Michael R. Gagliardo

I started out as a band kid.  While my parents started me on piano lessons when I was in the 3rd grade, and I found it to be interesting (as long as I got to play what I wanted to play!), I think my interest in music was really sparked when I started playing the trumpet in the school band in the 5th grade.  By the time I got to middle school, I was hooked, and was headed down that path of musical obsession – if there was a school group or a church or a wedding that needed a trumpet over the next six years, I was the go-to guy.  So how did I get involved with strings? Read the rest of this entry »

Tim Mikulski

Thank you for taking the time to visit, read, and comment on the blog posts throughout our Arts Education Blog Salon this week.

Thanks to the hard work of all of our bloggers, I feel like visitors had the opportunity to learn more about the various aspects of arts education – from advocacy to standards – that many of us work with on a daily basis, and engage the authors via thoughtful comments and emails.

Although the Salon is over, we will continue to add new blogs on arts education throughout the rest of the year, and I am truly looking forward to the next time around.

If you are new to ARTSblog, we hope that you will continue visiting to read about all of the arts-related subject areas it covers.

And if you are particularly interested in arts education, I hope you join us for the Arts Education Preconference just before the Americans for the Arts Half-Century Summit in Baltimore, MD, June 24-25, 2010.

During the two-day session, we will discuss and plan the future of arts education in America , including giving you the opportunity to make a commitment to action when you return home. And if that doesn’t excite you, a presentation by keynote Derrick Ashong will.

For more information on the Arts Education Preconference, visit http://bit.ly/aeprcon.

And, if you ever have any questions about arts education, feel free to contact me anytime.

Merryl Goldberg

There is nothing like wonderful relationships to make life interesting, satisfying, challenging, and rewarding.  Our lives are filled with relationships from those we have with family, to friends, to partners, spouses, and even to those that are more passing, such as the relationship we have with the woman in the donut shop we visit every Saturday morning, or with the mail person, or with the stranger in the airport who doesn’t speak the same language, but nods in complete understanding as you wearily try to carry your bag, computer, and child through the crowded door to the check-in.  Our lives are filled with such relationships.

I was reminded of the importance of relationships this week as I attended my local High School’s performance of Footloose.  This is the same high school I wrote about last  year after they put on a production of Sweeney Todd.  This year’s performance was Footloose.  My high school neighbor, Gabe, a junior was the assistant stage manager, and we attended with his family and entourage on closing night.  Though I enjoyed the performance, what impressed me more was what happened after the performance. Read the rest of this entry »

Zack Hayhurst

In my last post, I ended with some questions about the academic field of arts management and how it should be studied. This past fall, I wrote a response to a paper that addresses this very same question.  The title of the original paper is Arts Administration: Field of Dreams by Charles M. Dorn. This paper, written in 1992, focuses on why the field of arts management lacks the seriousness afforded to other more established fields of study, and the steps that researchers in the field can take to change these perceptions. You can read my full response paper here.

The main idea of Dorn’s paper is that the field of arts administration has yet to develop a shared set of standards and beliefs that would afford it the respectful status it so desires within the academic community. Part of why Dorn thinks there is little consensus on theories and terminology within the arts administration community is due to the diverse academic backgrounds of those who comprise the field. Read the rest of this entry »

Making Meaning

Posted by David Flatley On May - 28 - 20101 COMMENT

David Flatley

Because so many of us need to raise a significant portion of our budget through grants to deliver arts education programming, we have the increasingly challenging task of articulating the “why” of this work to cash strapped funders. I’d suggest that it’s getting old to simply speak about “empowering” youth, and developing “critical thinking skills.”

Those are wonderful things, of course…objectives we all value and share; but as resources become more scarce, and we are driven to collaborate and build partnerships even more in order to maximize our leveraged and shared assets. We need to be more rigorous in our approach to articulating our impact. 

