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.
When I began working at Drexel University earlier this year, one of the most interesting developments that fell on my radar was hearing of College of Engineering’s Professor Youngmoo Kim’s directorship of the Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center:
Professor Kim’s background in music includes performing with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and Boston Symphony Orchestra coupled with his Ph.D. degrees in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT and Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering and Music (Vocal Performance Practice) from Stanford University.
The mission of the ExCITe Center focuses on harnessing the talents of professionals working in the fields of research, education, civic engagement, and entrepreneurship as interdependent ingredients for creating transformative regional development. Read the rest of this entry »
The International Council of Fine Arts Deans‘ (ICFAD) meeting in Minneapolis (October 24–27) for their annual conference talked about “Art as a Public Good”—meeting the demands for creativity and innovation, and serving the communities they represent, socially and economically.
Nurturing the talented performer, musician, or sculptor is of utmost importance to the fine arts deans and their universities. However, knowing that the arts, broadly defined, are being called on to shape the larger economic discussion—a national discussion, really—to change the way the whole country thinks about education, economic prowess in the global economy, and preparing our students for the new innovation sector, cries out for their leadership.
Lucinda Lavelli, dean of University of Florida and incoming President of ICFAD, kicked off the conference by talking about the concept of “the creative campus,” now adopted by several universities, “to establish educational settings that infuse the academy with the arts, foster creativity in all disciplines, promote interdisciplinary projects and encourage new ways of solving problems and expressing ideas.”
She asked several deans to talk about their university and how their college was collaborating with other colleges in business, engineering or the sciences, but more, she asked perhaps the biggest question of the conference: “What could—or should—the deans and their universities be doing” with their students, their alumni living in the area and through the town/gown relationships that exist, and how can others be engaged to help everyone in our community to think differently about the arts?
Quite simply, as Harvey White, co-founder and former president of Qualcomm, has been known to say, this is a “national emergency.” The clock is ticking, and when the dust settles after years of budgetary and fiscal malaise, the nation will desperately need young graduates with the new thinking skills for an economy that demands the most creative workforce. Read the rest of this entry »
Thanks to the amazing work of advocates like the Creative Advocacy Network and others supporting measure 26-146 in Portland, OR, arts education funding will get a big boost from a $35 per person flat tax to pay for arts and music teachers in the city’s elementary schools as well as grants to local arts organizations.
As of this morning, the measure was approved by a 60% to 40% margin, paving the way for the $12 million it is expected to raise annually to fund the positions of 70 teachers.
$4 million of that is expected to be distributed to arts organizations providing arts education to K–12 students via grants administered by the Regional Arts and Culture Council.
Congrats to everyone who worked on the passage of the measure and thanks for giving the idea to other communities who can now attempt similar campaigns in other cities across the country!
YES is the answer to this question judging from the enthusiastic audience response on October 10 to Imagination Stage’s Creative Conversation on the topic.
One hundred and forty parents, educators, and other stakeholders attended a panel discussion, moderated by Doug Herbert of the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Office of Innovation & Improvement, and then enjoyed breakout sessions that included sample sessions in professional development for teachers, creative parenting classes, and an opportunity to take the Torrance Test, the only nationally recognized measure for creativity that has been in use for more than 50 years.
Each of the four panelists described their viewpoint about creativity during the forum.
Developmental Psychologist Meredith Rowe debunked the commonly held assumption that creativity is a gift which cannot be taught.
Neuropsychologist Bill Stixrud spoke about what he sees daily in his clinical practice: that kids today enjoy less free play, feel more stress, are less motivated, and have lower self-esteem than past generations. His findings parallel data from the Torrance Test, which has noted a sharp decline in children’s creativity scores over the last 20 years, especially in the elementary grades. Stixrud recognizes that children are missing the benefits of creative play and arts education.
I discussed how theatre arts classes and arts integrated into the school curriculum can help children of all abilities to find motivation for their studies. Projects that are student-led and focused on creative problem solving have been shown to engage young people in ways that traditional modes of instruction no longer can. Read the rest of this entry »
After you cast your vote for the next President, we wanted to remind Americans for the Arts members to be sure to vote in this year’s Advisory Council Elections.
Our councils advise staff on programs and services that will build a deeper connection to the field and to our networks, giving them the opportunity to be seen as national leaders and providing an opportunity to “give back to the field” by connecting the national work of Americans for the Arts to the local level.
As members of our organization, this is your opportunity to elect the nominees you want to lead your network(s)! We have been collecting nominations from the field for the past month, and thanks to our members we have outstanding nominees across the board.
Voting for Council Elections will officially close on November 21, but why not add a second chance vote to your day today?
