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.

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Christine Harris

You see more and more reports indicating that creativity is a critical issue facing our world — and that there is a serious lack of it throughout the business environment.

No wonder we celebrate and even venerate the life of Steve Jobs because he demonstrated a heart and soul connection to his personal creativity that we don’t see too many other places, and many of us feel is missing within our own lives.

So — you would think with all of this concern about our ‘creative capital’ we would be increasing our commitment to arts education, not pulling further away from it, right? What is wrong with this picture?

I think we have both a communication issue as well as an outcomes issue.

First, the  communication issue is that despite decades of research showing the positive personal and academic impact of arts education, we haven’t moved the needle in terms of school curriculum strategy, educational budgets, or civic and corporate commitment. So, let’s stop using the same language because no one has been seriously listening for years. Read the rest of this entry »

Kelly Lamb Pollock

Kelly Lamb Pollock

At the end of August, when the staff at COCA (Center of Creative Arts) in St. Louis, MO, is typically enjoying a rare moment to breathe — between the end of a busy summer of arts camps and before the dance, theatre. and visual arts students return for fall classes — we were in high gear hosting an unlikely population of arts participants.

COCA’s new program, COCAbiz, was hosting its first Business Creativity Conference “Play @ Work,” which attracted the likes of Boeing engineers, architects from Cannon Design, and Nestlé Purina and Anheuser-Busch executives.

Accountants, marketing professionals, entrepreneurs, and business managers from St. Louis’ top companies listened to nationally regarded speakers on innovation and rubbed shoulders in arts-based learning sessions.

After more than twenty years of focusing almost exclusively on students with a penchant for dance, theatre, or the visual arts — for arts’ sake — we at COCA have come to understand that developing skills through the arts, using the arts as the vehicle to learn the lesson, instead of just as the lesson itself, is the key to our relevance, sustainability, and impact. Read the rest of this entry »

Michael Gold

Michael Gold

As an arts-based practitioner I have participated in events sponsored and promoted by The Arts and Business Councils of both New York City and Chicago.

Over the past decade these civic organizations have partnered with interested corporations like Metropolitan Life and McGraw Hill to present examples of arts-based learning for business that were open to the public.

The impact was palpable especially in the nature of questions asked by participants in the Q&A portion of the program.

People immediately grasped the relevance. They asked questions about trust, ambiguity, autonomy and empathy- all aspects that fall outside the “dehydrated language” (thank you Nancy Adler) of the corporate boardroom culture. Read the rest of this entry »

Janet Brown

“It’s déjà vu all over again.” I stumbled across a speech I gave to a Rotary Club in 1998 on why business should support arts education. Here’s a condensed version. Twenty years later, same arguments apply and the situation is worse for workers and arts in education.

For many years, American business got what it wanted from schools; people suited to work in factories or, more commonly in our area, people suited to work the land.

Over the past two decades, however, business has changed drastically from an industrial to an information orientation with fierce global competition. Today, a skilled, creative workforce is key to competitive success.

What the business community of the 21st century needs for success and what the arts have to offer in educating the workforce are these five things: (there are really more than five but…)

Excellence Read the rest of this entry »

The Future of Business is the ArtsRSS Feed

Posted by John Eger On November - 14 - 20117 COMMENTS

The Conference Board's "Ready to Innovate" report.

A few years ago, The Conference Board, an international non-profit business research organization, released Ready to Innovate, a study that unequivocally says, “U.S. employers rate creativity and innovation among the top five skills that will increase in importance over the next five years, and rank it among the top challenges facing CEOs.”

But as The Conference Board cautioned, “educators and executives must be aligned” and that is happening much too slowly. I think what the study was suggesting was that somebody has to take the lead.

So who’s going to align the educators and the executives and how? Where is the leadership?

The problem, I fear, is with businessmen and women…and with the educators, and the artists too, who are best suited to play the lead.

John Hagel III, co-author, along with John Seely Brown, of The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion, made a rather telling observation that business recruiters are always looking for creative people. Then noted that they look again at these creative people on their “exit interview.” So be it for too many corporations. Read the rest of this entry »

Sahar Javedani

When I first stepped into my position as Director of Educational Programming at Pentacle last August 2010, our organization was deep in the throws of planning our first year of Celebration partnering with Youth, I.N.C., an incredible organization working “to improve the lives of youth through a unique venture philanthropy model that empowers, develops, and educates nonprofit organizations serving young people.”