So I argue that for our own sake, if nothing else, let’s consider whether our continued use of phrases such as “Higher Order Thinking Skills,” “Critical Thinking Skills,” or “21st Century Learning Skills” might not become clichés, or worse, perhaps…that they might start to lose their significance. Do we all know what these terms mean exactly? And do we mean the same things when we use them?  I believe we start to do ourselves a disservice if we do not more explicitly articulate what these things look like, and how the arts make a difference. Read the rest of this entry »

Victoria Plettner-Saunders

I want to follow up on my last entry about the Local Advocacy Networks (LAN) that were started in San Diego County this spring with support from the California Alliance for Arts Education (CAAE). As you might recall four LANs (Escondido, San Diego, Vista, and South Bay) were launched in April and May and so far two have held their first follow up meetings.

At each of these meetings approximately 10 or more people gathered to review the brainstormed ideas from the breakfast launch event, discuss their vision for arts education in their district, and identify who else should be at the table. Each one identified at least three action steps they could take over the next year.

The Escondido LAN reported that they want to 1) start a blog or Facebook page to help people stay connected; 2) collaborate with their local Escondido Arts Partnership which is building an open-access web database to connect artists in north San Diego county with the schools; and 3) look into developing a citywide arts fair, an idea from the breakfast that met with considerable enthusiasm. Read the rest of this entry »

Rachel Evans

Do you know any pre-service arts educators? Those starting or finishing the student-teaching experience? Please deliver this letter to their inbox. Comments to this blog, especially additional suggestions for motivations and action steps for the Pre-Service Arts Educator, are encouraged. Thank you! 

Dear Pre-Service Arts Educators

Congratulations! You’ve stepped forward as the bravest of souls willing to self-identify your passion for an art form and your commitment to the education of young people.  I hope that your university is working diligently to aid you in becoming equally effective as an artist and as an educator, with plenty of wise mentoring as you merge the two into one mind, one body, one professional. 

It’s imperative that you know there is a meaningful movement afoot to create Common Core State Standards for the Arts; it’s on the event horizon.  See recent Arts Education Blog Salon entries by Lynn Tuttle and John Abodeely

Did you roll your eyes at the thought of new standards? I thought you might have.  

So what follows is a list of reasons why you, and you specifically, should care about the creation of arts standards to be adopted by as many states in the country as possible. Read the rest of this entry »

Art Inspires

Posted by MacEwen Patterson On May - 28 - 2010No comments yet

photo Michael Hevesy

It is pretty amazing to think on the impact art has had on society and culture since the beginning of recorded history. It’s one of the largest and most difficult to measure. One of my favorite minds, John David Garcia, defined it this way, “‘Beauty’ is the conscious perception of objective truth being communicated to our unconscious.” (Introduction, Creative Transformation, http://www.see.org/garcia/e-ct-dex.htm)

So beauty, let’s call it “art” in this case, is valuable based on the impact an object can have on the subconscious of the viewer. We look at something and stop for a moment and say, “Wow! That really moves me.”

Two different people can look at the very same thing and have wildly divergent descriptions of that experience. Before recorded history, art was magical. Shamans drew possible futures onto cave walls; fertility, the hunt, prosperity, evoking the life they wanted for their communities. Read the rest of this entry »

Joan Weber

My friend Larry used to be the coordinator of fine arts for an urban school district. There was no other staff in the office. He was the fine arts division for 85,000 students. As happens, he missed the connection with students that isn’t afforded regularly to central administration.

So, he went back into a school and became a vice principal, choosing a school that was struggling with all indicators: test scores, enrollment, school climate, suspensions, and so on.

Larry went to this school specifically because the system decided to transform the school through the arts. Beginning this fall, he will be the artistic director for the city’s first middle school for the arts.

The building is one of the most historic schools in the city. Great city leaders came from this school. The city talks of the “glory days” that once reigned when the arts were honored and students succeeded and the school system believes that the school will be saved through the arts. Read the rest of this entry »

Donna Collins

Congratulations to the Tri-M Honor Society Chapter 2252 at Midview High School in Grafton, OH. As the keynote speaker for this year’s induction ceremony I had the opportunity to meet more than forty fabulous students who excel at music, academics, and leadership. 

Justin, the chapter’s president was an outstanding emcee for the evening and chapter advisor and professional music educator Lisa Manning provided a very distinguished event built on tradition and ceremony.

