thrive in today’s ever-changing world. And so when VANS approached us a few years ago about partnering on Custom Culture, we could see that they too value the arts as an integral part of all students’ education. Together we hope to encourage high school students to embrace their creativity and inspire a new generation of youth culture. Read the rest of this entry »