• Green Papers
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Green Papers are short, easy to read, visions of the future meant to inspire a nationwide dialogue on the future of the arts. As a way to celebrate the successes of the past 50 years in the arts field, Americans for the Arts has collected Green Papers from a variety of national arts service organizations and peer groups representing different perspectives and disciplines. Participate in one or more conversation topics by using the comment section below or visiting a Green Paper category to the right.

Green Papers are a chance for anyone who cares about the arts to talk about a particular discipline or interest area in a facilitated, open forum. Each participating organization who authored a Green Paper also selected an emerging leader Ambassador to facilitate discussion about the related Paper. Ambassadors will continue this dialogue throughout the year--capturing and synthesizing the ideas, changes, and themes that arise from online discussions. Ambassadors will be led by a group facilitator, Eric Booth. At the end of the year, new Green Papers will emerge that will reflect the overarching changes and ideas proposed through this democratic forum process.

Ways to participate:

  1. Read the Green Paper
  2. Follow the post-based discussions on the specific topic you are interested in and comment
  3. Subscribe to RSS feeds
  4. Attend the Half-Century Summit and continue the discussion

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Michelle Dean

As we wrap up 2010, I write my last blog installment for ARTSblog, which features an interview with American Art Therapy Association President, Joan Phillips, Ph.D., ATR-BC. Dr. Phillips enthusiastically addressed the three primary elements covered in this blog about art therapy: vision for the future of art therapy; obstacles to achieving that vision; and strategies to overcome those obstacles and make that vision a reality from the perspective of the American Art Therapy Association (AATA). Dr. Phillips discussed the consolidation of the National office to the Washington DC area in order to achieve greater collaboration with policy makers and other officials, which may be a positive influence and advocate for the field of art therapy. She also noted the expansion of the dedicated staff of the organization, which includes a now Full-time Executive Director, Susan Corrigan, and an additional six support staff to better meet the needs of the membership, provide advocacy for the profession, and increase in public awareness about the value of art therapy. Read the rest of this entry »

Michelle Dean

In Part Two, a discussion regarding the vision for the future of art therapy from the Art Therapy Credentials Board’s (ATCB) perspective, Deborah A. Good, ATCB President and Rita Maloy, Executive Director, discussed additional endeavors to support a secure future for the ATCB and its credential holders. In the last blog, opportunities to become credentialed through ATCB were discussed and thus the discussion turns to the vision of mentoring new professionals, while helping those credentials grow credence outside of our profession. It has been noted that effective counselors, [and it could be implied art therapists] do not necessarily make effective supervisors (Dye & Borders, 1990) and so credentialing certifications have been developed to address this need.

First, let me discuss the implementation of the new certification for art therapy clinical supervisors. This credential, the Art Therapy Certified Supervisor (ATCS) is offered to qualified Board Certified Art Therapists, art therapists who in addition to obtaining registration have also successfully completed the board certification examination to earn the ATR-BC designation, and who are interested in demonstrating substantial supervision qualifications. Like the art therapy registration (ATR), the ATCS sets criteria including education, experience, and peer recommendations for potential supervisors with the goal to better prepare supervisors, while providing better tutorage of young professionals. In turn, this action may create a greater retention of professionals and ultimately increase career satisfaction. The ATCB is supporting the art therapy profession’s progress by establishing parity with other mental health professions, which have already established a credential for their supervisors, and that promotes recognition for the unique services art therapists provide while fulfilling the mission of the Art Therapy Credentials Board, to “protect the public through the competent and ethical practice of art therapy.” Read the rest of this entry »

Michelle Dean

What are all those letters after your name? is a frequent question I am asked, to which I often jest I have more letters after my name than in it. In a long-overdue, two-part installment of the blog, I will not only explain what all those letters mean, but also convey some significant changes that the granter of the credentials, The Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB), is making. Deborah A. Good, ATCB President and Rita Maloy, Exective Director, were very generous to grant an interview to discuss the vision for the future of art therapy from the ATCB’s perspective. The ATCB is an organization that credentials art therapists.  Credentialed art therapists must prove competency and are accountable to ATCB in terms of maintaining ethical standards of practice. The organization has recently unveiled an update of opportunities for becoming a registered art therapist (ATR), as along with a new certification for supervisors, the Art Therapy Certified Supervisor (ATCS). Additionally, the ATCB plans to apply for accreditation of the ATR-BC through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) later this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennie Smith-Peers

This year marks the first year that Americans over the age of 65 will outnumber those under the age of 20. The “graying” of America is already conversations that many arts administrators are familiar with, who are busy discussing how to deal with aging administrators and aging audiences.  Yet, what this green paper seeks to address is how do we as service providers include access to our arts programming for everyone? Traditional ways of doling out arts programming are no longer sufficient. Older adults need and desire quality arts programs that give them the opportunity to grow and be creative. What is holding us back from including elders? At the end of the day, I believe that it is ageism.