During the course of the evening students performed vocal and instrumental works of art. There were solos, ensembles, and duets. The music was beautiful, varied, and worthy of Tri-M honors. Parents, grandparents, and friends attended the induction and were so proud of the students’ accomplishments. Beyond the students’ musical talents was the recognition of their community service work. Also noted was the Chapter’s honor in being named as Ohio’s Tri-M Chapter of the year for 2009.

The students, without exception, were talented and also appreciative of their peers’ musical talents and leadership. Thirteen new inductees were honored and nearly thirty additional students received first, second, and third year honors. Read the rest of this entry »

Warning: At least in Oregon, the arts are quietly disappearing from our public school classrooms. Kids as young as third grade are sitting and practicing standardized test-taking skills, not moving and exploring and getting excited by learning. I just finished a documentary about arts education for Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), and learned that business leaders and educators agree on the importance of cultivating creativity and innovative thinking in our students. Yet schools and teachers keep hearing that the arts are “extra,” and that the basics need to come first. Without the arts – and by the arts I mean a broad range from performance to visual to kinesthetic – it’s difficult to see where students learn to explore, be creative and think outside the box. Read the rest of this entry »

As a new member of the Arts Education Council at Americans for the Arts, I quickly learned the “three pillars” of our platform this spring as we prepared for the Arts Education Preconference in June. The one that I’ve restated many times in the last month is “a movement from valuing arts education to prioritizing arts learning within the education system(s) and communities.”

I thought about it this morning as I read a quarter page ad in section A of the San Diego Union Tribune. The ad was run by a local private school and its headline is “It’s a creative day”. The text under a picture of a smart (as evidenced by the square glasses), kind of nerdy looking kid working on a clay pot says:

“Every week, elementary school students at Country Day receive instruction in the arts. Throughout the school year, they get to explore music, drama, dance, movement, and a range of visual arts. An essential part of our mission is to create well-rounded students – as comfortable with the violin and paintbrush as they are with reading and math.” It goes on to tell you how to get more information about their mission, educational philosophy, and curriculum. Read the rest of this entry »

Gary Devault

A 2005 Harris Poll shows that 93 percent of Americans feel that the arts are vital to a well-rounded education for all children. The high percentage of Americans valuing arts within education, however, has not led to a prioritizing of the arts within the educational system. 

The Arts Education Council at Americans for the Arts believes that one of the primary focuses of this next decade must be to move from declaring value for arts education to helping decision makers prioritize arts education for all students. Several key groups need to be included for this process to be effective and sustainable: 1.) Local education decision makers; 2.) The business community; and 3.) Parents.  I would like to focus this blog entry on parents.  Read the rest of this entry »

Remember to Imagine

Posted by MacEwen Patterson On May - 27 - 20101 COMMENT

photo Michael Hevesy

To me, the arts are really the practice of remembering to imagine. I have a tendency to fall into habitual routines that require little forethought. But when I engage in the arts, I begin with the question, “How do I want this to look?” and then, “What feelings do I want this to evoke in the viewer?”

I remember when my son was 3 years old. We were in the living room and it was play time. He wanted to play with action figures and it wasn’t enough that we use those figures in an imaginary setting.

For him, I had to have a unique persona, different from “Dad” that was playing with the action figure “dragon,” while he had to be someone other than “son” playing with the action figure “knight.” We chose to swap identities. He became “Dad” and I became “son” and together we played “dragon and knight.” Read the rest of this entry »

Victoria Plettner-Saunders

I’m Victoria Plettner-Saunders, a member of the Art Education Council and arts consultant in San Diego. One of the projects I’ve been working on this spring is the development of four Local Advocacy Networks for K-12 arts education in San Diego County school districts. It is part of a statewide project that the California Alliance for Arts Education (CAAE) began last year and has resulted in the development of at least 20 grassroots community-based arts education advocacy networks throughout California.

The model for developing each local advocacy network (LAN) is quite simple and easily replicable. A coordinator is identified in each community to help launch the initiative via an informational breakfast meeting. About 50 community leaders (e.g. politicians, educators, faith-based community members, arts organizations, school board members, etc.) are invited, which usually nets about 30-35 actual attendees. At the breakfast they hear presentations by school district staff about the opportunities and challenges their visual and performing arts programs are experiencing, as well as a brief contextual presentation by CAAE staff about the role and history of arts education in California’s public education system. Read the rest of this entry »

Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.