To view our current nominees and cast your vote, please click on any and/or all of the following council voting pages:
You will need to enter your Member ID to view the nominees and proceed with voting, so if you are unsure of your Member ID, please log into your account here and click “my account information.”
If you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202.371.2830.
Generating $50,000 for the winning school’s art program while simultaneously drawing attention to the importance of art as an integral part of a well-rounded education, Vans Custom Culture comes back in its fourth iteration with registration opening on January 2, 2013:
The Vans Custom Culture Competition sparks the creativity and teamwork of art students across the country as they work together to design blank pairs of canvas shoes into wearable pieces of art.
Shoes are sent out in the month of February to the first 1,500 U.S.-based public or private high schools that register and students have until April 5 to complete the shoes and submit their images online.
Each registered school receives four blank canvas shoes they must design using the following themes: art, music, action sports, and local flavor—a design inspired by the surrounding community, city, or state.
An internal selection narrows the field down to 50 participants and the external online public vote whittles those 50 schools down to a group of five finalists who will be flown to New York City for the final judging in June 2013.
The winning school receives a $50,000 prize for their art program and the opportunity for the shoes to be produced and sold in Vans’ retail stores. The remaining schools won’t go home empty handed—the four runners-up will receive a cash prize of $4,000 towards their art program. Read the rest of this entry »
We get asked to “tell our story” all the time in the arts. Who are you? Why do you value this work? What is it that you hope to accomplish? How will you get there?
Funders demand it from grant applicants. Legislators require it of state agencies, lobbyists, and constituents. Individual artists have to do it to justify their work.
Even as a working professional, being able to concisely “tell the story” of what I do all day is an important skill, especially at family reunions, when Crazy Uncle Dave asks: “Now, what is it you do again?”
But rarely do any of us do it well. We get so wrapped up in the desired outcome of telling our story that we forget: the best way to achieve that outcome is to tell a compelling story. It’s as simple as that.
At a professional development training earlier this month, hosted by SpeakeasyDC, I was reminded of what it actually takes to TELL A STORY.
The facilitators asked us to think of a time when the arts impacted our lives.
We started by telling the story out loud to someone else (writing or typing your story will activate the “mean writing teacher” that sits on your shoulder, bogging you down in grammar and punctuation and sentence structure. Keep it verbal and keep going). This helps you and your listener determine which points are memorable and which are expendable.
Then our partner told the story back to us. See how it is no longer MY story, but THE story? That’s what we’re going for: finding a universal truth that the listener can connect to their own life. That’s the whole point to a good story. And when pitching a project to a funder, isn’t that your goal? Read the rest of this entry »
While Brunswick Acres has taken a significant lead in the KRIS Wine “Art of Education” competition thanks to a creative student-made music parody, it’s not too late for your favorite school to jump into the top 16 schools by using the following tips…
1. Get the press involved: Write a persuasive letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Or invite a journalist to your school to showcase the financial need, meet the principal and art teachers, and see first-hand the energy of the students.
2. Go digital: Create a website, blog, or YouTube video about the contest—be sure to include the reasons why you need their vote! Collaborate with other students, families, and community members, and assign every person a specific role (ex. videographer, writer, editor, designer).
3. Break out the art supplies: Make posters or fliers to distribute around your town. Drop them off at your local library, beauty salons, and supermarkets.
4. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP: What’s that sound? Your daily reminder to vote! Set a daily alarm clock on your watch or cell phone to remind yourself to vote and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Just be sure to set the alarm for a time of day you won’t distract others—and when you’ll be near a computer to vote! Read the rest of this entry »
In celebration of National Arts and Humanities Month and the annual Americans for the Arts tradition of Creative Conversations, my colleague Ally Yusuf (Founder & Moderator of #ArtsMgtChat) and I are co-hosting the first national Creative Conversation on Twitter!
The Creative Workforce in the Post-Recession Economy is open to everyone and takes place today (October 17) for one hour starting at 3:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. PT using #NatCC12 as the hashtag.
Come share in 140 characters or less, your thoughts, resources and stories about your view on this fascinating topic. We all either know someone or are someone who has been professionally affected by the recession. Whether you are a staffer, freelancer, consultant, employer or recruiter—you probably have something to add to the dialogue.
(Editor’s Note: For a quick primer on how Twitter chats work, check out this ARTSblog post by Kristen Engebretsen.)
As an arts leadership and professional development researcher and advocate, I’ve been profoundly concerned about the effects of the recession on our nonprofit arts workforce. In response, I established the Art Career Cafe which has both a website with job listings and resources as well as a Facebook page to provide an interactive community.