Founded by Steve Orr back in 1994, a former Wall Street dude and co-founder of his own consulting firm Orr Associates, Inc. (OAI); he saw the critical need for infrastructure support for New York City’s youth organizations. Since its’ creation, Steve has helped raise over $37 million for NYC youth!

How do they do it?

“By applying best practices from the corporate and nonprofit sectors we empower our partner nonprofits with the tools to achieve sustainable growth.”

It’s a multi-layered board structure at Youth, I.N.C. which includes a formal Board of Directors (governs the organization, providing financial oversight and strategic direction); the Consulting Advisory Board (recruits corporate professionals to serve on the boards of our nonprofit partners); the Sustaining Board (designed to leverage the experiences, insight, and expertise of former board members still committed to building and investing in the future of Youth, I.N.C.); and the Young Professionals Committee (organizes fundraising events, learning opportunities, and volunteer projects for young professionals). Read the rest of this entry »

Michael R. Gagliardo

Michael R. Gagliardo

We spend a lot of time in the arts talking about “thinking outside the box.” It’s what we do, and it’s our catchphrase, more so than in any other profession.

When businessmen and politicians talk about this type of thinking, we tend to scoff at them – after all, we are the real creative thinkers, right?

But sometimes we create a box within a box in our own thinking. And while we gladly and proudly venture outside of our inner box, finding new ways to present our own artistic work, we sometimes get trapped inside that outer box. It’s time to do more “outside the box surrounding the box” thinking.

What does that mean? Well, look at it this way – while we tend to be innovative within our own discipline, sometimes we hesitate to venture beyond our comfort zone.

I’m talking about collaboration – specifically, collaboration with other art forms. It’s a little frightening to consider at first. I remember a very tense lunch over the summer with a director who wanted to be in control of every element of a production that I was involved in – so much so that there was a flow chart produced at the table that show the director as the “CEO” of the show. The give and take of control over a production, be it musical theater, ballet, opera, or a collaborative exhibition, is a frightening concept. Read the rest of this entry »

"The Art of Education" Facebook App

Nothing inspires that good ol’ American competitive spirit like the smell of fall. Football games, World Series fanatics, and chili cook-offs are around every corner and on every television channel.

And it’s always a good day when we can take that internal drive to win and put it towards something good – like raising money for arts education. Winning this game is even more important as students and teachers across the country continue to face record budget cuts that threaten arts education programs.

As part of its second annual “Art of Education” program, KRIS Wine is teaming with Americans for the Arts to award 16 schools in the United States a total of $25,000 to improve academic achievement through arts education.

Why does KRIS Wine want to make a difference?

Seventh-generation KRIS winemaker, Franz Haas, is passionate about the arts. He brings art to the exterior of his wines with labels designed by Italian artist, Riccardo Schweizer (1925-2004) who studied with both Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró.

From now until November 30, 2011, you can join KRIS Wine’s efforts to help support arts education programs in America’s K-12 public schools. Read the rest of this entry »

Narric Rome

On October 19 and 20, after many years of inaction, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee began marking up the Senate version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill (last reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002).

Americans for the Arts lobbied on several of these issues on behalf of its members and the legislation, as amended, has several items that are of interest to the arts education sector.

The bill offers new insights into the direction of federal education policy and how the arts can fit within it, including the following:

1) Arts education was retained as a “core academic subject” – ensuring that the arts maintains this designation is critical for eligibility to use federal funds locally.

2) The term “core academic subject” has been incorporated into far more programs than No Child Left Behind did. It now places core academic subjects, including the arts, as central to extended learning programs, “highly qualified teacher” qualifications, parental engagement programs, advanced placement and international baccalaureate programs, reading or language arts, and STEM initiatives. This is a giant leap from the diminutive position that “core academic subject” held in the No Child Left Behind Act. Read the rest of this entry »

Katherine Damkohler

With school districts across the nation failing to include arts instruction as part of their curricula, many cultural and arts organizations have decided to step in to fill this gap by providing arts education programs for nearby schools.

