Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

As previewed by Marete Wester last week on ARTSblog, this week has been chock full of data and recommendations from our own organization’s National Arts Policy Roundtable (NAPR); the U.S. Department of Education’s first look at national arts education from 2009-2010; and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) recommendations for the field.

The PCAH report, released today, seeks to put into practice President Obama’s campaign commitment to arts education as the committee has spent the past 18 months assessing the status of the subject, conducting research, and identifying ways to improve and advance arts education.

Their report offers five recommendations to “clarify the position of the arts in a comprehensive, well-rounded K-12 education that is appropriate for all students; unify and focus efforts to expand arts education offerings to underserved students and communities; and, strengthen the evidence base for high-quality arts education.”

PCAH recommends the following:

1. Build collaborations among different approaches – “move beyond internal debates in the arts education field about modes of delivery of arts instruction in order to address more pressing issues of equitable access and infusing more schools with a creativity-rich environment.”  Read the rest of this entry »

When considering that art is a universal language I think many of us may inadvertently dismiss the idea of how this relates to business.

But the tie between arts and growing global businesses is a strong one that has roots in community engagement, enhanced reputations for business, and the fact that the arts can cross over those drawn borders on maps.

A couple of weeks ago, two leaders in the fields of global markets and corporate social responsibility lent their expertise to a webinar hosted by The Conference Board, in partnership with Americans for the Arts, on the role of arts and culture in the success of global markets.  Read the rest of this entry »

Lynne Kingsley

Lynne Kingsley

If you were to untangle the unified, multi-layered rope that is arts education in public schools in this country, would you find equal amounts of art, music, theater, and dance strands?

Without thinking, most of us would say mildly, “well, not exactly.”

As a theater person, I realize this too, but it can’t be THAT unequal, right?

The Snapshot of Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 2009-10 (a first look at top level national data from the upcoming FRSS study), published on Monday reveals a huge gap between the number of schools that offer art (83 percent) and music (94 percent) instruction and those that offer drama/theater (4 percent) and dance (3 percent) instruction at the elementary school level.  Read the rest of this entry »

Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

Just before writing this post, I started to think of one teacher who made a significant impact on my life.

As I took a minute to think about it, I realized that there have been many more than one who still resonate with me as I veer closer to my 40’s than to my elementary school days. Although not all of them are arts-related, many of them are.

Going back to elementary school chorus, I can remember the excitement and pride I felt being selected for our fourth/fifth-grade mini-chorus. The eight of us practiced and practiced with Mrs. Hitchens during lunch for three weeks before singing a Russian folk song for our winter show.

I later joined our newspaper club, and Mrs. Carlin sparked my journalistic instincts as I conducted a few hard-hitting interviews with my classmates about leaving our school and going to the middle school.

In middle school, I can still remember playing 60’s folk music on guitar with music teacher Mrs. Meiss (I wish I had a video of us playing “Bad Bad Leroy Brown.”).  Read the rest of this entry »

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Sunoco volunteers helped paint three panels of a 42-panel mural as part of Philadelphia’s “This We Believe” city-wide mural project.

If I had to come up with a theme for the month of April, it would be the role of the arts in enhancing communities.

I spent time in Washington, DC, at our National Arts Advocacy Day on April 4-5, and then followed that with a trip to Philadelphia to attend the Council on Foundations annual conference and the U.S. Chamber’s Corporate Community Investment conference.

At all three of these events, arts and business leaders spoke about the important role the arts play in building strong and vibrant communities which leads to numerous benefits including attracting and retaining a strong workforce and enhanced civic engagement.  Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Prepared?

Posted by Theresa Cameron On May - 3 - 20113 COMMENTS

Theresa Cameron

It sure has been a wacky spring for weather across the country.

Several of our local arts agencies have been affected by the tornadoes and floods of the past week. They have been assessing the damage and helping out their communities in any way they can.

Buddy Palmer of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham (AL) reports that they are working to help find artists that may have been displaced but that a weekend arts festival would go on as planned.

Sandra Wolfe, the executive director of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa is happy that none of the arts facilities in the downtown were damaged and she and her staff are okay, but everyone is very shaken.  Read the rest of this entry »

Last fall, 30 top-level decision makers and thought leaders from government, business, education, and the arts gathered at the Sundance Resort and Preserve for the Fifth Annual Americans for the Arts National Arts Policy Roundtable, to discuss this year’s theme – The Role of the Arts in Educating America for Great Leadership and Economic Strength.

Their conclusions are profiled in a new report issued this week by Americans for the Arts that calls for individuals across the public and private sector to recognize the arts as the transformational tools they are for making schools stronger and students more successful.

The recommendations offer insights from this cross-sector group on how we can better work together to ensure policies and practices are in place to increase arts in our schools.

The business and public policy communities are building consensus that if the nation is to succeed, an education steeped in the 4 “C’s” (Creativity, Collaboration, Communication and Critical Thinking) is not a luxury, but a necessity.   Read the rest of this entry »

Kirsten Kichenstein

After working in arts education for the past eleven years, I’ve transitioned to a new job where my day-to-day work is not administering an arts program.