We are living in the 21st Century and though many strides have been made in the last 30 years to view aging in a more positive light our society continues to marginalize them, make many feel unwelcome, and forces them to be invisible. Read the rest of this entry »

Alie Wickham

It’s been awhile since a post has gone up.  I apologize for that, however, this delay in posting is not just from my lack of time, but also from my lack of motivation to continue these posts.  I am going to be frank and honest with all of you: These Green Paper posts can ONLY make a difference with EVERYONE’S help!! This means you! I could suggest improvements, and attempt to facilitate discussions as much as I want – I love talking about the arts in healthcare, it’s my passion! However, how are we supposed to grow and be innovative thinkers as a field without the input of all of you? Ladies and gentlemen, artists and healthcare providers, students and professionals, it is now your time to step up…do you want me to keep writing and suggesting topics of discussion? PLEASE RESPOND! Thank you!

Now for the post…

The following statement comes from the “Moving Forward” section of the Arts in Healthcare Green Paper:

Arts in healthcare is steadily moving forward. Increasingly, healthcare administrators are not only welcoming but also financially supporting arts programming in their institutions. Medical and nursing schools see the value in incorporating arts in healthcare courses or content to help their students develop essential skills such as observation and communication. Arts institutions, schools, and colleges are partnering with healthcare organizations to provide arts programming and health promotion experiences in community settings. Read the rest of this entry »

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Michael R. Gagliardo

Back in July I received a comment on a blog post, after asking readers what the subject of my next blog post should be.  One reader, Denise, chimed in with the topic of “persuading school systems and communities to recognize the foundational importance of classical music and cultivating a lifelong appreciation.”  I like it.

I’m currently teaching a class for the University of Alabama’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.  In a nutshell, OLLI is a program that is designed for “mature adults” with the basic premise being “learning for the pure joy of learning.”

What a great concept!  Adults come and take classes on music, history, computers, languages – you name it.  There are no tests, no homework, no age limitations – just an open, exciting learning environment where students who share common interests come to brush up on things they are already familiar with, or to add new learning experiences.

It begs the question – how do we take this love of and desire for learning and transfer it from the world of “mature adults” to the realm of those we should be working hard every day to reach – young people? Read the rest of this entry »

Michael R. Gagliardo

It’s been a while.  I must admit, I’ve neglected my duty as a blogger.  What can I say – I can offer all kinds of excuses, but I don’t know if I really buy them myself.  The end of the summer and the beginning of the school year is always a busy time for those of us in arts education, true.  I’m biased, but I think for musicians it’s just a little busier than for others.  So I’ve spent a lot of time preparing for the new season.  There were auditions to administer, and music to prepare, and folders to stuff, and meetings with new and returning parents to be held, and all of the things that go along with starting up the new year.

And then, just when you think things are settling down, there are the other things that come about.  The creation of a new program was one for the Etowah Youth Orchestras.  And with that came an entirely new set of start-up duties.  After that, there was the donor relations work, and the grant writing, and the planning and promotion and recruiting for school programs.  There’s just so much to do! Read the rest of this entry »

Michelle Dean

As cited in the Green Pages: Does the intense federal focus on “evidence-based” practices results in a premature dismissal or disregard for therapeutic practices that are beneficial to many populations?

Let’s face it, value placed on evidence-based practices is not just because of federal funding but a cultural bias that values scientific method, in an attempt “to prove” or “validate” what is real. The economic origins of this long-standing bias are beyond the scope of this blog but none-the-less the question remains: How does art therapy fit in this model?  Well, not so well due to its very symbolic nature.  And why should it?

Although there have been great efforts to promote and conduct evidence based treatment (EBT) and research in art therapy, it may be said that art therapy (or any therapeutic relationship for that matter) is a symbolic process, which is embedded in a relation-based therapeutic practice. So when symbols or people in a relationship are taken out of context they lose their meaning. For example, it would be like taking two people in love and removing one person in the couple and plopping them down with someone else and expecting the same amorous feelings – this is clearly absurd.  Sociologist, Durkheim discusses the advantages of being in a relationship as a reduced risk factor to suicide. However, when an art therapist is actually working with a patient, the statistical risk factor is far less important than the qualities and meaning of the relationship. And it is those relationship qualities that are so elusive to measure.  Elkins debunks the validity of empirically supported treatments, by uncovering the insidious economic gains for the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. And Seife points out, in his soon to be released text, Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception, “Our society is now awash in proofiness. Using a few powerful techniques, thousands of people are crafting mathematical falsehoods to get you to swallow untruths”. Who is to say that what is being conveyed by the statistics of EBT are even measuring what they are claiming? Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Armstrong

Now more than ever, professionals of multiple generations have knowledge and skills to share with one another.  The strategy suggested in the green paper to best share these assets to further the field is a collaborative and participatory leadership structure versus a top down hierarchical structure.  In the proposed strategy, not only is leadership developed at all levels within an organization – strengthening the individual, organization and field – but it also helps to prepare for smoother transitions and successions at any level at any moment.  It seems like such a logical approach, so what stands in its way of success? People.

It always comes down to people.  Our capacity to learn. Our capacity to change. Our capacity to communicate.  Our capacity to share.