Since its launch in late July, we have over 200 Facebook group members. Many members are young arts professionals with degrees in arts management looking for full time work; others are freelancers who have chosen a less traditional but equally viable path to a creative career. Read the rest of this entry »
One two three, one two three, one two three…Nate was in a groove, the ensemble was cookin’, and Miles Davis’ tune All Blues had never sounded better.
As the lead drummer, Nate stayed with that simple beat, rode it out to the end, then finished in perfect time. He beamed as the audience roared in appreciation, and if you hadn’t known him you would not have believed that one year ago he’d been unable to count rhythmically or sit still for more than five minutes.
But those who’d known him—who had seen his eyes light up at that first simple beat and watched over the year as he learned to focus, to listen, and to succeed—we knew what had happened. Nate had found himself through the arts.
The challenges Nate once faced are growing more common every day. Attention deficits, oppositional defiance, and incidents of youth violence and suicide have increased as our society has become preoccupied with materialism. As our focus has gone off taking care of our kids, the opportunities for to them to discover and express their voice have diminished. As ARTSblog readers know, the arts can fill this need.
I believe it’s also evident that any modality which can cause healing can also mitigate or even prevent illness. Unfortunately, our culture has segmented the arts, commercializing them into a “privileged” position. Perhaps we could learn from other cultures.
In many other cultures, the arts serve as a cohesive fluid in which the community operates. People get together informally through music, dance or song to relax and enjoy themselves and each other, with the performance aspect of art secondary to a self-participatory way of being together. Read the rest of this entry »
We are often so busy with our organization’s day-to-day programming, administration, fundraising, advocacy, and the need to establish some sense of work life balance, we forget or just don’t think about what we have to offer and learn with our peers.
Serving on one of the Americans for the Arts Advisory Councils is both a blessing and a curse (or a challenge or opportunity in biz speak).
There are 5,000 local arts agencies in the Americans for the Arts universe, or as Bob Lynch refers to them/us—arts enabling organizations. I never really thought about being an arts enabler but we are just that. Our job as administrators is to help the field grow and prosper, in our communities, our state, and our country.
And as we help the field, we also help ourselves by learning and sharing from the grassroots to the grass tops. Stop for just a minute and reflect on how you learn and how you have put that into practice.
What did you pick up at the Annual Convention, National Arts Marketing Project Conference, or a statewide or regional arts meeting? What came out of a one or two hour session in a breakout or at the bar or restaurant? Pretty valuable, eh?
Now just think what if that one or two hour session turned into a day and a half or longer and not just once a year but almost every month. And now what if those conversations were not scattered among 50 plus colleagues, but among a smaller group of 12-15.
Then there is time for to you share best practices—yours and others, address those tough personnel (hey we all have them don’t kid yourself) issues, political issues, fundraising tips, and even talk about real arts and culture policy development. Wow, when was the last time that happened!
Do yourself and your organization and your community a favor and serve on an advisory council. It’s worth every minute and every dollar you spend. But do it for the other 4,999 organizations and colleagues as well as for you.
Nominations close October 17. Nominate yourself or a colleague. You won’t ever regret it—personally and professionally.
Well, you had to have known this post was coming after seeing the debate last night, reading about it, or catching the highlights on the news.
Also, I can’t believe I’m blogging about Sesame Street for the second time in six weeks.
As a political scientist by schooling, I had to wonder who on the campaign decided it would be funny, smart, or a good idea to throw in something quippy about firing Big Bird or Jim Lehrer when once again referring to a policy of not borrowing money from China to pay for PBS (or the National Endowment for the Arts as was mentioned in a magazine article a few months ago).
First, you automatically make a ton of enemies by putting the image of Big Bird being evicted out of his Sesame Street nest in people’s heads.
Second, you are simply catering to hardcore fiscal conservatives who don’t seem to understand that public television was only allocated $75 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in the FY 2012 budget (plus about $222 million in direct grants to individual public television stations)—that’s it. Guess how much was spent on national defense ($716 billion), health ($361 billion), and energy ($23 billion).
Some would argue that PBS stations should start airing commercials to generate more revenue or that there could be stations that cover more than one city or combine into regional networks. Okay, I can give you that, but that still doesn’t take away from the fact that the small amount of federal spending goes such a long way to help PBS leverage those pledge drive (without quality programs partially funded by the government would people still pay?) or corporate dollars.
Others say we should just privatize all PBS stations. You might want to ask folks in New Jersey if they feel their NJTV lives up to the formerly state-run NJN when it comes to covering the affairs of a state trapped between two giant media markets with no other statewide network.