While my new position still allows me to advocate for statewide arts education, I’m no longer an Education Director where every day I’m working alongside young people and teaching artists witnessing the transformation as teenagers discover their own creative voices and morph into someone new.

In this career shift, I can’t help but wonder, “Who am I now?”

Who am I without the daily struggle of encouraging a young person to take a creative risk?

Without the ability to directly experience the immeasurable rewards when that risk is taken, success is experienced and that young person will never again be the same?  Read the rest of this entry »

Nina Ozlu Tunceli

I’m here in Chicago at the National Mayors Summit on City Design sponsored by U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Architectural Foundation.

Yesterday, I participated in working sessions with mayors, city planners, and architects to develop a series of recommendations to federal officials of how to streamline partnerships to create economic development and improve city infrastructure.

Specifically, I made several recommendations, including creating incentive funding for cultural districts and public art programs in federal infrastructure projects and economic development zones.

I am pleased to say that I was not the only carrying messages about the importance of the arts.  Read the rest of this entry »

"Hide/Seek" catalogue from the National Portrait Gallery

“Above all I wanted to keep the exhibition open. I wanted to protect the Smithsonian in its entirety,” said Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution earlier this week at the symposium Flashpoints and Faultlines: Museum Curation and Controversy.

Clough was specifically addressing last year’s controversy over pulling David Wojnarowicz’s film A Fire in My Belly from the National Portrait Gallery’s “Hide/Seek” exhibit—a show demonstrating the influence of gays and lesbians in modern American portraiture.

The Smithsonian’s day-and-a-half symposium at the Freer Gallery of Art focused on the role of the curator and museum officials in curating and handling topics that could be controversial.

My personal hope as I went into the symposium Tuesday night was that Clough would say something along the lines of: If I had known what I know now I would have tried to find a different way of addressing the controversy. But it came as no surprise to me or the 100+ art enthusiasts, Smithsonian employees, reporters, and others who had gathered when he didn’t apologize for removing Wojnarowicz’s film or even try to excuse his decision. Read the rest of this entry »

To Face Ruin is a Victory

Posted by Kenji C. Liu On April - 29 - 20111 COMMENT

Kenji C. Liu

This post originally appeared during the Emerging Arts Professionals/San Francisco Bay Area’s blog salon entitled “Cultural Policy 101″ earlier this month. You can view all of the postings from that salon on their website.

In my last post [for the salon], I suggested framing art as a human right, in the sense that community art is a practice that can sidestep or challenge the spreadsheet mentality that exists in the United States when it comes to arts and culture policy.

This is not to say that we can completely escape this mentality, as recent proposals to zero out arts grants by the City of Oakland show.

Oakland is a vibrant arts city despite the lack of robust institutional support. With some notable exceptions, much of it is grassroots or on the down-low.

Although we need this kind of city and state support and should advocate for it, if arts looks for its value only through the affirmation (funding) of the state, we are in dangerous territory.    Read the rest of this entry »

Taking a break from her duties as co-chair of our 2011 National Arts Advocacy Day, Kerry Washington sat down with Americans for the Arts’ Graham Dunstan to discuss her personal arts experiences growing up in New York City, playing Ophelia, approaching acting as a social scientist, cultural diplomacy, and the importance of public funding for the arts.

Randolph Belle & Family

This post originally appeared during the Emerging Arts Professionals/San Francisco Bay Area’s blog salon entitled “Cultural Policy 101″ earlier this month. You can view all of the postings from that salon on their website.

The (Oakland) in the title of this submission can probably be swapped out for many cities across the country, but the concept of cultural sustainability has been an increasingly pressing issue for me of late.

I look at my role in the arts community, my existence as an African American and what distinction should be made for me as an African American cultural worker.   Read the rest of this entry »

Kevin Spacey

Just a few short weeks ago, actors Alec Baldwin, Kerry Washington, Kevin Spacey, and Hill Harper joined more than 550 arts advocates representing 40 states from across the country on Capitol Hill for National Arts Advocacy Day 2011.

This year’s event took place at a critical time when legislators were battling over program cuts to reduce the deficit.

The day began with the Congressional Arts Kickoff where several members of Congress spoke to advocates about the importance of arts funding.

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), who chairs the subcommittee that oversees funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Smithsonian, said that while some in Congress believe that government should not support the arts, “I respectfully disagree.”   Read the rest of this entry »

TerraCycle Graffiti Art

Yesterday, The New York Times’ small business blog posted an interesting piece from the CEO of New Jersey-based TerraCycle.

Tom Szuky not only encourages the use of NERF gun battles and partially-subsidized lunches for his employees as motivation tools and morale boosters for his employees, but he also uses art.

In order to spice up the workplace, Szuky says that he invites graffiti artists in to “paint our walls with cool, vibrant designs” and he invites artists to change up the outside of their offices on a weekly basis.

As we continue to talk about ways the art and business worlds can come together, we can’t overlook the simple things like buying local art to hang on the walls or planning social gatherings outside of work around local productions or concerts.

What ways have you engaged with the arts in the business world or vice versa?