Learn – More leaders in executive positions need to learn how this system might work and be successful for them.  How can we make this model and training more available and attractive to execs? Has collaboration been taught and cultivated in all of us? How can we strengthen that skill across all levels of leadership? Read the rest of this entry »

Alie Wickham

Well, our cycle for the PepsiRefresh grant has come to an end.  We ended at an excellent ranking of 117 – seriously folks; I’m not trying to be sarcastic.  Considering the hundreds of incredible ideas and passionate organizations (and individuals) we were up against, we should be proud.

However, this did get me thinking (and perfect timing considering I needed to get another post up)…

What would you do with a PepsiRefresh Grant???

I mean it! If you were given the opportunity to write a PepsiRefresh Grant ($5,000 to $250,000), what would you write the grant for and how would you design whatever project or mission you were trying to get funded? However, here is the challenge:

In the spirit of looking to the future, and the resourceful Green Paper given to us to work from, how would you use the challenges posted in the paper or via the arts in healthcare listserv (hospital advocacy, funding, certificates and degrees, research, etc.) to develop the “perfect” future of an arts in healthcare project, program or intervention/resolution to one of the challenges listed above?

I challenge you to sincerely think about this – are you up for it???  Let’s hear your voice!!

Joanna Chin

Sometimes, I like to take a step away from the art itself to ask what art does for society.  In a world that often portrays our field as frivolous or boils our work down to how it can stimulate local economies, it’s a nice exercise to imagine how the thing to which we dedicate our lives actually contributes, and has even more potential to contribute, to bettering the world at large.

Shifting gears a bit, let’s talk about one of the most global issues facing…well, the globe: climate change.  A 2009 report by the Pew Research Center claims that the number of Americans who believe manmade global warming is real has dropped 14 % from 2008.  And, according to a Brookings Institute study, even among Americans who believe that global warming is occurring, there was an 18% decrease in respondents who said they were very confident that this phenomenon was taking place.

Speculation about the reasons behind the climate change movement’s loss of momentum abound.  While some popular hypotheses for its decline include the current economic crisis and the radicalization of the Republican Party in the wake of Obama’s election, one of the most interesting to me was in a Newsweek blog entry suggesting that many Americans are indifferent or unable to comprehend the long-term effects of climate change.  That indifference has emerged more strongly now because it’s much harder to prioritize abstract, far-away problems like climate change when compared to the daily threat of losing one’s job. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s the second half of an interview between Alie Wickham and Mike Gagliardo, the ambassadors for the two green paper topics: Arts in Healthcare and Strings. Alie and Mike discuss how the green papers have approached a vision of the future.

The first half of their interview can be found here.

Leslie Ito

The Cultural Equity Green Paper draws out three strategic directions for the future which are also being explored at this week’s Open Dialogue conference in Chicago hosted by TAAC, the Association of American Cultures.  They are:

  • Equitable funding for all cultural institutions
  • Equal participation in policymaking
  •  Equity in multicultural leadership

As the green paper refers to, there has been a discontinuation of some “ethnic-set-aside” or multicultural grant programs and some new ones have sprouted with a new focus on more geographically-focused, community-building through the arts types of programs.  While some of the more savvy community-based organizations are continuing to access these dollars, the pot is shrinking. I am seeing more and more organizations beginning to shift their attention to individual donors.  Programs like the San Francisco Foundation’s Fund for Artists Matching Commissions which is now being replicated in Los Angeles by the LA County Arts Commission are training and incentivizing small and mid size organizations to engage individual donors.  Service organizations like Compass Point and the Grassroots Fundraising Institute are focusing particularly on fundraising in communities of color and ethnic specific giving circles are becoming more popular.  These are all signs that a shift is taking place.  While we must not let up pressure on equitable funding from both private foundations and government agencies, we must also continue to diversify revenue and individual donor development is still a relatively untapped area when it comes to culturally specific and diverse community-based arts organizations.

Check out this first part of an interview between Alie Wickham and Mike Gagliardo, the ambassadors for the two green paper topics: Arts in Healthcare and Strings. Alie and Mike discuss arts advocacy as it relates to the arts and also touch on the state of the economy and healthcare reform.  In next week’s conclusion of the interview, they will discuss how the green papers have approached a vision of the future.

Keely Saye

Is the failure of the arts to maintain market share among providers of contributed support a short-term problem related to increased social service, health, and educational needs, or will it persist?

In my opinion, the question must be considered from two different perspectives. In reference to the short term, the answer would appear to be an unqualified yes. This can be considered a “short-term” problem in that it is one that has arisen relatively recently. Fundraising in the non-profit/arts sector, particularly in the performing arts, has seldom been more difficult than it is right now.

Deep pocket donors and corporate benefactors are being stretched to the limit as even some of the more venerable arts institutions such as Pasadena Playhouse (The State Theatre Of California) are closing their doors due to lack of operating funds. Shrinking audiences, most likely kept away by the cost of admission, have forced many arts organizations to look to their donor bases for increased assistance. Unfortunately, that donor base is dealing with the same economy as the absent ticketholder, and must also make cuts. The arts are often the first (perceived) extras to be trimmed from most budgets. In this sense, the answer is clearly “yes, we are facing a short-term problem.” The question that seems begged in the final four words of the initial query is how do we keep it from persisting? Read the rest of this entry »

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