Oh and then there’s Kansas. Remember when someone tried to privatize the state arts agency claiming that it could and should run without government support? That didn’t turn out so well. Read the rest of this entry »
Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, discussed the importance of the arts to the overall education of our children:
“The arts are an important part of a well-rounded education for all students. All of the arts—dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts—are essential to preparing our nation’s young people for a global economy fueled by innovation and creativity and for a social discourse that demands communication in images and sound as well as in text.”
He went on to say, “research shows that arts-rich schools—ones that provide opportunities for students to experience the arts in deep and meaningful ways and to make curricular connections with math, science, and the humanities—are more engaging for students.”
And he referenced research that all of us in the arts education field have used for years saying, “We know that students who attend arts-rich schools are more likely to stay in school and go on to graduate from college.”
At the end of his comments, Duncan issued a challenge: “Now is the time to make the arts a vital part of a complete education for all students.”
Here’s the conundrum…
The U.S. Secretary of Education states what we know to be true. He states it with authority and without equivocation. And yet, we continue to see education budgets slashed year after year. And we continue to see the arts and art opportunities diminished within our schools in favor of more “time on task” for reading and math, and more testing. The disparity among schools is widening, with some really outstanding schools at the top, a few in the middle, and more and more considered “failing.” Typically, the schools with the lowest performing students are also the schools with the least amount of arts opportunities and integration.
What to do? Read the rest of this entry »
It’s a favorite time of year for students, teachers, and parents as the weather finally cools, leaves begin changing, and pumpkins pop up on every corner. Oh, and students across the country make the daily trek back to school.
For 16 lucky schools, those students and arts teachers can add a little more bounce to their steps. Last fall, consumers and arts advocates selected 16 grant winners by voting for their favorite K–12 public school during KRIS Wine’s Art of Education contest.
$25,000 was disseminated to schools all over the country to be used for arts programming. From Washington to Michigan and L.A. to Georgia, funds are being used for a wide range of projects. In an era where funding for strong arts programs consistently fall by the wayside, every extra dollar helps.
For the following schools KRIS Wine’s investment has made all the difference:
Kenmore Elementary, Kenmore, WA
Kenmore Elementary was the top awarded school in the KRIS wine “Art of Education” program. “We believe the money will greatly help us in continuing to provide an enriching educational experience,” said Principal Steve Hopkins. Kenmore Elementary plans to use the grant to host an artist-in-residence for the entire 2013 school year to conduct a series of visual art lessons with 500 students in its K–6 classes.
Lake Ridge Elementary, Magna, UT
Lake Ridge Elementary was able to fund costumes and scenery for The Avalanche, an opera created entirely by fourth grade students. The opera took the class nearly the whole school year to organize from writing the story and music to painting all 320 square feet of scenery. Barbara Knowlden, fourth grade teacher shared, “With the money from KRIS Wine, I was able to purchase the necessary supplies. It really helped my students’ self-esteem as they realized what they accomplished and how wonderful they looked in the costumes!” Read the rest of this entry »
I used to believe that my role, and that of my teaching colleagues, was to ensure that we gave to our art majors our full measure of knowledge, skills, and understanding. I like to think that we took every opportunity to sharpen their critical eyes and guide them to more enriched sensibilities as they aspired to be artists, art teachers, and art historians.
That was what college was all about, and I thought that if they worked hard and gave it their “all,” then we’d applaud them at commencement and wish them well (while, among ourselves, we knew full well that many, perhaps most would not “make it”).
While I don’t think I ever said it straight out, I do believe that my message to graduates at every commencement was, “We’ve done our part; now it is up to you.” I now am embarrassed to say that implicit in this thinking was the notion that we in higher education need not assume any responsibility for what happens later, after our students leave. After all, we gave 100 percent to all of our students—so we thought—who were with us for those four, five, or six years. What they did after graduation was unquestionably up to them.
The national discourse about the value (or lack of value) of higher education is making it quite clear that there is a greater (or new) expectation that we in higher education now provide a bit more—perhaps a lot more—than a “discover yourself” curriculum that results in nearly half of arts graduates dropping out of the field before the second anniversary of their commencement (see Strategic National Arts Alumni Project that has been tracking the lives and careers of arts graduates in America). This, of course, is not a desirable result; therefore, we must change the way we’re doing things or we will continue to get the same result in years to come.
What has become obvious to me is that artists are entrepreneurs too. Artists have to network, have to market themselves as well as their work, they have to take risks and have to profit from failure not unlike those we recognize as the most successful entrepreneurs. Whether a designer or painter or sculptor or even art historian and art educator, there is a benefit to being additionally prepared with the tools to manage one’s career and apply one’s creativity to ensuring success. Read the rest of this entry »