These amazing organizations have taken action to ensure that our children have at least some exposure to the arts. However, could these activities actually be detrimental to the long-term sustainability of in-school arts programs?

For instance, the prestige of a regional organization might lull a principal or school board into thinking that a part-time program is sufficient and they no longer need to hire a full-time arts instructor.

While organizations may be aiming to enrich a student’s education, are they also helping schools justify their choice to eradicate arts instruction?

What is an arts organization to do? What role should they have in arts education? They wield enormous power, which if used correctly can be very effective in supporting a child’s artistic education. But how should they go about catalyzing arts education reform? Read the rest of this entry »

Several months ago Merryl Goldberg, a long-time ARTSblogger, wrote a post called “You’re the Arts Department Chair and You Box?!” about her experiences as a novice boxer at her local L.A. Boxing gym.

Not that long after it was published in mid-March, Merryl was contacted by L.A. Boxing about taping her story for their YouTube channel.

This is her video…

Merryl is currently considering a project that connects athletes and artists/arts administrators to speak out together on the importance of both worlds.

Do you have an examples of a crossover between sports and the arts? Post them in the comments below or email them to artswatch@artsusa.org! We’d love to hear from you.

Kristen Engebretsen

I recently authored a post titled The Top 10 Ways to Support Arts Education, but I’m finding that I get more requests from people asking for reasons why arts education should be supported, not how.

So as a companion piece to the how of supporting arts education, here I offer reasons why arts education should be supported.

Usually, when making the case for arts education, I direct people to resources like the recent Reinvesting in Arts Education report by the President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities. It compiles all of the classic arguments in favor of arts education: it boosts student achievement, it increases student engagement, and it helps to close the achievement gap.

My colleague Randy Cohen has also offered reasons to support arts education in his Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts post. He, too, cites academic achievement, but he also mentions the role of arts education in preparing students with 21st century job skills, like communication and creativity.

However, this post is not about what arts education does in terms of other achievement areas. Rather, it is about what the arts intrinsically do for students. Read the rest of this entry »

With economic gloom dominating the news, it’s invigorating to focus on joy and beauty. At the end of September, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and the Metro Nashville Arts Commission launched Artober Nashville, the city’s most expansive celebration of the arts and everything creative.

Mayor Karl Dean received a lesson in African Drumming from Tulip Grove second graders Jaidyn MacAdoo during his visit to the school for the launch of Artober Nashville on September 29.

Artober Nashville showcases all artistic genres through more than 250 galleries, music venues, cultural organizations, and neighborhood festivals and more than 550 activities in October. The hope is that Nashvillians will experience “Arts. Everywhere.”

During the month, the city will showcase the International Bluegrass Music Festival and the International Black Film Festival, and additionally, our Grammy Award-winning Nashville Symphony hosts a free day of music, the Frist Center displays Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum; and the Rep, the Opera and Ballet will stage unforgettable classics. Read the rest of this entry »

“How would your life be different if you were never introduced to the arts?” asked Paula Kerger, president and CEO of the Public Broadcasting System, at a recent meeting of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington.

Basically, I can only speculate how my life would be different if I’d never been introduced to the arts.

I would presume that right now I’d be interning at a large corporation such as Kenseal Construction Products (the sealant and water proofing experts on the East Coast–for whom my dad works) aspiring to become their corporate spokesperson, not Americans for the Arts (but who’s to say that’s not a possible goal here?).

I could have played sports intensely in high school, probably basketball or lacrosse–as my dad had wanted to see–and this intense play could have continued to into and through college, possibly on a full scholarship. After all, it’s the jocks that make all the money, right? Not the band geeks.

Lucky for me, my parents are proud to call me their daughter and, even during times of skepticism, have supported my dreams my whole life and are excited to see where everything takes me. If my life lacked an arts introduction, I doubt I would be as open-minded and patient, and I also wouldn’t be sitting here with a degree in dance, trying to obtain professional work experience while squeezing in time to dance every spare moment I have. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Ask For More?
Just like kids need to have good nutrition on a daily basis, kids need to have their daily serving of the arts. Chances are, though, that your kids are not getting enough art—in or out of school. The arts are much more than just fun "extra" activities for kids. Studies have shown the far-reaching benefits of an arts education. Visit The Arts. Ask for More. Public Awareness Campaign Website.


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